bookseller tricks – Shipping on Approval

making accomodations • This subject popped it’s head up on the Bibliophile group and I have been trying to squeeze a commentary on it. But to tell you the truth it’s basically just a combination of common sense and professional courtesy. Shipping on Approval was once more common and still exists in small pockets of the trade. Usually high end or speciality items and especially items going into personal or public collections .

When dealing with familiar vendors, past clients, instititutions or on rare ocassions someone with impecable references from one of the above, why wouldn’t you want to accomodate? If the book is of a considerable sum it is far easier to make sure it’s acceptable than to process a large transaction and then return, especially from an institition – the whole thing could take 8 months. High end vendors prefer the product in hand to present it to their own client for approval, forming a lovely profitable chain – making everyone happy.

Just a few common sense precautions to protect yourself from loss or delay:
• Always get a written request for the book.
• Include an invoice stamped ‘on approval’.
• Insure the item yourself.
• Don’t be cheap! Fedex, Overnight, and DHL etc . . . exist for a reason.
• Include the paperwork for return shipping.
• Always get signature confirmation.
• Check up on the item after a reasonable time.

(thanks to Hugh @ Entrepreneurial Bookselling for his input)

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