A Launch for the Global Community
Determining how distribution would be handled was not made by haphazard guesswork, Pallans claims. Forbes wanted to ensure that the distribution channels were fail-safe. And to do that, Biederman and Conrad did a little investigative work on their own.
Pallans recalls: "When we did the very first issue, Alan and Eddy literally got in a car and followed the truck from Effingham to Virginia. Eddy got on the same plane with the magazines, flew to England with them and went through customs with them." Fortunately, both the magazines and Conrad cleared customs without a hitch.
"I actually approached distribution a little differently than most people," Conrad recalls. "A lot of our competitors use what is called a 'publication rate,' which is extremely cheap. And that gets you a seven- to 14-day delivery. If we wanted to be competitive … we needed to shrink that timeline. So, for me, negotiating an airmail rate down to almost a publication rate was my biggest challenge. And I succeeded.
"I can't tell you how much we pay, because I was asked not to," Conrad adds with a coy chuckle. "But that was my biggest challenge—making sure that we stayed within our budget and still made our deadlines."
"Forbes adopted the philosophy that distribution was going to be one of our main concerns," Pallans adds. "That's what everything is based on. We needed to find a way to get the magazine on the newsstands and into the subscribers' hands when we thought it should be there.
"We could spend less and get less, but if a book mails six hours late here in this country, it doesn't mean anything," Pallans suggests. "Overseas, however, we felt it was very important to get it there fast. That was one of the guiding forces behind how we've handled the entire operation."