Whether you source textbooks online, in-person, or elsewhere, it’s not too late to expand your inventory―and grow your fall season profits―by following a few simple tips to speed up the process:

Textbook season has arrived! Although business is already booming, the season doesn’t peak until next week, when won’t be unusual to see sales up to about 50% higher that what we’re already seeing, with the following week still up about 20-30% over the week ending this Saturday. Seasonal sales should remain high until mid-September.

Even if you source textbooks online, it’s not too late to shore up your inventory even further and still move those items this season (and even if they don’t sell in August or September, you’ll have another change in January before the next round of long-term storage fees kick in).

Most books purchased today will have a stated arrival window ending on either September 1st or September 12th for standard shipping, with the majority, especially those shipped by larger sellers, tending to arrive well before that.

Offers with an optional upgrade to expedited shipping, as of today, will likely have an arrival window ending on August 25th or 30th. Seeing as that upgrade will usually only cost you an extra $3, it’s certainly worth considering.

If you’re using Hasten, you can use the custom “Arrives by” filter to quickly identify offers guaranteed to arrive prior to your desired cutoff date. Learn how to configure the default settings here.

The closer you or your prep service are located relative to your fulfillment center, the greater a speed advantage you have in getting your books to Amazon upon listing them, with some sellers routinely having their shipments received in-full (and often, some of the contents already sold) within 24 hours of the shipment leaving their doorstep.

Whether or not you’re among those lucky few, there are still some steps you can take to increase the chances that Amazon will receive your items quickly upon delivery:

 

By far the most important seems to be to use single-box shipments whenever possible. Amazon’s warehouse staff are required to meet various performance quotes, and one of those appears to be the number of shipments received. If you were a warehouse worker concerned with meeting your metrics, wouldn’t you be more likely to grab the box label “1 of 1” than the box labeled “1 of 37”? The difference this can make during peak receiving times, such as the weeks leading up to Christmas, is massive.

Then there’s the question of sticker placement. If you favor side-labeling, and are using oblong boxes, consider placing your labels on the smallest side of the box, not on one of the longer sides. The way boxes tend to be stacked, this placement makes it less likely that warehouse staff will need to maneuver your box around in order to hand-scan the label – and the less work they need to perform, the more likely they are to get it done quickly. The decision of whether to label the top or the side comes down to which form of scanning (hand or conveyor) you feel plays a larger role in your receive time. Most scanning is done on conveyor, where top-labeled boxes have a clear advantage, but some steps, like initial check-in, may involve hand-scanning of stacked boxes, where the advantage goes to side labels. Another consideration is the relative susceptibility of the sticker to damage in different locations.

Ultimately, there’s no wrong answer on top-versus-side label placement (except for placing barcodes directly over the top seam that the warehouse staff are going to slice open – that’s just asking for trouble): Make an informed decision, and do what works best for you.

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We hope these tips help you to up your last-minute sourcing game and drive your seasonal textbooks profits through the roof. Thanks for reading!

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