Why Do I Have Sold Books Appearing Online?

When previously sold books appear as ‘for sale’ online, it is likely due to the records in your inventory management program being ‘out of sync’ with the inventory we have in our online database. Below you will find an outline of reasons this happens, and tips for preventing it in the future.

Note: If you sell on other marketplaces or in a storefront, it is essential to keep your online data up-to-date. When inventory is kept up-to-date, duplicate orders are less likely to occur, meaning fewer rejected orders. Please upload as frequently as necessary to keep your inventory current; most sellers find daily uploads sufficient but depending on sales volume, you may find you need to upload more or less often.

Potential Causes

The following practices can result in orders for previously sold books:

  • Deleting listings, rather than marking them as “sold,” in your inventory management system.
  • Re-using BookIDs.
  • Not sending an upload with the update, or making the update in our online inventory management system, but not mirroring it in your offline program (such as HomeBase).
  • Using multiple databases to manage your inventory. Marking a book as ‘sold’ in the first system but failing to do so in the second will result in ‘out of sync’ databases – a subsequent upload from the second database will restore the sold listing.
  • Using the “On Hold” status, or deleting a listing, in HomeBase 2.3 rather than marking the book as ‘sold’.
  • Accidentally restoring the listing through the Online Listings Manager.
  • If using an inventory management system other than HomeBase, accidentally using multiple quantity will cause a sold book to remain online.

Preventing Orders for Previously Sold Books

Follow these tips to prevent orders for previously sold books:

  • Make sure to mark your listing as ‘Sold’. Deleting a sold listing won’t trigger an update on our website, resulting in sold books remaining available online.
  • After you sell a book, retire the BookID. Each ID should be unique to that listing.
  • Provide regular, incremental updates for your added, updated, and sold/removed listings.
  • Purge and reload your online inventory, to catch any listings that may have been missed due to transmission errors. (Note that you should purge no more than 3 – 4 times per year. Regular, incremental updates will process much faster and will make more frequent purges unnecessary.)
  • Remember that the ‘On Hold’ status in HomeBase 2.3 is for your reference only, and does not remove a listing from our search results. (This issue has been resolved with HomeBase 3.2.) If you need to temporarily remove a listing from AbeBooks, please mark it as ‘Sold’. You can re-set it to ‘For Sale’ later, if you need to restore the listing.
  • We recommend that you use only one inventory management system. Some booksellers use both our online system (‘Manage My Books and Images’ from the Members Menu) and another program such as HomeBase 2.3, or they use multiple databases to manage their offline inventory and send uploads from both. This results in uploads from one system over-writing changes made in another, which can result in the restoring of previously sold books.

Inventory Management Overview

If you receive an order for a previously sold book, you have the option to exclude up to 3 orders from your Completion Rating in a rolling 12-month period. To exclude such an order, simply follow the instructions below:

  1. [Sign on] to your AbeBooks account.
  2. Select [Completion Rate] in the ‘My Account Stats’ section at the top of the Menu.
  3. Use the drop-down menus and order types (Unfulfilled, Returned, etc.) to drill-down to the order you’d like to exclude.
  4. When you find the order you’d like to exclude, click the [Request status change] link on the right side of the page.
  5. Enter your comments for the request, and click the [Submit] button. Confirm your request on the next page.