For years I've been buying books from the Edward Hamilton catalog. When I first started getting the catalog, just about everything in it was a remaindered book. At that time, I knew nothing about the publishing industry and had never even heard the term "remainder."
According to Widipedia: Remaindered books are books that are no longer selling well and whose remaining unsold copies are being liquidated by the publisher at greatly reduced prices. While the publisher takes a loss on the sales of these books, they're able to make some money off the sale and clear out space in the warehouses.
What isn't mentioned in that definition is that AUTHORS DON'T MAKE ANY MONEY ON THESE BOOKS.
Sad, but true.
Do I still buy remainders now that I'm an author? *blush* Yes. The thought of a book being pulped is just terrible (and that's what happens to books the publisher can't sell, either because they don't have enough (places like B&N, Borders, and Edward Hamilton) buy by the pallet load, often for pennies). And the shipping is very reasonable. If you buy from the catalog (snail mail), shipping is $3.50 -- no matter how many books you buy. (It's more expensive if you buy online--and they charge an extra $.40 a book, too.)
Since I learned about remaindered books, I often wondered if I'd see Murder on the Mind or Dead in Red in the catalog. Wasn't going to happen. For one, they never even printed a pallet full of either title. (Okay maybe Dead in Red--but then I bought what was left in the warehouse when the book went out of print, and it wasn't anywhere near a pallet load. That said, I'm selling the $26 book for $11 postage paid (US only) on my web site and I sure would like to clear that space. If you're interested, click here.)
The newest catalog came the other day and I started flipping through it. Weeee. There's a Sandra Lee cookbook for $6 that I marked as a possible, and they're selling The Greatest American Hero full series for only $20 (that's three seasons--I almost bought it for $25 over the summer, but then lost the catalog), and they're selling a version of the Yule Log (I have no fireplace) for only $3!!! How can I possibly turn down these bargains???
And, wait--that cover looks familiar. OHMYGOD--It's Chapter & Hearse!!!!!
Holy Smoke! One of my books is in the Edward Hamilton catalog! Not only that, but there's Susan Albert Wittig's current hardcover The Tale of Oat Cake Crag, and Miranda James's Murder Past Due (that I wrote the blurb for).
These days, the company does sell in-print books, books the authors DO earn royalties on, and they do sell them for a reduced price. The list price on Chapter & Hearse is $7.99. Edward Hamilton is selling it for $5.95. (Plus shipping.) Susan's books is a $23.95 book going for $14.95 -- quite a savings.
Do I care that they're selling my book for $2 off list price? Heck no! I still make my full royalty--because the book is still in print (and I hope it stays that way for a LONG TIME.) And I love the fact that they choose to feature the covers of Miranda's, Susan's and my book books. Hopefully, we'll find new readers via the catalog. I'm crossing my fingers that it happens.
I don't buy the bulk of my books from Edward Hamilton. I buy from Barnes & Noble and now Amazon for Kindle downloads (and get this, authors make more money from e books than print books). If we had an independent bookstore within a 15 minute drive, I'd support it, too. (The closest one to me is about a half hour drive in a nearby college town.)
Where do you buy the bulk of your books?