On-sale Dates: Best Practices for Today’s Marketplace

February 2011
by Tom Clarkson

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On-sale Dates: Best Practices for Today’s Marketplace

by Tom Clarkson

In the not-so-distant past, sales of a brand-new book to readers in New Jersey on Tuesday usually had little impact on the book’s sales in Oregon when it was introduced there on Thursday. But now that Internet booksellers can offer a title to consumers all over the country all at once, retailers that get a book later can be significantly disadvantaged.

Concerned that that compliance with on-sale dates was not adequate for the instant visibility in today’s marketplace, several members of the Book Industry Study Group asked BISG to research the effects of variations in compliance and to develop best practices to remedy problems. In response, BISG convened a task force consisting of representatives of publishers, wholesalers, distributors, chain retailers, independent retailers, and consultants.

The task force identified several undesirable effects of noncompliance with on-sale dates. For example, a bookseller that offers to deliver a new release before its on-sale date diverts a sale from a complying bookseller, violating the level playing field of competition. The diversion can occur whether the bookseller is online or a brick-and-mortar store, and the side effects can occur whether the book is a potential bestseller or a n…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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