Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tour de force

I spent yesterday at my favorite client's site. They happen to be the world's largest wholesale book distributor, and strangely enough that isn't why they're my favorite … but it helps! Every time I've been on-site they've promised me a tour of the Distribution Center, and every time I've had to cry off because work has to come first. They are paying for my time after all. But yesterday I took the tour. And I was, not to put it too delicately, gob-smacked. Imaging this: a 420,000 square foot facility (and this is the SECOND largest distribution facility of the four that they have. The largest is 650,000 square feet!). At this facility they carry at any one time 7 MILLION books , representing 1.2 million titles. They receive on average 150,000 to 200,000 books PER DAY, from virtually all publishers and from their own Print-on-Demand company (and that deserves a post all of its own). They ship an average of 800,000 units per week, which represents 85,000 orders. Those orders go to most of the major book stores, to indies and to warehouse stores. Seen a new book at your local library? Oh yes, it's probably been through here, and received its mylar jacket and various stickers and barcodes before it was sent out. Ever bought a book on-line? Then it was probably shipped to you from here. If you order a book on before midday Central they will ship it that day. Incredible! The technology used to do all this is just amazing, and soooo cool. And what's more, real people are involved at every step of the way. I could go on and on but I'd probably bore you senseless. Suffice to say, I was impressed. And now I'm more determined than ever to get published.


Desana said...

This is great info to know.

Liz said...

I'm glad you thought so.