Making Your Book Returnable

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Historically, publishers grant booksellers the right to return overstocked copies of books. These books are considered “returnable”. Although, online retailers are less selective than brick and mortar stores in regards to whether a book is returnable, typically, brick and mortar stores will not order a book unless it is returnable, so IngramSpark supports standard industry conventions by allowing publishers to designate whether or not their titles can be returned. 

As books are returned, booksellers charge publishers for the cost of any book returns and expect to be reimbursed. The cost of returned books is either deducted or netted against the proceeds of book sales of the publishers’ titles in the month returns are shipped to the publisher.

With IngramSpark, publishers are offered the below returns options:

  • No or Non-Returnable

IngramSpark will not accept returns from booksellers for any title designated as “No” (non-returnable), and the publisher will not receive any return charges.

  • Yes-Deliver

Choosing “Yes-Deliver” allows titles to be sold on a returnable basis, and the publisher will receive a physical copy of the book returned, but the condition of the book being returned isn't guaranteed. (This option is only available for books sold in the United States or Canada.)

  • Yes-Destroy

This option allows titles to be sold on a returnable basis, and the publisher will not receive a physical copy of the book upon its return. The publisher will be charged only for the current wholesale cost of each book returned. No shipping and handling fees will apply as IngramSpark will destroy any returned books if this option is selected. 

When is the publisher charged for returns?

Returns will be deducted from the publisher’s compensation for sales in the month that the returns are received from the retailer (in the case of “Yes-Destroy” titles) or the month that the return is shipped to the publisher (in the case of “Yes-Deliver” titles).

At the end of each fiscal month, IngramSpark will post the net amount earned by the publisher (publisher compensation earned less the cost of returns) in that month to our accounts payable system. Said net amount earned will be paid in accordance with the payment terms contained in our print on demand agreement.

Changing Your Returns Status      

If you decide that you would like to change the status of returns for your title, you may do so by logging into your IngramSpark account and clicking the blue edit button next to Market Pricing.


Once you save the change, it will reflect on your IngramSpark account but the information will not be sent to distributors immediately. Changing your returns status is considered a price change, and price changes only occur once per month in order to ensure a smooth metadata update with our distribution partners.

If the terms of a title change from either “Yes-Deliver” or “Yes-Destroy” to “No”, IngramSpark will provide notice of the change to all distribution partners; however, booksellers will continue to have the right to return books for a period of 180 days from the date notice is provided to the booksellers, and the publisher will continue to have the obligation to reimburse IngramSpark for the wholesale cost of the books being returned, plus any applicable shipping and handling charges.

When the status is changed from “Yes-Deliver” to “No” please be aware that any books returned during the 180 day period will be handled pursuant to the “Yes-Destroy” designation.

If the returns status changes from “No” to “Yes-Deliver” or “Yes-Destroy”, booksellers are able to return titles immediately from the date notice is provided to the bookseller. The publisher should be aware that booksellers may return unwanted or overstocked books from the effective date of the change, regardless of when the books were originally purchased. 

Although there is no guarantee that booksellers will carry your title if you make it returnable, there is more likelihood that your book will be considered by booksellers if it has a returnable status. Many booksellers pass over titles that are nonreturnable as a rule. Because selling books is their business, when they take a chance on an author they've never heard of or hasn't been proven in their store yet, they can justify the purchase to themselves more when the risk is alleviated by a returnable status. When your title sells off of their shelves, the returnable status becomes irrelevant because there is no book to return and they may order more in a reorder of your title if your title performs well for them. But the fact that your book was returnable helps encourage them to give it a chance in the first place.


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IngramSpark Staff

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