Book Publisher Takes Stab at New Model

HarperCollins imprint won't allow returns from retailers
By Laila Weir,  Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2008 2:46 PM CDT
Barnes & Noble in New York. A new imprint from HarperCollins probably won't pay for prime display space for its books, unlike most publishers.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – HarperCollins has decided to rock the book-publishing boat, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s launching a new imprint that won’t allow retailers to return unsold books—a potentially risky departure from tradition—and will offer little or no advance payments to authors. The imprint will focus on online sales and likely refuse to pay for prime bookstore real estate.

"This is the right time to experiment with a new business model," HarperCollins' CEO said. "We have to look at a changing marketplace." With the slowing economy spelling trouble for the book industry as a whole, analysts say it might be the right time for another look at the no-return policy, which Harcourt Brace Jovanovich disastrously tried in 1980.