Sunday, January 10, 2010

Retailers have a responsibility along with publishers to end dumpstering

As the ones carrying out the actual destruction of books in most cases, retailers have a responsibility as well as publishers to end this wasteful practice. And it's big chains like Borders who are the primary culprits – independent bookstores order smarter, and return far fewer books. From a reader comment on last month's HuffPo story on this campaign:

"Retail chains are just as responsible for this distribution system.

The returnable distribution policy was devised by publishers to HELP bookstores stay in business decades ago. And it did help. What no one foresaw were these massive chains coming along. At first it appeared to be a good thing to publishers--more stores meant more books.

But then the CHAINS put pressure on the publishers to give bigger and bigger discounts--all returnable. The chains do not have to take any risk in over-ordering---they can return their screw ups. If a publisher refuses to sell books nonreturnable, the chains simply won't take them without even bigger discounts (and smaller orders), which publishers literally cannot afford."

1 comment:

  1. Its all retail... I work in a store and it is policy to throw away most everything except for a few items that get sent back (and my guess is then thrown away). Many items are completely usable and it is a shame in my opinion that it all goes in the dumpster. There have been a few times where I had to inventory, "Defect out", and then trash unopened product that we were no longer carrying because it is cheaper to trash than send back, and manufacturers won't give credit if it is not trashed. Anything not thrown in dumpster and taken off property would be considered theft, and I know the company would at least terminate employment. It sickens me to know how much good much of the stuff that is trashed would do, but this problem isn't just with books, it is with the entire retail industry. Think of how many clothes are trashed due to minor issues, how many furnishings are trashed due to minor cosmetic flaw. All of these items could be put to good use. The manufactuaring and retail industries need to work together to allow items no longer sellable to be donated. As long as the company is not profiting on it after defecting out i don't know why it can't be used for good.