June 9, 2006
News & Opinion: Paid Book Placement in the UK
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.]