Buying New. Vs. Used

I can’t really buy into the complaint by authors that buying used books impacts publishing trends. You’d have to have some research and some stats to back up that claim. I also find it quite interesting to suggest that readers should always buy new unless the author is “dead” and/or when the book is “out of print”. According to these people, those should be the only times you seek out and buy used books.

I’d have to strongly disagree with that sentiment. Lest you may think that I have a tree that grows book money in my backyard let me tell you that I don’t. Not every author is worth buying new. At the price that the publisher is charging for new books these days, unfortunately, that isn’t always indicative of the talent. To echo Jane from Dear Author, if the book is good, it will sell regardless. I think the publishing industry needs to find another excuse as to the decline of their sales. Nobody asked but I do buy new when it’s an author that I’ve enjoyed and who is consistently entertaining. It only takes one time to “burn” me when a book fails to deliver. There’s just too many other books out there to read and discover.

Used bookstores provide an invaluable resource to those who are wary of buying new authors who have yet to prove themselves. I’m sure used bookstores are both a blessing and a curse but without them – many authors wouldn’t get read today. At least not by me anyway. This is an old issue nevertheless but for those readers and authors out there who feel as if everybody should buy new – let me give you my TBB list and you buy it  “new”for me, ok? Otherwise, give me a f. break. What world do you all live in?  Your reality is clearly not my reality. The reality is that I work hard for a living and have other things to spend my money on; it’s nice to be able to buy books to read for pleasure but it’s clearly not a necessity like food and water.

However, when an author has proven themselves and have consistenly entertained me, I’d be the first in line to buy the hardcover, the mass market paperback, the trade paperback (as much I hate them) and the ebook—all brand spanking new.


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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6 Responses to Buying New. Vs. Used

  1. Laura says:

    Here’s a question: very few people keep all the books they read; especially if the book doesn’t wow them. If it wasn’t for used book stores, what would happen to all those books? And why don’t authors ever complain that public libraries are cutting into their income-heck, a bestseller in a big city might get read by 100 people! That’s some serious cash escaping.

  2. Jane says:

    I wonder how many readers are out there that don’t buy new and I’m not saying buy new all the time but buy at least one new book a month. I also think that there are some authors who will suffer a loss at another author’s gain. How do we balance that? My other thought is how many books does a publisher have to sell in order to make a profit?

  3. Avid Reader says:

    With advances, marketing and promotion and print runs, all that must be paid back, I guess, among other things other things. So, the author would have to have a complete sell through of their print run, I would speculate. I’m no insider.

    I just think it’s not realistic to think every reader will buy all their books new. I know no one who exclusively buys new books. It’s too expensive. Even with discounts, its too expensive. Your lucky if 3 mm paperbacks cost under $20.

    When I’m at the register, I have to look again at my purchases to see how many of these books I bought for $35 and usually it’s not very many. However, $35 at the used book will get you a bagfull of books.

    No easy answers, publishing has been around for years. If they’ve survived this long, I’m pretty sure they’ll figure it all out. Meanwhile, I’d be interested in seeing what you dig up.

  4. Avid Reader says:

    Hi Laura,

    Your post didn’t show up because my spam filter seems to be working a little too well. Anyway, to comment on your response, I thought libraries do help authors in that they buy the books in bulk. I didn’t know that library books cut so deeply into their income. You learn something new everyday. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Kristie(J) says:

    I’m kind of in the middle of this debate. I see a lot of readers complaining about the lower of quality of books being writtent these days and I agree yet disagree. There are some truly boring same old, same old books, but there are also some really good ones still being written if you are willing to take a gamble on a new/lesser known author. So – I’m a firm believer in buying new when you find such an author. Well known ones like Nora Roberts or SEP I’ll never buy new anymore. They are set enough that they don’t need my money. But if we don’t buy new the lesser known, yet bright lights of the genre, well, they will fade away since publishers don’t seem to be very forgiving of low sales. That is such a shame. And it is such a rush to find a really good new to me author whose books I really love and be able to share it. Do I feel I OWE an author to buy new? No, not really. But I WANT to buy the good ones new.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    I pretty much agree with you Kristie. Any author that is pretty good, your gonna want to buy new. Well most of us anyway. I do. But as far as it being an obligation as a reader to buy books, new? I’d have to disagree with that. It’s a catch-22 if you ask me. The one thing that hinders this whole thing is the escalating prices of books. Books on average run about $7.99 or $6.99 a pop. If it’s not at Wal-Mart, I usually don’t buy it unless it’s an author I read.

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