BLOOMSBURY BOOKS is playing hardball with bookshops over the new Harry Potter book. Retailers are likely to lose money over it.
The publisher has conjured up a new rule which says that 90 per cent of copies ordered must be considered “firm sale”. What this means is that bookshops can only return ten per cent of their order.
Imagine if a bookshop orders 500 copies of the new hardback “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, and sells 250 of them. The bookshop is only allowed to return 10 per cent of the order, just 50 books, and has to pay for 90 per cent -- that’s 450 copies: result -- the bookshop loses money.
At the same time, many general non-bookshop retailers have announced that they are going to stock the book more cheaply than the bookshops, so customers may well pick up their copies at supermarkets instead.
The general feeling among retailers is that the publishers of Harry Potter play so tough that it is impossible for bookshops to actually make any money on the series.