Remainder Marks

You might notice the term “remainder mark” appearing in my item description every now and then. So, what is exactly a remainder mark and why do some books have it?

“After a book has been published and in the retail book stores for a while, unsold copies are returned to the publisher in order to make room for new books. These ‘remainders’ are then sold to wholesalers at deep discounts, where they enter the secondary market of discount book stores. Or they are bought by Internet entrepreneurs like myself who, because our stores are virtual and we have little to no overhead, can make them available to you at a small fraction of the original retail price. The publishers often mark these books with a ‘remainder mark’. This mark prevents someone from buying the book at a discount, and then returning it for a full price refund at a retail store. These marks are usually unobtrusive, and wouldn’t be noticed unless you knew to look for them. They in no way diminish the readability or display value of the book. These marks may cause a book to be valued less by collectors.

Here are examples of remainder marks:

Remainder Mark 1


Remainder Mark 2

Technically, these books were never read. Unless of course, it was previously read by someone who bought a remaindered book. Due to transit, these books might be in a condition slightly lower than brand new. In the collector’s market, books with remainder marks are valued less than those without.

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Truth! Justice! and the American Way!

One question immediately comes to mind when people see a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: is a book almost 700 pages long worth the time? And I can think of only one reply: definitely.

There are some writers who try so hard to use highfaluting verbiage to the point that the prose only ends up sounding crude or contrived. Michael Chabon is not one of them. On the other hand, his labyrinthine sentences shine with such clarity and skill that upon reading the first paragraph, I instantly thought, ‘who is this writer?’ He is able to produce cadence with complex sentences and bring together random words into impressive similes and metaphors. His imagery is vivid, his description, detailed. One example of such excellent skill is the line “[g]ray light was smeared across the sky like ointment on a bandage.???

The plot is nonetheless a joyride of Sammy’s and Joe’s exciting travails on the ups and downs of their lives –from starting out small to making it big to confronting their own personal demons – theirs is a story replete with adventures and life lessons. Another lasting impression was Joe’s talent in liberation, which becomes intricately woven into the man’s life as he tries to overcome the pain that fate has in store for him. This very act of liberation fascinated me, because it went beyond the physical level of being able to escape from bonds and chains.

Don’t let the book’s thickness prevent you from reading it. Believe me, if you haven’t read this yet, you’re missing 700 pages of your life. This masterpiece talks about almost all aspects of life –success, fear, sexuality, guilt, joy– and therefore, of life itself. The thickness of the book actually produced a more profound impact on me, like a friend you have gotten to know so well. Suffice it to say that when I closed the book for the final time, I felt a bittersweet sadness welling inside me, an amalgamation of joy upon going through such a marvel and sadness upon reaching its end.

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Book Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones

Living Through Death

Lovely Bones is not your ordinary tearjerker. I picked up the book with a Kleenex at hand, expecting to cry at the slightest dramatic antic. I was in for one major shock.

The book is not all tears and limitless impossibilities that are commonly associated with drama. The story is deeply poignant, yes, but also very grounded on reality. The story is touching because it showed how a teenage girl, Susie, could manage to cope with a horrifying incident which was, and still is, so alarmingly possible in real life. Though the premise of the story (point of view of a dead girl) is unrealistic, the incident which put her into that situation is a reality. What makes it even better is the prose. The book is elegantly written, with none of that overly exaggerated vocabulary used to intensify already-melodramatic storylines of other texts. Moreover, Susie’s tragedy is not treated with tears and solitude, but with a mix of humor and solemnity, so despite the sad premise, it was still far from depressing –which is what books should aim for, since nobody reads to get depressed. I also loved the prose because of its vivid power to connect to a reader’s heartstrings. Alice Sebold just knew how to tug the right strings at the right time. Throughout the story, I was keenly aware of how much the book emphasized the value of life, but only in one scene, which became an instant favorite, did this emphasis present itself at its best. It was the scene wherein the dead Susie desperately wanted to touch her crush, who was taking a shower. This part was written with such intensity that I actually felt how much my own life is worth, seeing as how one dead girl could yearn for mere physical contact (which only mortality could give) so immensely. The prose was so effective that I could feel how much Susie wanted to live again. Sebold’s language perfectly carved out Susie’s great thirst for life. It was only after finishing that part when I realized I was in tears. But then again, who could resist being moved when a book such as Sebold’s is in front of you, so hopeful and poignant without being overdone?

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