What recommendations do you have for Amberly as potential avenues for consideration?
The conflict with B&N and McGraw-Hill is a business issue that needs thorough analysis as well as the accurate identification of the key players in the conflict. It is readily identifiable that B&N is trying to weasel out of the situation with the book publisher. On the other hand, the book publisher also blames the college bookstore for poor sales of their books. The university professors play a significant role in the whole process because they are the ones who identify which books should be ordered and used by students.
Amberly should also consider that some book publishers provide incentives to university professors when they choose which textbooks to use in their classes. If for example, a significant number of professors choose a McGraw-Hill textbook, then the publishers would have a fairly good idea of how many books they would sell and the profits they would make. However, the college bookstore had not been performing with their expectations so they now are charging a restocking fee which would make up for their targeted sales (Walter, Ritter & Gemunden, 2001).
Amberly should also factor in the used book market which has significantly affected the selling of new books. Since most college textbooks are already very expensive, students generally would prefer to buy used books and B&N College bookstore actually operates its own used-book division. Since the bookstore makes more profit in selling used books than new books then it would be in their interest to sell more of the used books than the new books.
McGraw-Hill is actually forcing B&N to increase their sales of new books. Amberly should make it a point to provide an alternative solution to the predicament. Such as making it clear how the university should deal with the issue, whether to review the terms of their agreement with B&N College, whether to ask B&N to submit a detailed sales inventory and make it clear what their priorities are; selling used books or selling new ones.
And since the university gets something from the sales of new textbooks, it should also look into whether they need to ask professors to requires students to use the latest edition or the new textbooks. Reference Walter, A. , Ritter, T. & Gemunden, H. (2001). Value creation in buyer-seller relationships, theoretical considerations and empirical results from a supplier’s perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 30, 365-377.