Bookstore finds refund scheme good for sales

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BOOKS ETC, the London chain store that is offering to refund customers for books they do not like, has seen as much as a 100 per cent jump in returned books.

But, 10 days into the promotion, the company is regretting nothing. The 100 per cent rise - in one of the City branches - is from three books to six.

Staff said yesterday that while 'one or two' books were returned each day, they thought sales were up. 'People in a hurry seem prepared to buy books that they might not have, because they know they can bring them back if they've got the wrong one,' a saleswoman at the Fenchurch Street shop said. The few returns included business and travel books, and Winnie The Pooh.

At London Wall, the manager, Portia Lyward, had taken back John McCarthy and Jill Morrell's Some Other Rainbow. Didn't the customer like it? 'No, he'd been bought a copy by someone else.'

Richard Joseph, founder and managing director of Books Etc, said yesterday that it was 'early days' to make a judgement about the success of the scheme. 'But it looks encouraging,' he said. 'We can see stuff selling that we wouldn't expect to sell.'

Answering the charge by other bookshops that Books Etc is merely doing what they have always done, Mr Joseph said: 'Yes, but they do it as a last resort: they offer you another book or a book token first. We're not begrudging. We encourage returns.'