Saturday, January 02, 2010

Mass Market Paperbacks at MITS

2nd in a series on organizing books at the Mercer Island Thrift Store.

Mass Market Paperbacks (MMPB) are are about 110 mm x 170mm (about 4" x 7.0") in size. If they aren't really thick, they might fit into a pocket and thus, at MITS, we often call them "Pocket paperbacks". They have their own price point and provide inexpensive reading alternative to Trade Paperbacks and hardcovers.

In general we don't mix tMMPB with the hardcovers (or hardbacks - HB), which get the premium shelves, or with the paperbacks, because we would rather sell HB or Tradepaperback than a MMPB. Also, the shelves look a lot neater and are easier for a shopper to scan if the book sizes are similar.

We stock MMPB in several places, chiefly by genre:
  • Our most common MMPBs are action/adventure/spy/crime and the like. If it's about something blowing up, it probably fits there.
  • Romance novels usually come in MMPB. This is one of the few locations where we mix HB and MMPB since the entire category is a small number of shelves. While Romance does sell well, we tend to get more donations than sales, so it's a good idea to cull the slow sellers. Romance in particular seems to prefer newer titles instead of old ones, so if there's a shortage of room, cull anything that is older.
  • Classics, like Romance, mix MMPBs and other formats. They tend to sell steadily.
  • Science Fiction is similar to Romance, in that MMPBs and HB mix well and sell slowly. Cull anything that's a movie adaptation.
  • Westerns also mix MMPB and HB but usually don't need to be culled; we have greater demand than supply so almost anything Western will sell.
  • Children's MMPB don't sell much at all. We set them out but if there's a space shortage, cull them! We'll get more.
  • General MMPBs. If there's no room in the proper category for a MMPB, put it in the catch-all shelf (the one that is unpainted wood, at the Housewares island endcap). These seem to sell well; some shoppers seem to enjoy looking through the "anything goes" mixture!
MMPBs don't make a lot of money per-unit, but they seem to sell steadily and make customers happy.

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