Friday, October 22, 2010

Bookstore Management Software

The software for bookstore management that I use to run my bookstore are divided into a number of categories such as for word processing, database management, and spreadsheet. The bookstore management system will be better if it is implemented or run with computer software.
Word processing software for bookstore
Word processing software that I usually use are Microsoft Word. This is used to write letters, order books by fax machine or print announcements and book categories and big price labels on each bookshelves.
For writing articles on this blog, I use notepad. This is the simplest text editor which is free of any html or javascript code. When I am writing this post, the notepad does not such features as align text right, left or justify which are usually found in most of the word processing softwares.
Spreadsheet software for bookstore
Microsoft Excel is the software that I always use when doing the budget calculation. It is easy to use. The budget for the books that will be ordered from suppliers in Java needs to be arranged and calculated using Excel. The columns will consist of such entries as No, Titles of the books, retail price (in Java), discounted price given by publisher or supplier, the number or quantity of books that are ordered and finally the total cost of the books including the shipping cost. Excel will perform the calculation in no time when all the unit price of the books and the shipping cost is entered in every cell.
Microsoft Excell is also needed to print the price labels of the books before they are placed on the bookshelves using simple feature of the program i.e., mail merge
Point of Sale and Inventory System
POS and Inventory Control Software. This is one of the most important computer softwares that every bookstore must have. The software that I use in my stand alone deskstop is SimpleBiz. This software actually is not designed for bookstore but for small retailer. So, every retail store can use it. This POS and inventory control software has been developed by Bamboomedia, a software development company whose headquarter is in Bali, the most favorite tourist island in Indonesia. In the packaging box of the software, it says that SimpleBiz was made in Microsoft Access. So, if your computer uses operating system and database management software other than Microsoft Windows and Access then it will most likely that you cannot use Simplebiz. Simplebiz is very cheap. I bought it for only 42,000 (or around 4.6 US dollars if calculated based on the current exchange rate of 9,000 rupiahs per 1 US dollar). Because I bought it directly from Bamboomedia online shop, I had to pay some shipping cost. In total this Simplebiz POS and Inventory Control software was only less than 8 US dollars.
Software for Online Bookstore Management
Because I also sell the books via my online store, I need a number of software for that business. I don't use shopping cart software such as VPASP, Zencart, OS commerce and other e-commerce softwares which most retailers use for running their online shops. I only use wordpress.com. It is free and it is a blogging platform software. To upload the posts which contain the such information as the Titles of the Books, the Thicknesses of the Books, the Synopses of the books, the Sizes of the books and the weights of the books; I use blogdesk. Before that I use Zoundry Raven. This is a blog editing software which is available for free on the internet. When somebody on the internet orders a book, his or her order will be sent to an email address which will be downloaded using Microsoft outlook or Windows Mail
Except for the SimpleBiz software that I described above, bookstore owners can use the equivalent sofwares for running their bookstore without having to spend large amount of money. OpenOffice.org have developed softwares that are quite stable and have features that we can use for free. Until now I haven't found any software that have specially been designed for bookstore management. I hope that by reading this article, you can get some ideas who how a home based bookstore like mine is run and manage every day. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Managing a bookstore the difficult part
Manage a bookstore
Bookstore management principles

