What Happened to the Clearance Page?

Nearly a year ago now, when we launched the new Eerdmans.com, we added a number of new or enhanced features — a page loaded with Eerdmans history in honor of our centennial celebration in 2011; fun “bumper stickers” to adorn the blogs and websites of our fans; pages introducing our senior leadership, our sales team, and the Eerdmans Bookstore staff; resources for elementary and secondary teachers and librarians; dedicated pages for postsecondary educators, church workers, business customersbookstore shoppers; pages for aspiring authors and illustrators; and  more.

Along with all these other new features, we also added a page for clearance books. We had never sold clearance books directly to consumers through our website before, and we weren’t quite sure how it would work. Nevertheless, we believed that it was a worthwhile thing to do, so we created the page and trusted that we’d find some way to fill it quickly.

Months later, however, the page was still “under construction” — perhaps permanently so, it was beginning to seem.

What kept us from moving forward on the clearance page wasn’t a reluctance to offer discounts. We regularly give discounts (often very substantial discounts) to churches, schools, libraries, bookstores, ministers, educators, and many others who buy our books.

The problem is that some of the generous discounts we give to certain retailers and distributors are contractually set to start from our lowest advertised price. Thus, if we chose to offer a $30 book for $15 through our website clearance page, $15 would then become the base list price from which these accounts subtract their discount — and these accounts could then, if they chose, turn around and undersell even our lowest clearance price.

After nearly a year of puzzling over this dilemma, it gradually became clear to us that there would be no good way for us to offer clearance books on our website, at least at the present time.

We could have quietly taken down the page — in fact, we took it down a week or two ago — and let it go at that. However, thanks to the miracle of website analytics, we know how many of our readers have visited that empty page over the past eleven months — and how many of our readers might notice its disappearance and wonder.

To them, we offer this explanation and apology.

We also offer the following two tips.

Tip for savvy shoppers: Our partner retailer, Eerdmans Bookstore, regularly offers great discounts on titles from Eerdmans and other publishers and sells slightly blemished Eerdmans books at greatly reduced prices. If you are on the hunt for a specific title from Eerdmans, it may well be worth a quick phone call or email to Nate and Joshua at Eerdmans Bookstore to ask if they have a copy on their shelves of clearance and blemished books and whether they can ship it to you. (Usually, they can.) Visit the Eerdmans Bookstore page and click the “Contact Us” tab to find out how to get in touch with them directly.

Tip for retailers: If you are running a sale on specific titles from Eerdmans and happen to be publicizing the sale on Twitter, be sure mention us in your tweet (@eerdmansbooks). We’ll check out what you’re offering and will, in most instances, happily retweet the information to our followers.