Warehouses: the ins and outs

Ever thought you knew it all about warehouses? Maybe you’re a world-class expert at not getting lost in industrial estates, and spent last Friday bragging about your forklift license? (So jealous, I can’t even reverse park).

Or maybe, like Becca, Naomi and myself, you have never been to a warehouse before yesterday, and would be a danger behind the wheel of anything bigger than a Ford Fiesta. I sympathise.

Anyway. Yesterday, us Assistants went down to the Autumn offices in Chichester to meet some of our Bonnier Publishing colleagues, and generally find out a bit more about the group as a whole. The Autumn offices are in a lovely old converted barn, and are stuffed full of (you guessed it!) BOOKS. Which sort of prompted the question – where do your books come from?

Luckily for us, Autumn are pretty unique in the publishing world in that they have their own warehouse. It means that they can get their books out to the shops (generally) quicker than most, and also means that we could have sneaky tour!

Right. First off: warehouses are MASSIVE. And quite cold. It’s the busiest time for Autumn at the moment, so the warehouse team are working 24/7 to make sure that all orders are packed up and ready to go – not that this increases the temperature much! Hence, thermals are essential. If this were a Lonely Planet, it would most certainly be a Top Tip.

High vis jackets are also a necessity, which not only make you look SUPER cool, but also ensure that boxes aren’t accidently dropped on you.

Here we are- safety first kids. (Photo credit to Will of Templar!)

Gary, Daisy and Talia led us on Warehouse: The Definitive Tour, and it was crazy to see just how many books pass through this massive building before they end up with customers.  The above is just one of the ‘chambers’… and there are three! Any last minute changes to orders have to be dealt with the warehouse team, which involves some seriously skilled forklift driving and yards and yards and yaaaards of shrink wrap. And this is a space that only Autumn and Five Mile Press share – I sort of have the idea now that GBS, where our books are housed along with many other publishers’, is the size of Luxembourg.

So next time you pick up a book in a book shop, or supermarket, or a second hand store, think about the journey it’s been on and just how many people have had a hand in bringing it to you – trust me, it is a lot more than you would think!

 

*Massive thanks to Gary, Talia and Daisy for hosting us (myself, Becca, Naomi and Will and Katie from Templar) in Chichester for the day!!*

 

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