Map and RPGs

Wed Jun 5 12:02:11 PDT 2002

> On Jun 5, Steven Brust said:
> >At 10:05 PM 6/4/2002 -0700, Frank Mayhar wrote:
> >
> >>One word:  Remaindering.  A pernicious practice that is one of the things
> >>killing the paperback industry.
> >
> >Well, remaindering *is* pretty silly, but it's been going on for a lot
> >longer than the paperback crunch. 
> It's still black necromancy. 

Was the description of remaindering correct?

I thought remaindering was when the publisher decided to stop taking
returned books --and maybe gave some credit for unsold books-- and thus
booksellers just sold it at whatever price they could.  In fact,
sometimes, for odd reasons some booksellers 'self-remainder': they just
try to dump their stock instead of returning the books.  Plus, can't (at
least in theory) hardcover and trade paperback books be remaindered?

(And when the publisher decides to remainder books, it seems like they
often give the author the opportunity to buy some or all of their unsold

Whereas stripping was what was described: In the U.S., to make
'returning' unsold mass market paperbacks cheaper, the covers were
stripped and returned, and the contents (supposedly) destroyed.  (Note
that hardcovers and trade paperbacks, when returned, are returned whole
-- not stripped.  And I'm not sure if stripping is done anywhere else
but the U.S.)

Corrections on any/all of the above are welcome!

> >No, Rachel explained what has caused the real crunch.
> I wish my parents could spell.

I just noticed (from watching "She's All That") that the actor Rachael
Leigh Cook spells it the same way.

Anyway, another favorite scapegoat for publishing woes is the "Thor
Power Tools" decision, which came up on rec.arts.sf.written recently.
Since I remembered PNH and others talking about what they thought the
main true culprits were, I searched RASFW and RASFF a little while back
for posts about publishing woes and posted two articles with URLs:



Note that some URLs were split in my posts, so you'll have to reassemble
them.  I'm afraid it is a bit repetitive since the focus was on TPT, but
it probably provides helpful context, including that stripping has been
around since the 1940s.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to have (anything?) much to say about:

> >Instead of a lot of distributors working their areas and responding
> >("Hey, Jim, give us more westerns next time; people around here seem to
> >like westerns") you have Ingrams, which gives you (the drug store with
> >a book rack, or the airport, or whatever) the top ten NYT bestsellers
> >and a few others that they pick out.
> I was going to say that that was a while back (drugstore and airport
> racks being of any use) and that the paperback market survived the
> collapse of the ID channels, and then I realized I didn't know if that
> was actually the case. Did sales actually survive, and the later
> consolidations kill them; or did they never quite recover, and stagger
> woozily to their extended demise?

Tangent: Another thing to get angry about is that (paraphrase from
memory) acid-free paper doesn't cost more than non-acid-free paper in
terms of cost per area.  (For example, I believe if you look at 8.5"x11"
paper, you'll find similar or identical prices.)

Naturally, this leads to the question: why aren't mmpbs printed on
acid-free paper?  The answer is that acid-free paper is not produced in
that trim size, so you have a chicken and egg problem.  Publisher's
don't have the option of using cheap acid-free paper because it isn't
made.  It isn't made because there isn't enough demand to make it cost
effective to produce.  Grr.

Corrections on the above again very welcome.  Note that it is based on
my memory of posts made by Lis Carey on RASFW many years ago.

- tky