Returns: Saying No and Coping

September 2008
by Contributions

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Returns: Saying No and Coping Otherwise

Returns are counterproductive. In the decades since returns privileges were introduced in the book trade, many publishers and some booksellers have stated that view and argued for abolishing them (see, for example, the PMA Roundtables on returns in the January and February 2006 issues; Doug Shidell’s reports that ran in June, July, and August 2006 and March 2007; and “A Practical No-Returns Program Designed to Help Save the Earth” by Mike Dyer, in the August 2007 Independent, all available at

Now, perhaps, a no-returns trend is developing.

Because the goal of Roundtables like this one is sharing the wealth of experience rather than compiling statistically significant data, it’s hard to say for sure. Impressionistically, though, IBPA members seem less inclined to wait for booksellers to change their ways and more inclined to act unilaterally. As you’ll see in the reports that follow—and in others coming up—several members impose strict limits on returns or simply don’t allow them.

Couple this with Penguin UK’s plans to make backlist sales nonreturnable and Bob Miller’s work on a method of distribution that doesn’t invo…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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