Friday, September 20, 2019

The luxury of new books.

I can't tell you what a luxury new books are,

First of all, I should say it wouldn't work at all if we didn't have the tourist foot traffic downtown. I'm not sure that locals will ever understand that we've become a real bookstore, along with being a real comic bookstore. But that's all right.

What makes new books different?

They don't become dated--at least, not as quickly as other product. Throughout my history at Pegasus Books we were dependent on product that had a short shelf-life. Comics, sports cards, beanie babies, pokemon, pogs, card games.

It has only been in the last ten or twelve years that we've been able to bring in product that is more evergreen: new books and boardgames.

I probably should add graphic novels, but that status of being perennial sellers grew slowly and was never a sure thing. We now have a twenty year history of graphic novels to draw on, and we can identify which are evergreens, and that's been a huge thing. We could probably survive on comics and graphic novels and card games and toys alone--if we had to.

But we wouldn't thrive. New books and board games have changed the equation for us. When I say that we have a twenty year history of sales on graphic novels to determine evergreen status, that's pretty nice. I'd say we have about a ten year history of sales on board games to draw on, though beyond a few basic games, that's a bit more iffy.

But we have a 400 hundred year history for books! Basically, from Don Quixote on. Millions of books to choose from. I can cherry pick all day long. I have a pretty broad knowledge of books. Once the matrix was in place, everything I learn just slots right in.

Because of that knowledge, for instance, I can scan lists of books--which all look good--and figure out which ones are likely to sell in my store.

Recently I've finally made the jump into ordering the current week's bestsellers. I think it was probably just as well that I waited until now, because I just wouldn't have had enough experience to figure it out. New bestsellers are iffy, without the luxury of a sales history, so I'm dependent on reviews and word of mouth, which like all promotional activities, is unreliable.

Fortunately, even if the new book doesn't have a history, the author usually does, or the new book is part of a series. (Yes, just like movies and TV, sequels are the bread and butter.)

So far, I haven't been returning books. It seems like a huge hassle, but I can foresee a time down the road where I'm might need to do it, if sales keep increasing.

As usual, the biggest problem is lack of space, but I'll just keep trying to be ergonomically clever, because my location is what makes everything else work.

So new books have proven to be beneficial, and I'm having great fun with them.

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