What is Pubnet?

Technically, Pubnet is an EDI VAN—a “Value Added Network” that enables a community of retailers to buy books electronically from a community of publishers through a well-established format known as EDI. Pubnet automates the transmission of purchase orders, order acknowledgements, shipping notifications, invoices and other documents directly from a bookseller’s point of sale system to the supplier’s order management and fulfillment systems.

Pubnet, therefore, is an essential part of the publishing industry that reduces the time it takes to do business while eliminating the errors that may occur when orders are placed via email, phone or fax.

How does Pubnet work?

Whenever a bookseller joins Pubnet, we create a “mailbox” for them on Pubnet. Each of your publisher or supplier partners also has their own mailbox. A Standard Address Number, usually referred to as a SAN number, is used as the mailbox address. When you place a Pubnet order your POS system accesses your Pubnet mailbox via FTP and places your PO into your mailbox for delivery to the supplier. Pubnet is the internal mailman in this system that picks up the mail from your mailbox, checks the SAN number address, and then delivers it to the appropriate supplier mailbox.

Conversely, every supplier has their own mailbox and they regularly retrieve orders sent to them (each publisher checks their mailbox on their own set schedule). They process the orders through their order fulfillment system and upload response documents such as Acknowledgments, Ship notices and Invoices. Pubnet again acts as mailman and delivers these responses to the bookseller’s mailbox based on the bookseller’s SAN number.

What does it cost to join Pubnet?

Pubnet is free to retailers after the payment of a one-time $75.00 setup fee which, in many cases, may be waived. Pubnet also requires that each store have a Standard Address Number, or “SAN” which can be purchased from Bowker for $150.00. Don’t have a SAN? In many cases, we will provide one to you at reduced or no charge.

Publishers pay for Pubnet based on the volume of order data flowing through our network and the cost can be as low as $100.00 per month plus a one-time $750 setup fee.

Contact Us today and we will be happy to provide you with an estimate.

How do I join Pubnet?

It’s easy! For retailers, the first step is to Click Here to complete our online registration form. For publishers, Contact Us today and we can discuss how Pubnet can help your business.


Why do booksellers join Pubnet?

When a bookseller buys direct from a publisher, they get a better discount (and often other terms such as free freight) that reduces their cost of goods. Pubnet automates the process of placing orders directly through your POS system and enables you to buy from a large network of suppliers, rather than ordering from each publisher individually by email, phone or fax.

The result is that Pubnet reduces the time it takes to order direct and enables retailers to buy from a larger group of suppliers with fewer errors and saving money on their cost of goods.

Is it hard for booksellers to get started with Pubnet?

Dozens of booksellers join and successfully use Pubnet every year. As with any new system it does require a modest investment of your time when you first get started, but once we’ve created your Pubnet mailbox, setting up vendors can often be done in a single day.

NOTE: Pubnet requires that retailers have an EDI capable POS system that can send orders electronically via FTP. Click Here for a list of some of the commonly used POS systems that support ordering through Pubnet.

And of course, if you do run into any problems, or simply want a little extra help to make sure things go smoothly, our experienced support staff will be happy to set up a call where we can walk you through the process.

Which publishers can I buy from on Pubnet?

If they have an active account, booksellers can order from more than 3,500 leading publishers through Pubnet. This includes all the largest publishers and distributors, as well as many smaller and mid-sized publishers who are distributed by them. Click here to see a current list of our publisher suppliers.


Why do publishers join Pubnet?

When a publisher sells direct to a retailer, they retain a higher percentage of the sale compared with orders fulfilled through third parties. Pubnet automates the process of entering purchase orders into your ERP system, acknowledging orders and sending other documents such as notifications and invoices.

The result is that Pubnet reduces the time it takes to process orders and enables publishers to sell to a larger group of retailers, while reducing errors and saving money on routine customer support.

Is it hard for publishers to join Pubnet?

Thousands of publishers and their distributors currently trade with a large community of booksellers through Pubnet. Once we have an agreement in place, initial setup and testing can usually be competed in a couple of days.

NOTE: While not absolutely necessary, Pubnet is most useful for suppliers that are currently able to send and receive purchase orders via EDI.