Inventory Management

This course is designed for those who are employed by or who own a retail bookstore (this includes a mobile or pop-up shop) that has been in existence for at least 1 year and has 25%+ new book inventory. The course will teach owners and/or store buyers to create buying strategies and routines that get the best discounts, maintain cash flow, work within budgets, and integrate with the store’s marketing and merchandising. The skills students learn will help them analyze and improve their buying process.

Our 2024 Instructors

Dean Jill Hendrix, Owner, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Josh Christie, Co-owner, Print: A Bookstore, Portland, ME

Erin Caudill, Buying Manager, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Latonia, KY

Melissa DeMotte, Owner, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, ID

Alison Reid, Co-owner, Diesel, A Bookstore, Del Mar, CA

Kate Reynolds, Book Buyer, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Carol Price, Owner/Buyer, Book People of Moscow, Moscow, ID

  2024 Student Resource Page


Being an active member of the bookselling industry is a critical step in growing a bookstore and shows commitment to your chosen profession. Stores with students in all Professional Booksellers School courses are required to be current members of their regional trade association and/or the American Booksellers Association. Students must also be enrolled in PBS, which is free.

Course Components & Cost

This course consists of live classes via Zoom, office hours, and a final project. Homework is assigned for each class. Students are expected to attend the live classes, turn in all homework, and pass their final project to be certified.  The course is $375, with discounts available for members of NAIBA, NEIBA, CALIBA, MIBA, SIBA, and MPIBA. Find out what support your Regional Trade Association offers on our website.

Preview the 2024 Syllabus

Course Objectives

The Professional Booksellers School Inventory Management Course provides buyers with the skills and tools to:

  • use the store’s POS to manage and analyze inventory and ordering
  • efficiently select and order the new book inventory that will sell best for their particular store
  • build a system to schedule and track ordering
  • understand how and when to order direct from publishers for better discounts
  • use Ingram for front list and special orders
  • maintain cash flow via returns, turns, and budgets
  • integrate marketing and merchandising into the buying process so that their carefully selected inventory actually sells
  • analyze and improve their buying process over time
Major Project Deliverables

Homework for Inventory Management is completed via Trello. Assignments include, but are not limited to: frontlist and restocking criteria; buying calendars and schedules; community demographics and target markets; procedure documentation; turns and COGS calculations; at least one specced out inventory experiment, and a big picture strategic plan as the final project.  


Section One: Introductory Material

Class 1 -  Welcome to course, syllabus overview, how to succeed

Class 2 -  Book Buyer Overview

Section Two: Using Wholesalers

Class 3 -  Introduction to the Power of Ingram

Class 4 - Special OrderWorkflows, Website Fulfillment & Ingram Tips & Tricks

Section Three: Curating Your Store

Class 5 - Buying Criteria

Class 6 -  Frontlist Buying Through Edelweiss+

Class 7 -  Children's Buying

Class 8 - Communicating the Buy Internally & Externally

Class 9 -  Sidelines

Class 10 -  Restocking, Event Orders & Backlist Promos

Class 11 -  Returns

Section Four: Cash Flow & Profitability

Class 12 -  Buying to Constraints

Class 13 -  Basic Bookbuyer Math: COGS & Inventory Turns

Class 14 -  Co-Op

Class 15 -  Data, Metrics, and Efficiencies

Class 16 -  Final Project & Action Plans

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this course, students will be able to:

  • Set and/or document your store’s buying criteria
  • Create a direct publisher frontlist order using Edelweiss
  • Create and send a restocking order via Ingram
  • Use Pubeasy to check publisher stock levels and/or place orders
  • Determine the distributor for a small press
  • Establish and/or document communication procedures between the buyer and other staff/departments
  • Generate a publisher overstock return pull list
  • Communicate necessary info about your buy to frontline booksellers, marketing staff, etc.
  • Set buying performance goals and know how to track and analyze your metrics
  • Discuss the benefits of advanced tools like Pubnet and Edelweiss Analytics
  • Price sidelines to achieve a desired profit margin
  • Calculate COGS for inventory purchased at different terms
  • Create a Trello Board to centrally track vendor information (including publisher promotional offers) and your store’s buying systems and procedures

If you have questions or need assistance, contact administration at

Upcoming Courses       Recorded Courses