Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Amazon Fulfilment for Books and the long tail

In 2013 we shipped our entire stock from our warehouse to various Amazon warehouses around the UK and since then they have undertaken our fulfilment.
This has worked very well for us, and we have no complaints.

Recently, Amazon have decided to charge storage fees for slow moving stock. Some of our stock is very slow moving - that is the very nature of "the long tail" and I cannot really complain.

However, this does give us a slight problem: we want to avoid these charges which come into effect in August, so we are going to have to accept the books back to our premises. However, we no longer have a warehouse, just a house, and my wife is not overjoyed at the prospect of having several hundred books arrive next month.

So to mitigate the problem, and keep the wife happy, we have put all the stock currently held at Amazon on sale at half price and free carriage in the UK.

All the books that are not sold in the sale will revert to full price on 14th August.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Pearson to sell their 47% stake in Penguin Random House

When I worked for Pearson in the 1970s and 1980s it was successful and confident and a really great place to work. Its great strength was its diversification: in fact it was criticised for being, in effect, Lord Cowdray’s personal diversified portfolio, comprising amongst many other things: Chateau Latour, Royal Doulton, Madame Tussauds, Warwick Castle, the Financial Times, Westmister Press, half of The Economist and three iconic publishing imprints: Ladybird, Longman and Penguin.

Longman was at the time the largest and most profitable UK imprint. Amongst their many successful operations were English as a Foreign Language publishing, medical publishing (Churchill Livingstone), and very successful publishing operations throughout Africa and the Middle East. When there were shocks to the system, as there were when, for instance, government failure in Nigeria caused them to default on a £6 million debt, the company could weather the storm because of diversification.

I fear for the modern Pearson which has put almost all its eggs in the US education market. It has sold off the family silver: Royal Doulton, Chessington Zoo and Chateau Latour went long ago, but more recently they have sold the Financial Times, and their share of The Economist. Now they are to sell their 47% stake in the enormous Penguin Random House. Perhaps it will be in safer hands with Bertelsmann.