For an education session at this month’s Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association trade show, Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington, compiled a list of best practices for Edelweiss users. Sindelar polled buyers at a number of bookstores as well as publisher sales reps to compile a list of best practices for making the most of the online, interactive, cross-publisher catalog service from Above the Treeline, which is free to booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and other catalog users. Below is Sindelar’s list for buyers, edited and annotated with links by Above the Treeline’s Joe Foster, who noted that the list will become even better as more users e-mail their suggestions.
Here’s the annotated list of Edelweiss Best Practices for Buyers:
- Review catalogs in advance. The more prepared you are, the quicker and more productive your buying session will be. Add numbers and let your rep know you’ve gone through the catalogs so they can review the order before you even meet.
- If you’re unable to see your reps’ mark-up notes, be sure to let them know and remind them of the e-mail address you use to log in to Edelweiss.
- Send notification to “request review” at least one day before your buying appointment using the Send Notification tool in your Orders tab. This is a great way to communicate with your rep and to keep track of that communication right in Edelweiss.
- Schedule your Edelweiss appointments judiciously (don’t inflict a zombie-eyed buyer on your rep). Buying Random House, Macmillan, and IPG all in one day is, while impressive, sort of insane. You’re sure to make poorer choices and make things much harder for all of those reps as well as for yourself.
- Tell your rep if you appreciate suggested orders (often a good way to flag important titles). Not everyone does, but this can be a good way to have a conversation, of sorts, with your rep before you even meet to have your real conversation.
- Use Tags to mark titles you want to review with the rep. You can filter your catalogs/orders by your tags to find them quickly.
- If you’re a Treeline store, look at POS Analytics from the same season last year and review with your rep before you buy for the current season. You can even print this report and e-mail it along to your rep before you meet. This is like handing out a report card.
- If worried about duplicating an order for a title, click References to look for previous orders. You’ll be able to see all the Catalogs, Collections, and Orders associated with that title.
- If you are not on Treeline Analytics, get on it if your POS is compatible. It makes for smarter and more informed buys and saves tons of time.
- Avoid creating multiple purchase orders for the same catalog. If you’ve created an order for a catalog or season already, you’ll find that order in the Active Orders menu while looking at a catalog. Paying attention here will save you, your colleagues, and your reps a lot of confusion later.
- You can create Watch Lists in Treeline of titles you order lightly, special promotions, display titles, etc. This allows you to check on their performance once they hit shelves, using all the powerful tools you can find in Treeline.
- Use Tags to create customized lists of titles for future use (for end caps, newsletters, etc.). You can filter Tag lists by publication date (among many other things). Some stores use tags to mark that they’ve viewed a drop-in title and have decided against bringing it in, or to create lists of important titles to print off each month to give their staff a heads-up about what’s coming, etc. Tags are easily one of the most useful tools in Edelweiss.
- Use Catalog Subscriptions to keep track of any changes (drop-ins) that happen to catalogs after you have looked at them. Using this tool regularly will help ensure that you never miss another drop-in title.
- If you are having any trouble, don’t hesitate to contact Edelweiss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Just getting started? Watch this video recording of an Introduction to Edelweiss training session for buyers. You’ll learn about navigation, order creation, order management, etc.
- Talk to your rep well ahead of the appointment to discuss your Edelweiss strategy. If you plan on talking about every title in a 900-title catalog, it’s best if you both know this. If you both plan in advance — you get your reps’ mark-ups in advance, you go through and add numbers, and they check your orders before you meet — the buying appointment could easily be 45 minutes rather than five hours. Talking about this with your rep beforehand is beneficial for you both. Communication is king, even (especially) in the digital age.
- Using the Edelweiss Community tools, make Friends with your staff and your reps. Paying attention to what your staff is reading and reviewing can help you buy more intelligently. Knowing that a great handseller loves a particular book will give you a heads-up to increase stock. Obviously, encouraging your staff to get involved in the Edelweiss Community is the first step here. Making Friends with your reps will allow you to not only see what they’re linking in their lists, but will allow you to share comments on titles, etc. There are a lot of possibilities here.
- Update your browsers! You’ll be surprised how much better the Internet works when you’re working on the latest browsers.
Have any other best practices you’d like to share? Edelweiss would love to hear them.