Are Publishers Too Quick to Remainder Titles?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at the increasing importance of overseas book buyers to the remainder book market.

There’s no exact formula for the amount of time it takes for a title to be released, returned and remaindered, but most authors would agree that the window publishers allow a book to gain traction in the marketplace before it’s yanked from store shelves is pretty short. My unscientific estimation is that, on average, publishers give a book a three to four week publicity window and, after that, it’s up to the booksellers and customers to make the market. Of course, booksellers are themselves under increased pressure to move stock and, with shelf space at a premium, they have added incentive to pull returns — which in turn sends book all the more rapidly into the hands of remainder dealers. Yes, it can be a bit sad to see a book you’ve fallen in love with hit the bargain book shelves three, four or six months after publication.

Of course, remaindering is a complicated science, which also has as much to do with overprinting, lost ambitions and other excesses of the publishing trade. But, tell us, do you think publishers are too quick to remainder titles or not fast enough?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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.