On February 26, we received a box of books from a publishing house filled with titles that don’t go on sale (strict on-sale dates, not just pub dates) until the middle of April. That’s more than a month and a half away.
There are a few problems with this, two small and one big:
- Storage in bookstores is always at a premium, so finding a place to house books we can’t sell for six weeks is an issue.
- When mid-April rolls around, will we even remember these titles and where we stashed them?
- With 30-day terms, we will be expected to pay for the books weeks before we are even given a chance to sell them.
We appreciate some lead time with titles, but this is excessive, and the payment issue is notable.
Publishers, please re-think sending out books more than a week or two out from the street date. If you must send them further in advance, please extend payment terms by an appropriate amount. Otherwise, we are in effect paying you for you to rent space in our office! And that is not smart by any reckoning.
Agreed! And why do some publishers have to give ALL of their titles strict on-sale dates? I can understand some titles being treated that way, because folks are on pins and needles waiting for the books, but I don’t want to have to find space to store the latest Berenstain Bears book or beginning reader for a week.
Some houses do manage to ship so the books arrive just 1-5 days before laydown, so it’s not impossible — though I can imagine it takes some doing, especially when warehouses are thousands of miles from destination bookstores. But it’s equally problematic when the books arrive 1-5 days AFTER laydown.
Of course I’ve never ever been late a day in my li…. oops, gotta run.
Better too early than too late, for sure. And a good point was made about the logistics of timing it just right to have books arrive a day or two before laydown.
I do think Elizabeth’s suggestion of extending the payment due date in situations like this is incredibly reasonable. It may not be an issue for a chain store, but many if not most indies are on very tight budgets, and having to pay for titles we haven’t even been able to display yet is going to be problematic for many. If it happens very much, it could affect the size of orders if we’re concerned about this happening.
Perhaps accounts could be given a chance to choose whether to go ahead and receive titles like this very early or not. Some may prefer the security of having the books in hand well ahead of time, especially if planning an event. For some, obviously, the bigger issue may be the lack of storage space. Just as some publishers give us options on how back orders, rounding to full carton, etc., and other issues are handled, I would think this could be ironed out with a wee bit of planning and communication.
And I agree that the “strict on-sale date” designation is being overused these days.
Also, I’ve had it happen that another indie store in the same town puts a title out before the laydown date while I’m adhering to the policy and losing sales!