New Mexico Book Co-op

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New Mexico Book Co-op
A Remaindering We Shall Go!
There are a few steps you may want to take prior to remaindering. Obviously, you need to identify slow-moving titles and overstocked books. Generate a report; see what titles you have too much stock of. Select the titles you want to target. A first step would be to white sale a title (for those who might not be familiar with this term, a white sale is a marketing strategy where a company will deeply discount its product for a limited time to increase sales). Check your contracts and make sure you can do this—most standard contracts allow for white sales and remaindering. It should be something the Press has control over, but often times the author will need to be notified and allowed to purchase copies of their books at the sale price should they want to. Send a notice to the author regarding their specific title. Send a notice to your accounts (or your sales reps, if you have them) alerting them to the titles that will have temporarily reduced prices. Set a deadline for when the sale will end. This is your call — white sales last typically for a season, but you may want to go longer or shorter depending on your particular circumstances.
For your next step, you can try Business to Business (B2B) sales or special sales if you don’t want to white sale, or if you have put a title on white sale and not gotten a good response. This can be time-consuming, so opt for easy connections you can make (local businesses you are already familiar with) or even ask your author for suggestions. You want to find a business that would be a good fit for the slow-moving book’s subject matter and one that would not interfere with/take away from your own sales to customers. An example of this would be if you have a how-to book on yoga and relaxation; contact large corporations that offer retreats for their employees. Offer them the book as a giveaway to reward their important staff members on the retreat. Regional books are great for corporations that have a lot of out-of-town visitors or corporations whose emphasis is the city (such as hotels). Make sure to mention what the book retails for (perceived value of the product); offer a price a bit above unit cost (that way it is cheap enough to entice sales, but you are still getting your investment back). You can give different prices for different quantities ordered (i.e. the more they order, the better the price you’ll offer them). All these sales are non-returnable. Customer should pay the shipping costs (or if you are local and can drive it to them to sweeten the deal, go ahead—do what is best for your business).
A Moment to Review

    The Practical Details
    When you put a book on white sale, you will need to mark it in a way that your warehouse will recognize and be able to differentiate from the same title sold at an earlier date for full price. The most typical way this is done is by going over the bar code with a black magic marker stripe or a stamp or stripe on the bottom. Make sure to notify your accounts that the books will be marked. Some accounts will not want them because of this. Others don’t care: they recognize it’s a tradeoff for the great price that they can then pass on to their customers. The marks are discreet and should not deter sales. To make the sale worth your while, I suggest having a minimum order. It can be small—something like five copies of the title, but something that helps you move the book. Make the books non-returnable. Allow for samples if they want to see the book to make a decision on whether to order, but exercise discretion so you aren’t giving the store away.

    Moving On—Let’s Remainder
    When you’ve exhausted other options and have decided it’s time for remaindering, repeat many of the steps above: identify the slow-movers, double check your contract, get solid numbers of inventory, etc.

    If it is in your contract that you have to contact the author and offer them the books, write them a letter and do so. Even if you don’t need to contact the author, I suggest you offer them the opportunity to purchase some of their books at a reduced price as a goodwill / “keep the peace” gesture—remember the book was probably their baby and they may want some on hand. I always offer to send 5 complimentary copies to them as a “parting gift”.

    Once the business with authors is taken care of, figure out what remainder houses you want to contact—some specialize in particular types of books or genres, others will look at all books or subject matters. A quick google search will turn up the usual suspects: Powell’s, Daedalus, Texas Bookman, etc. You will want to contact them and let them know what you are offering. Include quantity of books in inventory (allow some books for your archives); to make your life easier (or the lives of your order fulfillment) find out the carton quantity and only allow orders in those amounts (i.e. if there are 10 books in a carton, folks can order 10, 20, 30 copies, but not 25 copies). Include any reviews, descriptive copy, etc on the titles to alert potential buyers of the books’ merits. I also include color Xerox covers of the books so they know what the book looks like. You still may have to send samples, but trying to give them as much information on the book to pique their interest or let them know what the book is like is crucial for a good sale. Invite the remainder houses to bid on the books and find out the quantity they would like. I am a firm believer of remaindering all the stock and placing the book OP. Some folks have differing opinions and you may want to discuss this with folks to decide what is best for you. However, my viewpoint is that it is simply easier to get rid of all the stock and you don’t compete with yourself on sales (i.e. if you remainder all your stock except for 200 books and you remaindered the books at $1.00 a piece, you just lowered the value of your 200 books and they will be harder to sell at full price…so you will be left right back in the position that you started in—slow moving stock sitting in your warehouse).

    A Moment to Review

          The Practical Details
          When the bids come in, you can accept or reject them. I’ve seen bids anywhere from $.10 to $10.00 depending on the book, the remainder house, and the amount of stock. Obviously, if you have 3000 in stock—offering $5.00 or even $2.00 a book might be too much for the remainder house to absorb. They are taking the risk on the book and will now have to ship and store them. That said, if they offer something much less than you feel the book is worth—go ahead and reject them and try other outlets. Find out from the remainder houses how books need to be shipped (and make sure they pay for shipping!). Most places want the books palletized. Allow for samples if they want to see the book to make a decision on whether to order, but exercise discretion. If you end up remaindering all the stock and putting the book OP—make sure to follow all your normal practices when putting a book out of print: notify all your wholesale accounts, keep some copies on hand for your archives, remove from website and all promotional material, etc.

          Happy Remaindering, folks!
          Remember—remaindering frees up space in the warehouse for new books and allows the slow-moving stock to go to happy homes at a reduced price. It keeps your warehousing costs in line and, by selling off the stock, prevents you from having to take the drastic step of pulping (shuddering at the thought).

          —— contributed by Renee Tambeau, Marketing Director, Museum of New Mexico Press
          Co-op members have experienced a great many things in the book trade. Listed here is some of that information that members have shared. If you have a topic you want more about, let us know and we will see if members have had some experience in that area.