Sometimes it’s fun to be reminded that what’s considered business as usual within the book industry is shocking and distasteful to civilians hearing about it for the first time. In the U.K., the Times Online has uncovered the fees that the British bookselling chain Waterstone’s charges publishers for various Christmas-related displays and promotion. They break down as follows:
£45,000 For one book to appear in window and front-of-store displays, and in Waterstone’s national press and TV advertisement campaign
£25,000 To feature in a bay at front of store as a ‘gift book’ in its genre and be displayed at the till
£17,000 To be one of two titles promoted as the ‘offer of the week’ for one week in the run-up to Christmas
£7,000 To be displayed at front of store as a ‘paperback of the year’ and be mentioned in newspaper adverts.
£500 Price of an entry in Waterstone’s Christmas gift guide, complete with a bookseller review
For context, the reporters talk to several booksellers and publishers – eliciting mostly justification from the former and resignation from the latter – and also to consumers at the Piccadilly Waterstone’s, who “said they were appalled by the practice.” Among the customer comments were, “It’s disgraceful” and “It’s a con.”