Preparing Your Store for WordStock

Setting Installation Dates

Once we receive signed contracts from you, our Installation staff will contact you to arrange installing your system.

If you're going to have your inventory counted by an inventory service, such as RGIS or Western, you'll need to set a date for the count, but please finalize your installation dates with WordStock before setting a date for the inventory to be counted.

Try to give yourself 2-4 weeks between the installation/training dates and putting your inventory on the system. This will give you time to familiarize yourself with WordStock's programs and hardware before real information is loaded into the computer. (This loading of the inventory is often referred to as "going on-line".)

Once your inventory is in the system and on-line, everything you do with WordStock really counts and will effect the accuracy of the information. Until then, you can learn more about WordStock by practicing the exercises in the WordStock User Manual.

Things to Do Before Installation & Training • back to top »

WordStock's User Manual consists of two volumes, Tutorials and Reference. Please read as much of the manual as you can before your system is installed; it will make your training more productive.

Feel free to make up to 25 copies of the manual for use by your staff. You may find it most helpful to photocopy specific chapters for staff members who have specialized jobs, such as receiving.

We recommend starting with the chapters Getting Started and Routinely Run Programs. In addition to general help, such as how to turn on the computer, these chapters also offer help with scheduling routine computer tasks, such as closing the store. They also outline exercises you should practice before the system is installed and goes on-line.

Once you're ready to learn more, Getting Started will bring you as far as the main WordStock menu. When you have the menu on the screen, you can follow the tutorials for any of the programs. This is a good time to practice data entry:

Make an Inventory record;
Make a Product record;
Make a Section record;
Make a Publisher record.

Enter a question mark [?] at any command prompt to see a help screen;if you're having trouble, take notes and save questions for your training session.

Defining Products & Sections • back to top »

You'll need to define Products and Sections because WordStock tracks each item in inventory under one Product category (equivalent to Department), such as trade paperbacks or posters, and at least one Section category (Classification), such as History or Impressionism. It's not essential to define these codes before the system is installed, because our Installer can help you with it, but doing so will maximize the time available for training.

A WordStock Product is tracked under both a Product code and a Product name. A Product code is a number between 1 and 99. A Product name is a description of the merchandise, such as Compact Disks or Hardcover Books or T-shirts. The Product name can be up to 30 alphanumeric characters, so you should be able to give everything a name that is a meaningful description of the merchandise.

Like Products, Sections have a numeric code and a name. There are up to 999 Sections available, so Sections can be used to subdivide merchandise across Product lines. For example, if you have a section called Gardening, all products that relate to gardening, whether books, calendars, or posters, can be tracked under the Gardening section.

If you define Sections carefully, you'll be able to produce very specific and useful reports. For example, you'll be able to determine how Gardening calendars sell compared to Art calendars. Therefore, think carefully about how finely-tuned you want your Sections to be, based on the range of merchandise you carry.

It's better to define more Sections than you think you'll ultimately need, because it's easier to merge them later than it is to subdivide existing Sections.

Some buyers use a numbering system or pattern to make it easier to assign items to specific Sections. For example, a store with a large selection of titles and merchandise relating to travel might use a scheme like this:

  • 200 General Travel
  • 210 USA and Canada
  • 220 Mexico and Central America
  • 230 South America
  • 240 Europe
  • 250 Africa
  • 260 Asia

This way, as soon as you see anything from a section numbered 200 and 300, you'll know instantly that it's related to travel.

By leaving room between Sections, you'll have the flexibility to add subdivisions later. For example, books on the individual countries of Europe could be divided further as:

  • 240 Europe
  • 241 United Kingdom
  • 242 France
  • 243 Germany
  • 244 Italy
  • 250 Africa

Making Vendor Records • back to top »

In addition to Product and Section files, you need to have a file of publishers, or vendors. Your system will be shipped with a Publisher File that contains records for approximately 1300 publishers. You may want to add local or specialized publishers.

In addition to entering your own account numbers and address information for your local sales rep, you may need to edit addresses for orders and returns. You don't have to delete any sales history shown, as it will will be removed automatically when your real database is installed.

Making Inventory Records • back to top »

Once you've established Product and Section codes, you can begin to create records. To create Product records, go to Maintain the Product File under the Working With Data Files menu. Similarly, go to Maintain the Section File to create Section records.

