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UOCraft.com » Using Books to Grow Your Business
Tools for merchants, crafters, gardeners, tamers – Ultima Online

by Kitiara

Books can be a huge help to vendors and shoppers in UO, but how do you get around their limitations?

Guestbooks + News Books

Note: The bulletin board has replaced the “locked down brown book” practice for communication purposes, but they’re worthy of mentioning here!

Use bulletin boards for guestbooks, comments, customer service, special orders, etc. No shop should be without a bulletin board Рthey are a great way to communicate with your client̬le.

What if you want to leave a message to your shoppers that you do not want erased, altered, etc? Lock down a purple book. Purple books cannot be written in while locked down, so your message will stay put, untouched by the public. Purple books are great for shop news, vendor layouts and inventory information, contact information details, etc. Bulletin boards also work for this purpose.

Inventory and Catalogs

Let’s say you run a shop with many high-ticket items, or an inventory that changes constantly (daily rares, high end magic weapons and armor, etc). There are many reasons you may not want to place your complete collection on a vendor (ie. vendor costs, special orders, etc). How do you let your customers know what you’ve got available for sale?

This is particularly useful for special order shops, but can be adapted to many needs. Grab a brown or purple book (either will work fine) and write up a master copy of your special order capabilities, your current non-displayed backstock items, etc and make copies of it. (It takes very little inscription skill to copy a book). Then, give those copies away for free on your vendor! (Just type “0” as the price of the item). Include the current date in the book as well as ways to contact you (ICQ, email, etc). Why give them away, you ask? Because books cannot be read while for sale on a vendor. Not to mention, people like free stuff!

You can also drop these books on the ground around popular banks and moongates. People can then pick up and read your books at will. Cheap advertising!

Using this method, your customers can take home with them a tangible list of what you are able to sell to them or the services you provide.

I’ve seen this method used for custom furniture dying orders, magic weapons and armor, as well as for services offered in-game. If you run a house decoration service, for example, write up a book about your service, with your current rates and contact info, and give out copies on a vendor.

Books are not only a great way to communicate with your shoppers, but also allow you to provide much more personal customer service – and that in itself will help to develop a loyalty to your shop and keep the business rolling in.