BISG Committee Discusses State of Traditional Supply Chain

Due to advancements occurring in the publishing world, the landscape seems to drastically change every year. The number of indie and self-published authors has increased incrementally with the introduction of do it yourself and crowdfunding tools, and things are changing in the state of the traditional supply chain with every technological development. If you’ve been wondering who oversees and standardises everything in the ‘book trade’ world, you should know that it’s the Book Industry Study Group, Inc. (BISG). It is the globe’s leading book trade association that deals with the standardisation of best practices, events, information, and research.

BISG focuses on facilitating conversations and connections to solve common literary problems, help advance new ideas, and also find better ways to offer readers more published content. Coming back to the introduction of indie and self-published works changing the publishing world, a component of such change is the increase of Print-on-demand works. Many authors are unable to have their works published from the larger publishing houses without prior validation from the literary community as a prediction of how it would be received. To combat this authors turn to using the Print-on-demand solutions which feature to offer soft and hardcover titles only to those interested, paying readers.

That is why to discuss the state of the publishing industry’s traditional supply chain the BISG committee came together. BISG focused on p.o.d and its impact on the traditional supply chain. The dominant themes at the annual BISG general meeting (held in New York) were channel conflict and p.o.d. BISG Committee Discussing Traditional Supply Chain The panels included discussions revolving that of retailing, distribution, metadata, marketing, and rights.

According to Brooke Warner, the publisher of SheWrites Press, Amazon is not taking accountability for third parties that are selling review copies to consumers as new books as well as accessing buy buttons that make customers see these parties as the first options to buy from. Warner also added that there’s a stigma of being self-published or being less-desirable that small presses have to deal with when going the p.o.d route.

However, according to Michael Selleck, who is the executive vice-president of S&S’s sales and marketing, Amazon is the only conduit and thus, not the actual source of the current problem. Selleck went on to say that publishers should do what they can to find the actual sources of such third party sellers (remainders, offshore and elsewhere) and take action against them.

Peter Berkery, the Association of American University Presses’ executive director, agreed with finding a way to deal with third-party sellers. He also linked this to a similar issue with monographs. He advised that a new business model needs to be found by university presses in “less than a decade.” Furthermore, during the retelling panel, the chief information officer of Books-a-Million, Cy Fenton, said that there’s a stigma associated with p.o.d. Coming to what Selleck hopes for the state of the supply chain, Nielson BookScan should provide more in-depth point-of-sale information. It should give the publishers data that’s title-to-title as well as tell where the market share’s coming from. Better information about global sales should also be provided. Selleck’s wish might come true as NPD’s Jonathan Stolper shared with ‘The Bookseller’ that BookScan will be introducing a new licensing tracker in January.

Moving on to distribution, the senior vice-president of Readerlink, David Barker, said that his retailers are working toward increasing shelf space meant for food. Readerlink happens to be the main US supplier to non-trade outlets and mass merchandisers. Taking note that shelf space is being ever decreased for books. Also, independents are seeing success under expertise. Barker added that mass retailers will be administering some changes within the next six to eight months. During the discussion about rights, David Hetherington, Klopotek’s chief operating officer, emphasised the point regarding publishers knowing about all the rights and even monetising illustrations.

The next event for the BISG is a webinar on Tuesday 17th October all about standards, discussing how they are made, what leads their development and modification and why they are so important to our industry and the publishing supply chain. ”