If the sample database that's shipped with your system has Product or Section records that you'd like to keep for your own inventory, just leave them. You don't need to delete any sales history that might be shown, because the data in each record will be erased and calculated when your inventory is loaded into the system. However, please be sure to check that the number, name, tax status, discount, and markup fields are accurate, and to update them if necessary.

Some buyers prefer to use Section codes as location codes, rather than as subject identifiers. For example, the Section numbers might be used to identify particular fixtures in the store. In this case, it's easiest to start the numbering to the left of the main entrance and move sequentially around the store, clockwise.

If you use this method, try to leave room between assigned numbers so you can accommodate future changes in your store's layout easily.

Installation & Training • back to top »

When the WordStock Installer arrives to install your system and to train you and your staff, s/he will discuss with you which staff members need to know which programs and tasks and draw up a training schedule.

Think about this in advance and try to have the right staff members available for the training period. Try to minimize interruptions by having other staff members cover the floor and phones. Since training is limited, free up as much of your own time as possible, too!

The WordStock Installer will need to know where cables have been run, where you want each piece of equipment, and your modem line number.

Between the time you're trained and the time your actual inventory is installed on the computer system, you can use the new cash registers. You won't be able to track the sales of individual items (because the real database won't be installed yet), but you can still sell items by Product codes. In other words, you'll know how many units and dollars of paperbacks were sold, but not which individual items.

If you haven't done so, this is the time to make Product and Section codes, as well as supplemental vendor info, such as your rep's address. It's also a good time to develop opening/closing procedures, daily/weekly schedules, and schedules for ordering/returns. Three things you should plan to do every day are:

  • Print individual & summary cash sheets;
  • Clear the register logs;
  • Back up the system.

Inventory Count • back to top »

Whether you count your inventory yourself, or hire a service to do it for you, you need to organize things in advance. Use returns and markdowns to eliminate dead titles, to save the expense of including non-selling titles in your database.

However, try not to make your inventory artificially low, or to reduce your selection of titles in order to minimize the cost of the inventory, because you'll eventually have to make records and purchase orders for the titles that weren't counted. If you have a representative selection of titles in-stock when the inventory is counted, you'll save time and money in the long run.

If you plan to hire an inventory company, such as Washington Inventory Service or RGIS, make sure you determine exactly what they expect from you, and what you can expect from them. They should give you a written description of their inventory process and how to prepare for it, as well as a written estimate of how long the inventory will take, what it will cost, and the kind of results you can expect.

After the Inventory Count • back to top »

If you use RGIS to count your inventory, they'll transmit the information to Ingram, who'll match it against their database. Ingram will send the completed information to WordStock, and we'll convert it to WordStock's format and send it to you on diskettes to be loaded into your system.

If you use Washington Inventory Service to count your inventory, they'll transmit the data directly to WordStock, where we'll match the data, create diskettes, and send them back to you.

It will take three to five business days from the time your inventory is counted until you receive your database on diskette.

During that time, you'll need to write down the ISBN and quantity of every title you sell, receive, or return.

Try to avoid having a weekend fall in the middle of this time, as it will cause additional delays.

Operating Environment, Cabling, Phone Lines, and Electrical Service • back to top »

Try to locate all equipment, especially the computer, in areas where foot traffic and dust will be minimal.

The computer should be on a sturdy desk or table, away from direct sunlight, radiators, heat vents, and open windows.

The preferred room temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees, Fahrenheit. The ideal environment is 75 degrees Fahrenheit, at a relative humidity of 50%.

Avoid placing the computer near large electrical devices, such as an air conditioner or a refrigerator, because they create magnetic fields that can interfere with the computer's operation.

Some theft-prevention devices can also interfere with operation at the point of sale. If you use such a device, please have the make, model, distances, and a vendor contact name available so that we may plan accordingly.

Try not to move the computer needlessly, because this can damage the heads of the hard disk or cause a diskette alignment problem.

If you're uncertain of where components should go, WordStock's Installer will help you to choose suitable locations.

System Cabling • back to top »

Before the system is installed, you may need to have in-wall cabling installed to connect the system server to the various workstations and pritners. The proposal that we develop for you will include the cables and adapters needed to connect the in-wall cable runs to the workstations and printers.

