Will E-books Kill the Remainder Book Business?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

bargain books

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story, Larry May, director of the Spring Book Show, explains the ins-and-outs of the bargain book business, a lucrative secondary market that most publisher would rather not acknowledge.

The business deals in hurts, returns, overruns and books that have been published but gone unsold. But as the industry moves closer and closer to digital distribution of books — maybe not this year, maybe not the next, but soon — will this ultimately choke off the supply of titles that feed the remainder dealers? It certainly could. At the same time, as bookstores downsize or close, this will only feed more titles into the bargain books channel.

Plus, as May points out in his article, a significant number of bargain titles are coffee table books “that are reprints and have a high perceived value.” Coffee table and art books are one segment that is largely insulated from digitization.

That said, it still seems inevitable that in the long run the bargain business will feel a contraction, but how much?

Tell us what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.