- a successful fiction book sells at least 5,000 copies.
- a successful nonfiction book sells at least 7,500 copies.
• 40% of manufactured books never sell.
• The typical waiting period before books start the long and expensive trek back to the warehouse is only a mere 4 months!
• The industry return rate is 36% for hardcover and 25% for paperback.
• Superstores like Barnes & Noble sell around 70–80% of what they order, discounters like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club only 60% (i.e. - 40% return rate!).
• 37% of all books sent to stores in 2002 were returned.
• HarperCollins lost $250 million in 2002 on returns alone.
• Between 65 and 95% of returned books are destroyed once they come back from a bookseller (that’s a lot of time, energy, and money to be turned back into pulp).
Imagine if you ran a business where your customers could return 30 - 40% of any product they bought from you...whenever they wanted to. No wonder publishing is such a tough industry.