Ever Wondered What Are Those Marks On Your Cheap Books? Here's Your Answer

You've probably spotted them at a Big Bad Wolf sale. Remaindered marks can look like strokes or dots on your book.

Cover image via Alyssa J. Oon/SAYS

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Ever went to a book sale and picked up a cheap, wrapped book – only to see streaks or dots made by a marker pen?

These little marks aren't mistakes made by staff, as it actually works to identify the book as a 'remaindered copy'

Remaindered books – also known as 'bargain books' – are products that have been "returned to the publisher for credit from a retailer or is a publisher's excess inventory", explains Book Depot.

"Many are marked with a small, discreet line or dot on the bottom edge of the pages to ensure they will not be returned to the publisher for a second credit."

A local distributor who spoke to SAYS explained how these books are selected: "Local distributors would normally select based on the age of the stock (e.g. more than two years old) and the likelihood of any further sale (little or none)."

"Publishers sell stock where they have printed too many copies or based on the same criteria as the distributors, generally to specialist remainder merchants, this market being a sector of the publishing industry with its own trade fairs and supply channels."

In Malaysia, many of these remaindered books are brought in from overseas suppliers in bulk supply

"Publishers are likely to sell large quantities per title to the remainder merchants, given the usual reason for them to remainder stock. Local distributors will in general be selling a greater diversity of titles and in smaller numbers," a representative for a local distributor told SAYS.

In fact, one of the biggest book sales in Malaysia – Big Bad Wolf Books – is in the remaindered books business. That's why you get such low and affordable prices for books, but sometimes might not find most recently released titles.

The same applies to its sister company, BookXcess, as well – though they aren't the only ones in the remaindered books business these days, as you'll sometimes find these cheap books in the 'bargain' corners of local bookstores.

So the next time you pick up a book with these marks, don't harass a store employee because it's "dirty", okay? ;)

Image via GIPHY

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