Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Used Book Stores: Threat or Menace?

Boz asks:
In my previous comment I mentioned buying from a used book store and I had never really considered it from an author's perspective. How do authors feel about used book stores?

As usual, the answer is: ask six authors how they feel about the subject and you'll get at least eight opinions.

Speaking strictly for myself, I have to say that I like used-book stores and visit them often. True, the author only makes money off the original sale of the book, so the sale of a used book does the author no direct material good, but used-book stores perform two vital services in that they keep out-of-print books available (better in a used-book store than in a landfill) and they do so at the sorts of prices that appeal to people on a starving student's budget. I can think of quite a few authors that I quite like that I never would have discovered if my only choice had been to buy their books when they were new releases and at full retail price.

On the other hand, it is disconcerting to find a copy of one of your own books in a used-book store, open it, and find it's one you personalized and gave to a friend.

What's your favorite story of something great that you found in a used-book store?