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Database Creation

How you build your initial database depends on which of two possible scenarios exist—a new store or an existing store. The easier of the two projects is for a new store. One other possibility exists, if you have an existing inventory system, and would like information, refer to: "Converting from another inventory system at the bottom of this page."

New Store

If you intend to get all or most of your opening inventory from a major wholesaler, ask that the bibliographic data representing your order be placed on diskette and forwarded to you. New Standard can load this machine-readable data directly into your computer. Books In Store handles the inventory disks from Ingram’s ROSI program, Baker & Taylor’s STEPS, New Leaf, Spring Arbor, and others.

After loading the wholesaler-supplied data, you need only polish some of the fields—for example, the subject designations for your store.

If you intend to get some books from publishers, nevertheless order one copy of each publisher’s book from a wholesaler. That way, you can get the bibliographic information installed easily with the only remaining job being the adjusting of on-hand quantities when the publisher’s shipment arrives.

If you intend to bypass wholesalers and obtain your entire opening store inventory from publishers, see the Existing Store section below. We know of no publisher providing bibliographic data in machine-readable form (but are willing to be pleasantly surprised).

Inventory records for non-book items, for both an existing and new stores, must be created manually, one item at a time.

Existing Store

There is bad news and good news.

The bad news is there is no easy or cheap way to build the database for an existing store. The good news is that you only have to do it once. Remember, for an existing store, you are trying to hit a moving target—books are leaving the store and new ones are arriving. Books In Store provides you with a list of helpful hints, tips, and techniques to both speed the process (thereby saving money!) and minimize problems. Below are three methods, arranged from most expensive to least.

I. Outside Service

You contract with RGIS or Washington Inventory Services to count your store. At the appointed hour, the inventory service sends sufficient personnel to capture the ISBN, quantity, and location of every title on your shelves. This capture process takes about three hours, usually after closing or on the weekend. When the outside service finishes their work, they place in your hand a diskette containing the captured ISBNs. Total time to build your database, from the moment the outside inventory service arrives until a ready to run inventory file, is less than 24 hours.

For this project, you should budget about $0.12 per title in direct expense. The outside service charges you about $18.00 to $24.00 per man’hour to collect the ISBN data and, historically, their productivity is about 200 ISBNs per man’hour. This yields a cost of $0.12 per ISBN for the data collection phase.

For a 10,000 title store, you should budget about $1,200.00.

II. BookSnap

We provide a program, BookSnap, for a modest charge ($50) that allows you to use your computers in the place of the hand-held collection devices the outside inventory service uses. That is, with your computers (perhaps placed on roll-around carts) and BookSnap, your staff can replace the expensive outside inventory service workers. Of course, you have to pay your employees, but presumably they are cheaper than $18.00 to $24.00 per hour. Assuming a slightly higher production rate for your employees, you should expect about 250 ISBNs per team hour (where a team is one or two people). For 10,000 titles, this means 40 team hours. If a team is, on average, 1.5 people, this translates into 60 man-hours. At a wage of $8.00 per hour, direct labor costs then become $480.00. The number of "teams" you have determines the "clock" hours required. In this example, 2 teams will take 20 clock hours, five teams will take eight hours.

For a 10,000 title store, this method should cost about $500.00.

III. The hard way

Just sit down at the computer and start typing. Assuming you have all needed data in a card file (so you do not have to bring the books to the computer), it should take about thirty seconds of typing to fully enter a new item into inventory. For 10,000 ISBNs, this is 5,000 minutes (or 83 hours) of straight typing. Assuming the 83 hours are spread out over two to three weeks, you will then probably have to physically recount the shelves. This last technique cannot be recommended for anything but the smallest stores (less than 3,000 titles).

IV. And one more possibility

Subscribe to PopUp Books (Books In Store's bibliographic database on CD-ROM) and type ISBNs. PopUp Books supplies the bibliographic data (title, author, etc.) making data entry much faster than if you had to type everything. This method, using PopUp Books, takes about half as long as complete manual entry.

Converting from another inventory system

If you currently use another computer-assisted inventory system, Books In Store will attempt to convert your database. We do not charge for conversions.


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