Publishers are quietly disposing of around 77million unsold books a year, it has emerged.
So many titles no one wants to read are being produced that they are being shredded, pulped or sold on market stalls at a fraction of their original price.
Industry insiders say companies are forced to destroy them after they are returned by bookshops.
Figures from the Publishers Association show that 61million books were returned to publishers in the UK last year. Another 16million were returned by overseas retailers.
Celebrity works are some of the lowest sellers – including Cherie Blair who is said to have received a £1million advance for her autobiography. But the book has sold only 23,412 hardbacks and 10,240 paperbacks since 2008.
What happens to books that no one wants to read
Perhaps it's time that publishers organize focus groups to find out what editors readers want to read...