Can Schiffer's Minimum Advertised Pricing Solve Publishers', Authors' and Retailers' Woes?
Extra: Where did you get the idea?
Schiffer: We saw that minimum advertised pricing policies are something that are very standard in other industries. And they’re actually standard in the book publishing industry in other countries, but they haven’t been adapted, to our knowledge, any time before this in the [U.S.] book publishing world.
Extra: What conditions in the market led you to test this policy?
Schiffer: It’s not really specific market conditions, but the way that people look at books and the way people are thinking about books. We think that books have a high value, and keeping the integrity of the book high is essential for keeping the longevity of books and the overall value. If you create these beautiful, high-end, well-put-together books and if you price them properly, then everybody in the market, from the publisher, the author, the book reseller to the customer, are all treated fairly.
We see that a lot of the massive discounting that is involved in the current book publishing and book sales marketplace is truly a race to the bottom. Everybody’s trying to cut cost, but they’re also cutting the quality out and they’re cutting the longevity of the industry in its current form.
Extra: Can you share any results?
Schiffer: Our customers are very happy; our authors are very happy with it. We have many major museums, many major bookstores, independent or otherwise, that have signed the policy form and are adhering to the policy terms. It’s been a very positive thing for us so far. We don’t put all of our books into this imprint. We publish about 300 new books a year, so it’s only a small selection of titles that really fit this type of model in the current world.