An unreadable book in a rep's bag with a big number attached to it by a publisher who paid too much for it. A buyer who likes and trusts the rep but knows that the book is unreadable and doesn't want to take any copies for his bookstore.
The rep says, "You and I both know that this book is a dog, but my job depends on me getting out a lot of copies. Why don't you order five and then just return them?"
The buyer responds, "It still cuts into my open-to-buy budget and ties up cash. I'd love to do you a favor, but can you make it worth my while?"
The rep answers, "How about extra co-op?"
"Now you're talking. Okay. Put me down for five."
"Ah. You've got to order a carton to get the extra co-op. Okay?"
"Oh, alright, sure. You twisted my arm. What's next?"
The rep hands the buyer an ARC. "Well, here's this amazing first novel. The author is unknown but she's really well-connected. The book is beautifully written, the characters perfectly realized, the plot so driven I couldn't put it down. It's literary but not too literary. And it's not just me -- everybody on the sales force loves it. Publicity thinks they're gonna get stellar reviews in all the right places and we're planning a bunch of bookseller dinners. The backstory is incredible and just take a look at the package. It's great, isn't it?"
"Geez, first novels are so hard these days. Especially hardcover. I dunno. You think it'll sell?"
"Look, we're putting a whole lot of effort into this. When you read it you'll see why. It's perfect for reading groups. We're really trying to break it out."
"Okay I'll take one and see what happens. Next."