Why You Should Enroll in a Book Returns Program

You may be wondering why you’d want to pay to allow someone to return your book, but the answer is simple: retailers won’t stock your book it’s not returnable. That's why a book returns program is so powerful.

Think like a bookseller for a moment. You, the bookseller, take a risk by ordering a new title with no sales data to support it. Even if your gut tells you the book will do well, there’s no way to tell until you put the book on your shelves. If a few people are intrigued enough to purchase the book, you might be compelled to order another box.

But what if the copies of that book don’t sell? You’ve got a non-selling book taking up valuable shelf space. Your best course of action is to take that book down and replace it with a title that will sell. Now you have two options with the books that didn’t sell: let them gather dust in storage or return the books and recoup your losses. If you know before stocking a book that you’ll have a chance to recoup your losses if it doesn’t sell, wouldn’t that make you more likely to try a new book?

What Happens to a Returned Book?

The answer to this question depends on whether your book is print-on-demand (POD) or expanded distribution.

If you’re POD, your book will either be listed as “deliver” or “destroy.” If it’s marked as deliver, your book will be returned to your publisher. If it’s marked destroy, any returned books will be recycled.

Regardless of which POD return option you choose, you’re responsible for the wholesale value of any returned books. If your books are listed as deliver, you’ll also be charged an additional $2.00 per book to ship them to you. Of course, if they’re in good condition, you’ll be free to re-sell them.

If your book is in expanded distribution, the distributor processes the returned units. If the books are still in saleable condition, the distributor adds them back into your inventory. However, you’ll still be responsible for the wholesale value of the book, the distributor’s fee (18 percent of the wholesale cost), and any freight fees associated with the returned units. If the books aren’t in saleable condition, they’ll be recycled.

How Mill City Press Helps

Mill City Press offers a returns program, which helps manage the returns process for you, whether you have POD Distribution or Expanded Distribution.

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