Sort and Track Your Books

Sorting Your Books


Sorting books is an important step in the operations process. When correctly executed, you will have a greater processing efficiency and reduced costs. There are several methods for sorting items such as sorting by price, location/client, seasonality, or profitability. Each of the following measures can help improve processing and shipping.

Techniques for sorting items:


To be prepared for tax season, you should keep track of how many books sold during the year and how much you paid to purchase them. One way to accomplish this is by embedding the price paid in a custom SKU as you list the books. Arranging and processing books by price will enable you to track COGS in a predictable and efficient manner. At the end of the year, gather this information and tally the total amount of COGS to share with your tax accountant. They will deduct the amount from your tax liability. 


Documenting location can help you to understand more about clients or locations. Measurement of location performance metrics will provide insight for business decision making. If you have a consignment agreement with a client, you'll need to know when their books sold and at what price. You can use this information to precisely calculate the amount due to them. A custom Seller Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) including a client or location ID can be used to track this information. See the SKU’s section for more information. 


Some books are referred to as “evergreen books” since they sell steadily throughout the year at a relatively stable price. Examples of evergreen books include those on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Other books, such as textbooks, tend to rise in price during specific times of the year (i.e. textbook season). August, January, and June see higher sales corresponding to the beginning of school semesters. Savvy sellers may hold some textbooks (mostly seasonal books) and wait to send them to Amazon until right before the textbook season. This helps maximize the selling price. 


Potential Profit/Weight 

Sometimes it may be better not to send heavy or low-value books until you can place them in the right shipment. There is no need to spend more to ship heavy books since weight increases shipping costs and reduces profit margin. It is better to hold onto that book until it can be shipped to a warehouse closer to you. This is also true for books with low profits. You can categorize these books as heavy or low profit/send later and place them aside to be shipped at another time. This procedure allows you to work with heavy or low valued books with the intention of only approving shipment to local warehouses. 

Tracking inventory will give you a deeper understanding of your business. The insight will allow you to optimize, adjust and improve your strategy. This data can be tracked using a Spreadsheet, Project Management Software, or Note App. We use Google Sheets, Excel, and Slack to accomplish these tasks.

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This information was last updated, February 2023.

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