Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Why Books are Returned

During the Depression of the 1930's, the publishing industry faced a major crisis. People were desperate to put food on their tables and keep a roof over their heads. Unemployment was rampant and food lines were long and numerous. Those were the days before unemployment benefits, before Medicare, before food stamps and welfare.

Books were a luxury.

In an attempt to prevent the publishing industry from going bankrupt (these were also the days before corporate bailouts) they came up with a plan: they would allow book stores to send back any books that didn't sell, just to keep their books in the marketplace.

It was supposed to be a temporary measure.

The Depression ended and needless to say, the returns did not.

There has been talk throughout the industry at different times but the policy has never changed industry-wide.

Some publishers, however, have decided not to accept returns.

You won't find some of Drake Valley Press' books on bookshelves in every store in the country. To do so would require print runs of 100,000 or more plus the cost of shipping into the market. If the books aren't sold, months later they can come back - resulting in losses both for the publisher and the author.

All of Drake Valley Press' books are available to all book stores and they're carried by Ingram and Baker & Taylor, the country's largest wholesalers. If you don't see a book on the shelf, always ask for it. It can be special ordered and should arrive within just a couple of days.

Meanwhile, we hope this policy of retailers returning books months after they've been purchased will stop. It is an archaic system, and it is uniquely used with books - no other products have ever used this type of consignment system.

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