Vista International, a vendor of back-office computer systems for the book-publishing industry, announced new partnerships with Baker & Taylor and, through PubEasy, Vista's online self-service distribution site, with the AOL Time Warner Book Group.
Under the agreement with B&T, Vista will provide its technical infrastructure and software applications to support B&T's Vendor Distribution Program, a new distribution service offered to small and medium-size book publishers.
Arnie Wight, executive v-p at B&T, told PW that the new service is the outgrowth of upgrading its automated warehouse systems. "Beginning in 1995-1996, we rewrote our software to create a paperless warehouse bar-code system that was more accurate, more efficient and had more capacity." Looking to fill this new capacity, B&T decided to launch the Vendor Distribution Program to target new clients, particularly small (about $1.5 million in annual sales) and medium-size publishers (from about $6 million in sales to about $40 million).
The service offers warehousing, physical distribution and back-office services. B&T chose Vista to partner with because of its Author2Reader software, a suite of software applications designed to provide all the functions needed to run a publishing company. Vista also offers a variety of software tools for "data mining," the analysis of sales information. "We can interface Vista's software with our warehouse system and offer publishers a variety of outsourced services that they can't get anywhere else," said Wight.
Wight said the two firms were in the process of developing interfaces between the Vista and B&T software systems. There should be a demo available by April and full implementation is expected by July. He said B&T is in discussion with potential clients.
Luke Iorio, Vista's marketing communications associate, described its Author2Reader system as a suite of digitized services for customer service, order entry, warehousing and accounts receivable, in addition to other publishing business applications. Vista, he said, will supply "support to run the back-office systems needed for distribution. We'll do what we do, provide technical support, so that B&T can do what they do best." Iorio also said that B&T eventually will join PubEasy.
The agreement with AOLTWBG makes its 10,000 titles available through PubEasy. Booksellers can log on to the Web site (www.pubeasy.com) at any time to access a variety of title information and to check price and order status.