"SELL BETTER" TIPS FOR USED BOOK VENDORS
1.) In book vending as in life, we are at our best when we can see ourselves as others see us. Sometimes we don't look in the mirror, we're too busy, so listen to one of your clients a gal who has contacted a lot of vendors in her time. Many of these folks forget that we pick your name and address out of our memories. We go in our browser and see "JOES books" in the addie book. Or maybe it's JOSEPH'S BOOK STORE. We forget that JS BOOKS is "the JUST SPECTACULAR" BOOKSHOP so that's not JOE and we scratch our memories and just can't find you again when we need you. How can I even look for your email when there are 1600 emails here? I've gone up to 5,000 at some times, which is when Netscape browser vers. 4.7 starts to falter. (unsupported 20 yr old browser design.)
Try to establish YOUR persona in the client's mind by repetition. When you email back and forth with a client, be aware of who you are to us. IF YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS is JOES BOOKS at YAHOO and that isn't the same as your shop name, JOE MCGILACUDDY's FLASHY PHEASANT BOOK STORE, for heaven's sake, REPEAT your full FLASHY PHEASANT STORE's NAME in your EMAIL SIGNATURE! A month from now, I remember nothing about you, Joe, so I consult my email in the J's ... here are ten letters from JOES, TEN from JOSEPH..I think they're astrology clients, but finally I see one letter from JOE MCG@YAHOO and note in the letter that we discussed Frederic Forsyth books, and Stephanie Meyer vampires...ok. I've semi-got a fix on you! Now I will want to study your stacks, so I go to that letter you wrote me about how Forsyth is still turning them out at eighty and Stephanie Mayer is a fluke.....and voila. There's no signature! NO DAMN INFO on who you are, AT ALL! FLASHY PHEASANT is no longer associated with you! There goes business out the door.
I want to go in your stacks using ABES stack search or visit your own website maybe though dealers have lousy search engines in comparison to ABES.. LIKE DROP IN over in the cloud. Totally useless. It drops my computer into a freeze. Jams it. I'm driving an early IBM with Windows 98se!
I want to pick up a few more books. I see your email but I no longer recall the name of your store. How can I find you at the BOOKSTORES LIST at ABES which is how I peer into your stacks. I can't if your EMAIL gives no clue of bookstore's name!
Often your email heading is an anagram, SILRNBKS and virtually unprounounceable, nor can it be MEMORIZED!!! Or it is based on your name, or it gives no clue of bookstore's name. Plain ole ORDERS@JOE's BOOKSTORE does not WORK at ABES anyway as having an apostrophe is asking for trouble. I look for JOES books at abes it doesn't exist! JOE's Fine Books DOES but who'd ha'dunnit that way?
That's why BESTBOOKS.com is a good domaine name AND address. Prob is, ABES search engine has so many BEST BOOKS that you need a SIGNATURE that distinguishes you, like in CASPER WYOMING or something. Though Abes does distinguish cities if you know to SEARCH ON BOOKSELLERS. There may be ten JOE's books and the cities cannot be the final CLUE because APOSTROPHE SCREWS UP THE SEARCH ENGINE!. SO FLASHY PHEASANT BOOKS is a better cue. Only ONE of those on ABE.
But if there were two I'd hopefully know you are in ARKANSAS so that I could distinguish the guy who sent me all the horrid Stephenie Mayers even though he warned me!
So. CREATE A SIGNATURE JOE! That's a dealie your browser does for you. AUTOMATICALLY a SIG appends to every EMAIL! MAKE LIFE EASY! Have your email there, your location, your specialty. OK have I been enough of a curmudgeon yet? Wait. I got more.
2.) THE IMPORTANCE of BEING EARNEST! (in your FIRST CONTACT. When this client "walks in", and her email sez she wants three mysteries, a Daniel Silva, a Henning Mankell, and a James Lee Burke and she's smart enough to give you her postal zip code so you can pre calculate media mail, QUICK EMAIL HER BACK with the FULL MONTE! That means you a.) Cut and paste her list of books INTO THAT LETTER. b.) price them again and give S&H!!!! Say "FOR THESE 3 titles @ 1$ each, you will pay 3$ then $2.50 S&H if media mail. So Send 5.50$ via PAYPAL (our paypal addie is firstname.lastname@example.org). You might say the titles will be 3$, shipping and handling 3$ for MEDIA MAIL. 7$ for REGULAR MAIL, etc. Just in case they don't know and didn't stipulate. And you can always say signature verification is 60c more, etc.
