Standard practice in the book trade is to allow 100% return on unsold books:
Industry practice dating from the 1930s allowed retailers to return unsold titles to publishers for full credit and without incurring shipping costs, the newspaper said.The deal with HarperStudio calls for increased discounts upfront to replace the return privileges. One wonders, if this practice spreads, if we will soon be seeing the introduction of markdown allowances and TPRs.
These titles, about 30 percent to 40 percent of all titles according to industry figures, eventually get sent back to the stores for heavily discounted sale, the paper added.
In any case, the practice of returning books and then having them shipped back for sale at reduced price seems inefficient, a point acknowledged by HarperStudio:
The paper quoted HarperStudio's president and publisher Robert Miller saying that the economic downturn has made publishers and booksellers more open to experimenting with models that might decrease waste and increase profit.