Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A little about the book business for those that are interested...

When I was in college I always thought it was a miracle how bookstores had books. After seeing the people in my University Bookstore, I always thought it had to be easy because they were all nimrods (for the most part). I still think they're all nimrods, but if anyone ever wanted to know how things work, here is a rundown for you.

Basically the college (as all colleges do) have their own bookstore where they rip people off at every turn. Then competitors (like me) come in and force them to lower their prices and offer better service. Instead of lower their prices or be a little more polite to people when they come in, they make it hard on the competitors because they see their numbers drop. They make sure that the information they get is three weeks behind the curve and wrong - which is against the law you just have to call them on it. You have to have both a good cop and a bad cop routine ready at any given moment. I'm pretty fair as a good cop, but my specialty is really the bad cop. According to my last job I have anger management issues, so maybe that is why. At any rate, you need to be their friend but they also need to know you're a loose cannon...or can be.

Once you've got the correct information, you can order textbooks from the publishers or the wholesalers. All wholesalers think all publishers are evil and all publishers think wholesalers are evil so they plot day and night on how to destroy the other one. As a bookstore, you get to deal with both of them. Wholesalers buy used books from students and people like me so they have books to deliver all around the country. All wholesalers want you to buy books from them and only them, but they can't supply all the books you need so you have to get them from competitors. This they all say is okay, but they do spend time to tell you how evil they think the other wholesalers are and that you shouldn't buy from those guys. Deep down they know you have to, but they really don't want you to. You have to buy from two or three of them because otherwise you don't have enough books to sell. This is where I am now. I'm a new owner that is renovating his store and trying to order books. I'm ordering books from several people - all of which take time to tell me that the other people I'm buying from are evil. In the end, you'll get your books from several people and spend countless hours reconciling receipts for books that you've sold and didn't sell. That part is yet to come.

Right now I'm high on the fumes from Wood Stain (which isn't the color it said it was on the box) and the paint that we painted the counter with. The store is coming along and should hopefully be done with this weekend. I've had Sirius tuned to Totally 80's all day which hasn't been too bad. It's like watching the Karate Kid and the Wedding Singer in the background while you work really. For anyone that was curious. Sirius Sattelite radio is awesome. Soon I'll get it hooked up in the Jeep and I'll have it all the time. It does pretty much rule. That's all for now.


Interesting business. Thanks for the insight. I will have to come back and read this when I've got a bit more time (read it last night as well, but was watching the super fantastic movie Anaconda 2: Search for The Blood Orchid!)
posted by Blogger Chris D. at 2:48 PM  
Your last job said you have anger management problems? They were probably just mad b/c you quit.
posted by Blogger Chas at 9:54 PM  

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