I have absolutely had enough • 17 October 2007 • The SnowBlog

I have absolutely had enough

of returns. I am seriously furious about them today - because of the sheer, utter, bloody wastefulness and stupidity of this industry to still be operating in such a mindless, thoughtless, incompetent way. It's SO RETARDED to print thousands of books, send them on a lorry somewhere, let them sit unboxed in the back room, send them back, pulp them, raise a credit note, publisher doesn't get paid. Not only does the publisher not get paid: the publisher has spent the following money: Cost of print Cost of shipping from printer Cost of storage Cost of shipping to retailer Cost of pulping (3% of net receipts) or Cost of putting back into stock (9% of net receipts) Cost of having a high returns profile (distributor uses that as a way of assigning 'unidentified credit notes'. Who knows why they are unidentified - because of the genius Industry Returns Initiative, maybe, that only aims to automate, rather than reduce, returns?) Cost of paying the royalty to authors based on a sales figure which slips backwards If it wouldn't spell the end of my company, I would switch - today - to firm sale only. But it would. No one would buy books in any quantity from us - because they're unable to forecast stock, because they've never had to learn and because their ranges are so wide. Damn, it makes me mad. Stupid, stupid publishing industry. (Oh, and if anyone's out there thinking 'well, it doesn't have to be that way,' then please, share your insight in the comments - that's what they're there for.)


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

Many of the older posts in our blog archive suffer from link rot. Apologies if you see missing links and images: let us know if you'd like us to find any in particular.

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