Profit with perspective
BookSource was formed in 1996 by the Scottish Publishers Association (now Publishing Scotland) to provide distribution service for publishers in the region. Owned by a registered charity, the company is not focused on profits, but on providing high levels of service for its customers. However, through its highly efficient operations, the company has grown steadily and has maintained an acceptable level of profitability.
Davinder Bedi is Managing Director of BookSource, “Our mission is ‘Profit with Perspective’. This means we must operate as a business and generate the income to support our growth and resources, but this must always be done with the best interests of our customers as our core. We now service nearly 60 publishers of all shapes, sizes and geographical locations and have established a reputation for excellent, reliable service and good value.”
Bringing in IBS Bookmaster
One of the first major decisions for BookSource was the software it would use to manage its business. He explains, “Just because a publisher is small doesn’t mean its requirements are simple. The opposite is often more likely to be true. However, we knew we would also need to service larger publishers in order to develop the company. This meant we needed a software solution that could handle all aspects of publishing distribution for all types of publishers. I am delighted to say we found this application in Bookmaster.”
Bookmaster was a big investment for Booksource, but the software has proven well worth it because of its flexibility and scalability. “It is heartening for us and our customers that we are using the same software as the likes of HarperCollins, Macmillan and Pearson. It gives customers the confidence that we can handle all their requirements, particularly when coupled with our own experience and capabilities in the industry,” says Bedi.
Smooth upgrade path
BookSource has completed an upgrade to the latest version of IBS Bookmaster. “We went home on Friday evening and turned off the old system. When we came in on Monday morning we were straight onto the new version. We didn’t lose a minute’s work and not a single book was delayed. This is real testament to the skills of the entire project team on both sides, as well as the quality and stability of the product,” explains Bedi.
He adds, “The new version demonstrates the IBS commitment to our industry and the proactive approach they take to product development. They react quickly to industry initiatives, ensuring they are in the software and available for us to use. If they didn’t do this, we could not meet the demands of our customers and they would go elsewhere. It is vital that IBS continues to follow the industry and I know they spend a lot of time communicating with their customers to ensure the software contains all the key requirements for the publishing industry. For example, we have already seen new functionality such as an automated returns system and web-based reporting that are hugely beneficial to us, but not something we could afford to develop ourselves. The size of IBS and its customer base means it can allow customers to collaborate on new developments in order to share the costs and the resources.”
BookSource’s main service is book distribution, which is a particular strength of Bookmaster. “The stock management is excellent,” says Bedi, adding, “Bookmaster provides an easy to manage workflow that covers the movement of books in, through and out of the warehouse. It can handle orders large and small with equal ease and accuracy and this means that new warehouse staff can really hit the ground running and be working effectively within minutes of starting with us.”
The financial system element of Bookmaster also provides considerable benefits to BookSource. “The accounts receivable module allows us to manage our clients’ accounts in the most efficient manner possible. The software can be integrated with industry initiatives, such as Batch.co.uk, to assist payments to suppliers. Bookmaster also gives us full EDI functionality to enable one-to-one relationships with larger retailers, such as Waterstones, Borders and the supermarkets. We are currently working to develop a solution to allow us to trade via AS2 with ASDA. Without Bookmaster, we simply couldn’t achieve this,” explains Bedi.
Well placed for the future
Looking to the future, Davinder Bedi sees plenty more change for the publishing industry. “Everyone is worrying about new technologies, like print-on-demand and eBooks and how these will affect the market and its dynamics. We are very comfortable that our relationship with IBS makes us well-placed to meet these challenges head-on.”
He concludes, “Overall, publishing is a glamorous, high profile industry. However, this is not the case for book distributors. Our customers don’t really care how books get to customers, just as long as it happens. Similarly, we don’t really care how the software works, just as long as it does. In Bookmaster, I believe we have the best software there is in terms of complete management of all aspects of business management for book publishing and distribution, now and long into the future.”