Bigger and more profitable are two of the terms that new management of IoPP is using to describe its plans for the IoPP bookstore. “It’s been said—although I don’t know how it was calculated—that IoPP has the biggest collection of packaging-related printed materials of any packaging group in the world,” says Pat Farrey, IoPP general manager. “The bookstore is a very important part of the organization’s business. It’s been profitable in the past, but it needs to be expanded to include additional titles.” Edwin Landon, IoPP executive director, adds that the bookstore needs to be run better. “Yes, it’s been profitable. But from the business side, there are many more things we need to do to maximize our margins to make it generate more revenue.” Just a few months after Landon and Farrey began to manage IoPP, the group hired Barbara Ciulla to operate the bookstore from IoPP offices in Naperville, IL. “We were extremely lucky to have Barbara join us from another association, where she had run its bookstore,” says Farrey. “Now, IoPP has someone experienced to run this operation, and she’s already realized some savings in both manufacturing and distribution.” In addition, marketing efforts will be stepped up during second quarter ‘02 because bookstore marketing hadn’t been very effective in the past, according to Farrey. He says that currently, the staff is sorting through inventory to trim back some of its aged titles that are not in demand (psst! Anyone need the proceedings from TransPack?). “We do want to make sure we offer all the appropriate titles, and we have some new books we’ll be offering, along with updates to other books,” he says. In the past, IoPP had used some mass distribution outlets that weren’t very profitable. “We do intend to take this part of the business back in-house, now that we have an experienced manager. Plus,” Farrey continues, “there will be an increased availability of books via our Internet site, with online ordering and secure transactions. Buying books via IoPP’s former Web site was far too cumbersome,” he says. IoPP also plans to expand its offerings dramatically. Farrey says that he has several manuscripts on his desk that will be offered, once editing and production are completed. In the past, poor profit margins restricted the number of new titles that could be offered. “If you don’t run the business well, you have less to invest in new products. In the past few years, sagging income meant fewer new titles. We don’t think there’s been an absence of product. Rather, we have to find appropriate business arrangements,” Farrey says. He confirms that IoPP will continue to be a publisher and become even more active in the future. “We’ll do the editing, the actual manufacturing, so we’ll be the copyright holder and the publisher for many titles, including The Fundamentals of Packaging Technology,” Farrey points out. This will also mean new arrangements with international publishers. “For our members, we want to be the ‘doorway’ to the worldwide packaging community,” Landon explains. “We expect to create relationships with packaging people anywhere in the world.”
See the story that goes with this sidebar: Can IoPP strengthen its chapters?