Publisher boosts fulfillment on story-related products

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The Publishing Group of America has hired Stark Bros Fulfillment Services to speed delivery of customer orders.

The Louisiana, MO, integrated fulfillment services provider will give around-the-clock telephone support, Internet order processing, real-time inventory management and reporting as well as expedited shipping.

"We had been taking calls for sales in our office, and we had 150,000-plus cookbooks," said Steve Minucci, director of business development for Publishing Group of America, Franklin, TN. PGA fulfillment previously was handled by CBO in Harrison, AR.

"When we started with CBO in Arkansas we were very small, and we took on
this business not knowing where it was going to lead," he said. "Business exploded, and we needed to change the scale to bring us up to another level."

After consolidating with Stark Bros, PGA inventory and sales data now have
real-time reporting.

PGA partnered with more than three dozen firms in 2006, including ProFlowers, Big Ideas Entertainment, Time-Life and Gardener's Supply, to market products related to magazine stories. The company also expanded its online store and more than doubled the number of books, CDs and videotapes that it stocks.

All merchandise is related to content in its published magazines American Profile, Texas Profile and Relish and is available for purchase via telephone, mail and online.

"We found that after a story, readers would call about specific products,"
Mr. Minucci said. "So we did cookbooks with the recipes first, and they were
a big hit, so we expanded to the products found in our stories."

PGA specializes in items that readers could not find at retailers,
especially music.

"We did a story on Jimmy Rogers, who is credited as being the father of country music," Mr. Minucci said. "We had his CDs, and they flew off the shelf because readers can read a story but they also want to know what the musician sounds like."

The Internet accounts for 15 percent to 20 percent of sales. PGA plans to
expand its direct mail program in 2007 and uses e-mail heavily.

"We are able to use the magazines as promotional response devices," he said.

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