How many stages of the value chain does the book trade comprise? What does the term "cash assortment" mean and what is meant by returns? The book market is characterised by its own industry standards and a large number of market participants. In this article, we will not only explain the systematics and functioning of the individual stages of the value chain. We also look at how current market developments are putting the individual industry players under economic pressure. It is indispensable for authors to understand how the book trade works and its special characteristics in order to be able to make promising decisions for their own book publication.