Earlier this year, the University of Georgia Press announced that we would be moving our distribution and fulfillment over to Longleaf Services, Inc., a non-profit company providing fulfillment services to university presses since 2006. As of July 1, customers can now order UGA Press titles from Longleaf Services. Current university presses using Longleaf Services includes Cornell University Press, University of Georgia Press, Louisiana State University Press, University of Nebraska Press, University of North Carolina Press, Rutgers University Press, Syracuse University Press, University of the West Indies Press, and University of Calgary Press.
While the decision to transition from maintaining our own customer service and fulfillment to signing with a distribution service was not easy, it is one many university presses have made in recent years, since many university presses no longer have their own warehouses. Fortunately for us, we were able to hold out longer than most. The change has been challenging, but we are looking forward to the new opportunities of partnering with Longleaf Services. By consolidating our customer service and fulfillment with other presses, we will benefit greatly from economies of scale that will allow us to focus on our core strengths. In addition, our customers will reap such benefits as the ability to order books from multiple presses in a single transaction and reduce shipping costs.
The hardest part about the change has been its impact on current and past press staff. Workloads and workflows are ever shifting and new systems are continually being introduced. Closing a warehouse full of thousands of books and shipping them in stages to another state takes time, patience, and perseverance. Colleagues will be missed but not forgotten. Since the press is part of the UGA Libraries, we were able to work with the Human Resources Department and the university librarian to find new positions for the three full-time staff members who stood to lose their jobs as a result of this change. These colleagues have worked with us for many years, and we are so happy that we will still work together as part of the Libraries at UGA.
We will be in good company at Longleaf Services. Their staff is responsive and well-qualified to handle the increased workload. Over the past eight months, they guided us through getting our titles into their fulfillment systems, shipping truckloads of books to the new warehouse in Tennessee, and learning new processes.
It may be true that the only constant in life is change. Yet, this change will not affect the way we operate as a press. We will continue to support and enhance the university’s place as a major research institution by publishing outstanding works of scholarship and literature by scholars and writers throughout the world. In the end, our love of books drives us to take the risks, accept the challenges, and make the changes necessary to keep them, and publishing, relevant.
To place an order with Longleaf Services, Inc., please call 800-848-6224. Booksellers wishing to place an order can find additional information on our website.