"You may not realise but a huge proportion of books are returned by bookshops and then pulped because the cost of having them sent back to the publisher and cleaned up is far greater than printing new copies.There's been a lot of silly talk about the threat to publishers from electronic books. The horror is far worse in the system of "turnover" as maintained in today's hypermarts of commodified paper with printed words. Computers order with the taste and discretion of—computers—and stock must be sold within X# days or pulped like a day-old male chick.
We could not go along with this because it so environmentally unfriendly, and asked for a thousand unsold Classics to be returned to Lamb's Conduit Street. This cost £500! Which makes the point that it is almost as cheap simply to throw away and reprint.
Sadly, most of the Classics are very slightly damaged: they either have a small mark or the remains of a bookshop sticker.
Since we cannot sell these either to our mail order customers or in the shop we have decided to give them away. So -- if you order one grey book at the normal price we will send you a free Classic. PLEASE DO NOT PAY FOR IT. Simply pay for your grey book as normal and write in the Additional Information box - free Miss Pettigrew Classic please, or something similar. (Nb. overseas books will be sent surface mail. And the offer only applies to one book.)"
It's great to see that Persephone Books is so revolted by this waste that they have paid to save the books for readers with human discretion (even if the PB special caters to base instincts—I've never been able to stop at just one book).
Drop in to Persephone