Management Tools for Saving Time and Money
Many publishing management solutions are available in today’s competitive marketplace that can help publishers automate and link business functions such as sales commissions, royalties, title management, fulfillment, invoicing, marketing, production management and more. As with choosing any solution, it is important to do extensive research on both the product and the company behind it. Ideally, you should be looking for a solution that won’t need to be updated every year, that can expand as your company evolves, and that will support your customer-centered business.
“A solution must not only meet your needs today, but it must meet your needs five years from now. The technical underpinnings of the solutions must remain current and be flexible to respond to whatever directions are taken by the industry,” says Bob Russell, vice president of Trilogy, a solution provider based in Buckinghamshire, England. “Solutions must be customer-centric, allowing personal responses on the Web, phone or [in writing].”
Simple research and asking for recommendations from your peers will go a long way when choosing publishing management solutions.
“I recommend that publishers understand that for middle- and large-market companies, implementation and maintenance of solutions are substantial, complex endeavors, and that success depends at least as much on who you work with as the features of a system,” says David Marlin, president of Metacomet, a solutions provider in South Hadley, Mass. “The industry is littered with failures, and the best way to ensure success and avoid failure is to ask around the industry about the reputation of the people with whom you are working. Do they deliver what they promise? Do they deliver on-time and on-budget?”
According to Marlin, a company’s reputation is far more important than dazzling customers with features that they may not even need.
“So much attention is devoted to features, that purchasers frequently overlook [customer service]. Having a feature does not mean that feature will work for you in a production environment,” he says. “While features are important, the best predictor of a company’s ability to meet your needs is their past history, which is manifested in their reputation.”
Eric Reiss, senior account executive at Global Turnkey Systems Inc.—a solutions provider that was recently acquired by Klopotek North America Inc., located in Parsippany, N.J.—agrees that reputation is important. Also important is that the company has the capability of providing service-oriented connections.
“Many of today’s business systems appear to offer similar features. Look for a vendor that has a truly experienced and available support infrastructure. Business environments are comprised of heterogeneous solutions from multiple vendors,” Reiss says. “Look for architectures that support service-oriented connections between systems and Web sites. Having an open, well-structured database underpinning the software is critical to business decision support and back-end interfaces.”
Publishing Management Solutions
Here are some of the leading current publishing management solutions on the market, including some publishers who have used each of the solutions, as well as a summary of their capabilities.
(A division of The Media
Services Group Ltd.)
Product: Cat’s Pajamas
Details: A suite of customized modules designed to automate accounting functions with solutions that address issues specific to the publishing industry: invoicing and returns, accounts/receivable, inventory, sales commissions and royalties with up-to-the minute data about customers, books, back orders, order activity and shipment history for viewing, reporting and exporting.
Customers Include: Children’s Publisher, Boyds Mills Press, Career Press, Harvard Education Publishing Group
Cost Structure: Costs range in the high four-figure to low five-figure range and higher for more complex systems.
Contact: (800) 827-2287,
Product: Acumen Book Publishing system
Details: A fully integrated business management system designed for publishers and distributors. The core system is designed to handle accounting, sales analysis, job costing, royalties, order entry, fulfillment, purchasing, mail lists and marketing, production marketing, title management, standing orders, contact management and inventory management.
Customers Include: Used by approximately 175 publishers worldwide.
Cost Structure: Varies based on customers needs.
Contact: (505) 983-6463,
Globappropriate third-party solutions and an information layer for comprehensive analysis across the enterprise. Components include: customer care, distribution, e-commerce, editorial, financials, fulfillment, product information management, production management, publishing intelligence, and rights and royalties.
Customers Include: NewsCorp, Wolters Kluwer, Bertelsmann, The Thomson Corp.
Cost Structure: Priced according to a publisher’s specific needs.
Contact: (732) 563-9292,