Workflow question for all you computer nerds (comic book related, I promise)

Hey friends, my LCS is apparently having a mess of a time trying to coordinate/corral their growing hordes of subs (they were recently averaging a new sub a day) who haphazardly tell them they want books (inevitably after FOC it seems). He wanted to find a good checkbox method for having people tell him what they wanted… in enough time, but today on the weekly “here’s what’s coming this week” email he said he hadn’t found anything. I feel for the guy, he seems a bit overwhelmed with the new subs and it’s a collectibles shop with a decent amount of comics (so lots of balls in the air).

  1. does something like this exist (that is more helpful than the Previews printable FOC pdf)?

  2. assuming there’s no good answer to 1 already available, I’ve designed something that I might be able to give him, but… I’m not sure it’s easy enough for any random non-tinkerer like me. So, my real question is: how do I automate the following process better?

The process:

  1. I run a scraping program I set up using ParseHub. It was relatively easy for me to set something up for scraping the FOC site. The same could easily be done for the “coming this week” section of Previews. (and, DC is a problem, but eh, let’s get the easy part out of the way first)
  2. This scraped data can be imported, after some excel trickery to turn multiple columns into a single column, into a google form checkbox question.
  3. This form can be sent to users, who check the boxes of the items they want ordered on their behalf.
  4. The output of the form is this unwieldy mess (where every selected item is in one cell):
  5. I can clean up the offending cell using “split text to columns”:

But my goodness, not only is this annoying, it’s a million steps. I’m just your friendly neighborhood chemist, but is there a way to take these work flows and make them not awful?

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I would suggest using or (I would use comichub myself if they did not require you be brick and mortar) to do all the work for you.

However, if they want to do it all themselves, Diamond and lunar have files you can download with all the comic info in them. I spent many MANY hours figuring out how to do this efficiently and my current solution involves using excel formulas to auto pull data from the Diamond/Lunar files and arrange them how I want them.

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Thanks! Those are great, however I think the challenge to overcome is a website that requires people who, from my observed experience, can’t figure out the difference between reply and reply all is probably… a steep climb. Like, a piece of physical paper you fill out the wed before FOC might be better than the current system, is my guess?

If you want to PM me your email, I can send you this weeks example of Diamonds XML FOC File that could extremely easily be made into something like you are talking about.

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I’ll suggest comichub though, for those of us that can sort that out, it might be really great.