asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many of the surplus books received from the Service Departments for disposal have been returned direct to the publishers for pulping; and what agreements are in existence whereby books not required by the Services shall be so returned.
Will my right hon. Friend look at this point again? Is he aware that during the war certain agreements were made between publishing houses and the Service Departments that the books were supplied to the Forces only on condition that they were returned to the publishers for pulping, and will he inquire whether this is the reason for the leakage of certain books which ought to be coming to His Majesty's Stationery Office?
Where books are surplus they are, in the first instance, offered to the publisher concerned. If he does not want them, a different situation, of course, arises, but we do give the publishers concerned an opportunity to re-buy the books.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the discount in the majority of cases is approximately 33⅓ per cent., and that this is the discount which an ordinary bookseller normally gets on a new book; and does not he think that the discount ought to reach 50 or 60 per cent. in the case of most of these books?
It is higher in some instances, as I have indicated, but His Majesty's Stationery Office must, of course, obtain the best price. If those concerned find that the discount allowed is not enough, I am sure they would say so immediately.