More than 200 publishers and distributors have listed their books in the Frontlist Plus Universal database, the online titl-management tool developed by the National Association of Independent Publishers Reps. Among those participating beginning with the fall list are all publishers represented by NAIPR members as well as those with house reps and/or a combination of both house and commission reps, including Workman, Scholastic, Oxford, Globe Pequot, IPG and Consortium.

FPU, which is supported by publishers, enables booksellers to import title information directly into their POS systems for free. According to NAIPR executive director Paul Williams, the program was designed to allow booksellers to cherry pick only those titles they want and is compatible with 10 inventory control systems, including Anthology, Square One and WordStock.

Although Williams compares the learning curve to use FPU to learning how to turn on a car, getting bookseller participation has not been without difficulties. “One of the challenges we faced is that there are varying degrees of competence and hardware,” he said. Both he and NAIPR members are available to demonstrate how to use the program to download files from the FPU Web site and get it into the POS systems or move it to floppies or flash drives.

The impetus for creating FPU online came out of BEA in Los Angeles a year ago. “When it was clear that publishers were intent on going green with a move toward e-catalogues, we recognized the enhanced potential for our service offering—to provide publishers and sales reps with a one-stop catalogue-order data-management system,” said Williams.

“The beauty of FPU,” said Williams, “is that it accomplishes the essential good of saving the store the time and cost of data-entry, but leaves the rep and buyer with the flexibility to do things their way.”

Booksellers at trade, college and Christian stores can sign on for FPU by going directly to the Web site,