Industry Returns Initiative

The Industry Returns Initiative is the outcome of a project to automate the handling of returns in the book trade by transferring the responsibility for returns authorisation, previously held by publishers' sales management according to their own returns policies, to industry-standard rules embedded in distributors' fulfilment systems.

The process is now widely adopted by the UK book trade and is currently implemented by Macmillan Distribution, Littlehampton Book Services, Random House Distribution, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Bookpoint, Oxford University Press and Gazelle Book Services. Booksellers may take advantage of fast returns authorisation from these suppliers by joining Batch returns.

The benefits of the initiative include the speed of authorisation and processing of returns, the ability to consolidate returns requests by distributor, and standard parameters for authorisation by all participating distributors.

The full technical specifications for the IRI messaging can be found here

Standard criteria and conditions for overstock returns


Industry Returns Initiative process specification

March 2007, revised March 2008, February 2011

Industry Returns Initiative Legacy Documentation

Tackling Returns

KPMG Report, August 1999

Returns: the New Process

The code of practice for returns, produced for the PA/BA Book Industry Supply Chain Steering Committee.