October 26, 2023 in 

“Put,” in the publishing industry, refers to the number of books printed or published by a printer or a publisher at a given time. For instance, if there are 100,000 copies involved in any print run, then ten thousand books are done for each put; this could also be reproduced within one year.

In another sense, it is called a demand made by publishers for unsold books to be returned, known as exercising the put option. A put facilitates the return -at no extra cost- of all hardbacks that remain unsold from their original purchases (i.e., bookshops can still retain up to half their stock). This protects publishers from ending up out-of-pocket when retailers return items they never sold—in theory, though not always in practice because many authors buy back returns.

There are two key “put” options to consider in the publishing world.
The first is the standard put option, which gives publishers the right to request returns for unsold books at any point. The second type (a limited put option) grants that same right for a specific period after publication, typically six months or even a year.

Most standard book contracts will feature such an option. Still, authors can negotiate its removal or substitution with something time-limited instead.

For publishers, though, having “puts” in place is crucially important; they provide one method of inventory control and ensure that adequate copies are printed of everything released. Put data also informs what is selling (and not), helping executives shape promotional strategies accordingly.

Therefore, without this vital tool – ask anyone with experience – modern-day publishing couldn’t operate as effectively as it does today.

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