October 29, 2023 in 

In publishing, a remainder mark is undeniable evidence that a book cannot sell at the total price. You’ll find this mark – an ink stamp, hole punch, slice, or notch – on the spine or binding. The publishers put books into this subcategory (or ‘remainder’) rather than the authors; the reasons for doing so include poor sales in hardback, overstocking, or the title going out of print. A book that’s been remaindered will often get sold off at 50 percent or less of its original recommended retail value.

A remainder mark indicates that a book has been remaindered or is being sold at a reduced price because it is no longer under publication. The primary purpose of a remainder mark is to inform potential purchasers that a book is a remainder. Therefore, they will be likely to get a good deal on it. Most commonly, remainder marks are made with a stamp or spray at the bottom outside page edges. However, they can also appear on the book’s spine or the dust jacket’s exterior surface.

One type of remainder mark stands out: the black dot. Situated toward the base and typically diminutive, this particular blemish garnishes book spines. As prominent players, Barnes & Noble and Borders tend to be the only businesses resorting to the employment of black dot remainder marks. Such an impression serves as indelible evidence revealing a title has been remaindered by a major bookstore chain—one which opted to jettison stock because initial sales failed to meet expectations.

Utilizing remainder marks is crucial for selling excess stock, remaindered titles, and pre-owned books as a book publisher. By identifying these books with a distinctive mark, publishers can offer them at reduced prices. This strategy swiftly clears space for fresh inventory. Furthermore, discounting these books attracts new customers who might otherwise not buy from this source. In this way, remainder marks become an invaluable resource that should always be employed by those selling surplus stock, remaindered publications, or used reading materials.

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