To Which Theory do you Subscribe?

So my store has to offer Pull/Reserve/Subscription Services right? I mean, can anyone, excepting Mr. Hanley, afford to NOT have a pull system? Hibbs and many others have pointed out the various tradeoffs involved, particularly with regards to discount, and in the early part of this enterprise I find myself agreeing with the idea that offering a discount on preorders is not the most economically sound approach. At the same time, our customers have been trained to expect a discount and can easily find nice big ones via the internet. Shouldn’t there be some trade-off for the information they provide, as well as the “guaranteed” sale? A credit towards the next purchase seems the fairest option, particularly since the majority of pull service customers are weekly/bi-weekly customers in the first place.

Again, though, this cuts into margins that, lets be honest, are fairly small to begin with. Since MacGuffin is a store that’s success or failure is closely tied to backlist, that margin is already smaller for a significant portion of our inventory that falls under Diamond’s 3% reorder penalty. The easy solution to that little dilemma is to offer a future purchase credit only on those titles that are ordered in advance by the customer. Logically speaking, so far so good. Problem is, a much larger percentage of our capital is tied up in backlist inventory (trades and graphic novels) than in frontlist, new release inventory. So while offering, say 10% of today’s frontlist items purchased off of your next purchase is logically reasonable, it doesn’t do much to offset the fact that we make a smaller margin off the majority of our inventory. This one isn’t so much a fairness issue as it is a need to keep the doors open issue.

We’ve settled on a third option to begin with, though I reserve the right to ignore any previous analysis and create a completely, randomly ridiculous new system. We will hold anything the customer would like for two weeks, with no obligation to the customer to purchase said merchandise. We will not, however, offer any discount on said merchandise. Is it fair? I have no idea. Will it work? Hopefully well enough, though there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly controversial about it.

I’m curious, though, what those of you in the internet majority believe.


Blogger jason @ RIOT said...

thanks for the link love.

just curious though...are you carrying ANY monthly titles or just strictly trades and hardcovers? (hard to tell from the pics what is actually on the shelves).

1:51 PM  
Blogger Sam Hobart said...

The monthlies are on the black shelves in the back -- I'm staying away from long boxes of back issues but it would probably be complete suicide to not carry any monthlies.

2:05 PM  
Blogger jason @ RIOT said...


from what i can tell, our stores are very similar.

6:30 PM  

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