Database ALL of it??
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear the question, “do you have any way to look up what books you have in stock?” And as I look out over 3000 sq ft, nearly 50,000 books, I’m always delighted to be able to say, “why yes of course, we have them all in our database!” We can then quickly look up an item by author, title or subject. I also have the option of telling customers who are visiting from out-of-town that they don’t have to be here to shop here – they can search our database and purchase any item we have from the comfort of their home.
Whether you have a couple hundred books in your basement that you sell online part time while you wait for your ship to come in, or 50,000 books in a large brick and mortar location, I think it’s absolutely imperative to have them databased. We started out with about 3000 books fourteen years ago listed on one online venue. Back then we used Homebase, a really nice, very efficient, easy to use database that ABEbooks put out – best of all, it’s free. If all you need is a wonderful way to track your books, this is perfect and it has all the features you want in a good database – with lightening fast speed, and that ‘free’ part is also a big plus.
As the business grew, the book industry changed, we began to upload the database to more and more online venues. Things got a little complicated and the search for something more efficient began. It was a little like the story of Goldilocks, some were too big, some were too small, most were too expensive! Then I met a really nice man at a book sale in Indiana. He wanted the same things we wanted in a great database. The difference between us, he was an amazing computer programmer! So, I signed on with The Art of Books and thus began my love affair with Rodger & Michelle Castle.
The Art of Books is so much more than just a database – it’s a complete book store operation. The database is virtual, so there are no storage issues or files that have to be uploaded daily. If we add or delete a record the system sends that change to all the online venues within a few minutes. The system processes all our orders from the various venues – Amazon, Alibris, Barnes & Noble, Valore, Biblio, Ebay, Half.com, our business website (www.pagemaster-books.com) and several others. It removes any sold items from all the listings. The system tracks our inventory & sales histories. It’s easy to use, and can be customized to fit any company’s particular needs. One of my favorite features is the link to Endicia – the company we use to print our postage for shipping. It’s a simple click of a button or two and the system creates a file with all the postage specifications – media mail, priority, tracking etc… and zip! ~ beautiful, professional address labels with the postage printed on them are done in seconds.
I feel very strongly that if the small, independent bookstore is going to survive and be profitable we have to sell on the internet as well as having our brick and mortar locations. Companies like The Art of Books, Basil, Filz and several others are making it so much easier for booksellers to be global enterprises from their little towns. The internet is allowing us to maintain that cozy, welcoming, beloved bookstore while still being able to pay the bills.
Page Master Used Books
904 John Marshall Hwy
Front Royal, VA 22630
This is Judy’s first post with us – first of many we hope…