I received the last catalogue from Hampstead House Books today, bidding farewell after 40 years of selling remaindered and retired books, new but unsold (plus a few CDs, DVDs, and VIDEOs). I used to buy quite a few books from them, mainly women's diaries for my collection, but there haven't been many of those for a while. More recently, very large, hard cover (but still obscure) women's diaries are being published - and sold, I guess - by big publishing houses, So Hampstead House Books have not ushered them into obscurity. HHB once offered a couple of my books, to my surprise, because my publisher hadn't let me know. (It's standard in a contract that the writer gets first dibs when the publisher decides to remainder the book.) When I brought this to the accountant's attention, he just said , "Sorry about that." It's a form of abuse. Anyway, I bought some of my books, cheaper than my author's discount.
It's very sad for a writer to look over remainder tables and even worse to read a whole catalogue of books that didn't make it on the retail market. Makes you wonder if perhaps there are too many books being published, or, as is increasingly the case, that there aren't enough readers. Then you take a look at some of the titles and you wonder how on earth some of them ever got published in the first place. They don't now, actually, get published, not in print; they appear as e-books.
I found a title that amazed me: How To Iron a Shirt: "A collection of 500 useful tips and tricks." For a shirt?? 265 pages, with illustrations. ONLY $2,99.