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6 March 2024

Sage and CB: a partnership for better and more sustainable publishing

Sage is an independent global academic publisher of books and journals. They have long-regarded the Netherlands as a strategic priority, due to the size of the higher education market and the strength of social sciences, teaching and research.

Who better to collaborate with than CB, a partner with over 150 years of logistics expertise in distributing physical books, as well as e-books, audiobooks and print on demand materials?

To understand the advantages of partnering with CB and learn more about what Sage brings to the Dutch market, we spoke with Zoe Seaton, Business Development Manager at Sage. Zoe elaborates: “We collaborate with academics at universities in the Netherlands to secure adoptions for our textbooks. We also engage with key trade partners within the teaching and research sectors and prominent academic institutions. When it involves non-digital products like textbooks and professional publications, CB is the ideal partner to connect us with our customer base in the Netherlands.”

Sage now lists full inventory with CB

Sage takes pride in its independence as a publisher, which offers numerous advantages. Zoe agrees: “Independence allows us to choose partners that align with our mission and values. CB’s co-operative structure is an important part of this alignment.” Surprisingly, the partnership between Sage and CB came about by chance. A major online retailer in the Netherlands expressed interest in one of Sage’s flagship books locally, readily available rather than shipped from the UK through wholesale channels. Their systems were already integrated with CB. Zoe explains: “We initiated a pilot project with CB to make this one particular book available in the territory. That pilot was a great success and just grew. Now we are listing our full inventory with CB. It was also clear that both parties shared a passionate commitment to sustainable supply chains.”

Sage and CB collaborate to streamline the supply chain, facilitating swifter and easier access to books and educational materials for students. Zoe emphasises: “My objective has been to minimise the movement of stock from the UK to the Netherlands and ensure in-territory supply. This is absolutely fundamental for academics. They’ll choose our books because they know they’re able to get them. They won’t have to wait a couple of weeks for it to be shipped from wherever.” Undoubtably, this is a significant selling point, and a great advantage of the partnership with CB.

Fast delivery and guaranteed availability

CB also provides Sage with a much broader customer base in the Netherlands. According to Seaton: “Everyone has an account with CB as far as I can see. Collaboration with CB means fast delivery and guaranteed availability.”

These are challenging times, leading to the closure of many academic bookshops in the Netherlands. The development of digital formats has had an inevitable impact on print sales globally. Despite these set-backs, Sage expects a successful 2024 with CB. Zoe asserts: “Our publishing program for this year is a particularly strong one. We’ve got several new authors and an excellent key author team. We’re expecting strong adoption from Dutch universities.”

CB excels in POD

Print on Demand (POD) has grown significantly in recent years, an area where CB excels, through Printforce, its inhouse printer. Guaranteeing the availability of publications and speed of supply. Just as important, POD minimises waste and reduces the impact on supply chains, helping Sage towards its carbon reduction goals, with a net zero target set for 2040. Zoe adds: “We’ve spent the last 18 months really drilling down in our supply chain, to guarantee that our paper comes from 100% sustainably managed forests.”

The collaboration between Sage and CB is grounded in professionalism and trust, but it also thrives on personal connections. Zoe reflects: “I'd describe our relationship as founded on patience and enthusiasm. Working together is genuinely enjoyable. We've both invested considerable effort in delivering a service that I believe is possibly the envy of other academic publishers in the UK."

And it all began with just one book.