Monday, September 18, 2006

Do you get many orders?

A customer wanted a book that was only available from Haynes. As we don't do much in the way of car manuals we don't have an account with this particular small distributor. So when I phoned Haynes and established I was a trade customer the helpful operator let me know that as a new customer I could have the item for cover price with postage on top.

So let me get that straight... we get no discount with which to pay rent, rates, electricity etc. and then we give money away by paying for postage too which we can't palm off onto the customer. Erm... So how do we keep the business afloat I wonder?

The nice woman asked me if that was ok.

No it isn't bloody ok.


  1. There's a Waterstones just over the bridge in Trafalgar Square.

    They have them.

  2. It wasn't a car manual. It was an obscure and, as it turns out, out of print book about pig killers. Does Waterstones Trafalgar Sqaure have those too?

  3. In defence of a (local) publisher I would point out that Haynes are far from a small publishing operation and also own the Sutton Publishing imprint.

    As for charging postage this would, in my experience, be the norm with single book orders sourced direct from some publishers.

    It is quite common for the public to ring up and pretend they are trade : hardly surprising since there are so many people listing books on the internet from their kitchen table.

    The publisher has equal responsibility to meet their trading costs with small orders.

    Just looking at it from the publisher's viewpoint : incidentally,I can source most titles via Bertram any-book-service, albeit sometimes with only a nominal discount.

    It's tough out there : this Grumpy old bastard thinks that Haynes are fantastic - they did a Sutton reprint exclusively for my shop !!

  4. Yes Clive, I know who Haynes are and that they are a fairly substantial operation with wide ranging publications and that they supply Sutton (the book I was trying to get) which makes it all the more galling that I was expected to throw away £3.50 p&p.

    I was expecting to pay postage and to get a discount of 20-25%. This meant the customer could get the book for what we paid for it. Not making any money but happy and returning customer. I can't afford to pay for good customer relations.

    As for the trust issue? Well a simple call to the Yellow Pages would have established that Crockatt & Powell are indeed booksellers in Lower Marsh.

  5. Oh, and while you're there Clive you were terribly unfair to my old bookshop on their fledgling blog. Something about a dock-side knee trembler? Really!

    But someone should take them aside I feel and give them a few notes on proof-reading and editing. Just tighten things up a bit to make it slightly even remotely interesting.

    Surely, if you're not really interested in having a blog then who the hell else will be?

  6. Did the post mention anything about pig killers, Marie or just the words "Haynes" and "Car Manuals"?


  7. Who is this strange creature they call anonymous?

    I do love it when people hide their identities while making snardy comments. It's so uplifting.