June 10, 2011

Staff Focus - Profiling & Selection Executive

Focus On......

This month's Bennett Blurb focuses on Profiling & Selection.  Whether you are a public, academic, specialist or government library, James Bennett can assist with all your collection development needs.  Need support with subject profiles? Opening Day Collections? Spending funds?  In a nutshell, we have the service - and the experience - you need.

One of our most experienced staff is Julie Buckroyd, Profiling & Selection Executive.  She answered some general questions in the Bennett Blurb but she also allowed us to do our own profile of her, here in The Bennett Blog.  How did she get to where she is now? What makes her tick?  Read on and discover for yourself.

Name: Julie Buckroyd
Position: Profiling & Selection Executive

When did you start at James Bennett? 6/6/1994.  D-Day.  (I don't know if that was significant!)
What roles have you had in your 17 years with James Bennett? I started in the Kit area and moved to the Allocation area.  Now all the New Title areas have combined under me!
Describe your job: My role is extremely busy, but very rewarding. Overseeing a team of people and ensuring we have the best coverage of New Titles in all areas and in a timely manner. Making sure that our customer’s profiles are offering them the most appropriate titles. Always looking at the best workflows within the team to make sure that we are covering all the titles that we can and should be.
What do you enjoy most about your job? It is always changing!
Describe James Bennett (as an organisation) in a few words: Dynamic, Local, Knowledgeable 
What would you like customers to know about the work you do? We work hard to ensure full coverage on your profile. We have a great system now that has enabled us to have a better matching and non subject coverage. But the real work happens when the team “find” the first available, or be the first to let you know about a forthcoming best seller. 
What are the challenges you are facing? Local offices of international publishers. Bringing out titles here in Australia months after the US or UK release, and inflating the prices. There have been improvements but we spot every title that doesn't meet our customer's requirements.  And we have to review each and make the best buying decision for our library.
What gets you excited about your day? Waking up! Seriously you can’t make plans about how your day will go, as it will always change.   
What books do you like to read? True crime, crime fiction, and biographies 
Do you have a favourite author?  It changes with every book I read but Jodi Picoult stays there at the top. 
Last book you read? Violent Exposure by Katherine Howell 
Currently reading? The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez. 
On the reading wishlist? Probably Cloudstreet so I can make more sense out of the mini series!

If Customers are considering Profiling & Selection Services what are the things they need to consider?  What they will do with their spare time!  (laughs)  No the main things are: what sort of areas they are interested in. Should I just start with an author profile and build up to a full profile? How much money should I commit to Profiling? Do I need to know expenditure in certain areas ie: Adult Non Fiction, Adult Fiction or just overall expenditure?  There's lots of questions but we can assist them along the way.

And if they have any further questions?  Contact me or their sales representative.  

What staff member would you like to see a Focus On here on the Bennett Blog or in our newsletter service?  Contact Marketing on jbmarketing@bennett.com.au and we'll see what we can do!

June 8, 2011

Read it! Love it? Add Andrew Nicoll to your James Bennett Profile

Before we tell you about this month's selection for the Read it, Love it, Add it to your Profile service, we'd like to congratulate the publisher.  Quercus (UK) was recently awarded Publisher of the Year at The Bookseller Industry Awards.   The company was co-founded in 2005 by CEO Mark Smith and Wayne Davies and they beat seven other nominated finalists, including industry giant Penguin, to win the prestigious award. Past winners have included Little Brown and Faber & Faber, so they are in great company. 

Now that is out the way, we'd like to introduce you to this month's featured author on the Read it, Love it, Add it to your Profile service - Andrew Nicoll.  His second book, The Love and Death of Caterina has us spellbound. Sebastian Barry calls Nicoll "a life-enhancing storyteller, of stellar wit and intriguing depth...pure gold' and we can see why.  We're hooked!

The protagonist is Chano Valdez, a celebrated writer in his South American country.  He pens not just novels, but works of such astounding quality that he is known as the finest of his generation.Unfortunately he's suffering from writer's block and his latest great work comprises the words ‘The scrawny yellow cat crossed the road’. He’s tried all his usual tricks to get back on track - he’s had a few debates with his trusty colleagues at the university, he’s had an affair with the banker’s wife, nothing will work. Until he meets Caterina. Beautiful, young and one of his biggest fans, she has idolised him since she was a child and he has inspired her to write. Convinced that falling in love with her, spending every minute he can alongside her, moulding her to his world, will unlock something and enable him to write, he pursues her and soon enough, he falls headlong into her arms. But it’s only a matter of time before he murders her.  

