Book Business EXTRA Q&A—Charles Halpin, General Manager of Pubnet/PubEasy, Talks About a New ‘Lightning Fast’ Book Ordering System
EXTRA: How much quicker will orders be filled, on average, with the new system?
Halpin: Instant Response provides order acknowledgments within a minute, on average—no other method is faster.
EXTRA: What research went into its development?
Halpin: We spoke to major publishers, point-of-sale vendors, retailers, and the American Booksellers Association to put together a list of our objectives. Key goals were to create a system that could be integrated electronically with both bookstores and publishers and to avoid work for our customers, and that meant using deployed technologies.
Pubnet is integrated into all major bookstore point-of-sale systems—Visual Anthology is the latest to join the Pubnet community—and PubEasy is integrated into the major trade book publishers.
One key feature that PubEasy already offers publishers is the ability to deliver an instant response to bookstore orders. That was the starting point. The Instant Response system that we developed takes the Pubnet order from the bookstore. Behind the scenes, we translate that order into a PubEasy order that we pass to the publisher. We then take the PubEasy instant order response from the publisher and translate it back to a Pubnet EDI order acknowledgment that we send back to the bookstore. This all happens very quickly—some orders are acknowledged in as little as 15 seconds. Bookstores who have been using the system have been giving us very positive feedback.
EXTRA: How should publishers prepare themselves for the introduction of ISBN-13 at this point?
Halpin: Publishers currently receiving electronic orders from Pubnet will need to ensure they have a method in place to accept, store and transmit 13-Digit ISBNs by Jan. 1, 2007. As a best practice, it is encouraged that suppliers’ EDI translators distinguish each identifier as it is received—plus process and transmit each accordingly, as soon as possible.
EXTRA: Will it just be the bigger publishing houses that are involved with this?
Haplin: Any publisher with a fulfillment system can participate.