Sort and Track Your Books

Sorting Your Books


Upon arrival at your home/office/warehouse, it is useful to sort books. You can sort by the price paid, location, seasonality, weight, or potential profit. We've done a combination of all of the above and find sorting can help optimize processing and shipping.

  • Price - Track the amount paid for inventory (cost of goods sold). To be ready for tax season, you should know how many books you sold that year and what you paid for those books. One way to do this is by embedding the price paid for books in the SKU. A tax accountant will ask for this information. They take the amount you paid for the inventory that sold and deducts it from the taxes you owe. This is referred to as a tax write-off. If you're a new business owner, or self-employed, we will talk about tax planning later in the course.
  • Location Sourced - Documenting location can help you to understand which are the best places to visit. As books sell, knowing where they came from sheds light on the quality and yield of that location. Additionally, if you have a consignment relationship with a client, you’ll need to know when their books sell, and for how much. With this, you can then accurately calculate the amount owed to them. To begin tracking location you can use custom Seller Stock Keeping Units (SKU) and even software to track this information. See the SKU’s section for more information. 
  • Seasonality - Some books sell throughout the year. We call these “evergreen books” meaning they sell steadily throughout the year at a relatively stable price. Examples of evergreen books would be those included on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Other books such as textbooks tend to spike in sales and price during specific times of the year (textbook season). In other words, August, January, and June sales increase as school semesters begin. Savvy sellers will hold some books (mostly seasonal) textbooks to send to Amazon right before peak season to maximize the selling price. 
  • Potential Profit - Sometimes it's best to avoid sending heavy or low-value books until you can fit them into the right shipment. It doesn't make sense to send a book across the country if the shipping fees cost as much as the potential profit. It's better just hold onto that book until it can be shipped to a closer warehouse. This is the same with low-profit books. You can organize these books and label them as heavy or low profit. This will give you an option to create shipments that are only approved if they are destined for warehouses that are close to you (in other words inexpensive shipping costs).

The sooner you begin tracking information about your inventory the better. The insight will help to optimize and adjust strategy. You can begin by using a simple Note App, Spreadsheet, or Project Management Software. At the moment we use Google Drive and Slack to accomplish these tasks.


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This information was last updated, January 2021.

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