A reader has asked me to find out more about the airport bookstore "read and return' program mentioned in today's link post, and I am happy to oblige.
The program is being run by the airport retailer you've never heard of, Paradies Lagardère. This is a division of Hachette parent company Lagardère, and it operates 850 stores in 98 airports. Most are obviously not bookstores, but if you have been in a US airport, chances are you walked by at least one of their stores.
It reportedly launched in 2003, but all the coverage I can find was published last year. From Southern Living:
Launched in 2003, the concept allows customers the opportunity to purchase a book at one of our locations, return it within six months of purchase with the original receipt, and receive a 50 percent refund on regular-priced purchases.” Participating stores are under the ownership of Paradies Lagardère, an organization that’s headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and operates travel retail shops and restaurants in 98 airports across North America.
What happens to those books? According to Paradies Lagardère, returned books are then sold at a 50 percent discount. You can take advantage of this program at participating stores, which are located in airports throughout mainland North America. Just remember to keep your original receipt and return the book within six months of purchase. Don’t let your books languish in your suitcase and weigh you down. Take advantage of this deal—your reading list will thank you.
There's speculation on Twitter that the returned books are actually being sent back to the publishers. I don't know that this is true, but it could be.
In any case, this program is potentially a great way for the retailer to grow a stock of cheaper books that would appeal to budget-minded travelers while at the same time giving customers a reason to come back.
I'd never buy a book in an airport bookstore (it's being sold at full retail, if not higher), but a half-priced book? That is not out of the question - assuming I didn't have any reading material on my phone or tablet, that is.
via Simon Collinson on Twitter