Big publishers and book chains like Barnes & Noble and Borders need to clean up their acts and reform their system of overprinting, over-ordering by chains, and mountains of unsold books trashed.
According to the publishing industry's own figures, at least one billion books a year are needlessly destroyed.
The root of the problem is the publishing industry operates unlike all other manufacturers - by shipping books to retailers on consignment terms, then requiring the return or destruction of unsold merchandise. It's not mandated by any law, just an outdated business model. It results in too many books printed to begin with, and no risks for chains who order too much.
An estimated 30 to 40% of books are trashed and/or returned by bookstores annually, mostly chains. Between 65 and 95% of returned books are pulped - destroyed by publishers. Even when recycled, the books are still discarded instead of re-used or donated to non-profits.
Tell big publishers and chains: stop trashing books! And until then, how about donating some of the books being destroyed? It's time for publishing and bookselling industry leaders to find a better way.