Posts tagged Harrold Ankeney
This special guest post was written by Dave Propst, Vice President of MBS Wholesale
Preston Sights, also known as one of the “Fathers of MBS TextAid” passed away on Monday June 13, 2011. It was back in 1979-80 with the genius of Preston Sights, (following the idea of our CEO Bob Pugh) that our original TextAid was contrived at the Missouri Bookstore. Combined with the practical well-thought-out application of textbook manager Harrold Ankeney, this program was on the IBM System 34 which had fewer mega(bytes) probably than even your wristwatch does today!
Preston and Harrold, working side by side created “open to buy” within the confines of a proprietary IBM language known as RPG. Although this may seem like a very simple concept to logically create, it became a bit more of an effort to program.
In those days, this was revolutionary thinking which took into consideration:
- presently held inventory (used and new)
- forecasted buyback and
- books on order from wholesalers and publishers as well.
TextAid also contained the first-ever original buyback module which debuted at the Campus Shop and Bookstore on the MU Campus in December of 1980.
The buyback module utilized the MBS Wholesale database which was essentially a buyer’s guide of prices MBS was willing to pay at the buyback counter for both retail and wholesale books. This allowed the textbook manager to set the buyback quantity and price appropriate for the adoption on their campus.
TextAid buyback created for the first time something unheard of at the buyback counter – CREDIBILITY in the students’ eye! Students from this point forward believed this system. TextAid always told them what they already knew: bigger books get more money!
TextAid buyback even made seamless the process where once the “retail quantity was reached,” the system immediately reverted to the wholesale price (if one existed). It was TextAid which ended the policy of “stack buying!” TextAid also was programmed to be “smart” by always choosing the oldest publisher invoice with the highest list price ensuring maximum returns dollars when allocating returned books to publishers.
Preston and Harrold ensured this system would endure as an “original.” To this day, this buyback module always presents the savvy book buyer the “big ticket retail book” first in case of duplicate author title key – in those days, barcodes were virtually nonexistent.
TextAid went on to become the industry standard by which all other systems are measured. TextAid has since gone through many iterations, System 36 TA, PC TA, TA400, TA2, TAonline and TA2 Online — all of which retain this same basic frugal philosophy and elegant intelligence.
The single most recalled benefit of this system was when a store migrated from one system or version to another as hardware changed, (TextAid to 36TA, etc.) no retail historical adoptions data etc., was lost. It all migrated intact including the publisher master.
Today, we salute Preston for his ability to take the knowledge of an able expert textbook manager in the person of Harrold Ankeney, and program that inscrutable blue-collar bookman’s knowledge into a workable system. Preston was certainly before his time.