Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday Delivery, Pretty Journals, Missed Opps, Snow

For the last two weeks, FedEx offered Saturday delivery, but we kept forgetting to move our shipments to FedEx from UPS for wholesalers, so all we got were some boxes of Penguins and a Paperblanks backorder from last May. The new Grolier line is quite beautiful, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why the large and the extra-large versions of the journal are the same price. I'm sure they have their reasons, but it doesn't match the pricing of any of their other lines. Still, it's very pretty and I hope we sell it.

Speaking of gift lines, a new rep stopped buy--very nice and her son lives in the neighborhood. She suggested us carrying a card line that I absolutely hate, and that started us off on the wrong foot, because I am very up front with gift reps about things I don't like. Why waste their time, right? There are plenty of things I am on the fence about that I either eventually buy, or continue to hesitate on. Should have carried Buckyballs for this holiday; still insist we don't have the space to commit to Playmobil.

I finally finished a book of short stories this weekend, but I can't talk about it much because it's not out until April--it's Valerie Laken's Separate Kingdoms. That said, there is still work to be done. I have to write it up as an Indie Next nomination (because I liked it) and start thinking about how we'd sell it. There was one story that was structured unlike any I've ever read. I'm sure people have done it before, but it was a new experience for me. How vague is that?

Worry is already in the air for tonight's snowstorm. It's said to start late, end early, and offer about 3-4 inches. Probably the best we could hope for once snow is a given, as it will likely just cause a late start to the morning. Especially with weather in the forecast, I'd start worrying about those internet shipments arriving on time. We had this discussion where another of my booksellers insisted that UPS does not guarrantee* shipment delivery this time of year, even on next day. Well, that would be something to know definitively, wouldn't it?
And so, we are no longer promising that books from the wholesalers will arrive on time after we send today's orders. The chances are good and we'll still take the orders for Momence and Fort Wayne (our closest warehouses), but things do go wrong with those last few orders.

Now that it's snowtime, will our sales tick up again for A Reliable Wife. I was in Beans and Barley buying my weekly slice of cardamom coffee cake and the cash-ista told me that she was reading it, and how perfect it was for a cozy winter read. I think last year we made a small display of snowy books, but they were whatever I found around the store; I think it would be better to definitively have a winter reads display with things like Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow and James Meek's The People's Act of Love. Not for March, when you're sick of the stuff, but in December, when it still seems exciting...unless you're a non-web retailer.

*Why don't people discuss more the difference between guaranty and guarantee? The synonyms at the various online dictionaries are slightly different. Yeeks.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I consider City of Thieves a snowy book, too. And I just read The True Deceiever (NYRB), which was very snowy. I like this idea...