An independent bookseller I know landed a major bestselling author for a rare in-store signing. He got the word out, took advance phone and internet orders for signed copies, and called his sales rep at the publisher to make sure the books would reach him in plenty of time.
“You’ve ordered 450 copies,” the rep told him. “I’m afraid we can only ship you 200.”
Why, for God’s sake? Hadn’t they printed enough?
“No, it’s policy,” he was told. “Two hundred books is our maximum order. We can’t take the chance of huge returns, or credit problems.”
“But the copies are sold,” the store owner said. “I’ve got prepaid orders for them, and I’ll pay in advance myself, and take them from you on a non-returnable basis. There’s no risk, and there won’t be any returns, and that’s 450 copies of a $30 book at the usual 40% off, which makes it an $8100 cash order. So what’s the problem?”
He got nowhere.
And print publishing wonders why it's going away."
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