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.)