Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don't buy new books

This isn't my advice, but AOL's advice, yesterday, on their home page, I'm told. This is such lousy advice. Anyone who doesn't know the publishing biz may not think this is bad advice, may in fact think it good advice. Yet, how could anyone not know that an author makes no money on used books. Buying used books counts in no way toward an author eventually getting royalties.

A couple of weeks ago a friend--bless her heart--told me she found my book online at a great price. I was speechless. She thought I'd be happy and I could see she truly did not know that I'd much rather her paid a little bit more for a new book at that same online store.

So listen....if you want to keep the publishing industry alive, buy new books. Go into bookstores--indies, chains, even online--and buy new books. Only buy used books if the book you want is out of print or way out of your budget. It's sort of like poetry; so many people are budding poets but they never buy poetry books and the poetry market is rolling in the dust.

7 comments:

IRENE said...

Funny how people and companies who support multi-million industries that put people under the spending yoke, such as like fashion, cinema and the glossies think frugal when it comes to books...and authors, the mind and eye openers...

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

This is so true, Irene. Can you imagine only buying used shoes or .... um ... underwear? I exaggerate, but think about it. A book follows a person wherever he or she goes: to meals, to bed, to the bathroom....... (See, I'm really just trying to discourage the practice of buying used books ; }

amy said...

I'm a big fan of libraries, so I'm sure all you writers really loathe me. However...I'm not totally sure I agree that book sharing or buying used books is bad for writers. (I also believe in music sharing, fwiw). Here's why: I can't tell you how many times I read used books and discovered writers and then went out and spent a bunch of money on everything they ever wrote. I did it with Sue Grafton back in the 90s; in fact, a ton of mystery writers; and currently I'm in the thick of a borrowed copy of Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, and I like it so much my husband bought one of his paperbacks at the airport this weekend. Just a thought.

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

Oh, of course all book buying is good for writers. I'm just saying if you want to directly affect a writer by buying her book, probably buying it new will affect her the most..... I love libraries too, and used book stores. I just try to balance out the whole thing by buying books new, too.

Deborah said...

What does new book mean to me? There's the sound when you open it, the subtle sound of the spine easing a bit. There's the paper, new print, sweet. There's the smell with each turn....

I do know the difference, I hoard used books from garage sales, I buy those for reference, for giveaways... One of my favorite new book experiences - don't laugh - Griffin and Sabine! It was like a treasure within a treasure!

Anonymous said...

No worries here. I am addicted to book stores and amazon.com (hope they are okay?!?). Bought a membership at Amazon where I pay a set price and shipping is ALWAYS free. Due to a lack of space in our house I would say a good 90% of my purchases go to Friends of the Newport Beach Public Library and become tax deductions!

Jill said...

I tear apart used books for my art. Sounds kind of sacrilegious...but I gotta make money some how, in order to buy new books. ;-)