Bookstore Inventory

bookstoreImageThis is a “real” bookstore! What a fabulous selection!

With millions of books in print and more coming out every day, it can be overwhelming to choose your bookstore’s opening inventory — and have the confidence you’re investing in the kinds of books your customers will want to buy. When your inventory is the largest investment in opening a bookstore, it’s important you look like a “real” bookstore

This task is very tricky. Here are some of the reasons why:

    • Books are released every day, so the data is already old when you get it
    • What’s now available in hardcover is eventually released in paperback; in most cases, you’ll want to be mindful of the timing and replace hardcovers with the trade paperback, freeing up some of your book budget for additional titles
    • Not every book that is selling elsewhere will be a good choice for your community and your areas of specialization
    • What you order needs to fit and fill the spaces you’ve designated for each section, so you need to identify just how many volumes you need for each section you want to carry
    • Some sections sell better than others; some sections barely sell at all … which do you order and which do you skip?
    • Some books are “sacred cows” – absolutely necessary to carry; some have been around for ages and continue to sell, while others are just about to be released and are likely to be in high demand
    • You can’t afford to miss the important books that are coming out the first few month’s you open; those books are not on any “recommended opening inventory” spreadsheet formulated on what’s “currently” selling. When do you order one copy of a title and when do you order more?

Regardless of the tools available to provide you with an excel spreadsheet of titles that are currently selling, your opening book order needs keen attention. This is a complex and time-consuming task and you should never, ever refer to a vendor’s spreadsheet as your “opening order” without it being edited and enhanced and coordinated with your planogram (a retail term that identifies your fixture layout with details on what sections go where). Otherwise, you’ll not only wind up with stock you neither need nor want, but will also incur the freight costs of returning the books.

It’s a lot to think about when you already have much on your plate. Yet it’s critical to the success of your independent bookstore. That’s why some new store owners know they need help with that first order.

Susan Savory, who has owned her own bookstore and worked as a lead book buyer, is our buying specialist for creating stellar opening inventories. She will work with you to understand your market and use her years of knowledge to select the most worthy and timely books for your opening inventory.

Let us know what’s on your mind. Your first consultation is free. Send us a message or give us a call at (904) 277-2664.