You are a distributor with a medium to high need for e-commerce. The key for you is to be able to receive orders via e-commerce from as many of your bookselling customers as possible. To achieve this you may have to subscribe to more than one e-commerce service. However, because booksellers have several possible e-commerce services you could just join the most popular and this should enable you to exchange messages with your customers. If in doubt ask your trading partners and you could also ask the e-commerce service providers to explain which of your trading partners use their service.

However, given that nearly all the UK bookselling chains use TeleOrdering (TeleOrdering traffics about 30 million order lines a year) realistically you need to be able to receive TeleOrders. Given that your business volumes are high this will not work so well via downloading from the web (although this is possible using Nielsen BookNet Web PubMod 2). You can receive TeleOrders in EDI format and can connect to TeleOrdering via FTP over the Internet.

The table below shows some of the services which you may need to use for the required range of transactions:

You need to exchange the following messagesOrdersOrder AcksEDNsInvoices/Credit NotesReturns

Key: Order Acks are Order Acknowledgments, EDNs are electronic delivery notes, NBN stands for Nielsen BookNet

Important considerations about EDI (electronic data interchange) and the choice of appropriate services are available in a separate document you can download here.

You will want to make a decision based on your own systems capability, your trading partners’ needs and your impression of the e-commerce providers mentioned in this section. Try to keep in mind that orders, invoices and returns are your top three messages even if you only plan to start with orders and invoices. Also consider the many other EDI messages which you could use, including price and availability updates, proof of delivery, shipment manifests etc.

Many large distributors have deployed a number of e-commerce services to ensure they cover all their trading partners:

  1. Distributor A has the ability to receive TeleOrders, they can do EDI across Nielsen BookNet and they have also joined Batch 
  2. Distributor B has the ability to receive TeleOrders, they have Freeway Commerce software and can do EDI across the Internet with some trading partners and they can also use alternative VANs. They have joined Batch and they can traffic invoices across batch. 

In addition both distributors have joined PubEasy and Nielsen BookNet Web as partners/affiliates as these systems enable their bookseller customers to make self-service enquiries on their systems and this helps to alleviate the pressure on their customer services operations.

When you’ve digested all the information in this section and you feel that you want to talk to one of the e-commerce service providers, their contact details are below:

E-commerce service BookNetPubEasy
Telephone020 7802 080201772 6460000870 777 871001304 852177