Friday, May 15, 2009

Bookseller spells and laws of life

When entering a dry period for orders, there are certain things booksellers do to pluck orders out of the ether.

The most commonly used is to moan on the Abe forum about your lack of orders: this will usually result in one or two.

One big advantage to being part of a group of booksellers is that you benefit from everybody else's bookseller spells - though if anyone resorts to strange mixtures of herbs, bits of bat and dancing around at the full moon with a some sacrificial copies of Reader's Digest Condensed editions, they're not telling.

Here are the spells you can use without fear, from those in Ibooknet who know.
  • The book you decide you will read, having had it lying around unsold for months, is the one that you will sell that day
  • If you can't find a book that has just been ordered, you're bound to get a second order for the same title from a different database
  • Decide to re-arrange your books. If you use boxes to store your stock, however you arrange them, you will sell a book in the bottom box
  • Go to an author society fair and take your entire stock of that author with you. When you get back, and are sitting there with piles of unpacked boxes, you will get orders for the books you have in the boxes (but not from the people you met at the fair - random individuals from who knows where)
  • Give up at the end of the day, and when you are (a) about to watch something you just can't miss on TV or (b) unexpected visitors knock on the door or (c) you're just about to have a long soak in a hot bath several urgent orders will arrive
  • decide to clear out old stock to the charity shop. Several urgent telephone calls will happen the next day, desperate for books you have just given away

And briefly, here are a couple of other rules of life you will soon learn if you are a bookseller:

Your broadband connection will collapse overnight when you have two boxes of books which urgently need price checking, leaving you using a tethered Google G1 Android Device as a wireless router, dangling by a piece of string.

You will always be interrupted when nearly at the end of counting the pages of an unpaginated book.

The time you are cataloguing and inspecting your most valuable book is the time the cat, who normally does not come near you, will develop a pressing need to sit on you, or on the book.

I should maybe add, in the interests of Health and Safety, and not being sued, that you should always make sure you observe all normal health and safety rules if you decide to follow these spells (particularly if balancing at odd angles attempting to make the Android Device work) and that Ibooknet can take no responsibility if the spells don't work. Sometimes the buyers just ain't there.

Many thanks to Barbara Fisher (March House Books), Stephen Foster, 95 Bell St, Mike Sims (A Book for All Reasons), Heather Lawrence (Peakirk Books) and Graeme Roberts (Magpie Books) for their contributions. May your sales this weekend be mighty.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails