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Book stripping

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michellemoran
Bibliophile
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Book stripping

Postby michellemoran » Mon October 27th, 2008, 2:54 am

A very interesting - and sad - look at why sometimes you can't find your favorite books in bookstores.

http://booksellerchick.blogspot.com/2005/10/dirty-world-of-book-stripping.html
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon October 27th, 2008, 3:16 am

Actually, I had a friend who worked for the local B & N. They really don't like to talk about the number of books that are 'pulped' because it makes it harder to convince people that something is worth their money if you are about to throw it out if it doesn't move in 8 weeks. But he said that of the paperbacks (including the big trade paperbacks, even the 6" x 9" ones) about 60% of what comes into the store goes out through the pulp bin. That means they get ground up and recycled. Right now, it costs more to ship a book back to the publisher than it does for said publisher to produce the book.

And who covers the costs of all these books which do not sell? The publisher eats it. Which is why publishing a new author is such a risk.

Also why online sales are the new model. Besides not having to stock the books in a physical place, the online sellers never have to pulp a book. For most of the books sold online, a new book is printed the day it is ordered and shipped directly from the plant to whoever ordered it. All the big publishers have their titles archived this way (and there is one company with a virtual monopoly on all POD printing) and they love not having to pay to have books shipped to bricks-and-mortar stores who may never even put them on the sales floor before they are destroyed and the publisher billed.

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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Mon October 27th, 2008, 3:24 am

Wow, I'm flabbergasted. It really does look like POD is the solution to some of these problems. It's too bad Amazon only accounts for about (at least, this is what I've been told) 5% of an author's sales. Because there seems to be much greater equality online, where self-published authors, debut authors, NYT Bestsellers etc all have a place to be showcased. I always knew that books were pulped, but I had no idea that some weren't even taken out of the boxes to be displayed. Or worse, that over 50% get tossed.
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chuck
Bibliophile
Location: Ciinaminson NJ

Postby chuck » Mon October 27th, 2008, 3:26 am

Can't they donate them to Public, College or School Libraries or other non profit organizations?......

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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Mon October 27th, 2008, 3:30 am

If the article I linked to is correct, then no. The covers have to be shipped back to the publishing house for tax purposes.
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User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon October 27th, 2008, 4:02 am

If they donated those books, or gave them away, how would they make any sales? The old adage is still true: 'nobody buys the cow if they can get milk for free." Remember, the publisher is a middleman who has to cover his outlay. The writer may rejoice in being read without compensation, but it is the publisher who pays. And you can only do something gratis for so long before you go out of business.

Also, it isn't for tax purposes that requires the covers be sent back; that is the publisher's only method of proving that the store didn't actually sell the book and then bill it as a 'return'.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Mon October 27th, 2008, 4:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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michellemoran
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Postby michellemoran » Mon October 27th, 2008, 4:30 am

Also, it isn't for tax purposes that requires the covers be sent back; that is the publisher's only method of proving that the store didn't actually sell the book and then bill it as a 'return'.


Interesting. The bookseller in the article implies it's for tax "exemptions" which began with a Supreme Court ruling. Perhaps you're saying the saying thing: in the end, it's to prove it wasn't sold.
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Check out Michelle's blog History Buff at michellemoran.blogspot.com

chuck
Bibliophile
Location: Ciinaminson NJ

Postby chuck » Mon October 27th, 2008, 4:35 am

Either way the Publishers are getting a tax write off......

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Mon October 27th, 2008, 11:11 am

But do libraries want an endless supply of books that don't sell? Some libaries will take anything. Others not so much. I always have people wanting to donate stuff and I typically say no. Sometimes my patrons won't read it. I know my local library hasa huge collection of mysteries and thats about it becuause of the patrons who come through the doors. So these unwanted books would be sitting on the shelves taking up space.
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Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
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Postby Rowan » Mon October 27th, 2008, 1:49 pm

I've worked in a bookstore and know what it's like to have to strip a book, but I never saw it as destroying someone's baby so much as destroying a book in general which I cannot abide by. I mean once a story is written and published, no one can undo that. The only way an author's work is truly destroyed is if there's outright theft of all original content or if it's all simply lost on a computer.

Divia... I understand that libraries won't necessarily want everything people want to give them, but I think there should be a way for people to learn of libraries that do need their books. I mean here in New Orleans, libraries were destroyed just as much as people's homes were during Katrina. They needed to rebuild their entire collections from the ground up. I think any libraries around the country could've and should've accepted anything people were willing to donate and then pass them on if they had no use for them.


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