Ah, Sweet Mystery of Books…

…at last I’ve found you.

It’s inventory time at the Willow, and I take it personally. If I actually had a title at the bookstore (ok, ok, I’m sure many of you could come up with many possible titles for me, but let’s not go there), it would probably be Inventory ClerK, or ICK, for short.

As the resident ICK, I do a fair percentage of book ordering (not picking what books to order, just getting the orders into our computer inventory system) and almost all of the receiving (entering the books into our inventory system when they actually come in the door.) And I’m probably as familiar with the overall system as anyone at the store. Although we constantly try to ensure that our computer inventory accurately reflects what is on our shelves, for this one (two? three?) week(s) of the year, we actually go thru every book on every shelf and make sure we have what we say we have. And you know that old adage, “a place for everything and everything in its place”? Not entirely valid in the bookstore setting, but at least everything should be in a place where we can find it.

If you had come in the bookstore this week, you would likely have found us sitting on the floor, staring at the shelves with a clipboard in our hands, or dashing to the computer to check on a missing (or found) book. The backroom is FULL of boxes waiting to be unpacked (don’t have to count them if they’re still in the boxes!) and we’re all a little punchy and bleary-eyed, but we’ve made great progress and after one more day all that should be left is tracking down a few more missing-in-action titles.

How can inventory get so off? Well, actually, we’ve uncovered numerous scenarios that contribute to inventory “shrinkage”. Still, it irks this ICK – we really ought to be able to keep it all in straight. So it’s more new year’s resolutions of modified procedures and a be-more-careful attitude. And we’ll do it all again next year.

Until then, from all of your local booksellers, thanks for your patience; we KNOW it’s here somewhere.

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