Solutions

Orca Books

"The database runs the store," says Larry Nichols, database developer for Orca Books. "It tracks inventory, customers, store credit, ordering, buying, cataloging, and point of sale."

Store owner stocks rare books using FileMaker Go for iPhone
Orca Books owner uses FileMaker Go for iPhone to access store inventory while book hunting

Overview

  • Bookstore located in Olympia, WA needed to keep track of current inventory when on buying trips

Industry

  • Small Business

Solutions

  • Built a FileMaker Go solution that accesses the existing FileMaker Pro solution

Benefits

  • Tracks inventory on the go
  • Tracks sales of current stock Owner knows what books, and how many, to buy
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Linda Berentsen

In a store that sells both new and used books, data is key. Stock up on too many copies of a slow seller and the shelves will soon be stuffed. Yet often books must be purchased away from the store. That’s why Olympia, WA–based Orca Books built a FileMaker database designed to work on FileMaker Go for iPhone.

"When I'm out scouting for books to purchase for the bookstore, I need to know what we currently have on our shelves and what has sold in the past," says Linda Berentsen, owner of Orca Books. Until recently, Berentsen had no way to access the store’s FileMaker Pro database on the go. Now, with FileMaker Go for iPhone, it’s always with her. "Wherever I go, I can access my Orca’s inventory with FileMaker Go," she says. "When I'm out at a garage sale, estate sale, or book swap I can check the inventory before I buy."

FileMaker Backbone

FileMaker Pro data is the backbone of Orca Books. "The database runs the store," says Larry Nichols, database developer for Orca Books. "It tracks inventory, customers, store credit, ordering, buying, cataloging, and point of sale."

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Larry Nichols

"We really have a good system now," says Berentsen. "Our database is able to do things that no off–the–shelf book store management application can do. That’s the best part of FileMaker Pro — it’s customizable! And our database runs on a Mac and also on Windows. It has taken us a while to get everything dialed in, but now we have a great solution."

Most of Orca's used titles are bought directly from customers. But Berentsen still searches for rarities at garage sales, estate sales, book swaps, and book fairs.

Berentsen has an iPhone and always carries it with her. What she needed was a way to tie her iPhone to her database.

With FileMaker Go, she can check the store inventory on her iPhone to ensure she doesn't buy duplicates. "I created a basic database that lets her search the inventory by title, author, or ISBN," says Nichols. "It gives her stock information and sales history for the books."

"The FileMaker Go database is very helpful when I'm out browsing for books," says Berentsen. "It’s a lot more than just inventory. I can check to see if a book that was popular in the past is still a strong seller. Often I run across a book that used to be a best seller, but now isn't. We may already have 10 copies and don't need any more. The database has all of that information. It keeps up with the waves of book popularity better than I can."

I did everything I needed to do on the desktop version and just copied it over to FileMaker Go on the iPhone

—Larry Nichols, Database Developer for Orca Books

Setting up FileMaker Go was virtually effortless, says Nichols. "I did everything I needed to do on the desktop version and just copied it over to FileMaker Go on the iPhone," he says. "It works just as well on the iPhone as it does on the desktop."

The future with FileMaker Go

Berentsen and Nichols hope to use FileMaker Go to further expand the use of her iPhone. "When I go to conferences, I often see or hear about books that I'd like to add to the inventory," says Berentsen. "Right now, I just write the title down and hope I don't misplace the notebook. I would love to just order or pre–order books for the store from my iPhone or iPad using FileMaker Go."

FileMaker Go could also be used at conferences to sell rare books, says Nichols. "Right now we use sales slips and run credit cards manually," he says. "I would like to use FileMaker Go to streamline that process."

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker, Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com