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[Comments] (3) Calendar Overstock: Your ritzier used bookstores love to sell calendars. The price you can get for a calendar plummets as the year inches towards the inevitable phoenixlike conflagration that destroys it each Dec. 31. I haven't checked, but I bet that in Q4 of a year a calendar for that year would be so cheap at a used bookstore that it would be worth buying even if you just wanted to rip out one of the pictures to use as a poster.

But why is this? Why do they print so many calendars, so many that most of them (I can only assume) don't get sold and get shipped off to used bookstores? Are calendar manufacturers in a constant state of self-delusion that surely this year the teddy bear calendar will sell 50% more copies than it has sold every year for the past five years? Are the calendars we see in used bookstores merely the unpopular ones? Does selling old calendars to used bookstores actually form a secondary, but still profitable market? I wants to know!


Posted by Joe Grossberg at Wed Jul 28 2004 18:30

My guess:

Since there is such a huge markup, the cost of making too many copies (come on, how many cents is the marginal cost of producing one more calendar?) is outweighed by the ability to sell as many copies as possible of that year's hot themes.

Of course, I don't think that photos of puppies are subject to the same market forces as calendars featuring pop singers ... but hey. It's halfway there.

Posted by Susie at Thu Jul 29 2004 17:20

Since it's probably the non-used bookstores shipping the calendars off to the used bookstores, do the manufacturers even know how many of those calendars the non-used bookstore has actually sold?

Posted by Leonard at Thu Jul 29 2004 17:36

I think that non-used bookstores return unsold books to the publisher. It might be the same with calendars. If the non-used bookstores are selling calendars to the used bookstores, then it's the non-used bookstores' fault for buying more calendars than they need every year. But since each individual bookstore has less of the picture of the industry than a calendar company, it would be more understandable.


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