Remainder books

What is a Remainder Book and Should You Buy One?

The Quest for Discounted Books

You’ve begun the search for cheap books. Maybe you’re an avid reader, one who likes to keep used books in circulation and out of trash bins, looking for the best priced copy of your next read.  Or maybe you’re getting a head start, purchasing your textbooks well before classes begin. You know that if you start the search early, you’ll have the best chance at getting your hands on the lowest priced versions of your textbooks before someone else does. Why you’re on your cheap book quest doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that you’re about to put a very discounted copy of the book you need into your online basket and check out. But then…you read the book’s description (always read the book’s description):

“Remainder Book”

Now you’re confused. You’re familiar with the conditions and descriptions “like-new”, “ebook”, “poor”. You even know what a hurt book is now. But what is a remainder book? And do you want one?

Remainder marks on books
Image source:

A book or textbook described as a “remainder book” or “remainder” means that the book is no longer selling well and is being sold at a greatly discounted book price, to free the distributer of their remaining inventory. You may even see that a remainder book is marked sometimes by a black dot, a black line, a slash down the book pages or a letter or logo. These markings are intentional and don’t indicate that anything is wrong with the book. It simply means that a distributer has marked the book as a remainder, before sending it out to book websites and discounted book vendors.

Who Wouldn’t Want a Remainder Book?

Finding a remainder book is a steal for most looking to purchase a lower priced textbook or novel. The only time someone may want to avoid purchasing a remainder book, is if that person is a book collector looking for a collectible book, as this marking could reduce the value of a collectible.

Not a book collector? Carry on with your purchase and enjoy the savings and cheap books you just scored! I hope this was helpful and that you are able to easily find your next book or textbook on

About the author

Phil Smyres
CEO and Founder of
I graduated from Ohio State University, and I’ve been in Columbus, OH ever since. In 1994, I started buying and selling books on campus with two brick and mortar stores. Those stores have since closed but has remained a premier online retailer for all your textbook needs. During this time, we’ve also added two additional online retailers, and

My interests include spending time with my family, traveling everywhere and watching Ohio State football.