An ex of mine in publishing used to hate my dragging her into remainder bookshops. She saw them as public archives of professional disasters. I love ’em—both because they’re full of cheap, odd books and because they are full of titles that nobody wants to buy. The question I ask about many of the latter is: why did anyone ever think that somebody would want to buy them in the first place?
I remember that arty book discount place next to South Kensington Tube station used to a have a stack of thick, large-format, coffee-table editions of one of the big art publishers’ guides to the Post-Impressionists. A guaranteed small-but-steady seller, you’d think; but not if all the plates reproducing the original works are in black-and-white.
Emptying out a pocket earlier today, I found a list of titles of surefire bin-busters that I saw in a remainder sale a couple of weeks back:
Bono on Bono
Sex, Leadership, and Rock’n’Roll: Leadership Lessons From The Academy of Rock
If you are the sort of saddo who collects these things too, or you found something similarly mystifying on Amazon then do feel free to add your own examples in the comments.
My favourite was one I saw at least 20 years ago, called something like “Rally driving with a TI-59 Calculator”
If it was re-published now everyone would assume it was a new Tony Hawks book, a follow up to “Around Ireland with a fridge” and “A piano in the Pyrenees”, and it would sell thousands.
[…] to my post about remaindered bookshops, Claire reminds me of Clive James’s poem on the […]
Thank you for your review which I see has been achieved without actually reading the book. You are truly gifted.
Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll gets an airing on BBC Breakfast News this Friday so perhaps you will be able to apply your skills of premonition to this as well.
Keep up the good work
In this post I suggested that your book has a title that makes people unlikely to want to buy it.
I inferred this from reading the title of your book on copies of the same languishing in a remainder bin.
It’s because of this kind of feat of “premonition” that I am known as “The Mystic Geek”.
[I’d say that someone who was secure in his “leadership” qualities would have had a laugh at this post and enjoyed the free publicity. I know I would, but I have never led anything. Though I am number one on Google for self-mockery and you certainly aren’t.]
Love from Damian
[…] for her latest volume of designer politics. (As I didn’t with Peter Cook’s book back here, I am going to divine without reading it that Klein’s book will be rubbish.) From Tom’s […]
Is this the metaphorical A-bomb of unpickupable?
I predict a riot!