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BookSource

April 5th, 2018 | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on BookSource
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Beginning of the spring semester, time for a field trip to Glasgow! On Monday, 5th February, the Publishing students got to know two aspects of the book process. We visited a distribution company, BookSource, and one of the largest and oldest British printing and binding companies, Bell & Bain. Both were absolutely worth a visit, not only to see what happens with a book when it’s published, but because we all left infected full of enthusiasm radiated from the people who work there.

When we arrived to the BookSource we were split in two groups. One group visited the well-organised warehouse with pleasant Jim and the other group was welcomed with a presentation by Louise, accompanied with coffee, tea and biscuits.

BookSource was founded in 1995 by Publishing Scotland. With only ten people working there their job is to receive and store books, get them to the market, collect, process and fulfil customer orders, invoice customers and collect cash. Their customers are booksellers, wholesalers, online retailers, supermarkets and private individuals. BookSource used to store more than 7M books, but since publishers have taken the advantage of the print-on-demand service, they are able to save space and the number of books in the warehouse has reduced to 3.44M. Currently, they cooperate with 94 publishers and stock 13,178 live titles, including CDs and maps.

BookSource distributes books not only to the mainland UK, but also to the Scottish Isles and abroad. Because of the increased traffic, it is cheaper to deliver books abroad, for instance to Germany or Benelux, than to the Isles. On every dispatched box they put a sticker so they can follow it and know where it is at any time, they also get information in case it gets lost and when the customer receives it.

They are constantly improving their system, which enables them to be up-to-date with what is happening in the warehouse, e.g. they can see what books are missing, but also what are the extra books they store. Their new developed services are MyBookSource, an online bookshop run by BookSource; DataSource holding descriptions of books which took up to four years to be developed and it provides information for their customers, Nielsen etc; and InfoSource that provides all the information for the sales team and allows publishers to check how their sales are going, discounts, how much cash they have collected, if they should reprint a book …

Some interesting facts to conclude, one of the bestsellers lately and a recommended reading by the BookSource is Poverty Safari by Darren McGarvey, a book about the effects of poverty in Glasgow.  The cheapest book, and also a bestseller, that has been stored in the BookSource is Everything Men Know About Women, containing nothing but 32 blank pages, “written” by a woman.

A big thank-you to Louise and Jim for making us welcome. We enjoyed learning about a step of the book production that is not directly linked with the office work in a publishing house, but really, really valuable.