The continuing rise of digital technology is presenting both opportunities and challenges for book distributors who increasingly have to juggle demands from publishers and consumers for access to digital as well as hard-copy reading materials.

Macmillan Distribution, an international book distributor based in Oxford, United Kingdom, is addressing those issues with the rollout last month of an online system designed to develop online content that enables a bookseller to display both electronic and paper books and journals on an e-commerce site and manage online orders.

Macmillan already used Publishing Technology plc’s new Advance Order to Cash online subscription system to enable publishers to provide online subscription services, says Matthew Hogg, the distributor’s commercial director. For example, the tool has helped Macmillan work with legal materials publisher Hart Publishing, a unit of Bloomsbury Academic, to begin processing online subscriptions to its legal journals through the Advance Order to Cash system, which includes technology for displaying online product and pricing information; coordinating online marketing; managing customer orders, returns and account information; updating financial and inventory records, and analyzing the success of product rollouts and marketing campaigns and their effect on sales.

“As our client and customers’ supply chains evolve and become progressively complex, we need to respond by implementing solutions to help them to continue to manage products, revenues and reporting more effectively,” Hogg says. He adds that Macmillan expects more of its publishing clients to begin using the Advance system in the coming months.

Macmillan also uses Publishing Technology’s Vista warehouse management system, which integrates with the Advance system for fulfilling orders of hard-copy reading materials. Macmillan did not say what it cost to deploy the Advance or Vista systems, and Publishing Technology did not immediately respond to a request for pricing information.


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