Batch Returns – IRI Software for the Book Industry


Project Start: November 2009
Delivered: August 2010


The Batch Returns system is the industry standard tool for managing the flow of electronic returns messages between booksellers and suppliers. This application accepts messages in various formats including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and also bridges the gap for smaller players who do not have their own EDI interfaces in-house, allowing them to use a fully functional web interface.

For more information, visit the Batch Returns website.

Batch Returns Request Build Screenshot

A screenshot of the Request Build screen in Batch Returns

Technical Description

Returns is a Web 2.0 application using SmartGWT, with an Oracle database backend. The ETL requirements are handled by a third-party data exchange system.

Industry Returns Initiative – IRI

The Industry Returns Initiative came about as the outcome of a project to automate the handling of returns in the book trade. It is covered in detail on the BIC website.


Batch Returns is now in use by hundreds of bookshops, including WHSmith and Waterstones, and dozens of book suppliers and wholesalers, including Random House, Hachette and Bertrams.

For more information, read our Blog post: User Testing with Real Users  – the Icing on the Cake.


  • Consistent – Batch Returns implements industry standards, so a single application can be used across the entire book industry.
  • Inexpensive – by streamlining the returns process, it represents real cost savings for its users.
  • Accessible – the system is easy to use by booksellers and suppliers.
  • Secure – sensitive business information is kept secure at all times.


GWT, Java, JavaScript, Oracle, SmartGWT