Or, How Not To Run a Bookstore
Quick summary - an Australian bookstore chain is demanding that small publishers pay the store ridiculous sums of money to keep their books in stock. Small publishers' reponse: "Uh, no. Idiot." Only much more eloquent.
I don't think there's anything I could say on this any better than Michael Rakusin, Teresa Nielsen Hayden and the commenters on Making Light. Just go read.
It's going to take more than a wee bit of google searching, but I'm fairly certain I remember a U.S. publisher doing something along these lines ten years ago or more. I want to say it was McGraw-Hill, or MacMillan, but I don't remember which and I don't remember what the demands were. I just remember Laurie running a report and pulling every book that we carried from that publisher off the shelves and returning them.
Vague recollections are making me think they sent a letter saying "As of X date, we're not selling to independent bookstores anymore." If they were going to sell exclusively to the chains, that would have prompted Laurie to pre-empt them and send their titles back at least a month or two early. (Thinking about it, I also realize there's an easier way to find this old information than a google search - I have some booksellers with long memories. I'll ask one of them today.)