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The problem of inventory

I received an online order from a customer for a book which was listed as being available, one on hand. When I searched for it I couldn’t find it. Bugger. Going back and checking sales for the last several years I found I had actually sold the book in 2017, and failed to remove it from inventory. I notified the customer, refunded the purchase price, and apologized, but somehow that seemed insignificant and bad business practice. It was a problem of inventory updating.

This is a continual problem for me. I add books almost every day, but I sell books only occasionally, and when those occasions come I usually sell one or two or three or four HUNDRED books over the course of a couple of days. Then comes the problem of tabulating the sales, paying my consignment vendors, and removing the books from inventory. It just doesn’t always work as efficiently as I wish it would.

For those of you who’ve ordered a book and I’ve been unable to fulfill your request (as stated above), I apologize again. For those of you who are looking for a book that I say I have–in most cases I actually do have it, though with 2500+ archaeology titles on hand, it may take me a day or so to find it.

This inventory problem actually began in 2015, when I started the website. I used four separate databases as my original inventory, but those databases had multiple title duplications. I’m still recovering from that blast of duplicated downloads. I update the inventory as best I can, adding new titles, new cover images, new bibliographic information, and deleting duplications. My son says “Oh, just go through every box and list what’s there.” Easy for him to say. Every box becomes a different box every time I attend a convention, a meeting, a conference. Books travel. It just takes me some time to catch up with them. At some point I’ll have a new inventory system, and a new way of keeping my customers happy. Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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