This book is a great library read.  Andrew Nicoll's first book - A Good Mayor - sold close to 15,000 copies in Australia and won the the Saltire First Book Award.  It has been translated into 20 languages. 

Naturally we're expecting great things from this second book.  With promotion on the Macquarie Radio Network, reviews and promotion in Woman's Day, Sun Herald, Courier Mail, Hobart Mercury and West Australian, as well as some radio interviews with the author - it will be a popular request in your library.

Make sure you have plenty of copies available for your patrons!  

Of course, to ensure you automatically get his third book, add him to your adult fiction profile today!  You can email jbmarketing@bennett.com.au or contact your local sales representative to set this up.  We'd highly recommend it.

ISBN 9781849164719 | Paperback | 358 pages | RRP $32.99

June 1, 2011

Bibliographic data: helping customers make informed decisions

Bibliographic data.  It is something so important to our organisation and to our customer base.  We source product information from bibliographic agencies, we process thousands of files from publishers and even our parent company in the US keeps us well informed of what is being published in their part of the world.  And of course, there is book-in-hand. 

Good, solid, and reliable bibliographic data makes our business run smoothly - from order placement to receipt to cataloguing, processing and despatch to our customers.  As Australia's leading library supplier, we expect to receive accurate, timely information on both new releases and backlist titles for our customer base.  It is an important part of our trading relationship and the request should not be a surprise for our many publishing partners.

James Bennett has a database approaching some 10 million titles thanks to the growth in ebooks, formats, and the important role of Print on Demand (POD) in the supply chain (which has resulted in a growth of scanned documents and facsimile editions of varying degrees of quality).  More ISBNs make their way to our database every day and some days there is no stopping it.  We are reliant on this information yet trying to set "protection rules" and "exclusions" can be a headache for all involved.   Our customers for example don't want to know about a "dump bin" or "spinner" that has been given an ISBN to help distribution centres get the right POS materials to the right customer.  We don't want colouring-in books and similar materials.  We work on getting the mix right, but sometimes those ISBNs pass right by us no matter how hard we try to implement solid business rules for data.  

But there is a way our customers can make informed decisions when looking at JBO.  

For some time now we have a simple icon next to the data.   That icon tells our customers the edition listed is the one we are promoting, it's the one we are ordering, that we are selling. The JB icon identifies the product that has been selected for New Titles Services and promoted in the Sales Kits.  Our talented and experienced Profiling & Selection staff work with our publishing partners on the "right" editions to promote. And of course, they also make business decisions based on other factors in the supply chain - availability etc - which would also come with a icon and this brings us back to bibliographic data....

Dirty data is the bane of our lives yet there are still too many people in the book supply chain simply don't "get" how important bibliographic data is. Catalogues are still printed with wrong ISBN, price, binding, and publication date information.  You can almost forgive a printed catalogue or Advanced Information Sheet - they are prepared in advance and changes to the publication process cannot be accommodated in time.  But Electronic files, that's another story.  We have the ability to keep up-to-date with these changes - as long as publishers provide the latest information, even if it's reliant on manual data entry.

We have to interpret book information in a way that produces the best outcome for the customer. That includes websites and ecommerce sites from our many publishers and distributors - where correct title information is essential.  Display the correct information and more than likely you will get the order.  Display the wrong information and you will have additional costs for your business while you work out how to best handle the non-conformances.  Thanks to the internet and ecommerce developments, we believe that what we read on screen is correct and we get disappointed when our expectations are not met.

Whether we are talking bibliographic files or information sourced over the internet, James Bennett staff have to select the most appropriate title so the library gets the correct book (with the correct binding, price and release date) that they ordered for their patrons.  It isn't rocket science, but no matter how the industry tries to improve their service and information sent, there are roadblocks, exclusions, and errors that we have to work with.  But trust those "in the know".  Let our experience guide your selection.

Our library customers should trust the icon.  It provides peace of mind and a degree of certainty with their purchase.  If in doubt, always contact your James Bennett Customer Co-ordinator on their direct email or phone, or send us an email at info@bennett.com.au   We want to help you make the most informed purchasing decision.  

The icon is just one of the ways we do that.


And if you are a publisher reading this, wondering if you are giving us good data - just ask us!  For specific data enquiries please email and we will do our best to answer your questions.  We also have Guidelines we can send you that covers our requirements for AI title information, images, and electronic bibliographic files.   Email our Publisher Relations & Marketing Communications Manager for your copy.