Used book stores get a bum rap!

I’ve heard several multi-pubbed authors disparage used book stores.  They resent the lost retail sales that take money out of their pockets.  But in the scheme of things, used book stores have their uses.

For people on limited income, often they are reluctant to spend their book allowance on unknown authors.  Buying, reading, and loving books from the local UBS often wins new readers to the author.  When a buyer loves a new author, they’re more often likely to buy the author’s new titles as they come out as well as whatever backlist titles the buyer can’t find at the UBS.

Right now, I’m sitting in St. Louis, anticipating an enjoyable treat.  AN EVENING WITH CHARLENE HARRIS & LAURELL K. HAMILTON.  You want to know who turned me on to both of these authors?  My friends at the Book Alley in Tulsa, OK.  In fact, they’ve helped me find a lot of great authors.  And I was willing to take their recommendations after the first one turned out so well.

However, used book stores may some day be extinct.  After all, eventually, print books will become collectors’ items.  In other words, all USED books, but costing a fortune.  And what happens to the reader who’s looking for a good read by an unknown author?  Bummer!

Happily, that won’t happen in my lifetime, so my friends at the Book Alley will continue to clue each other one great reads and/or awesome new writers.


8 thoughts on “Used book stores get a bum rap!

  1. I once heard an author say that she wouldn’t ever use an Amazon link to promote her books because they offer the used ones on the same screen with just a click of the mouse. It surprised me then, and continues to be a surprise when authors don’t recognize the usefulness of used bookstores and word of mouth. Plus, it’s good for the environment. spw

  2. I don’t think large used book stores, like Half Price Books, will ever go under. And, I’ve found excellent new authors there too. HPB has an on-line store.
    While I understand from the author’s POV, I would rather my unsold book be sent there with the chance. . .

    • Me, too, Meg. Maybe I’m cutting my own profit, but I prefer to think that the book a reader didn’t want or like will attract a new reader who will go looking for my new books…and buy!

  3. Used bookstores do have their place, but . .

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done a book signing and someone has brought in a paper sack filled with used copies of my books. “I get all my romances used,” they say, “and spend my book money on REAL books.”

    It doesn’t do any good for my sales record or for my bottom line when people buy everything I write but do it in a way that I don’t make a penny off of it. For people who can’t afford to feed their book habit new, that’s one thing. It’s another entirely when readers want to read all your stuff but don’t feel you deserve their money. They’re the same as electronic pirates, IMO.

    I’ve also never bought into the line that UBS should be exempt from paying royalties. They do in other countries; why should the US be different?

    • See? That’s the difference between the established author and the newbie. I don’t have enough backlist that anyone would bring in a sackful of used titles for me to sign. Never thought of that side of it. I agree about the UBSs paying royalties; only fair for the authors. Maybe that’s why e-pirates think it’s okay to sell pirated eBooks. They’re only selling used books, right??? NOT!

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