s for publications
use Fulfillment System
s to create mailing labels for magazine
s and to track subscriptions
and billing. Interactive Fulfillment
) is one such software
product created NexTech Systems
The software can cost as much as $10,000. The high price is due to the very small market (magazine publishers) and the high need for customization
subscriptions can create some hairy
For example, if you sell a 10-issue subscription
(to be delivered over 12 months) the software must track the dates when each issue is sent out. In addition to this if you receive a payment of $10 for the subscription up-front the financial software must keep track of how many issues were sent out, since the customer might cancel or request a refund. That means that you only make $1 of the funds from the subscription available for company spending as each issue is served
. The rest of the money must be held in an emergency account in case something goes wrong.
Needless to say the accounting can become very confusing. A good fulfillment system
simplifies all of these problems. Unfortunately good fulfillment system
s are rare. (and can cost as much as $100,000) IFS has been used at my company for nearly 10 years. It's a good
system, but since the software is old it is woefully out of date. It still runs in a text-based DOS
environment. Small publishing
companies who cannot afford custom fulfillment system
s have only a few newer products for in-house fulfillment to choose from. All of these are poorly made at present (2003) since they cannot be customized to the complex needs of magazines as well as the old, but sturdy IFS.
If someone created a highly configurable (open source
even?) fulfillment system
they might be able to make a buck or two setting it up and customizing
it for small publishers.
Are you scared of the maths
involved? Go on do it. I dare you.