Pubnet, an electronic ordering option for booksellers from Bowker, has announced the introduction of Instant Response, a program that gives booksellers immediate acknowledgement for purchase orders placed with participating publishers. In addition, Instant Response is designed to serve as an alternative to a publisher's direct electronic dial-up ordering system. According to Pubnet, it is anticipated that some publishers will be phasing out such systems after the introduction of ISBN-13 in January 2007. Publishers that are participating in Instant Response currently include Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Penguin Group (USA), Random House, and Simon & Schuster.
"Instant Response means that booksellers don't have to wait on hold with customer service to verify an order, or wait for a publisher to pick up their online orders once a day for processing," said Pubnet and PubEasy Product Manager Tom Morey.
Pubnet (www.pubnet.org) integrates with most major POS systems (to view a list of supported and ISBN-13 certified POS systems, click here http://www.pubnet.org/community/certifiedpos.html), and it allows bookstores to place electronic orders and receive backorder acknowledgements, invoices, and advance shipping notices through standardized electronic methods.
Instant Response -- which will launch on December 12 -- integrates Pubnet technology with PubEasy's user interface to access publishers' title-availability data instantly. PubEasy, which features electronic invoice requests and backorder cancellation requests, is an Internet-based service used to facilitate business among booksellers, publishers, distributors, and wholesalers.
Pubnet has tested the new system with several bookstores including Cody's Books in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. Althea Ku, Cody's buyer, told BTW that the system "worked fine" when she placed several orders. "It had a small glitch when I sent the first order," she said. "The receiving publisher didn't have us on file, but we fixed that. It's different and anything different makes you wonder, 'Uh oh, will it work?' But it seems to work just fine."
Ku liked the instant order acknowledgement, but she said that confirmation notifications contained more information than she was used to seeing, including both ISBN-10 and ISBN-13, title, author, catalog price, status, and additional data for each order placed.
Ku noted that Pubnet and PubEasy technical support was "really helpful at solving any problems." And, she added, "They're always really responsive."
To participate, retailers will need to have a SAN as well as memberships in both Pubnet and PubEasy, and accounts need to be validated with each publisher. Through January 31, 2007, retailers can sign up for Pubnet's one-time membership fee at a discounted rate of $125.
If a bookseller already has a SAN, the discounted rate is $50. For more information or to request registration forms, visit www.pubnet.org or contact Bruce Miller, U.S. sales executive for Pubnet/PubEasy, at (908) 219-0053 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For booksellers who already have a Pubnet and PubEasy account, there is no additional fee, but booksellers should call Pubnet at 1-800-PUBNET1 to validate that their PubEasy account SAN is correct. --Karen Schechner