Wiley is expanding its UK distribution operation through its partnership with printing firm CPI and hopes to attract more publishers with its ability to print on demand.
The academic publisher recently installed printers within its distribution facility enabling zero-inventory titles to be printed and shipped in the same cartons as books held in stock in the warehouse, helping to make savings in the supply chain alongside creating up to 40 new jobs.
New clients Edward Elgar and John Hunt Publishing have also recently moved to John Wiley distribution. Alongside a new IT system, which provides greater visibility and flexibility, and the recruitment of Justin Williams as a business development manager, the team hope they will be able to attract more publishers to Wiley. There will be a number of open days throughout the year for both new and existing clients.
Business development consultant Adrian Greenwood, who previously worked at Laurence King before leaving as part of the changes made by Hachette following its acquisition of the firm, told The Bookseller: "There's been a lot about print on demand over recent years, but the quality of that product has not been great. But actually what CPI have done is effectively create a printer where you can print just one book and the consumer will not be able to tell the difference between that printed book and one that has been printed in a more traditional large print run.
"This is a wonderful sort of response to the market, to consumers, to be able to have print books but at the same time obviously being allowed to offer e-books, being able to offer audiobooks, being able to offer traditional print books."
Greenwood said the changes brought in by Brexit mean "it's exceptionally attractive to publishers and new clients and existing clients to be able to print in the UK as and when required". He noted the struggles many independent publishers are facing supplying the EU and said he wants Wiley to be considered as another option for publishers.
He said: "I've worked with four publishers that have been distributed by all of the big distributors, whether that's Macmillan or Hachette or GBS or HarperCollins. Often publishers feel that there are limited options for them in terms of where they can go. And often those distributors are full or there are quite stringent requirements to be looked at as a viable distribution client."
He added. "Wiley hasn't been known by publishers to be considered as an option. They have very quietly been doing a great job for their existing clients and I think that publishers will be excited to be able to go and take seriously another alternative. Because it opens up options for them, assessing against their current set up."
Williams said the changes were brough about before the disruptions brought in by the coronavirus pandemic, and were part of a commercial strategy to help publishers going forward. The company's site in Bognor Regis remained fully operational throughout the lockdowns and Wiley is already testing its distribution for its own products and integrating new clients to its system. It hopes to gradually move its other clients into the new processes by the end of this year.
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