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View Full Version : I think I'll stay away from used books...



Word Jedi
02-28-2010, 08:59 PM
I just bought 2 used books from someone on eBay.
I couldn't wait to read them.
The seller descibed them as being in Very Good condition.
I got the books and they were actually revolting.
It appears that the last person to read them did so while eating cheese doodles or something, because the pages have a crusty, orange stain on them near the bottoms where he'she held the book open while reading.
<shivers>
Maybe it's time for a Kindle.

icerose
02-28-2010, 09:24 PM
Go to used book stores and book swapping setups instead. You can check out the book right there in the store.

jvc
02-28-2010, 09:49 PM
I was going to suggest that too. In the next town over from us here, there is a local market every Saturday with a stall selling second hand books. They're all in pretty good condition too.

Lost World
02-28-2010, 09:56 PM
Used bookstores are great for relatively common stuff, but I can see why you'd want to buy on ebay if you are looking for rare/older volumes. I've thought about using ebay to buy Kip Farrington non-fiction, but I never have. I guess the best thing to do is look at the sellers' ratings and only buy from those who are judged reputable by other buyers. Don't hesitate to bomb this guy and give him a bad review. I'd also write him a nastygram to let him know you're thinking of him....

CACTUSWENDY
02-28-2010, 09:57 PM
I'm sorry you had that happen. I order used books through the amazon site and they are in brand new condition. (Like someone only read them one time new.) The savings is really something too. I would not get to read much if it were not for that part of the site. The few that I have paid full first time cash for are few because of the costs.

Because.
02-28-2010, 09:57 PM
Ugh. I'm sorry.

I always buy unused books, I hate sharing them at all. Even with my friends.

Starhorsepax
02-28-2010, 11:18 PM
I think I'd only buy online if it was an old favorite I couldn't get any other way. I'd also check the seller reviews.
I worry more about SMELL! They may be smelly even if they look good. Some are kept in moldy basements (I'm trying to rid some of mine of this. It's possible, but time consuming.) And some may have come from a smoker, which can be a special problem if you have allergies or something. :(
It can be an insidious problem. You can see the nasty stains. But smells one doesn't always notice until one has been reading for awhile.

Maryn
02-28-2010, 11:23 PM
The obvious question: Have you complained to the seller that the books were not in the condition s/he represented? Many will accept returns or exchanges. Most people really aren't trying to screw with buyers, simply have different opinions on what the various conditions really mean.

Let the seller know of your dissatisfaction and what you would like him/her to do about it. It can't hurt to ask.

Maryn, utterly practical

Sevvy
02-28-2010, 11:31 PM
I hate to say it but when you buy from other people over the internet, you have to realize that stuff like this might happen. It's why you should always check seller feedback, and even then know that you might not get what you were hoping for. This is the advantage of the used bookstore over the internet, you can see the physical product you are going to buy before you pay for it.

You should contact the seller and let them know you are dissatisfied and that you disagree with the condition they stated the book was in.

Jamesaritchie
02-28-2010, 11:36 PM
Why would anyone buy used books from a seller they've never met? Buy new books, or go to a used bookstore, or visit your local library and save a ton of money.

Jamesaritchie
02-28-2010, 11:37 PM
I think I'd only buy online if it was an old favorite I couldn't get any other way. I'd also check the seller reviews.
I worry more about SMELL! They may be smelly even if they look good. Some are kept in moldy basements (I'm trying to rid some of mine of this. It's possible, but time consuming.) And some may have come from a smoker, which can be a special problem if you have allergies or something. :(
It can be an insidious problem. You can see the nasty stains. But smells one doesn't always notice until one has been reading for awhile.



I don't think anything in the world smells better than a musty old book.

Adam
02-28-2010, 11:37 PM
When I've got the cash, I'll go for new, but lately I've rarely got the cash. ;)

I find Amazon's Marketplace is good for used books. I have yet to buy an icky book, anyway. :)

Anaquana
02-28-2010, 11:39 PM
I think I'd only buy online if it was an old favorite I couldn't get any other way. I'd also check the seller reviews.
I worry more about SMELL! They may be smelly even if they look good. Some are kept in moldy basements (I'm trying to rid some of mine of this. It's possible, but time consuming.) And some may have come from a smoker, which can be a special problem if you have allergies or something. :(
It can be an insidious problem. You can see the nasty stains. But smells one doesn't always notice until one has been reading for awhile.

I haven't had to do this myself, but I've HEARD that if you place the book in a ziploc bag with a bit of baking soda for a few days, it will take the smell out without damaging the book.

brainstorm77
02-28-2010, 11:43 PM
I've never had issue with buying used books on EBay. I would chaulk this one up to you dealing with a crappy seller.

