June 9, 2006

News & Opinion: Paid Book Placement in the UK

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:16 PM – Filed under: Publishing Industry

The Sunday Times (UK) ran a piece on May 28th that started:
BRITAINS biggest bookseller is demanding payments of 50,000 a week from publishers to get books on its supposedly impartial list of recommended reads in the run-up to Christmas this year.

The WH Smith scheme is the most expensive in a range of confidential deals being operated by retailers to promote lists that consumers believe are based on independent assessments of a books quality.

No authors appear on recommended lists unless their publishers pay the fees, and those refusing to pay may not even find their titles stocked.

News Bulletin - This is not new and it happens just as much in the US. The shelves in the front of most bookstores are paid space. If you see a book front-facing on a shelf, chances are the bookstore is charging the publisher for that.

It seems this making a "recommendation list" might be taking it a little further. The "Success Library" at Barnes & Noble is a paid location, so maybe not.

My only point here is to be aware of what you are being presented in retail location. What is being recommended could be what a vendor is paying to be pushed.

[Sidenotes: Harry W. Schwartz (our retail sibling) does not take money in exchange for recommendations and the only paid location in the family of 800-CEO-READ sites is inBubbleWrap.]

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.