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books, magazines or newspapers which have not been sold and which are sent back to the supplier Paperback returns are running at over 20% in the first part of the year, as booksellers are destocking.

COMMENT: Publishers would like to discourage returns, but in most cases, they have to accept that a certain proportion of books will not sell, and therefore will be returned by the booksellers. The main concern of the publisher is to limit the returns to a manageable proportion of the original printing. A publisher knows that if he refuses to accept returns, the bookseller may refuse to subscribe copies of further new books published by him. In contracts, returns may be provided for in two ways: in a publishing agreement, the publisher may hold back royalties due to cover the possibility of books being returned unsold by the bookseller, after having been sold to the bookseller by the publisher (this is called the ‘returns provision’); in an agency agreement, there is normally a clause dealing with what happens to the stock held by the agent at the end of the agreement (usually, the agent will have to pay for the carriage back to the publisher if the agent terminates the agreement, but the publisher will pay if he terminates the agreement).



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