Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Now the hard work begins

Last Friday was my last day at my 'old' job, so now the hard works begins as we've less than a month before our self-imposed opening date of July 1st. We are currently in the labour of love / long, dark teatime of the soul that is "putting together our initial stock order". With all the excellent advice we've had over the past few weeks, we have been busy making stock idea raids into bookshops all over the south-east of England but Amazon is providing the major source of information for the list itself. An anonymous comment back in April suggested that rather than looking at Amazon as a competitor to be feared, there might be potential synergies for independents; and that's the conclusion we're coming to. There is tremendous information to be mined on Amazon, and although we're having to be very disciplined in order not to get sucked into endless niche categories of which we were previously unaware ("supernatural romances for teenagers" anyone???) we are busily putting together mini-canons for all the categories that we've decided to stock. (Amanda, your comment about ISBN numbers is well taken - I'm cut and pasting away into our master Excel spreadsheet as I speak, or rather, blog). Our initial order will be with Gardners - and (as an ex-website designer) the Gardners website is pretty cutting-edge...for 1999. In Internet years, that's about 30 years ago. I recently read an article by web usability guru Jakob Nielsen that quotes him as saying "Business-to-business websites still live in the 90s in terms of interacting with customers online". Of course, Gardners might say "if we redesigned the website, that'd be 1% less discount" which is a fair point, but tomorrow, when Jim Youell (our regional account manager) visits us, we're hoping the whole order can be done from our spreadsheet without having to manually type in 2,000+ titles into their web interface. This may be somewhat tedious... Other jobs for this week:
  • More in-store preparation - and a sneak peak on the blog inside the Stert Street site
  • Following up with those authors who have contacted us over the past month with suggestions on stocking their books.
  • Coffee-related shenanigans (barista training!)
  • Me coming to terms with the loss of my works' laptop......

OK - back to the cut and pasting...

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