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Posts Tagged ‘inventory control’

How Authors Obtain ISBN Numbers for Books

Recently, I was asked by a new author how to get an ISBN number. I thought it might be helpful if I just answer the question in a blog entry so others could refer back to it when needed. Let’s begin by looking at what ISBN really means. ISBN is the International Standard Book Number and a different number is assigned to each book title. ISBNs assist librarians, distributors, wholesalers and booksellers in identifying, ordering and maintaining inventory control over new titles. A publisher will be issued ISBNs according to the number of titles in print, to be assigned to each existing title and to future titles.

If you use Twitter, there is a great forum on Fridays to discuss different issues relating to ISBN’s. All you need to do is search on Twitter using the hash tag #ISBNhour. Lots of useful tips and good information is exchanged during this Friday forum.

So, here is how you get started in receiving your ISBN. To receive an application for for an ISBN or for more information, contact:

International Standard Book Numbering/U.S. Agency
R.R. Bowker
121 Chanlon Road
New Providence, NJ 07974
(908) 665-6770

You can now apply for an ISBN online (or download application materials to mail). Go to the ISBN page on R.R. Bowker’s website (www.rrbowker.com). They also give more information about Bowker’s function as the U.S. Agency for ISBN, as well as listings of places to get ISBN barcodes made.

Questions regarding the process of registering a copyright or obtaining ISSN or ISBN numbers should be directed to the Copyright Office Recorded Information System at (202) 707-3000. If the recorded messages (or websites) do not answer your questions, you will eventually (after a long hold) be put through to an Information Specialist.

When it comes to fulfillment… control inventory to control costs!

Regardless of a fulfillment center’s methodology, you are paying for two things – space and activity. Each 3 PL or order fulfillment operation has its own methodology and payment schedule. Some fulfillment warehouses charge fees to store your books and fees to pick-and-pack and ship the books from the warehouse. Others will charge based upon percentage of sales. One of the best ways to control cost is by controlling your inventory. Whatever the fee structure, you must clearly understand the rates, terms and conditions of the contract.

Looking at pricing proposals from different warehousing and fulfillment vendors can be difficult because each one uses a different methodology for computing their rates. For this reason, reviewing the pricing proposals of warehousing and fulfillment companies should be done with great care and diligence. Here are tips to help avoid some of the challenges of warehousing and fulfillment pricing:

  • Make sure the warehousing and fulfillment vendor has listed ALL costs
  • Beware of monthly minimum charges
  • Determine all monthly fixed recurring charges
  • Ask if the vendor makes margin on freight charges and UPS discounts
  • Double check move-out charges – some warehouse operations add huge penalties for move-out fees
  • Ask for referrals from current customers to ensure that costs don’t change after signup
  • Check the vendor’s BBB rating
  • Make sure that everything is documented in a contract

Want to know additional important considerations when choosing an order fulfillment service? They are now available in a Whitepaper on our website. If you have additional questions, or are interested in receiving this white paper by email, please feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached at (708) 587-4116 or kshay@ware-pak.com

The Right Fulfillment Partner Eases the Transition Process

For a publisher, making the decision to change warehousing and fulfillment vendors can be difficult. There are high costs associated with the move and the process is very tedious. Focusing on the services needed to become a better publisher can help determine who the right warehousing partner will be.

When the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) had to make a decision to stick with their current fulfillment vendor or make a change, they began by developing a vision of what they were looking for in a fulfillment partner.

“We chose Ware-Pak because of what they did and did not do,” said NAHB Staff Vice President Lakisha Campbell. “They met our established criteria, but did not try to oversell. While other fulfillment companies on our short list always talked about add-ons and other things we weren’t really looking for, Ware Pak was very professional in their approach. When we asked questions, we got straight answers – and we got those answers quickly,” she added.

Ware-Pak prides itself on creating strategic partnerships with their clients. They know that a publisher’s success depends on their ability to control inventory, streamline product storage, assembly and distribution, and process returns efficiently. More importantly, they know that publishers, especially associations, don’t change fulfillment companies just for the sake of change. Reporting processes must be coordinated in order to provide the client with meaningful, actionable reports.

Since the transition began about two months ago, Ware-Pak has been diligent in taking the time to meet with the NAHB to evaluate progress and establish areas that need improvement in order for them to receive the exact reports and information they need.

In closing, Lakisha observed, “Transitioning from one fulfillment company to another is a process, and Ware-Pak is dedicating the time to work out the kinks.”

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