Rare book dealers have a certain image in pop culture. They are generally a bit eccentric, standoffish, erudite, and curmudgeonly. Librarians have a somewhat similar image, but generally are more aimed at facilitating the wide dissemination of knowledge. The book dealer is much more personal. They may only share their best material with a special few clients. Because their books will change hands, permanently, it lends itself to exchanging much more hidden knowledge. The librarian character may give you background… the book dealer gives you the key that unlocks the grand conspiracy that remakes the world before your eyes. In fiction or film, the book dealer is often a treasure trove of obscure information and may even drive the plot. Uncovering some great conspiracy involves
It’s hard to predict what books will be considered “classics” decades after their publication. Books hailed as literary masterpieces by critics often clutter up thrift shops and rummage sales a mere decade later. Things derided as utter trash end up being required reading decades later since they made such an outsize impact on the pop culture of the time that they can’t be ignored. Series that exploded and produced movies, TV, and tie in products often end up as these accidental “classics”. They’re so big they can’t be ignored. It’s a bit harder to predict the arc of individual books than series, just because they have fewer chances to take off. A single book is like a bullet, a series is like a shotgun blast.
Nothing sends customers into a tizzy faster than a missing package. Once it leaves your hands, there’s only so much you can do to find one of these waylaid packages. Tracking SHOULD tell you where it is, but if it wasn’t scanned in at a step, it can appear to vanish in transit. Or sometimes it even shows as delivered, but your customer still doesn’t have it. International shipments can be particularly difficult because tracking doesn’t really work very well once it crosses the border… if at all. At that point, the customer can often the package a lot faster than you can playing phone tag. They just need a little reassurance that it’s not gone, its just temporarily mislaid, and here’s how to get
The shipping estimate on the USPS website is lovely, but its not actually guaranteed for most shipping classes. For First Class mail, estimating when it will ACTUALLY arrive vs when the the USPS says it will can be frustrating. Having shipped hundreds of packages overseas, here’s how I estimate when the overseas customer should be looking for it. This doesn’t guarantee this is when it will turn up… but it gives a narrower range than the 4-20 the USPS lists. This is the estimate for First Class. Priority is usually a little faster, but not guaranteed. Start with one day. You’ll add days for where it originates from and where its going TO. If you don’t immediately recognize the destination, look it up on
If you use any type of inventory software, it probably asks you for a SKU or stock-keeping unit for each item. SKUs are different than the UPC or the ISBN as they are assigned not simply to a specific title but to a specific ITEM. You can easily have two books with the same IBN… but two different SKUs because one is new and one is used. Many programs will just generate a general code for it. However, it may be worth doing custom codes to streamline order pulling and packing. You can pack a lot of info into those short little codes so as soon as an order comes in from the internet, you know exactly what to do before even touching the