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Up to 40% of the 224 million of books published in Spain is returned

The thousands of unsold copies of the last Dictionary of the RAE, published in 2014 by Espasa, reveal the problems of a sector that publishes 86,000 titles a year

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Up to 40% of the 224 million of books published in Spain is returned

It is common in Spain that bookstores do not have copies edited just a few months earlier. These titles have returned to warehouse to be destroyed, liquidated or, to a lesser extent, saved, if editor decides. According to last official data of Publishers Guild, of 2016, 29.4% of copies printed for bookshops return to warehouse, a data that booksellers, publishers and distributors, raise up to almost 40%. That is to say, of 100 specimens are sold 60 as average.

A recent case that reveals mismatch in operation of sector has been Dictionary of Royal Academy of Spanish Language (RAE). In its last edition on paper, that of 2014, Espasa put in market 50,000 specimens. The consultancy GFK, which offers its members confidential figures that encompass 90% of points of sale including Amazon, says that only sold in total about 18,000 volumes. The figures of blind, Guild of Booksellers, are more succinct: 6,682 copies sold in 700 independent bookstores plus house of book and Vips. "60% is a very high number of returns. Probably in editorial made a very bad calculation, 30% return is a high data and this exceeds that average. Books that come and go have a cost. The books have to move as little as possible, says Juancho Pons, president of Booksellers Guild. In Spain, 224 million books were published of 86,000 titles — among m, some 30,000 novelties — according to official data of 2016 of Publishers ' Federation.

The director of RAE, Darío Villanueva, admitted yesterday that re was some mismatch on part of publisher. From Espasa declined to make statements and refer to communiqué last week of SAR in which institution nuanced words of scholar Pedro Alvarez de Miranda, who claimed that dictionary is "giving away to schools." The institution noted that se were donations to different institutions.

Before launching a title, editors perform a previous exercise to adjust chucks. As Juan Casamayor explains, of pages of foam, it is different if it is an unknown author or not. If it is first case, "we launched 1,500 copies because that's what our distribution network and export demand. You can also return 200 or 300 copies, "Apostille.

Pre-sales Exercise

If it is a veteran, publisher calculates sales that it achieved with previous titles and thus foresees circulation. There may also be a case that publisher decides to bet on an author. "Then dealer does a pre-sales exercise by presenting book at FNAC, English cut and this kind of surfaces and y tell you what y are going to ask. With that data sums you're going to send to press and do toss. But you don't know it at all though you have more options to hit. There is some exercise of gambling, "maintains Casamayor.

And n, why those high returns? "In 80 already began to return books, but this has been increasing greatly because issue is increasing. And I think faster than readers, "says Verónica Garcia, manager of Machado distribution group, who works with publishers such as Anagrama, Tusquets or Siruela. "The space in bookstores is one re is. Now it is estimated that in sector re may be more than 30,000 novelties a year, plus everything that is reprinted. That's impossible to assume. "

For Casamayor, reason is that "re is very good editorial offer and not all have room. There is no selling capacity for so many books. " On or, he says, " sale has parked. It sells a lot at Christmas or book fairs, but in between re is a certain plain. And if in those months it is not sold, it is returned. "

Garcia says that not everything is negative: "returns allow bookseller to buy many more books, both novelty and background, which could finance in event of not having right to return. In turn, editor has only one way to compensate for returns of his books: publishing news and/or selling background books to booksellers. In midst of this relationship is Distributor, who supports and implements that credit-debit relationship between bookseller and publisher. "

For her "The ideal percentage of returns would be between 18% and 20%, because re must always be a little more in market and bookstores can not have it all paid for. But re are also publishers who play to flood market and, if not sold, withdraw it. When y do not succeed y generate a total return. "

When y leave bookstore, books will stop at a warehouse, which has its costs for publishers and distributors. Many will be destroyed to make paper pulp, ors will be settled, ie y will be sold to companies that put m back on market at price of balance. But in Spain publishers are quite reluctant to settle: "The balance is a defeat," confirms Casamayor.

The Bookseller Juancho Pons points out that "many times it makes a big shot to lower costs, but it is money ahead of publisher and need storage." It suggests, in order to avoid surpluses to do as in pharmacies, "to use technology and to print on demand". It's a little more expensive but it's not that risky. " This prevents many books from ending up in shredder.

In 2005 turnover of all dictionaries sold in Spain was 223 million euros. In 2016 it remained at 40,650,000, which already predicted bad times for paper. The queries to digital editions have been imposed, especially in dictionaries. "In autumn of 2014, editorial Espasa agreed to launch 50,000 copies of new edition of Dictionary of RAE. The forecast was made according to previous edition of 2001, which had reached million sales of copies over 13 years, "explains Darío Villanueva, director of RAE. "It was an unjust forecast because, in between, publishing market had changed," Villanueva explains. Two months after dictionary was published, RAE organized a symposium on se texts in which European publishers confirmed that " sales of ir paper dictionaries had dropped by 60%."

The RAE and Espasa maintain a relationship of more than 50 years. The contract of this dictionary was negotiated by former director, José Manuel Blecua. The SAR confirms that remaining copies will be donated. 3,000 have already been taken to Côte d'ivoire, 2,500 to Senegal and a shipment to Panama is pending. These countries pay freight. Also autonomous communities that have requested m (y have not done it Catalonia and Basque Country) after campaign of RAE "offering copies for Libraries". "When we finished this remittance we made anor offer for schools. Not all communities have wanted m, but ones that have done so have asked for a considerable number of copies, and y have been in charge of logistics, "says Villanueva. However, it has not specified number of copies or which communities have requested m.

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