Sunday, November 15, 2009

Amazon Orders Again -- But Why This Amount?

This morning while shaving I checked the e-mail on my iPhone and there was another announcement of a new order for books from Amazon Advantage. This started me wondering and worrying. The e-mail didn't say how many books are ordered, so I speculated on the possibilities. Their previous orders had been for 2 books, then 23, then 27. So could they be ordering some huge amount now? (Huge by my standards, that is.) The book had been showing up as out of stock on Amazon for days now; maybe they wanted to stock up to meet the demand as the holidays approach. I thought to myself, if they want 50 books, I can't do that. Clenise's arm is sore from operating the binding machine and cutter. We can't run ourselves into the ground just to sell books on Amazon at a marginal amount.

I needn't have worried. The Amazon order turned out to be for: 5 books. I can't figure that out. If the first three orders sold out so fast, why do they want only 5 books this time? Anyway, I'm sure they have sophisticated software that decides how many to order. I'm actually glad it was a small order, because now we can try to build up our inventory; right now we actually have more than 20 books printed and bound, and both printers are clicking away happily as I type this. I won't mind concentrating on individual orders rather than scrambling to ship a large amount to Amazon. Just this morning, a gentleman ordered a book through, and included a message saying he needs the book by Wednesday, and could I send it by FedEx. I replied that the normal Priority Mail should make it on time; I'll be sure to mail it early Monday morning. I enjoy that kind of interaction; I'm glad to know someone "needs" the book!

Just to fill out the toner story a bit more, there's one thing the Cartridge World people didn't tell us when we first contacted them about getting refilled color toner cartridges. When we went there yesterday to have them reset the magenta cartridge that the printer thought was empty, the fellow told us that the refilled cartridges don't contain toner that is equivalent to the genuine Brother toner, because of patent issues. He acknowledged that the color printing will be lighter with the refilled toner, and that we have to set the printing to "vivid" to get the same level of color we have been getting. So, we may end up using more toner, and cancelling out any savings. We'll see how that works out.

We did find slightly cheaper color laser paper in the 28-pound weight we're using, at OfficeMax, and it seems to be working quite well.

Right now, things are going well enough that I'm starting to think about writing another camera guidebook, though it's too early to take any definite steps in that direction. For now, the Leica D-Lux 4 camera seems to be still very popular, and new camera sales mean the possibility of more book sales.

I finally found time to enter most of my book order data into my Bento database on the Mac last night. Now I have to enter the expenses and start generating reports. It will be interesting to find out if we're making any money.

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