A business is only as good as its delivery. No matter how good the product, how strategic the marketing, all is as dust if you, dear buyer, cannot have that desired purchase in your hands. 'Fulfillment' is the technical word for this; it has become my new ‘F’ word.
Now I know, being the age I am, that not everyone on this planet lives in London, much as it may seem. I know, after watching the Olympics, that people can live in Vanuatu, or Fiji, or Uzbekistan – or Brazil. And most of all I know that people live (dear friends, I love you all!) in the US. And I know that in all these far flung places, there will be a Star Wars fan, someone who no doubt has a Storm-trooper mug – and only ever drinks coffee from that mug.
Myself, being a bright, fresh publisher, I do not want to disappoint a reader. I want them, on receiving their small packet, to be fulfilled, for them to say, from Maida Vale to the Maldives, from Hammersmith to Hamburg: "It is a fantastic feeling to hold the book in my hands!"
And you would have thought, really, that arranging this would be easy. But as I sally forth to arrange it, I immediately slam in to Other People’s Systems. In my case, the system provided by Square Space, combined with the system provided by Royal Mail.
Well, not being the sort of person who thinks (as some do) that the detail of their car service history is a valid topic of conversation, I won’t bore you with minutiae, but visits to the local Post Office are required. I spend time lathering about with all the options: one book? two books? To go to the UK; Every Single Country in Europe; every Continent on Earth. Shipped, Freight or Tracked – and then, what about Signed For? I wrestle with Choice for days.
In the end I come up with a simple solution - Oh why didn't I think of this before? - charge the same as Waterstones.