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Old 07-31-2011, 12:26 AM   #1
William F
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Used book stores, good or evil?

On the one hand I'm not a fan of people who don't have anything to do with the product making money off of the sweat of an author's brow.
On the other hand most of the people I know who run used book stores do it out of love for books and reading and it's hard to fault people for that.

So, should I feel guilty about shopping my local used book store, or embrace it?
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:49 AM   #2
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Heya WilliamF...gotta admit, I don't see the issue here at all. Sure, there have been a ton of discussions about royalties and copyrights and IP protection, etc...but it has been my belief forever that there is no issue with used book stores in any way. Period.

Most used bookstores get a good deal of stuff from people who have already paid for the books originally so the authors have already [hopefully] been compensated. They also probably get overstock books directly from publishers [at a significant discount I would assume] so again, quite up and up.

Unless I am totally off-base [always possible!], you should not for one second feel bad about patronizing used book stores. In fact, I supported a few local NYC used bookshops for many years - they were all run as you say by people who love to read. I found some excellent gems and other hard to find editions at those places. Great great help!

A logical extension of your concept would be that public libraries are conceptually bad, right? And we know that cannot possibly be the case.

Actually, now that I think about it, stores selling used anything are awesome. Music, electronics, musical instruments, clothing, books, whatever and etc...its all good IMO!

my 2cents and cheers,
-les

Last edited by lestatar; 07-31-2011 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:06 AM   #3
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Used book stores = GOOD!!
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:53 AM   #4
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Good or evil? Dunno. Good for buyers and sellers, yes. Good for authors and publishers who see no benefit from the sell-ons that challenge currently available new books, no. Neil
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:59 AM   #5
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Could you not extend the same argument to people who sell used cars, or used anything else, for that matter? Why single out books?
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Old 07-31-2011, 07:26 AM   #6
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^ Exactly! Not intending to be mean, but looking forward to hearing more from the OP and try to understand their thinking on this thread...
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
William F
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Good points. Thank you all.
I singled out books because I'm invested in the industry personally.
As a writer I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a twinge whenever I buy a used book knowing that no part of my purchase is going to support the author. That's pretty much the whole of the issue.
Of course with Borders closing, a used book store is the only book store left in my town so I guess the problem has been solved for me
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:20 PM   #8
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It's a pity such a rational approach to the disposal and reuse of ebooks cannot be found.
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:23 PM   #9
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I've seen this argument directed at libraries as well. Matter of fact, I knew a girl on one forum who said she no longer mentioned to authors that she was in line for their books at the library, because one author jumped on her that since she didn't get any recompense for her books being read via library lending that the girl was "stealing" from her. I realize this is a minority view among authors, but it sure made a strong impression on both that girl, and I imagine everyone she told the story to. I found it very nice on the part of the girl that she refused to mention which author it was that said that to her, though. I imagine that some authors do feel conflicted about second hand bookstores - feeling that they're being "stolen from" since they don't get anything from the second (or third, or fourth) sale. But at the same time - not everyone is a book hoarder like me. Once a book comes into this house, it very seldom leaves. Even if it's something I probably won't read again. I am the bane of used bookstore owners everywhere, LOL.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:36 PM   #10
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I have seen information (and apologies for my "on the Internet somewhere" reference) that suggests that an assumption of negative effect of a secondhand market on creators/producers is a false assumption; that overall on things like, for example, computer games and vehicles, a thriving secondhand market boosts firsthand sales as the market is more willing to buy relatively high cost new items with an awareness that the cost is defrayed by a secondhand sale to someone else. The secondhand sale provides things at a lower cost to people who wouldn't have risked buying new (lest they discover they didn't like the item), and therefore acts as advertising as positive experience can lead them to purchase new in similar product next time.

I don't know how valid this is (as mentioned, I read it "somewhere on the internet"), and whether it also applies to secondhand books (and possibly libraries?), but I think it's an important point that would require evidence and consideration before making an assumption that secondhand books are bad for writers and publishers, especially if not having a secondhand market (as with ebooks) might make things worse for them, all else being equal (which it isn't, I know).

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:37 AM   #11
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Think of it like this: books are supposed to bring knowledge to everyone, from those who can afford a brand new edition to those who can't.
And there are some books they don't publish anymore, they can only be found in secondhand book stores.
And if one book can be used by several people, it is economical. You buy a paper book, read it once or twice, and if you hardly reread it, why don't you give others the opportunity?

Same with library.

I love used book stores. Those are heavens on earth.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:33 AM   #12
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I don't see a problem with second-hand bookstores.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:07 AM   #13
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I think that second hand book stores (like libraries) also perform a service of a sort myself. I mean a person might not be able to afford the original purchase price for a book and might therefore miss out on the experience and even if they can afford the full purchase price of a book they might not have come across the work of author X before and therefore not know how good/bad his/her writing is. Used bookstores like their cousin the library allow you to learn about new authors that you might not learn about any other way. I also have had the experience of shopping at a used bookstore and sometimes you can find gems that aren't available via conventional outlets anymore. For every classic that is kept in print there are probably 10 books that aren't reprinted after all.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:03 AM   #14
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The writer who claimed she was being stolen from is a moron. Writing is a privilege.... The writer is even lucky to have job where she is paid to earn some of her living. Said writer should be lucky he or she is even in a library or a used bookshop considering the plethora of writers that get their books rejected by publishers every year.



Quote:
Originally Posted by phenomshel View Post
I've seen this argument directed at libraries as well. Matter of fact, I knew a girl on one forum who said she no longer mentioned to authors that she was in line for their books at the library, because one author jumped on her that since she didn't get any recompense for her books being read via library lending that the girl was "stealing" from her. I realize this is a minority view among authors, but it sure made a strong impression on both that girl, and I imagine everyone she told the story to. I found it very nice on the part of the girl that she refused to mention which author it was that said that to her, though. I imagine that some authors do feel conflicted about second hand bookstores - feeling that they're being "stolen from" since they don't get anything from the second (or third, or fourth) sale. But at the same time - not everyone is a book hoarder like me. Once a book comes into this house, it very seldom leaves. Even if it's something I probably won't read again. I am the bane of used bookstore owners everywhere, LOL.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hidari View Post
The writer who claimed she was being stolen from is a moron. Writing is a privilege.... The writer is even lucky to have job where she is paid to earn some of her living. Said writer should be lucky he or she is even in a library or a used bookshop considering the plethora of writers that get their books rejected by publishers every year.
Furthermore, the author WAS paid! Libraries don't get their books for free unless the book was donated. That donated book was originally purchased by someone, so again, the author has been paid.


Thought: Why was the author at the library? Was she "stealing" someone else's work?
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