Indigo Books & Music Inc. is getting a mixed response from publishers after asking them to share the cost of reducing book prices for Indigo's week-long sale after Christmas. Indigo would not comment, but a publishing source confirmed that the chain asked publishers to draw up a list of titles they would agree to take a cut in profits on in order for Indigo to place them on sale.

Some publishers view the sale as fallout from store closings as a result of Indigo's merger with Chapters. "It's unfortunate that the Canadian publishers are being requested to assist in the expense of the transition as a result of the merger," said Monique Smith, executive director of the Association of Canadian Publishers.

Jim Chalmers, a partner of Canadian Manda Group, believes the sale, which has precedent in Canada, deserves some thought by publishers. Chapters implemented the same arrangement in Canada last year without obtaining the consent of publishers, Chalmers noted.

"The whole idea of the Boxing Day sale is to move unsold merchandise in all retail businesses. Why shouldn't the book industry adapt to this policy also?" asked Chalmers. Chalmers said Canadian Manda would participate in this venture on a selective basis, particularly for titles that are not selling through and have seasonal sensitivity. "It's foolish to be taking returns on titles that will only end up in hurt skids, pulped or remaindered," Chalmers told PW.

Indigo spokeswoman Tracey Nesdoly said that details about the sale have yet to be finalized, adding that she was not at liberty to discuss the memo sent to publishers, nor could she confirm that they were asked to take a cut in profits.