Ken
02-28-2010, 11:43 PM
... have encountered stains in library books I've taken out. One honestly looked like vomit. So consider yourself lucky in just coming across cheese doodle stains. I used to purchase used books at a used bookstore by me, till it went out of business. Neat shop. Miss it. Had a nice classics section.

Word Jedi
02-28-2010, 11:50 PM
A used book store would be great. But the closest used book store is about 100 miles away, believe it or not.
This transaction is the first bad one I've had. I buy used books all the time, but this one was horrible.
Yes, I did send them back and was promised a quick refund.
Oh, and as far as library books go, I have found some nasty surprises between those covers, too.

jvc
02-28-2010, 11:51 PM
I've never bought anything off ebay and have no urges to ever buy anything off it. Not sure I trust it all that much. I'm more of a 'touch before you buy' kind of guy, me. Oh, and I love the spell of a new book in the morning. I loved the new book smell as a kid. Couldn't get enough of it. It was like a drug. Can't believe how many books stores I was thrown out of for smelling the books :D

brainstorm77
02-28-2010, 11:52 PM
Ebay can be great but on occasion you will come across a bad seller.

veinglory
02-28-2010, 11:55 PM
Why would anyone buy used books from a seller they've never met? Buy new books, or go to a used bookstore, or visit your local library and save a ton of money.

Because there isn't a used book store for miles?

Because they dont have the rare books I am after?

Because they are cheaper online?

I mean, really, if online sales were that useless alibris and a good portion of ebay wouldn;t exist. As with any product, if a book is faulty I return ot for a refund. If the vendor refises I open an ebay case. I have had to do this a sum total of twice and always got my refund. Meanwhile I have a cupboard full of antique books, many of which I paid a few dollars for (shelve value in a used bookstore, $50 and up).

brainstorm77
02-28-2010, 11:57 PM
Because there isn't a used book store for miles?

Because they dont have the rare books I am after?

Because they are cheaper online?

I mean, really, if online sales were that useless alibris and a good portion of ebay wouldn;t exist. As with any product, if a book is faulty I return ot for a refund. If the vendor refises I open an ebay case. I have had to do this a sum total of twice and always got my refund. Meanwhile I have a cupboard full of antique books, many of which I paid a few dollars for (shelve value in a used bookstore, $50 and up).

But often on EBay I find things are not worth returning since I am the one having to pay to re-ship the item etc. Thank God, my bad experiences have been like two in over two hundred transactions.

ishtar'sgate
03-01-2010, 02:35 AM
I worry more about SMELL! They may be smelly even if they look good.
O-o-o, I love stinky old books. I love the smell of age. I love that many many people have already read and enjoyed them. I've always had good luck with buying used books on Amazon, some real old beauties too.

LeslieB
03-01-2010, 06:30 AM
Ebay is always a gamble. I bought a gardening book I was after that was described as 'like new, except it doesn't have the dustcover'. After I received it, I sent the seller a message that I wasn't aware that they were selling new books with chapters full of yellow highlighter and blue ink underlining.

BardSkye
03-01-2010, 06:50 AM
Chapters/Indigo has a really good used section online as well. I've bought both books and audiobooks with no problems.

Only ever bought one thing off E-bay. It arrived broken, and was replaced free by the seller as soon as I sent her a picture of the breakage.

Ms Hollands
03-01-2010, 06:59 PM
Why would anyone buy used books from a seller they've never met? Buy new books, or go to a used bookstore, or visit your local library and save a ton of money.

Because they live in a country where the language is different and the cheapest AND easiest way to buy a book is online.

To the OP, I feel for you. I have an annual book budget and when I reach it, I switch to second hand books, and this hasn't happened to me yet (but one book had an entire page of hot chocolate or something spilt on it...thankfully not every page!).

Phaeal
03-01-2010, 07:32 PM
The used books I get from Amazon and other online sites are usually out-of-print research tomes I'm not likely to find in local book stores. I've never had problems. In fact, for a whopping 75 cents I got a book with an Ex Libris plate of (maybe) historical interest: From the Library of Hubert Humphrey.

Hubert didn't eat Cheese Doodles while reading.

veinglory
03-01-2010, 07:34 PM
I go some great books from the library of a well known historian of psychology with the wonderful name of Prof Boring.

Cella
03-01-2010, 07:34 PM
finding splatter from what I guessed to be a bloody-nose sneeze in a library book caused me to come to this conclusion many years ago.

RickN
03-01-2010, 08:08 PM
I buy lots of used books, both from stores and ebay. Stores get my browsing and want-to-buy-a-single-book business. Ebay gets my want-several-book-by-the-same-author business.

