Mr. Riggio criticizes returns practices as "expensive." Perhaps he means it’s become expensive for the chains now that publishers have been squeezed so ruthlessly they have nothing left to give. Has it begun to dawn on executives like Mr. Riggio that, as powerful as the chains may appear to be, they are just another brick and mortar operation doomed to disintermediation by the Digital Revolution? So, now you want to end the consignment model of book distribution? Sorry, Mr. Riggio. The monster created by bookstore chains has the industry by the throat and will not let go. Returnability may be archaic, wasteful, stupid and fraudulent but publishers, bookstores and consumers are addicted and nobody is going to give it up. Not now, not ever. You’re welcome to try to reform the old business, Mr. Riggio, but that’s no longer where the game is being played.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
To Return or Not to Return
An interesting discourse on the Publisher's Weekly web site about comments made by Barnes & Noble (specifically Steve Riggio) on ending returns policies. Naturally, this would only come about when it is of advantage to the retailer and this is a point not lost on those commenting. Here is a sample from Richard Curtis: