What is a "Remander Mark"?
August 16, 2004 7:40 AM   Subscribe

What is a "Remander Mark"? I recently purchased a book on Amazon.ca and paid a ridiculously low price for a book with a Remander Mark. Now looking at the book the only thing I can see is someone made a line with a marker through the UPC code.
posted by smcniven to Shopping (11 answers total)
I think it's a common misspelling.

Read "What is a remainder mark?" for more information.
posted by wackybrit at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2004

That would be it. It's actually a "remainder" mark -- the book has been remaindered, which is the book industry's term for selling books at a loss because they have too much inventory. Borders and Barnes & Noble often have whole sections of remainered books, indicated with a line through the UPC or on the bottom of the book. At least half the books I buy are remainders. BTW, the black mark is indicate that the book was purchased at a cut-rate to stop you from trying to return the book to some bookstore and get a refund for the full purchase price.
posted by blueshammer at 7:44 AM on August 16, 2004

A lot of times, you'll see a marker swipe on the bottom edge of the pages. If it were a CD, you'd see a hole punch through the UPC symbol.
posted by crunchland at 8:40 AM on August 16, 2004

Yeah..it's like the hole they used to cut into cardboard LP sleeves once they were remaindered. (Hence the term "cut-out bin").

Basically, once any retailer decides that inventory is basically a loss, they're just trying to get whatever they can rather than throw it away, but they also don't want the discounted items to "contaminate" your idea of how much you should pay for their regular stuffWith most modern sales systems, they could actually track how much you paid for something without defacing it, but they still want you to feel like you're getting something that's "less valuable" for your discount (and that therefore, it's still worth paying more for a "fresh" book).
posted by LairBob at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2004

Is it illegal in the US to "un-remainder" things and sell them again?
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:21 AM on August 16, 2004

I don't think "remainder" is a legal term, sonofsamiam, but when a wholesaler or book chain buys remainders from a publisher, I think they can charge whatever they want for it--from my days in publishing, I don't recall that there's a formal agreement that limits what the re-seller can charge, but I might be wrong. The basic issue is that there's just not a lot of demand for the book, or else the publisher wouldn't have remaindered it in the first place. Once someone buys the book from the re-seller, they can definitely charge whatever they want for it.

This is separate from the notice that you see on books that "you shouldn't buy this book if the cover is torn off". If the cover's torn off, then it means that the publisher actually couldn't even sell the excess stock as remainders, and sent it off to be disposed of or recycled. A book with torn covers has actually been stolen after it was sent off, so there's definitely a legal issue there.
posted by LairBob at 9:38 AM on August 16, 2004

I would imagine it would only be against their contract, if anything. Even selling "de-covered" books. And so no liability would pass onto you as the buyer. It wouldn't be illegal like buying stolen goods.
posted by smackfu at 2:25 PM on August 16, 2004

It has been a tradition, perhaps now fading, that remaindered books are sold for X dollars and 98 cents, as opposed to regular books being X dollars and 98 cents. (This is in the United States--sorry Miguel!)

Remainders are sometimes literally purchased by weight. Even at the cheap rates you find in bookstores, there is a tremendous markup from what it cost them. Someone once told me that the entire process has something to do with publishers being taxed on their inventory (?), but that kind of sounds like crap. On the other hand, books (largely) operate under a return policy unlike other merchandise, so maybe it's true...
posted by mookieproof at 3:28 PM on August 16, 2004

um, I meant regular books being $X.99, rather.
posted by mookieproof at 3:29 PM on August 16, 2004

Even selling "de-covered" books. De-covered books are stolen goods- sort of. For Mass Market books, when bookstores do returns, publishes don't want the excess books back (either the shipping wouldn't be worth it or they figure they couldn't sell them). So, bookstores strip the covers off the paperbacks and send only the covers back. The publisher credits the bookstores for the covers they receive back and the bookstore "destroys" the rest of the book. Often destroys means employees take the books home (or so I've been told ;)) or I suppose someone could pull them from the dumpster. But, for a bookstore to sell these strips is to try double dipping (ie. getting the credit from the publisher and from the sale of the strip).

If it was taken from the dumpster it was stolen. If it was sold by a bookstore employee, it would be a dumb move on the employees part as he or she could ruin it for everyone.
posted by drezdn at 11:18 PM on August 16, 2004

How Thor Power Hammered Publishing. Basically, the IRS says that businesses holding inventories (such as publishers) cannot unilaterally devalue the value of that inventory in order to claim a deductible loss and thus reduce their taxable income. Thus a publisher who suspects based on its considerable experience in the book-selling business that half its inventory is worth less than the cover price may only claim a loss if they actually physically destroy that inventory. Oddly enough, it's considered physically destroyed if the book cover is ripped off -- a "stripped book". Since the stripping is often done at the retail level, as drezdn explains, stripped books are strictly grey market. (And the author, of course, receives no royalty from the publisher.)

This also has implications for the backlist, as it's now less profitable to keep one.
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on August 17, 2004

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