Today I will go over what you need for inventory if you plan to sell books directly or if you know you plan to send review copies out to people. I did several videos earlier this year about selling books directly whether online or in person. And that means you need books in stock. Back in the early days of self-publishing authors would get an offset run of their print books and sell them door to door, bookstore to bookstore. Thankfully we don’t have to do that anymore.
Okay, so surprise surprise, you need copies of your books. I have 8 books out now so I order 10 of the popular ones and a handful of the less popular ones at a time.
-Books, mailers, supplies
But then how do you get your books to people? Bubble mailers! Why bubble mailers? Because they are nice and plastic-lined and will protect the edges of your books. You don’t want your book to arrive and be soaked through from the rain or crumpled.
I usually keep the manila 8.5 x 11 in mailers for media mail and I also have a stock of the USPS priority mail bubble mailers too. If I am sending a copy of my book to the Library of Congress per the agreement when I request my LCCN, I am going to use Media Mail. No rush, nothing fancy. If I am sending a copy of the book to a friend who is an author and I want to add in a note and thank them for their support and I want them to get it before they can go order a copy because I want to give them a free copy, I will use the priority mail. Gets it there fast. If I have any autographed orders over a certain dollar amount I’ll use these too so that it gets there fast.
If you have a book that is 8.5×11, like a workbook or curriculum, you’re going to need a large envelope and you may have to order those in advance. I wouldn’t count on your local USPS or FedEx office having the exact size.
I have considered adding on stickers to make the packaging look nicer. I’ve also considered buying a primer just so I can print out the mailing labels and schedule USPS pick-ups. I may end up doing that because running to the post office during a pandemic has been stressful and I don’t see it getting any easier once I have a baby.
I have a spreadsheet that tracks all of this inventory, the books and the mailers so that I know the unit cost of each book. Any shipping costs if I had to pay for shipping to me. And then the total value of each unit. I need this for end of year tax purposes as well so this helps me not just see the inventory I have, but it helps for taxes too.
So that is how I manage inventory. And, if you want to help me clear out some of this inventory I will have links for purchasing autographed copies below.
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