The Wonderful Approval Plan
By Jonathan Perry —
[Originally published at Jared & Perry Metadata. Used with permission.]
Here is a 30-second reminder about some of the book world’s quietest and most loyal customers: library approval plans. Libraries collect books. Collection management is a complicated and time-consuming process. Many libraries set up “approval plans” that are basically elaborate sets of needs that are handled by a combination of librarians and computerized databases. If library x is collecting books in, say, Civil War history, and you are planning to publish such a book, and you send out good metadata to the supply chain, some computers somewhere will “notice” it and give an electronic “hey!” Your book will then likely get noticed by a human actively looking to buy such books, and in many cases the orders will follow, and more in the future, from then on, at no selling expense to you.
What happens if you didn’t send out the data, or left out essential parts of it? You probably get nothing.
About the Author: From my first day in my own bookstore, I quickly realized I needed correct information – to find a book for a customer, to order inventory from a publisher – to organize my store in a way that made shopping pleasurable and actionable.
While working in bookstore management, and later in sales and sales management for a couple of established publishing companies, I found I was spending up to 25% of my time doing database and metadata work. I chose to do so because many of the books I was trying to sell had such limited information; customers could not find them, much less make a purchase! It was clear to me that without complete, accurate information – metadata – I had problems; and with it, I had happier customers and increased sales.