Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Books are arriving.

I got about six hundred new books last week -- nine large boxes worth. I was able to fit about 40% into existing shelves, the rest is being stored until I do my makeover. I have another couple of hundred yet to come, and I'll probably order another 200 after I'm done.

I've decided to do the makeover in stages -- the biggest stage is getting all three employees in at the same time to move the bigger fixtures. It's going to be a struggle to get them downstairs, but it has to be done.

Meanwhile, over the coming week, I've got to start storing the product I plan to retire in boxes, without being too disruptive.

Despite ordering more bookcases than I thought I needed, I'm coming up short a couple of cases. Staples hasn't had another sale, so I may be forced to buy them at full retail price -- Horrors Greeley!

I've been questioning myself about this new expenditure. Is it likely that my book sales will go up significantly? Am I just wasting money?

The answers are, probably not and probably not. No, there won't be an immediate payoff, but I think I'll get the money back over the course of year or so. Not much return on the investment. Will have to carry that debt for awhile.

But getting new inventory to spark sales was only half the reason I did it. The other reason is because I wanted to do it.

That's important. I keep making the case, and it seems stronger every year, that keeping interest and enthusiasm in my business, and avoiding burn-out, is at least as important as making money.

I've done the job with graphic novels. I'm carrying the best I can get, already.

So I'll enjoy having the best mystery and S.F. and paranormal romance and mainstream and classic fiction as I can assemble. I'll have fun thinking about it, ordering it, displaying it, talking about it.

I want to be sure I don't just immediately fill up the extra space. I want at least half of it to be available for better displaying.

I started moving toys around, and realized that I have lots of henchmen. I'm going to term this, "The Henchmen Problem." Out of every set of toys, there are the main characters, the secondary characters, and the henchmen. One of my strategies in avoiding losing money on toys is to sell them all sets: want the main characters(?) buy the henchmen too. Or I price the henchmen a little lower and the main characters a little higher.

But I still end up with the odd Road Warrior henchmen, or Matrix henchmen. Tons of Star Wars henchmen.

If I toss all the leftover henchmen in a box, I probably increase my available space by a significant percentage.

I was able to winnow down the sports and non-sports by about 25%. I need to winnow it down by 50%; so I'm simply taking dead brands and/or brands that only have a few packs left. Stick the rest in boxes.

A significant percentage of my back issues are now packaged as 'sets.' They don't sell all that much better than individual back issues, but they feel more complete, somehow. More like something that someone might actually want some day. But I often have multiple sets -- up to five or six. I really need only one or two each, so I'm going to play CONCENTRATION and try to winnow them down.

It wouldn't seem like have much space left in the store; but I have a pretty good idea how much I can squeeze together existing product without adding the overwhelming visuals.

It will probably be a month or two of moving stuff around until I'm finally satisfied. And that's all right. Gives me something creative to do.

I also figure, down the road, it might be easier to sell a 'bookstore' than a comic, game, toy or card store. Indubitably.

I was reassured by the quality of the new books. I ordered them more for price and availability than anything -- but of course, I was ordering the best books I could find within those perimeters. So the actual quality was a nice surprise.

I'm obviously never going to have enough room to be a full bookstore -- even a bookstore that can make headway on non-fiction. But I can have a very decent selection of fiction, handpicked, of all kinds, and maybe that will be enough.


RDC said...

You might want to make sure that your changes are ADA compliant. It has become big business in several states for people to target stores and then file law suites for non-compliance to shake down store owners. Aisle widths, sales counter heights are some big areas in such cases. Especially if a store has made recent changes (because then they cannot argue existing situation where the laws gives some, limited cover).

Duncan McGeary said...

Not making any structural changes, just moving fixtures around. Should be at least as much aisle room as current, probably more.

I'm hoping it will less cluttered, too.