HarperCollins and R.R. Donnelley have signed a new agreement that will create one centralized warehouse that will serve as the distribution site for all HC U.S. titles, including those published by its Christian publishing division that houses Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. Harper said it expects the new facility to be opened next summer and that it will close its two warehouses in Scranton, Penn. and Nashville.

“We have taken a long-term, global view of our print distribution and are committed to offering the broadest possible reach for our authors," said HC CEO Brian Murray."We are retooling the traditional distribution model to ensure we can competitively offer the entire HarperCollins catalog to customers regardless of location.” Murray said that while the shift will save money, the decision to place all of its titles in one place was also done for strategic reasons since by using one platform HC will be able to provide quick turnaround times on hot moving titles. Under the agreement, HC will provide Donnelley with the demand for books and Donnelley will have the flexibility to print using offset or digital presses. That type of flexibility is something that couldn't happen before, Murray said.

The agreement, which expands on a deal signed in May 2011, will also make Nelson titles available in Europe and Australia through Donnelley's print-on-demand capabilities."When we bought Nelson we said we would expand their sales outside of the U.S. and this will help us accomplish that," Murray noted.

While HC will move its warehousing and pick, pack and ship services to Donnelley it will continue to manage customer service, credit, collection, IT and freight services going forward and will also handle returns through its LaPorte, Ind. facility. When the Scranton and Nashville warehouses are shut, LaPorte will be HC's only remaining facility. The company closed two other warehouses following its original agreement with Donnelley. "We think this is the future," Murray said. "We will have all our books with one partner who can produce them in a streamlined fashion."