Photo Credit: Nesting Place
I was thinking last night about how traditional publishers allow for unsold books to be returned. I had an idea about how the process to return unsold books takes place, and unfortunately I was right about how the process works when it comes to mass market paperbacks. These are those small paperbacks that basically fit inside the palm of your hand. You probably have hundreds of them. The price range for these books is typically $7.99-$9.99. At least that’s what I’ve always seen them listed at.
But do you know what happens to these books if they go unsold and a retailer decides to “return” them to the publisher? Their covers are ripped off and sent back to the publisher as proof that the book has been destroyed. Ripped off! These then become known as “stripped” books. Paperback and hardcover books are typically shipped back to the publisher as whole books, but mass market paperbacks are not. They’re simply destroyed.
Tell me how come these books can’t be shipped back to the publisher just the same as others. Or how in the world this practice was ever acceptable. Or what kind of evil person could sit there and actually strip the covers off either by machine or by hand. I almost couldn’t believe that the practice was still going on, but then again, the publishing industry has remained unchanged for so long that it really shouldn’t have surprised me.
It doesn’t matter that the return rates of these books is higher than the rest. You know why? Because the publisher is the one paying to have it shipped back, not the retailer. This practice should be done away with immediately because I’m sure a group of reasonably intelligent people could come up with something better that doesn’t destroy books.
I don’t like that books can be returned at all, but if I had to pick between returning a book to its publisher or destroying it, well then I say ship it back.
What do you think of the practice of stripping the covers of mass market paperbacks?
You’ve likely seen this message on the inside of your mass market paperbacks.
If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”