In early 2016, The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) set a goal to make their monthly journal, AAPG Bulletin, an online-only publication by 2018. Wanting to keep the needs of their members at the core of the decision, AAPG laid out a thoughtful, long-range plan as they collaborated with their print partner, Sheridan.
Knowing that some of their members and subscribers would still prefer the print version, and in exploring a print-on-demand (POD) solution, AAPG learned about Sheridan Select’s POD functionality and automated data integration. Sheridan’s solution would allow AAPG to retain a print model for subscribers on a much smaller scale. It would also enable single-issue consumer purchase without requiring any physical inventory or associated forecasting. If successful, the approach would allow AAPG to reduce their print costs, eliminate storage costs, mitigate risk with their readership, and at the same time reduce or eliminate internal resource requirements by virtue of automating the entire process.
AAPG also shared with Sheridan that they wanted to explore a similar solution for their books — allowing for a direct-to-consumer fulfillment model, on demand, with zero inventory. In addition to creating a transition plan for moving new book releases to POD, AAPG determined that Sheridan Select’s POD functionality would enable them to put out-of-print books back into printed form with no financial risks.
The first phase in the process was to launch a mobile app for the AAPG Bulletin, while maintaining the option for AAPG’s members to obtain a print copy.
The Sheridan team proposed to build an order intake model that would integrate with AAPG’s existing online storefront and support the following three functions:
- Initial print (subscriber) orders
- Journal consumer orders
- Book consumer orders
All orders are fed from the same iMIS member management system at AAPG. All three models are channeled to a single integration point — Sheridan Select — using the same standard data model with each one having subtle differences related to how the specific orders are handled, such as product type, shipping, tracking, etc. The interface was launched in mid-2018.
Within the first six months of moving the journal to online only and taking the Sheridan Select solution live, AAPG processed more than 1,300 orders through automated data feeds from their iMIS system. They are achieving their goal of supporting their members and subscribers who desire print — and they can also sell single issues and books direct to the consumer, manufacturing those orders on demand. The best part: AAPG doesn’t pay for print copies until after they have received the income from selling the copies.
Ultimately, the ability for Sheridan’s Select platform to serve as a single solution, addressing multiple business models across both books and journals, made it easy for AAPG to turn their thoughtfully developed goals into reality.
Beverly Molyneux, AAPG Technical Publications Managing Editor, commented on the transition: “Given the natural difficulties of having to work with an already established online storefront with its own particular processes and limitations, the Sheridan Select staff and overall system have operated very well. We have had no negative comments from our journal subscribers about the shift from traditional print to POD, and we have had enormous positive response from our members about shifting our out-of-print books from digital-only back to in-print on an on-demand basis.”
The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) is one of the world’s largest professional geological societies, with more than 35,000 members as of 2017. The AAPG works to “advance the science of geology, especially as it relates to petroleum, natural gas, other subsurface fluids, and mineral resources; to promote the technology of exploring for, finding, and producing these materials in an economically and environmentally sound manner; and to advance the professional well-being of its members.” The AAPG was founded in 1917 and is headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma; currently, 42% of its members live outside the United States.