Textbook Returns 101: Overview


Our new Returns Module drops today, and we couldn't be happier for it, for us, or for you. Here's a quick walkthrough of the pieces that make this module tick. 

If you're new to the world of textbook returns, then this is the article for you. If you're so good at returns that your nickname around the store is "Return of the Jedi," then skip ahead to Prep Work, RRAs or Credit Memos

OK. Big picture, here's what's happening: 


1. You bring textbooks into your bookstore. 

This can happen through buyback (get those Price Rules set up! Then jump over to our Buyback Guide). It can also happen through alternative sourcing platforms like Sidewalk Marketplace, through publishers, and through wholesalers. 

There's some paperwork involved here if you're sourcing from a Supplier, rather than a student. You need a Purchase Order, and then you need to Invoice that PO. 


2. You source smart using Sidewalk Pro, so you sell through almost everything. 

Sidewalk Pro has a powerful sourcing wizard built right into it, called the Quantity to Provide, or QTP. Based on settings you tweak, it will suggest how many books you can expect to have on the shelf when your Rush starts, how many you should have on the shelf, and how many to spend good money to source. 

It's a big process, and it's totally worth it. We have the start of a Textbook Sourcing Guide up for you, and we'll add sections to it as your term gets going. 


3. You have a couple textbooks left over, and you need to return them with an RRA.  

Suppliers like Sidewalk Marketplace, textbook wholesalers and publishers often allow you to return books that you couldn't sell, usually for damaged copies or overstock. The details of these deals vary by store and by supplier. Bottom-line: if you need to return books within the supplier's return window, they'll usually give you a credit. 

There's paperwork involved here as well. You need to figure out which books are eligible for return. Then for those books, you need to create a Request for Return Authorization, or RRA. The supplier will give you a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number to return your inventory against, and you'll include that RMA with your RRA. 

Sidewalk Pro lets you create RRAs for the right inventory and the right suppliers. It has a special cart that lets you move the inventory on the RRA out of your system, and a couple simple buttons that let you export your RRA to fax, email, or ship to the supplier. 


4. The supplier takes your books back, and sends you a Credit Memo to reconcile. 

More paperwork! You need to reconcile what the supplier actually took back against the inventory that you sent them to return. That's what Credit Memos are for. 

Your supplier will send you a Credit Memo. You'll use our Credit Memo module to create a digital copy of that document. This process might seem familiar. Reconciling Credit Memos to RRAs is very similar to reconciling Invoices to Purchase Orders. 


5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

That's it! At the end of this process, you'll have the right data to give to your accountant, and Pro will have the right data to present an accurate picture of where your inventory is and what it's worth. 


Ready for the next sections? Check out Prep Work for a successful textbook return, the nuts and bolts of RRAs, or all you ever wanted to know about Credit Memos

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