Thursday, June 21, 2007

Second Life of a Book

The Russian delegation at the IBF conference last week in Cape Town raised a few eyebrows with their latest book buying scheme. It certainly made a change from the fixed price phobias from other delegates.

Their ‘Second Life of a Book’ scheme has recently started and enables bookstore be returned to any bookstore that stocks the title. No receipt required and as long as the book is in mint condition the retailer will hand back 50% of the retail price of the book. They don’t give it refund in cash but in the form of an electronic top up on a book debit card. The book is then returned to the shelf and sold at 10 to 15% discount. The returns can also only be done between the hours of 10 and 10 on a Saturday.

The Russian bookstores are already collecting some interesting statistics from the exercise re the types of books returned, full demographics of the reader and of course volumes.

There are many questions, royalties, rights, store cash flow, discounting, personal information etc. It is also easy to envisage a marked rise in criminal opportunities but it is certainly a very brave step in a new direction. It’s either the maddest or the brightest initiative to happen and we watch with anticipation on how it develops.
What is without doubt is that all books deserve a second life.