#16 NY Times reporting

NEIBA Question of the Week #16

The NEIBA Board members are starting a Question of the Week on the NEIBA Group at Yahoo! Groups (our Listserv). The goal is to share everyone’s common knowledge about bookselling or anything related to independent bookstores.  It is our hope that after the Board has run through with their questions other members will continue the asking.

This week’s question is:

I did the NY Time’s reporting for the first time last Sunday and I was flabbergasted by the length of time it took. We report manually, entering in our weekly sales from their category list.

Is there an easier, less time consuming way that has escaped us?

We are a Wordstock store.

Much thanks, Mayre Plunkett, Wellesley Books

Dick Hermans, Oblong Books & Music

Hi Mayre,

These is a simpler process that involves creating a file of all your weekly sales and downloading that list to the Times reporting page. It also takes several steps, but once you get the hang of it it can be done in less than 15 minutes. You should get in touch with Wordstock as they should be able to show you the way.

Josie, The Flying Pig

Hi there,

There’s an upload option that makes reporting so much easier. You just take your reporting week’s sales and print it out in an Excel spreadsheet. You only need two columns: ISBN and SOLD.

It’s so easy and takes about three minutes. Good luck!

Kathryn Fabiani, RJ Julia Booksellers

Mayre – we are also a Wordstock store and we haven’t found an easier way to deal with the report – it’s kind of amazing that it is such a labor-intensive process but that’s the way it is. We do print out the report and split it up among the buyers to fill in so the burden is shared a little.

Caitlin, Where The Sidewalk Ends

That type of time consuming is painful to imagine…I feel for you! Good luck finding a faster method. Ours and our backup method are here:

While we don’t have Wordstock to explain…. as long as you can generate an excel file, which we do in Anthology, of the list of books sold for the designated timeframe, you can upload it (which we usually do) or EMAIL the whole file unedited (if for example you are working from a computer that does not have Excel and you cannot pare down the columns to just ISBN and QTY) to nytbestsellers@nytimes.com.

From them: “When emailing us, please include the name of your store and the city where you are located. The main things to know are that the data we need is for the Sunday to Saturday reporting period each week and that we only need ISBNs and QTYs for your sales in order to compile the data for our lists. We don’t need the titles, sales price, or anything else, but it is okay if that information comes along for the ride.”

Carol, Eight Cousins

If you can move your numbers into a spreadsheet, you can do the rest of the process in 60-120 seconds. It isn’t fast, and seems to prefer Foxfire and Microsoft Explorer over Chrome, but the parts are all there. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it, but now it’s a quick routine. I’ve even been able to instruct others how to do it in my absence.

Rondi Brower, Blackwood & Brouwer Booksellers Ltd

If it’s any consolation it does get easier over time. We do not have a computerized inventory system, so I review our sales every week when I report. I find that if I do both reports at once (NYT and Indie) I can have them done in about 20 minutes. Plus I know what I need to order from distributors on Monday morning. Plus I get a sense of what I’m selling and what is selling in the greater world. It’s a good “week in review”.

Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music

You absolutely can export via Wordstock. It takes a bit of set-up on the front end, but now reporting takes under 10 minutes each week. Just call Wordstock and they’ll talk you through it! Feel free to email me off-list if you have questions.