Thursday, April 19, 2012

Christmas in April

June 30 is the end of the fiscal year, but things start winding down in April. We normally order our books through a book jobber, via purchase order. They can take up to three months to arrive, however, so we try to have all our purchase orders wrapped up this month. That means we can only buy books from local vendors, and the only local book store has a maximum credit limit of $1500.

This afternoon, one of my coworkers and I set out with a PO in one hand, and order cards and series lists in another. We spent about an hour going through the shelves, checking off lists, weighing paperbacks vs. hard covers, scouring the clearance shelves for treasures we didn't know about. I'm cheap, even when it isn't 'my' money, and most of the books I pcked out were around $5. That's a lot of books! My coworker also picked out stacks of CDs and the DVD sets of several favorite TV series. We finally trundled our carts up to the checkout and the cashier scanned everything in. Hit the tax exempt line: $1,455. Close enough! Then she hit the purchase order button.

It wouldn't go through. The manager tried. No luck. They called their corporate office. It seems the number they put in at the very beginning was not the correct number for the city, and...they couldn't go back. They had to void out the sale and do it all. over. again.

Hey, these things happen, it wasn't their fault. I started thinking I would just grab pizza on the way home, because now I was going to be late, and I wouldn't have time to make supper. We helped take everything back out of the bags, and I used the time to pick out a few more picture books to bring it closer to $1500. Everything was scanned in again and re-bagged. Hit tax exempt: $1,496. Hit purchase order: No problem. Went to finish the sale:

We're sorry, but you have an outstanding balance of $72 (as near as we can figure, another city department bought something), and the maximum credit limit is $1500 total, so you have to take some items out. Except that you can't just take them off your total now that you have gone this far. You have to do it


My coworker called her daughter to say she'd be late. I called Grandma and asked her to feed the kids. We took the bags back out. Again. The manager (the original cashier had escaped by this point) was very apologetic. The original cashier came back over and apologized twice. This time, everything went through (minus a couple seasons of NCSI), we loaded the bags in my van, headed back to the library, threw them all in the empty manager's office, and went home.
That was a bit...tedious. Today, though, I got to the fun part:

Happy sigh. That's not even including the AV materials we got.

Oh, you wanted to see the actual books?

40 picture books, 101 chapter books. I realize bigger library systems get more books than that in every day, but I think this will keep our patrons happy for a week or two. Now I just have to take stickers off...add bar codes...catalog...send to processing...add AR stickers...put in bib lists...and then put them out on the shelves!

As soon as I do all that with the books we got on our last purchase order...

...and finish up with the ones that just came back from processing.

P.S. - I need a bigger desk!


  1. Three months?? Who is your vendor? I use BWI Titletales (who are amazing btw) and you can set your shipping times to once a week, once a month, etc.

  2. We use Barnes and Noble - if things are in stock, we can get them within the week, but starting in April we have to say no backlisted titles, which cuts out a lot of them. They will send backlisted items for about three months, then they cancel them. We can't take the chance of things arriving after the cutoff date, or purchasing gets very unhappy with us:)

  3. Huh. Have you ever thought about using a vendor? I really recommend BWI (no, i don't work for them! i just think they're cool!) you can set your cancellation dates, so if something is backordered or ordered direct from a publisher, they'll cancel at whatever period you want I think (I do six months, but I'm sure they go shorter) and they do a 40% discount more or less.

  4. Oops - I meant Baker and Taylor, not Barnes and Noble! Yes, that's about what we have with them. We have just had issues in years past where something slipped past the date, and it caused all sorts of mess, so we try to get everything wrapped up early. The mad shopping rushes at the book store are USUALLY a lot of fun, yesterday just became a comedy of errors! By the third time, I was just like, "Well, of COURSE you have to do it again!"

  5. Ah. We use Baker and Taylor for adult materials, but I successfully lobbied to use BWI for children's and young adult materials. I really disliked B&T - so cumbersome to use and I detest their user interface. BWI is just so much easier! (ok, last plug for the best vendor ever (-:)

  6. lol - I may suggest we check them out. We have a clerk who does all the actual ordering (we give her our cards), so I don't have to mess with any of that!