Anhinga Press Sells Print Books D2C

Based in Florida, Anhinga Press has been publishing poetry for forty years. Bookmobile has been printing books for them since 2007. Anhinga publishes about four titles every year, and they have a large backlist, giving them a robust inventory to manage. Bookmobile makes it all easier for Anhinga by managing the printing, inventory, and order fulfillment for all of Anhinga’s titles through our Automated Replenishment Program (ARP).

When we first started working with the co-directors of Anhinga Press, Rick Campbell and Carol Lynne Knight, we would print a first run of about 750 copies of a book and ship them to the Paperback Rack Bookstore in Tallahassee, Florida. Anhinga would receive the books and fulfill the print orders from there, reprinting 200 or 300 copies of a book at a time as needed. As Anhinga is run by a board of directors and had no full-time staff, you can imagine what a task this was to keep up with!

At the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in 2012, I spoke with Rick and Carol Lynne about ARP, which is similar to Print-on-Demand (but better!). With Bookmobile’s ARP, Anhinga would not need to worry about sacrificing print quality or missing out on the options Bookmobile provides—for instance, Anhinga prints all their titles on our 70-lb. natural smooth that is 50% post-consumer waste, a printing option most POD programs do not allow. And most importantly, Bookmobile is not printing one book at a time. A book funneled through a production line that relies on bar coding and is never seen by human eyes will never match the quality Bookmobile achieves printing short runs with our experienced staff monitoring quality. From Carol Lynne,

When you are creating books as a labor of love, it really helps to have a high quality, reliable, and responsive partner like Bookmobile. Their color reproduction and print quality is excellent and fairly priced. Every printer makes mistakes, but few back their work like Bookmobile. On the few occasions when production errors occurred, they either discounted or reprinted with no hassle. Trusting that your printer will also strive to make a beautiful book makes that labor of love much less laborious!

Like POD, the publisher does not pay for the printing of the book until it’s sold. Bookmobile determines the optimal number of books needed based on the sales history, prints and stores a large or small inventory, manages that inventory, and reprints as needed.

Rick assessed Anhinga’s current inventory and sent a list of out-of-stock titles, and we began to print inventory. Rick also shipped all the inventory Anhinga had on hand to Bookmobile and we added all the books to ARP with the inventory status “printed elsewhere, do not charge for printing.”

Anhinga’s titles are sold through the Anhinga website, Small Press Distribution, and Amazon. For all of the book sales (including review copies, event copies, and author copies), Anhinga uploads the orders to Bookmobile’s eFirst portal. We print more books as needed, fulfill orders within 48 hours, report shipping confirmation and tracking information to Anhinga, and bill for the printing of the books sold, fulfillment costs, and shipping. For the books that we did not print (the inventory we received from Florida), we charge a minimal monthly fee for storage and then for fulfillment as those books are sold. Once a title runs out of stock, we check with Anhinga to make certain we have the most recent files on hand, then the title is added to ARP with the status “Bookmobile prints and manages inventory.”

Because Bookmobile is taking care of the print management and order fulfillment for Anhinga, they can focus exclusively on continuing to publish great poetry by devoting all their time to the acquisition, editing, design, and marketing of their new titles.

Rick is retiring this Fall and is passing on the operations of Anhinga to a new team, which includes Carol Lynne as well as Kristine and Jay Snodgrass. Bookmobile had previously worked with Kristine on printing for Cake, a journal of poetry and art, and we were all able to meet in person at AWP 2014 in Seattle.

With Bookmobile’s ARP in the picture, the transition has been easier on everyone. On the print side of the business, Kristine just had to learn how to upload an order—which is very easy—and the rest was taken care of. Kristine noted,

During my transition to co-director of Anhinga Press, the folks at Bookmobile have been so easy to work with and extremely helpful. I know that I can always get a quick response to an email or question. The new system is great—ordering is pretty simple.

The latest title we printed for Anhinga Press is Mint Snowball, pictured above. We look forward to many more books!

Interest in ARP? Contact me!