Tip of the Week February 13, 2012
Volume: 2 | Issue: 7
All About Book Depot Remainders!

Who is Book Depot?
BookDepot.ca is one of North America's largest sellers of remainders and overstocks, also known as Bargain Books. Bargain Books are new, unread books that the publisher sells off in volume to reduce excess inventory. Sometimes the publisher printed too many copies, in other cases bookstores purchased too many copies and have returned them to the publisher for credit. The books therefore have been handled a few times but are still in excellent condition. The publisher may place a mark on the edge of the book to identify it as a Bargain Book. This ensures the book will never get returned to the publisher for credit. In most cases the mark is a small line or dot, however sometimes it is large.

It's generally not our role to promote specific suppliers but I think it's important to let you know how Mosaic Books is working with Book Depot to improve our selection with lower prices, a wider variety of titles and a bigger profit margin.

Remainders are purchased non-returnable. Prices quoted are net (plus shipping) and you should be able to sell the books at least double your cost and still offer them at half of the publisher's original price. We've always had a good selection of remainders in stock and people have come to know Mosaic Books as the place to shop for both the latest and greatest in new books, AND as a fantastic resource for a good selection of books at 50% off and more. In the US, most independents carry remainders and/or used books to compliment their new inventory. A transition to this model happened over the years as the big box stores and Amazon continued to take more of the new book market. The mixed model is done much less in Canada, but I think it's something many of should consider.

We do not merchandise remainders with our new books. We have removed some of our shelves in the centre of the store and used folding tables (with fabric draped over) to display bargain books (both face-out and spined). This emphasizes the "bargain" aspect and customers enjoy browsing our tables. Many customers first head to the bargain tables to see what is new and then migrate to the new books. Our bargain book section is at the rear of the store.

We do not like to have any books on the tables that are over one year old. If a book has not moved soon enough, the price is slashed so that it is sold making room for something better. We have a table devoted to $2 books, and those that don't sell from there eventually make their way to the recycle bin.  A report in Accounts Payable will show you the profit made on any shipment (even if you do not use A/P to pay bills).  Generally, you try to make over 50% of much of the shipment and then discount and dispose of the leftovers to net a margin of 45% or more.  When you compare this margin to new book sales that usually end up at 38%, bargain books should be profitable so long as you don't fall in love with the dead inventory and clog up your selection. 

Mosaic Books is known in the community for quality books and great people. Selling remainders has not diminished that reputation at all. In fact, some of our highest new-book spenders regularly spend time in the bargain section. One key is to ensure that the selection changes as quickly as possible.

Buying remainders
Stores already dealing in remainders do much of their by-title buying from the sellers' websites. We have worked with Book Depot to take this to a new level by making their inventory available for browsing from your own Webstores! Their vast inventory (around 35,000 titles) is sorted so that the most popular titles (based on new book sales) appear first. Book Depot receives new shipments of books daily. The best values are found if you are able to review what's arrived as soon as possible. The Lists & Catalogues section of your site will have a Daily updated list of what's new at Book Depot.  We've actually become quite addicted to this report and we look forward to spending a few minutes each day or two to order from these lists.

Your new book and bargain book inventory history is shown for each title, when you select the Inventory option from the available Display choices.  You order titles just like you do with new books, except you can set the bargain selling price (or you can do that when the books arrive). The orders are sent to your local BookManager where they are then emailed to your regular Book Depot rep.

Book Depot requires orders to be at least $250 (net) before they can be placed. Shipping becomes less expensive if larger orders are placed. However, Book Depot is willing to hold and consolidate orders until the weight of the shipment makes shipping more economical. Your rep can provide you with more details. You will find that some of the best books that appear on these Daily and Weekly lists, need to be ordered within a day or two otherwise they will sell out before the order is submitted and picked.

When BookManager is correctly configured (we won't go into all the details now), the Book Depot orders will be added to your BookManager with the last digit of the ISBN changed to an "R" (or a letter you choose). Using TitleLink to obtain the bibliographic information, the Inventory card is automatically created using special techniques such as placing the publisher’s original price into the Notes file. When receiving and labeling remainders the price label will show the sale price in a large font and the original price in a smaller font.  These labels are affixed to the front of our remainders.

More details on Remainder Receiving can be found here.

