With booksellers pinched between industry-wide title shortages and impatient customers, Penguin Random House is hoping to alleviate another significant source of stress by launching its annual 2-Day Transit Program two months ahead of schedule. Announced yesterday as “Happy Independents Day,” the program will run from July 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021.
In a statement, the company said, “The initiative is designed to help accounts manage the complex process of providing books to readers while navigating various marketplace challenges, including COVID guidelines, new customer buying patterns, and store re-openings.”
Originally created to ensure rapid shipping during the busy fall season, the initiative has expanded to become a centerpiece of PRH’s outreach to retailers. Through the program, orders placed to PRH’s Westminster, Md. and Crawfordsville, Ind. operations centers by 3 p.m ET on weekdays will be shipped within the next business day on a two-day transit schedule. All frontlist and backlist titles from PRH imprints will be included in the program, along with PRH Publisher Services clients.
This year’s program will get a boost from PRH’s late-2019 acquisition of the former Baker & Taylor distribution center in Reno, Nev. which will come online in mid-August, accelerating the company’s ability to provide titles to retailers on the West Coast.
The program could not come soon enough for weary booksellers who have expressed growing frustration with customers’ impatience at the same time that many supply-chain problems are out of their control. For its part, PRH appears keen on continuing to adapt the program, calling it “ever-evolving and expanding.”
In a statement, PRH president of sales Jaci Updike said: “We know that rapid replenishment is a major driver of profit for retailers, so we decided to relaunch Penguin Random House 2-Day Transit much earlier this year. So much is unpredictable right now; we want to support booksellers by making our supply chain as predictable—and speedy—as possible."