Coverless Books (was: Issola Spoilers vs. Orca Spoilers)

Wed Mar 12 20:17:21 PST 2003

>When hardbacks aren't sold, they're returned to the publisher, or
>remaindered.  When mass-market paperbacks, like _Taltos_ aren't sold, they 
>aren't remaindered.  The covers are stripped and returned to the 
>publishing company, but the books themselves are destroyed.  Or should be.  
>Less scrupulous merchent will sell stripped paperbacks.  All of which 
>means that if you're buying a paperback with no front cover, it means 
>you're likely buying a book that was never sold; hence the author never 
>received recompense for the sale of that particular book.
Note on stripped paperbacks.  It costs the company more to ship the books
back to their distributor than the books are worth.  The covers are
stripped and sent back because that is where the UPC code is.  

As someone who works in a bookstore (Waldenbooks), I spend a significant
amount of time stripping covers each month.  It's even worse in the months
directly following Christmas.  I have no remorse stripping the trashy
romance novels, but the sci-fi/fantasy hurts.  Having said this, I also
have no real problems grabbing a stripped cover book for personal reading.
It goes to the trash at home after I have read it.  If I liked it, I will
see if I can hunt down a covered paperback copy, if not a hardback
(employee discounts nicely balances out my eensie-weensie paychecks and I
am becoming a book snob).