Over the months and years we've experimented with ways to make the whole remainder buying, receiving and selling process as efficient as possible. We are more than happy to help you make this work. We are also open to suggestions to make the process even better.

If you are dealing with other remainder companies who maintain an accurate list of their books, send us a note and we'll see if we can expand this concept to more remainder companies.

To see what Book Depot has to offer, use your WebStore and from Browse Books choose Supplier BKD. The Order cart will reveal the net price.  Then try the Browse --> Lists and Catalogues and select Book Depot from the supplier list. Their latest arrivals should be listed there.  Mosaic's Book Depot rep is Jennifer Harwood, and she can be reached at 905-388-0253 or jennifer@bookdepot.com

I hope this information is helpful. Your feedback is encouraged because it helps me determine if our efforts are helping you prosper.

WebStore Tip: Viewing Lists Online

Let’s pretend that you are viewing one of our exciting and useful catalogue lists (or perhaps a list you have created). However, you’d like some more information about the titles in the list, or wish there was a different way to view the titles. No prob, Bob! We have provided several different “views” which display the titles in a list (or from an item search) in various ways.

Covers: This is a useful display which will only show the covers of the books, author, binding and price, allowing a visual scan of the book covers without all of the book details. Handy when you’re looking for “a book about cats that has a blue cover” (customers are fun!). Clicking on the cover image will bring up the Inventory view for the item (see below).

Detailed: Items will be displayed with the full bibliographic data displayed, including the PubStock links and links to other book-related sites. You can also see your current on hand and on order quantities, and add the item to your store’s cart and or/ to a list. Clicking on “activity” will expand the individual item’s display to include the national sales and your own sales and receiving history (if you are sending us a backup file.)

Inventory: This view provides the maximum amount of title information and include your store’s on-hand and on-order levels, peer sales, and ordering and sales history (if you are sending us a backup file) on all items in the list.

Brief Display:
Items will be displayed in a list view, with 20 results per page. This view gives you your current on hand and on order quantity, item price, binding, title, author, series, subject publisher and pubdate, as well as the sales rank and ISBN for each item. Clicking the title information will bring down the inventory view, allowing you to see more information (including the covers!) for each specific book. This view is perfect for seeing very quickly which books you have in stock or have on order (or not), and the sales rank of each.

Sales display:
This is a great tool for seeing very quickly your sales and on hand / on order information for each book. This view shows both your own sales info, along with the national sales data we collect weekly. This view is only useful to those who are sending us a backup file.

Previous/Next Edition:
these displays can be used when you are looking for a different edition of a book – for example, to very quickly find the paperback edition of a popular hardcover. We have found this display to be very useful when ordering seasonal items such as calendars!!! because we can view the previous year’s calendar information when placing our yearly calendar order in a clear side-by-side view. This way we can see our sales for the year previous for the same item, thus making smart decisions and only ordering calendars we know will sell well in our store or have sold well nationally.

This display shows a one row analysis of the whole list you are viewing. The analysis shows how many of the titles on the list you have active in your inventory (on hand or on order), as well how many you currently have onhand. It will also tell you how any ISBNs you have sales history for, and how many you have sold out of, as well as how many you have reordered (more than one order). Items you have on order are also listed here, as are items you have onhand that have not yet sold (slow). Inactive tells you how many ISBNs you have in your inventory file that you do not have in stock or on order. The $ O/H, $ Sold and $O/O figures are based on retail prices. The Turns column compares what you have received to what you have sold.

ISBNs : This view generates a bare ISBN list (i.e. a list of only the ISBNs for the items in the list.) This is useful when you need to easily create a list of ISBNs for export to another program, or to create a custom list online. For example, if you searched for Scholastic’s Kids Can Press Wildlife series of books, and you wanted to create a featured titles list that display all of these titles, you could choose the ISBNs view, then copy and paste the ISBNs into a new list. Easy!

Keep in mind: many of the site tools that are visible to you, when logged in as the store, are not visible to your customers. For example, when viewing an item, you as the store will be able to see PubStock information, peer sales history, your own on-hand and on-order qtys, and a quick link button to Amazon, Chapters, Google books, and other book related sites. Your customers will NOT see these things. Similarly, some of these display modes are obviously not available to your customers .