The publishing industry is in the throes of some pretty major changes, and the full effects will take years to play out. Hardly a week goes by without distressing headlines. Publishers are downsizing, booksellers are going to the wall, even distributors are feeling the pinch. The roots of publishers’ woes can be traced back to the Great Depression when booksellers insisted on a returns policy that would allow them to ship back unsold books. This policy kept booksellers (and some publishers) afloat during some tumultuous economic times. When the economy rebounded in the run up to WWII, and expanded in its aftermath, this policy remained in place, and still exists today. This has had a number of important effects.