Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Barnes & Noble screwing publishers

I received the following notice from my distributor:

As of November 1, 2010, AtlasBooks will be distributing directly into Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble has recently announced that its business partners must provide free freight.

This is very bad news to all publishers, especially independent publishers like myself. It means publishers will have to pay to ship books to Barnes & Noble. And they have to comply if they want to sell books in their stores. And obviously publishers want to sell books at Barnes & Noble. It is an expectation and demand for free shipping that local, independent bookstores could never dream of. I can only imagine that Amazon will be next to demand free shipping.

Do you think if you purchase a book at barnes& that they will give you free shipping? I don't think so. Why should they get that book from their suppliers without paying shipping?

Swell. One more way to reduce the market for printed books and run publishers out of business.

Bookstores already have a huge advantage in the publishing business due to their traditional and unique privilege of returning merchandise for a full refund, even months after the sale. Other retailers do not have this ability--just bookstores. This accounts for a huge loss for publishers because when books are returned to the distributor, there is a processing fee. So basically, in the first place you get only a minimum amount for the book to be sold to a bookstore, then if they return it, are charged by the distributor for the wholesale price they credited to you at the time of the sale, as well as a returns processing fee. This represents a major, unknown, and unmanageable cash flow problem.


Anonymous Al Tudor said...

Yea, verily, I'm betting that B&N has made secret side deals with the big name publishers that they need in their stores to allow them to side step this cost. Having suffered the slings and arrows of being an independent publisher myself, I know whereof you speak. One more example of how big biz in America keeps any small, new challenger out of their markets. Makes one wonder what the antitrust laws of this great land actually accomplish.

9/29/10, 2:07 PM  

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