When Baker & Taylor announced earlier this year that the company was leaving the trade retail wholesaling business, one of the most vexing issues was how publishers could quickly supply bookstores in the western states that have been served by B&T's warehouse in Reno, Nev. Penguin Random House has solved that problem by taking over that operation from B&T.
The publisher has reached a multi-year agreement to assume the operation and management of the Reno fulfillment center that is currently leased to B&T, PRH US CEO Madeline McIntosh announced Monday. The facility will distribute PRH titles to bookstore customers and distribute titles for Penguin Random House Publisher Services clients.
The 244,000 -sq.-ft. center is the first Penguin Random House distribution center in the western U.S., with PRH's previously-existing operations located in Westminster, Md. (1.5 million sq. ft.), and Crawfordsville, Ind. (1 million sq. ft.). The move dramatically increases the reach of the company's supply chain.
“We have discussed having a western fulfillment center for years, and now is the perfect time to make that happen,” McIntosh said in a statement. “Creating a western hub in the Penguin Random House supply chain expands our distribution reach from coast to coast, and gives us additional capacity to get more books to more readers even more quickly than we do now.” Initially, McIntosh told PW, the center will focus on servicing independent booksellers, but over time it could expand to other channels and other services. She said that indie bookstores in the 11 states serviced by the Reno facility will receive orders in 1-3 days, the same time frame they currently receive orders.
Under the agreement, B&T will ship Penguin Random House and PRHPS reorders to current customers during the transition of the facility, with PRH working closely with B&T's local teams and assuming sole operation of the fulfillment center on January 1, of next year. Leading the transition will be Annette Danek, executive v-p of supply chain at PRH, who has overseen the growth and expansion of the Maryland and Indiana facilities.
“We anticipate a seamless changeover,” Danek said in a statement. “At the outset, we’ll be focusing on the western states currently serviced out of Reno. Over time, we hope to build capacity for greater flexibility and a wider range of services.” Danek added that as PRH learns more about the day-to-day operations in Reno" the company will assess its hiring needs towards the end of the year.