Monday, January 10, 2005

Penguin loses the plot

A state-of-the-art warehouse was designed to improve efficiency in the Pearson empire but it created chaos and delivery delays, reports Guy Dennis in The Telegraph (free registration required).
In practice, the new facility rolled out last spring as smoothly as a bouncing rugby ball, dragging Penguin's venerable name through the mud. Quite simply, the distribution centre didn't work. The software failed. Chaos ensued. Penguin's books weren't delivered to shops, infuriating retailers and authors alike, while Pearson Education managed to postpone using the Rugby warehouse.

"It's affected me very badly," says Jane Shilling, one author published by Penguin. Her first book, The Fox in the Cupboard, was published at the end of March, or as she says: "Exactly into this warehouse horror."

Her book received glowing reviews, but her joy soon turned to dismay. "I started going to bookshops and would see that it wasn't there and ask: `Where is my book?'," she says. "It was very difficult for people to get hold of copies."

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