2020 Book Depot Wrap-Up
January 13, 2021
It has been a strange and challenging year for the book industry. It would be impossible to look back on 2020 and ignore the impact that COVID-19 has had in the book trade, whether retail, institutional or otherwise. From those challenges, we have been stretched in ways never imagined. In light of that, we would like to focus on some of the positives that came out of the year.
Increased Product Selection
At the start of 2020, Book Depot renewed its commitment to add more books, specifically, more unique titles to our inventory. One of Book Depot’s strengths is our product diversity and the number of titles that we carry across a variety of categories and subjects. Even though our title selection is almost unmatched in the bargain book industry, we felt like this was an area that we could continue to improve. With that in mind, we set out lofty goals to increase our sortation abilities and maximize our title counts. We were well on track to hit our goals through the first part of the year, and then we all know what happened. Once the pandemic hit, many of our staff were redeployed to cover critical business areas. Others took short-term leaves to care for loved ones or oversee online learning for their children. Through all of this, we still pushed hard to sort as many books as we could, when we could. As the business started to return to somewhat normal levels and staffing began to stabilize, we once again put a strong emphasis on sorting as many books as possible. We have some exciting new initiatives planned to help us fulfill this commitment and look forward to sharing that in the coming months.
To fulfill our commitment to adding more products to our inventory, Book Depot also actively looked to expand our product offering through new acquisitions with various publishers. Some of the new publishers to Book Depot include Abrams, HarperCollins trade paper, Quarto, and Adams Media, to name a few. This is in addition to the regular product that we continually receive from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Harper Christian, Hachette, and many more. We were also pleased to add 16 new titles to our very own Paper Mill Press line of classic novels. A few of the latest titles include The Picture of Dorian Gray, Phantom of the Opera, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Gulliver’s Travels. In addition to this, with the rights of The Great Gatsby now classified under US public domain, we can offer our Paper Mill Press edition of this book to our US customers!
One area that we continually look to improve is the customer experience on the Book Depot websites. In 2020, we refreshed our homepage to provide a more user-friendly shopping experience. In addition, we also added several new specialized lists, including lists for many regions internationally. We even further broke down the regions across the US and Canada to provide more state or province-specific lists for more tailored browsing. We also added a featured section on our Browse drop-down menu to offer some additional themed lists such as Disney and Star Wars, which we will continue to change up regularly. Many of the changes made progress towards creating a more customized shopping experience, which we will continue to build on.
Reduced Turnaround Time
Under our operations team’s direction, Book Depot has worked hard to streamline our processes and create a more efficient business. This is an ongoing project, which was especially beneficial when we were in the first wave of COVID-19. Despite reduced staff levels, we were able to keep things moving through the production stream. Throughout the year, order turnaround dropped to an average of four business days for a small to medium size order. Some factors like the time of year do create fluctuations, but we continue to work towards shipping orders out within four business days or less.
It was definitely a year to remember! We appreciate your support and the trust that you have placed with us to fill your bargain book needs. Especially in a year such as 2020, we are consistently reminded to never take anything for granted. We thank you for your patronage and look forward to servicing you again in 2021 and beyond!
Online Sales Manager