On curbing the menace of remainder books in higher education

Jeevan, V K J


This study attempts to present the library’s and librarian's view point of dealing with remainder books and sensitise librarians and researchers about the trade in remainder books which enter the market disguised as genuine books and sold as such despite instructions from government, trade agencies and libraries about selling remainders. Based on the available literature on the trade of remainder books, a case study has been attempted in the light of the book acquisition activity of one year for a University Library. Since there is no explicit declaration from booksellers about which titles they supply are remainders, libraries have to resort to indirect options to identify them. It has been observed that over 80% of the books procured in a typical higher education library in the country are in English language. Of these, though 51% of books are either printed in India or priced in Indian Rupees, the remaining 49% of books have prices in foreign currencies. Out of a panel of over 50 book suppliers involved in supplying books of interest to the said Library, it was found that 12 suppliers actively canvassed for more number of books through frequent visits, providing large number of titles on approval for examination and through continuous interactions with teachers. Around 76% of the money spent for purchasing books is canvassed by these 12 suppliers for supplying 51% of the books procured. They supplied 2559 titles in English priced in foreign currencies (around 76% of such cases); out of which 68% only are published in the last four years. It was confirmed that over 32% of the procured books priced in foreign currencies are published at least four years before the year of purchase and some or many of these titles might have entered the country through the remainder route. The publisher never informs libraries about throwing a particular title in the remainder market. Similarly the importer/distributor/bookseller never certifies about the receipt of such a title through that route. It has also been observed that documents to support a remainder title being procured as genuine are made overnight by trade parties as per the demands of individual libraries. Due to the lack of actual data concerning remainder books in the country which the importers, distributors, booksellers and other entities are trying to closely guard from public and libraries, there are not many studies on remainder books deterrent measures to be taken by libraries which is adversely impacting the quality of book collection in libraries.


Book acquisition; Remainder books, Higher education libraries

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