Behind the Scenes with a Bookseller

At Fireside Books, the independent bookstore where I work, we enter new and used books into our computer inventory starting with the ISBN number. We type in the number, and if we’ve never had it in stock, our computer system accesses a database called Venstock and automatically pulls in the pertinent information— title, author, subject keywords, price. A new inventory item is then created that allows us to track when it will be published, how many we have ordered from the publisher, how many we’ve sold, and how many we’ve returned.

We go through this process of “Venstocking” when we are ordering a book for a customer, receiving a used book, preparing to order from a publisher, or when we come across a new title we think we might order in the future. Occasionally, if the book is out-of-print or self-published, the ISBN brings up a blank item page. Then we have to manually type in all the information.

When I got to the shop last Saturday morning, I typed a new ISBN into our system and held my breath. It wasn’t yet 10 a.m. I hadn’t unlocked the front door or flipped on the OPEN sign. The coffee was brewing. All was quiet. I watched the computer.

And then it happened, as if by magic. A new inventory page came up, with all the information filled in—THE SNOW CHILD. Author—Ivey, Eowyn. $24.99. Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown & Co.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had an experience as wonderfully surreal as that moment.

Eowyn Ivey’s debut novel, THE SNOW CHILD, comes out February 2012.

One Comment

  1. Lily
    Posted March 30, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    How exciting! Congratulations, Eowyn.

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