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bookstore Management

What does a bookstore management entail? This is a question which only an experienced bookstore owner or manager can explain. Well, there are a lot of aspects that we must handle when running a bookshop such as the purchase of books from suppliers, the display of merchandise on the bookshelves and the use of POS and inventory system software that are suitable for the book-selling business. The database management of a bookstore becomes more complicated when it combines the brick and mortar with click and mortar business.
Managing a bookstore is similar to managing a conventional retail store. The process is similar but the merchandise and the customers are different.
Choosing a bookstore location
In retail management textbooks, we are taught that location plays very important role in determining the success or failure of a retail stores such as supermarket, department store and of course a bookshop. Big companies tend to hire a trading-area analyst when they want to open a store in a new location. Most often a shop will be opened in a location where the number of population is high or crowded or in a well planned business district.
If you are somebody who is thinking of opening a bookstore for your lifetime business, you need to carefully analyze the demographic condition of the town city dwellers where you live.
  • How many elementary schools are there in your town?
  • How many junior and senior high schools?
  • How many colleges in your schools?
  • Are there any universities in your town?
That's the questions which you need to see before deciding to choose the right location for your new bookstore. Find a place where there are several school buildings around and sell the books that the students, teachers and lecturers really need. My Xavier bookstore is located in the middle of a place where there are 5 elementary schools, and 1 junior high school, 2 churches (1 Roman Catholic church and 1 advent church) within the radius to 100 to 300 meters. Although there are 3 universities in my town and some high schools, they are far from my home.
Identifying and Understanding Potential Consumers for my Bookstore
Although my bookstore is located near the elementary schools, it does not mean that I only sell books for elementary school children. My main target actually is the parents who always come to bring or pick up their children. Why? Because parents also need books and they have money to buy them. After choosing the target buyers, I then analyze the occupations, educational background or professions of these parents. Potential customers for my Xavier bookstore (university and high school students) who live far from my bookstore can be reached through advertisement of my bookshop in local newspaper, or brochures that I regularly distribute through the regular visitors of my bookstore. Do you understand what I mean? I will explain more about this in a section about promotional strategy.
Information Gathering and Processing in Bookselling Business
Retail information system should be adopted by bookstore owner even when the business is still small. What type of information should a bookstore business collect to perform its functions? Depending on the scale or size and type of your bookstore, the information that your gather can be as simple as book titles and their selling price to as sophisticated as book titles, authors, synopsis, publishers, purchase price, selling prices, shipping cost, regular buyers, monthly order volumes and location of the books in the bookshelves that have been numbered.
POS and Inventory Control Software for a Bookstore
My bookstore only uses a simple point of sale (POS) and inventory control software which only collects the number of stocks, the title of the books, the inventory number, the purchase and selling prices of the merchandise. I bought the POS software for less than 6 US dollars through an online store named Bamboo media that is based in Bali. The POS software operates on Microsoft Access platform and can give me quick report of daily selling of books including the amount of money, change, and number of books.
Chain bookstores that have branches in several towns or cities will need a more comprehensive inventory management system that can provide OLAP (online analytical processing) capability. CEO or decision makers of the bookstore enterprise can analyze the performance of all the bookstore operating in various different locations in real time and immediate solution or supply to branches without conducting business meetings. So, the database management system of a bookstore should be learned and studied by a bookstore owner or manager when the business is still small.
Promotional strategy of bookstore
The simplest form of promotional strategy is advertising. It is a kind of nonpersonal communication delivered through mass media such as newspaper, radio, TV, the web. I personally have stopped paying a lot of money for buying an advertisement space in a local newspaper's page. Instead, I regularly print brochures containing the title of newly arrived books and put them inside the plastic tote bags together with the books that my customers buy. So, I don't have to spend a lot of money for the promotional campaign, only around 10 US dollars per month for buying A4 size paper and ink for printing the book info brochures. Newly arrived book info brochure is one of the most effective and highly targetted promotional tools that I frequently use every month.
Pricing in Retailing and Profit margin of a bookstore
I have been running my bookstore for nearly four years now. Its annual selling is increasing 100% even during this economic downturn at the moment. This small home based bookstore sold books worth about 44,400 US dollars. For people in Europe or in the US, it might be a small amount of money for a business. But for average Indonesian people who could make 100-200 US per month, it is definitely a lot of money. So, what is the average profit margin of a bookstore? The determinaton of profit margin should be based on the purchase price of the books. If I buy or order books in large quantities from a publisher or a big discount bookshop, I will get discounts. The discounted price will then be added with shipping cost. When the books and other merchandise (such as school supplies goods) arrive in my bookstore, I will have to unpack them and attach price label on each books. The final selling price = purchase price + shipping cost + profit margin. The profit margin = operational cost of a bookstore (salary of the employees, electrical, telephone and internet bills + government tax + monthly rental cost of the building) + 10% to 15% revenue. It looks complicated to calculate them but if you know how to operate a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel, then it can be done in just a few clicks and presses of computer buttons. On the average, the selling price of a book is 30% to 40 % higher than its purchase price. Don't charge too high profit or your bookstore will not be competitive anymore. For larger bookstore chain company, the overall after-tax profit can be as low as 2.6 percent of sales! Very low isn't it? by Charles Roring

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