IF SHE DID NOT INCLUDE her postal ZIP, teach her! Say without the ZIP I can't calculate exactly ....etc. If the book is 2$ you better tell me how hot Silva is now, or if it's 3$ tell me Henning Mankell is real hard to find...And Stieg Larsson, nobody's giving up their old ones.
3). AT THE GIT GO, INDICATE your favorite way of being paid. AS VISA AND PAYPAL TAKE a huge cut try to get them to cut you a check. GIVE THEM YOUR HOME or shop STREET address. Say 'if I get the check in 5 days, I'll still have books wrapped and on my desk. but after five days, the mess on that desk starts messing with US, so I might put them back in our shelves. OVER THE YEARS, if you can get checks and leave paypal out of it, you make some extra bucks. What's wrong with that? People who love SPINOZA, JERZY KOSINSKI's FIRST NOVEL, SHAW (Irwin or GBS) don't write bad checks! If they want PLAYBOY, maybe.
4.) DOUBLE SELL! You might say 'oh you like Elmore Leonard, I also have GLITZ, GET SHORTY, CUBA LIBRE, want some of those? See? Try to double sell us! I wrote a candid, sly article on the art of double selling, read it! http://home.earthlink.net/~astrology/double_your_business_profits.htm And catch the 'HOW TO MERCHANDISE yourself WEBPAGE" I particularly like YAHOO GROUPS for merchandising my business services as the lists can be one to five thousand people who will get your email. (These lists vary on whether you can do the quiet commercial with URL.) I lurk at my group selection (books, political groups, screenwriting, frugal living tips, gardening) When I see a subject I really know, I flip them a few words and an URL. Just today I commented on frugal soups, threw in a recipe, a few tricks to cooking beans so you don't get gas, and then my FRUGAL KITCHEN PAGE's URL! With a hundred articles on it! Now in your profession, You want to get on the YAHOO list for BOOK READERS, FANS. LITERATURE BUFFS. LISTS, that's what they call them. They're like five thousand pidgeons who will fly to YOUR TREE at the least prompting. So... smartie pants, post a few articles, files on your website. BEST AUTHORS. WORST AUTHORS, OVERRRATED AUTHORS, "NEW AND HOT" and throw that chum out to the Yahoo LISTERS meaning you say outright ---"mystery fans go see http://www.masterjules.net/mysteries.htm or history fans, go to this other URL. Lurk, scanning the list's daily emails until they get to a subject you know, then step in, "Henning Mankell, Ian Rankin are the top two guys in EUROPE --I sell more of those two...etc " so the listers "GET" that what you do is sell used books. Now here's the thing: what's good about the YAHOO list that is much better than TWITTER OR FACEBOOK ...your email address is viewable on the thing, so folks can write you off list, say 'do you have any Josephine TEY? I hear DAUGHTER OF TIME is best mystery ever written.'
5.) DO NOT ALTER the inviolate SUBJECT LINE of client's EMAIL. In all correspondence betwixt vendor and potential client, leave the SUBJECT LINE as it is. Why? She is a regular book buyer. She's done this before and certainly she's learned to organize her EMAIL! If she has a wit in her head, she can collate by size, date, sender, and more importantly, by subject line to find her orders later. My subject lines read: DEAR FLASHY or DEAR ACTION BOOKS, DEAR BUYMORE BOOKS, it's in the email SUBJECT LINE, and with vintage Netscape 4.7 as a browser, I can collate my 4500 emails (I erase l00 a day but those 4500 saved are all keepers.) I can collate by size, date, subject line or sender. FABULOUSLY USEFUL!
Download NETSCAPE VERSION 4.7 browser. Use it for mail only. It has limits. You can't surf to java sites with it, the thing crashes. Mozilla Firefox cooks as a surf browser but is worth zero for email. But on my NETSCAPE, OLD ORDERS from 2004 can be found, all of this as per my article on HOW TO ORDER BOOKS:
6.) HAGGLE MORE! Be agreeable to bargaining especially if your prices are high. Remember we readers can ABE-UP the other dealers, see who has the damn book for a buck, we aren't stupid. And we all visit garage sales where books are .25c each and thrifts where we pay .50c. Libraries where they are free. If your books are NOT first editions, author-signed, HAGGLING is a custom-entrenched mode of making sure CLIENT is happy! You too as merchandise sitting around does not do anybody any good. The idea is double your money every month. To have a title on the stack for a year or two isn't part of THAT formula.
If the customer backs off due to your high shipping rates, again, tell her 'look lady, I don't have to use a costly padded envelope. I can wrap 'em in grocery brown paper, tape and you pay 20% lower for S&H. You suddenly became a Macy's Sale. Makes us happy. Happy clients come back to you. Multiply that by hundreds, your growth is incremental! Cuz they tell their chums. Get one senior in a home of 100...