All in-wall cable runs should be 8-wire Category 5 cables, terminated to RJ-45 female wall plates, using IEEE standard T568B. Be sure to use a licensed electrician who complies with all local building, electrical, and fire codes.

Telephone Lines • back to top »

For Support purposes, it's essential that WordStock is able to dial into your system through your modem line. It's also essential to keep line interference to a minimum when ordering electronically.

Therefore, you should install a dedicated phone line for your system, in order to assure clear modem communications for electronic ordering.

Voice-to-data phone systems and phone systems with multiple extensions are not as good as dedicated lines, as they tend to cause interference.

Reminder: WordStock's Electronic Credit Card Authorization/Funds Transfer package requiresits own dedicated phone line.

Electrical Service • back to top »

Quality electrical service is essential: the ideal electrical service is a dedicated 3-wire-to-cold-water-ground circuit, with its own circuit breaker.

At the very least, the computer must be on its own circuit, and it must be verified that all outlets being used by any component go to a common ground. Don't assume that this is true because, if the grounding is not correct, voltage may appear on the ground line, or cause an electrical event known as a "ground loop", either of which can destroy the computer's circuitry.

Have your electrician verify that all electrical outlets are connected correctly (the hot lead should be connected to the small hole in the outlet plug) and that the ground line is at zero voltage.

Make sure that you have enough electrical outlets to support your entire system. If you can, plan ahead for possible future expansion of the system.

• Extension cords should not be used for any device, under any circumstances.

We suggest using a special color, such as red or orange, for the electrical outlets used for the computer system. Mark the outlet Computer System Only to avoid having anything that could cause problems, such as an air conditioner, being plugged into the computer system's circuit.

The computer and other system devices can be damaged or destroyed by electrical line "surges", which can be cause by many things, including lightning.

To protect your system against surges, make sure that every device in the system is plugged into a 3-stage surge protector. The original system will have the correct number of surge protectors, but you may need more if you expand the system.

• Again: never use extension cords.

Static electricity can cause problems with the computer's memory and other functions, and can cause printers to malfunction. If your office environment is prone to static discharge, consider using antistatic sprays and floor mats. We'll help you to locate these items, if you need them.

Cables should run parallel to the electrical service line to the target device, to minimize the possibility of an electrical ground loop. Try to keep cables at least one foot away from any possible source of electrical interference, such as air conditioners or refrigerators. If possible, submitting a floor plan of your store to WordStock in advance of installation can save time and reduce cabling errors.

If you need a cable run longer than 500 feet, e.g., if you have a POS that's very far from the main computer, we may need to add devices to amplify the signals. These devices are not typically included in the system selling price, so they could be an additional expense. Please let your Installer know as soon as possible if you'll need to have a cable longer than 500 feet.

Preventive Measures • back to top »

Designate the computer area as a non-drinking and non-eating area, to minimize the chances of accidents, such as spilling liquids on the keyboard.

Keep the area around the computer clean and free of dust and smoke, which can cause problems with the drives.

Try to control dust and debris, such as paper and ribbon residue, around printers, as they can interfere with proper functioning. Dust covers and small vacuums can be used to control this problem; vacuum the printer periodically.

Clean the read-write heads on your diskette drive and tape backup unit once a week. Appropriate cleaning kits may be purchased from WordStock.

Once you turn on devices, leave them on for the day: turning them on and off causes thermal expansion/contraction, which can damage their circuitry.

Turn down the brightness of any screen that's not being used to minimize the chances of "etching" a stationary image onto the screen.

Keep a written log of problems you have with your system; it'll help us to diagnose and solve problems, and to prevent them in the future.

System Supplies back to top »

Like all computer systems, WordStock uses "consumable" items, such as paper and printer ribbons. You can buy these supplies from WordStock but, regardless of the source, buy quality supplies, especially diskettes and printer ribbons. You should stock up on basic system supplies:

  • Printer ribbons, including receipt printers;
  • Receipt paper, with/without journal copy;
  • Report paper 132-column pinfeed;
  • Diskettes: ask if you're not sure of the size;
  • Back-up tapes;
  • Receiving labels, if you're going to label.

• Go to our Supplies page

Be Prepared for Emergencies • back to top »

Inevitably, every computer system experiences hardware and/or software malfunctions. Your system's uninter-ruptible power supply [UPS] is a battery back-up that will protect the system against power failure or "blackouts". A voltage drop activates the UPS to draw electricity from its batteries to power the system.

