The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Books!

By Sharon Fussell, March 7, 2013

Have you ever had trouble finding books that have sold? I know when I first started sell books on Amazon and accrue an inventory, I had so few it did not take too long to search for a particular title and as such I did not assign codes.

However, once I had accrued over 300 books I realised it was taking me ages to search for my orders and so I devised a simple way of making sure I found each book.

I marked up each shelf into sections and coded them using A1, B1, C1 etc. I then printed off my inventory alphabetically and put the paper into a hard office file. I continued to do this until I became a Pro Merchant seller.

Once I became a Pro Merchant my life became much easier as I simply assigned an SKU (stock reference code) against each book, depending on where I had space to store it on any particular shelf. When an order comes in it states the SKU, so it meant I always found my orders quickly and easily.

Of course now I sell using the FBA method of selling on Amazon, so they store and dispatch my orders for me and I do not have to worry.

However, if you are new to book selling as a merchant seller, locating your stock is a challenge you are likely to face.

Tip: If you are not a Pro Merchant seller, because your sales are less than 40 per 30 days, then you could put a code into your listing in the comment section. Something non obtrusive that relates to where you have stored your books. This can be a simple code in brackets e.g. (A1) this should help you to find your item quickly once sold.

Here are some of the most common reasons books can be tricky to find…

The wrong title has been listed. On occasion the ISBN has not been assigned to the right title. This is a mistake by the publisher, but if it goes undetected you can end up selling a book that you don’t actually have and end up having to refund.

Sometimes the title on the book spine is so faint it’s hard to distinguish.

Occasionally the authors name won’t get mentioned in the packing/order information (usually where the title is very long). Since the spine of the book only has the authors name you can end up looking for a title that cannot be seen – very frustrating!

Sometimes books are put on the wrong shelves, which can create havoc, in most cases it is possible to find them, but if you cannot you have to cancel the order and refund the buyer. (Note! if you do this too often Amazon do not like it. They will keep note if you have to cancel orders and disappoint customers.)

So, you see, it really is worthwhile finding a system of storage and retrieval that suits you. Happy selling!


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