7.) MAKE YOUR SIGNATURE AMPLE ENOUGH! Not only URL of ABE's search engine FOR YOUR SHOP ONLY....but full name of shop as it appears in ABES....and if you've said that you'd take a check, makes sure YOUR EMAILS give a clue as to where we mail THE CHECK! A street addie in the signature. And the paypal email addie there too. LABELED as such! STACKS are at X PLACE.
8.) YOUR E-MAIL ADS MUST BE FABULOUS- Formatted, HTM but make certain that you use low coding software that will not jam browser and when using HTM that every URL or link in it is a LIVE LINK. That we who love you can just 'click and go'. After years of ordering books, I do not want your home page or your own shop's search engine because it just isn't as good as the one found at ABES. You should visit your own page at the ABES search engine entering the we do. We search on a title, we find you have it cheapest, then get the choice, SEARCH OR BROWSE MORE BOOKS with THIS DEALER? - DO ALL THAT so that you can see it the way we see it. I've had dealers send me what they thought was their own search page at ABES. Doesn't resemble the ones we who flock in by the front door get. Not nearly as good!
An idea for an occasional MAIL OUT would be "HOW TO GET YOUR FAMILY TO READ MORE and WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO READ MORE" Stats on kids and college, income in later life..
9) COMPETE! Daily go thru ABES to see if you have priced your books to compete. If the buyer searches on WILL DURANT (the smart cookie does advanced search in USA only) and finds all his HARD COVER HISTORY books starting at a buck, and you're asking 14$, they generally won't even write you in the first place. If they do --they might ask for a discount. If you want high prices say, 'HAS DUST COVER, impeccable, FIRST EDITION. Signed by Ariel Durant. Bait the hook a little, but don't baldly ask four times what the other guys want. We leave and we don't come back. Also bait the hook here, too. Say "Durants did a readable Toynbee. Great historians. So readable. And only 12 volumes, you can manage that!" or "Gathering Storm" by Churchill, only 5 volumes. You can manage that. WWII covered by the Guy who SHOULD KNOW!
10.) DAZZLE US WITH YOUR WARES! In a lowkey, friendly, timely manner. Pay attention to what wares that client orders, so you can send them a hand-generated email saying 'Anita, I know you love Alan Furst and Daniel Silva, Lawrence Block, Robert Parker. Well, did you know JAMES LEE BURKE is quite like the heavyweights you admire, and I think you'd enjoy his southern cop mysteries. Quite unique, homey, tough, manly, great prose writing. Not quite cop procedurals...verging on character studies with a lotta heart." Don't do those posh formatted HTM mail out ADs with live links to your shopping robot.
DO NOT send those big HTM formatted ads. It's a waste of a send out. Be personal. Say 'get back to me with your email addie' and mean it. NEXT, have "BEST OF BREED LISTS" handy in your cache, so you can shoot me an htm file the way I'm shooting this. Ready to send. THEN HAVE CLIENT PREFERENCE LISTS also, in your browser! Group your history buffs onto one list, your mystery buffs onto another. You see my orders, David Horowitz, Engels, Karl Marx, Bio of William Casey by Persico, lots of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alan Furst, Daniel Silva, Frederick Forsythe, Lee Child, Robert Parker, Fletch, you can see from past orders I want politics, Europe, Spies, or communist, radical books. Or entertaining mysteries and thrillers. Just scan my past orders, then fill in the blanks in a template email as long as it looks live and personal and I'll read it two seconds from now. There are women who want slush novels by the like of Danielle Steel --do scholock romance fans on another list. AIM YOUR LETTER's text at them! 'I have the new Danielle (gag me with a spoon) Steel.. etc They read Stephanie Meyer!
Those are the basics. Sure, there are frills, like studying the authors so you're ready to ask your NEW client for helpful personal info regarding her/his tastes in books. If they love the Durants, they'll like HENRI TROYAT historical BIOS. OK do ya know the other great biographers? Knowing all the genres is indicative of your knowledge but ASKING US is indicative of your humanity. Like: 'Which books did you adore, which authors do you love? I might answer "political thrillers and mysteries with some timely relevance and plot substance, i.e. Frederic Forsyth, Robert Parker, Lawrence Block, Sue Grafton, Early Michener, Daniel Silva, Daniel Woodrell, or maybe Jewish writers, Chaim Potok, Isaac Bashevis singer, or the old WILL DURANT series on history....Colin Wilson. On the occult, not on crime. Joseph Persico.