The UPS is not intended as a substitute for electrical service, since it can only carry the system for about 10 minutes. What the UPS offers is time to shut down the system until power is restored.

The UPS will also protect your system against the voltage drops, or "brownouts", that some areas experience. In most cases, you won't have to shut down the system. Any time you hear the UPS beeping, you know it's doing its job!

Of course, even if your electrical service is excellent, you'll still have other problems. It's important to prepare for them in advance by establishing emergency procedures for keeping your store functioning if your system goes down, or if you lose power.

About Manufacturers' Warranties • back to top »

Manufacturers' warranties require you to send the damaged device to the manufacturer for repair. Naturally, you won't be able to use the device until it's repaired and returned to you.

Therefore, while we'll pass on to you all applicable manufacturer's warranties, we want you to understand that they are of limited value to you, and aren't a substitute for an on-site hardware maintenance plan.

WordStock Installer Travel Policy • back to top »

Working Hours and Fees:

WordStock's standard hours for on-site installations, system upgrades, training, etc., are:

• An 8-hour work day;
• Monday-Friday;
• Between 8:00 AM -8:00 PM, local time.

Our standard labor fee for work scheduled two weeks in advance is $75/hour, with a minimum of 4 hours, or $600/day. The labor rate for unscheduled emergency work is $95/hour. Work scheduled outside the hours of 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM, local time, is charged at $160/hour, with a maximum work day of 12 hours.

• Travel to the site will begin no earlier than 8:00 AM (local time zone) and that travel time will be included in the first 8-hour day. If you request that the Installer fly in the day before, to ensure an early start, we'll charge an additional $250, plus expenses;

• If a return flight to Boston cannot be made that gets the Installer back to Boston by 11:00 PM, EST, the return flight will be scheduled for the next morning; if that day is a Saturday, we'll assess a $250 surcharge;

• We'll accommodate requests for weekend oe overnight work, schedule permitting, at a rate of $160/hour, with an 8-hour minimum. You won't be charged for costs or time incurred to remedy a problem caused by new hardware or new software. However, you will be charged for time, costs, and materials that are incurred due to inadequate site preparation or for work or configuration not included in the original work order.


WordStock will make every effort to minimize the travel costs of the installer wherever possible. Round trip flights from Boston are usually flexible and not overly expensive if a Saturday night stay occurs within the dates of the round trip ticket. There is nothing WordStock can do about this--it's a standard in pricing in the airline industry. Accommodations can sometimes be made to include a Saturday night stay, but this is at the discretion of the installer. You will be billed for the accommodations of the installer, plus a $100/day travel surcharge, but will not be billed for any time unless work is performed (billing for weekend work is at the weekend rate).

If your location is within driving range of our offices (200 miles) we'll investigate the option of driving to your location. This usually involves renting a vehicle. If we are driving to your location and it is possible to bring any purchased hardware with us we will do so to save on shipping costs. Time spent driving to your location is part of the first 8 hour day.A site may request that we rent a vehicle the day before an install so that we may ensure an early start. You will be billed for the extra day of renting the vehicle. We also request that your personnel be available to unload equipment, as well as provide a location very near to the site for unloading equipment.

Local transportation will be arranged with you by the installer. Rental cars or taxis are recommended unless there is suitable public transportation available. The installer will make every effort to minimize these expenses. If you wish to offer local transportation to the installer, please feel free as long as it fits in with the installer's schedule. Please note that local travel to food is billable.


The installer will consult with you on suitable accommodations in your area. We will also consult with our travel agents for you local special offers. Accommodations must be clean, safe, and convenient to local food. If an installer has any misgivings in this area they will seek other accommodations. WordStock policy prevents an installer from staying at your home.


You will be invoiced for all food and drink expenses incurred by the installer from the time they leave Boston until they return to Boston. This could include local transportation if restaurants are not easily accessible by other means.

Other Expenses:

You may also be invoiced for all incidental travel related costs, which may include but are not limited to:

· Taxis fares to and from the airport in Boston
· Parking fees
· Tolls
· Ticket penalties for late changes to flights made in writing at your request.
· Any penalties or cancellation fees incurred due to changes or cancellation at your written request.
· WordStock cannot be responsible for fees incurred due to flights being cancelled or changed by the airlines.