Ask the client to send you a list of what they want, their bucket list and check your stacks. SERVE the client, befriend him. Get the client to say that she reads x y and z. And as you work on your stacks, and one day find an old ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER collection you buy the whole thing knowing Anita the Hollywood gal sends garden seeds & likes him. You then drop me a note saying 'ANITA, got a lot of Singer today, do you have this one? It had dust jacket and is not a library book and it would cost x amt and x to ship. And in your signature have the bookshop name, the ABE BOOKS SEARCH URL for YOUR SHOP and maybe your PAYPAL how to get paid account email addie....So we don't have to do the full six emails back and forth between us ...just for that info, ever AGAIN!.You just get the paypal in three seconds, with the titles in the paypal form. and the address is too. Fast. After all, time is money.
I must say that one vendor whom I consider special, (for this reason!) tells me of the great books. He doesn't assume I know. He says get a very unknown mystery by x writer.....won the Edgar, or something like that. YEP your mystery fans will really go for an Edgar nominee or winner so throw that into your ADS also, your stacks. And at your webpage, have URLS ThAT LEAD TO LISTS: "l00 BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR AccorDING TO PUBLISHER's WEEKLY" or EDGAR WINNERS. This vendor turned me on to BILL BRYSON, a travel writer & humorist. David Sedaris, Cal Trillin. He always gives me cues. Tells me what he's got in stock that he knows is special. Once he realized I liked JOURNEYMAN on TV he had loads of TIME-TRAVEL writers, JACK FINNEY, etc.
And if you like to chat with booklovers about great writers that YOU admire, SOMERSET MAUGHAM or KIPLING or COLIN WILSON,( his bio of GB Shaw is amazing)...you see a drift in my title picks and know some others, warm us up for real friendship. CLIENT LOYALTY comes from friendship, so FIRST FLATTER, 'OH YOU LIKE KIPLING, I see that you love books," then say 'I've thought of some other English authors who were of his stature (TITLES THAT YOU HAVE obviously) call me 9-5, I'm here fulltime at X PHONE." THEN you get a chance to size us up for our age, wealth, savviness, tastes, reliability, etc. If I'm smoking a doobie, get paypal. If I've got a Scotch glass by my phone, get paypal. If I'm sober and love Shaw, take a check!
OH, one last question. Ask about our offspring. IF we have student age children or are grandparents that brings SALES for children's books. Then you can say "I have a great kiddie book,..." so you gotta know your
stacks and the amount of grandkids each client has! And you do that because you love clients as well as books. Some vendors inherited the store, give not a hoot for books. But not you. Right? I know you trust folks who buy books. They're in the upper 1% of humanity. So moving to the chat-on-phone stage (NEVER WITH A CELL!) can only amuse you, on a slow day at least, and it sure will help business!
I am AQUARIUS, Sag Moon, a born tout and teacher, write a few dozen websites http://www.masterjules.net/freeseminar.htm full of TIPS on a dozen different themes, FRUGAL
LIVING, http://www.masterjules.net/frugindex.htm how to buy books inexpensively, http://home.earthlink.net/~anitaastrologer/howtoorder.htm
Files for wannabe WRITERS http://www.masterjules.net/writindex.htm
GUERILLA CAPITALISM WEBSITE: http://home.earthlink.net/~anitaastrologer/
ANd how to make a living without IRS knowing you're alive. MONEY SECRETS
of the underground. http://www.masterjules.net/index6.htm
The Coming Crunch http://www.masterjules.net/futureindex.htm
And HOW A BEAUTY can get to HOLLYWOOD, not have expenses there,
get headshots free, get an agent fast and at least find work! http://home.earthlink.net/~loveguru/holywodbound.htm
based on my own experiences in Hollywood,
Oddly, my other website http://www.luckinlove.com advises the superb young
beauty to SKIP HOLLYWOOD altogether, it makes her look vain, trivial and trashy. I run a
website that teaches beauties how to marry billionaires, and there are l50 classrooms
there on how to penetrate high society meet and captivate such a brainy male and then run
a VULTURE SANDWICH CHARITY. I am a tout. That means addicted to
tipgiving, which TOUTING is.
So one last tout: when a client comes in off the street? Put on the TEA pot. Set a cup
near them and say, tea or coffeee? cream, milk, sugar, honey? Cookie? And let them
roam the shop while water comes to a boil, and then roam again while they're sipping
and dipping. (Not first edition room.) For a really good client who's stacking the
merchandise near register, bring refrigerated hummus dip in dish, crackers out of box
HUNGRY CLIENTS do not BUY all they could, they go next door to order lunch which was
why they were on your street in the first place. Then, they get tired and drive home!
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