I bought the entire Janet Evanovich Plum series in hardback off Ebay for $30 (16 books at the time). The local used bookstore would have cost me a ton more.

Similar with my 40+ book mixed hardback/paperback lot of Robert Parker I paid around $25 for.

Never got a cheesey-poofey book either. *knocks on wood*

My father, on the other hand, has lately taken to collecting first editions of certain authors. He buys off Ebay and has sent back a few books that turned out to be not as advertised.

Jamesaritchie
03-01-2010, 08:26 PM
Because there isn't a used book store for miles?

Because they dont have the rare books I am after?

Because they are cheaper online?

I mean, really, if online sales were that useless alibris and a good portion of ebay wouldn;t exist. As with any product, if a book is faulty I return ot for a refund. If the vendor refises I open an ebay case. I have had to do this a sum total of twice and always got my refund. Meanwhile I have a cupboard full of antique books, many of which I paid a few dollars for (shelve value in a used bookstore, $50 and up).


Really rare books I understand, although I think it's silly to buy a rare book off anyone but an actual rare book dealer. Ebay is not the only online site, and it is, in fact, probably the least trustworthy.

And any library should be able to get you any book contained within any library in the entire state.

Libbie
03-01-2010, 09:00 PM
I worked in a used book store over the holiday season. you should have seen some of the things we found inside books people brought in to sell us.

*shudder*

stormie
03-01-2010, 09:08 PM
I bought a used book from Amazon once. It was a hard-to-find book. The seller claimed it was in very good condition. It wasn't.

Now I only go to libraries' used book sales, where I can see the condition of the books.

If you don't have used book stores or library book sales in your area, you can go here (http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php) to exchange paperbacks. Only cost is shipping, so you don't lose much if the book is in lousy condition.

veinglory
03-01-2010, 09:22 PM
Really I think it's silly to buy a rare book off anyone but an actual rare book dealer.

Buying off amateurs is riskier but OMG it is a lot cheaper.

RickN
03-01-2010, 10:14 PM
finding splatter from what I guessed to be a bloody-nose sneeze in a library book caused me to come to this conclusion many years ago.

In my defense, I did say "excuse me."

Yeshanu
03-02-2010, 12:10 AM
For Americans only. (http://www.cash4books.net/faq.php) :( Came across this while stumbling, and thought it was kind of neat...

My only problem with the library is it's free. Yes, you heard me. Went in today for five or so books relating to current research. Came out with fifteen...

*sigh* Why am I here when I should be reading. :)

I live in a small city that's blessed with one of the best used bookstores I've ever been in, and it has a lot of esoteric stuff. But that may come with living in a university town. I buy stuff there, I buy stuff at the library used book sales, I pick stuff up at garage sales and church sales and thrift stores. It all depends what you're looking for.

But I don't tend to buy much on line, because a) I don't have a credit card, and b) I don't quite trust most online sellers and c) I like to read at least part of the book before I buy. I only order on-line if I can't get it anywhere else, and if it's one I know for sure I want (having read it first as a library book, usually...).

Word Jedi
03-02-2010, 03:06 PM
Ebay is not the only online site, and it is, in fact, probably the least trustworthy.
Herein lies the rub. When you see a used book offered for sale on, say, Amazon's Marketplace, you can usually go to abebooks.com, half.com and ebay and find the exact same book by the exact same seller on all the internet used book venues.
When they sell it on one site, they take it down off the others.

Scoody
03-02-2010, 03:10 PM
Ugh. I'm sorry.

I always buy unused books, I hate sharing them at all. Even with my friends.

I travel alot so I finish alot of books in motels and airports. What I do with books when I finish them is I leave them in motel rooms with a note that has my email address and telling them the book is theirs.

I have gotten several email thank yous.

kaitie
03-02-2010, 03:21 PM
I buy used on Amazon all the time and I've never had a problem. I'm kinda iffy about eBay in general, but on Amazon you can check all the reviews and be certain you'll have a seller that's worthwhile. I also used to sell, and if anyone ever had an issue with a book they had a good return policy set up.

Tsu Dho Nimh
03-02-2010, 07:10 PM
Why would anyone buy used books from a seller they've never met?

Because they have a copy of something very interesting that the library doesn't have, nor do the used bookstores. I have books that I bought from eBay and addall.com that my local University doesn't have.

Alpha Echo
03-02-2010, 07:13 PM
That sucks so much. I'm on swaptree.com, and so far, I haven't been disappointed. The books are pretty much as the swapper claims.

ether
03-02-2010, 07:18 PM
I'm fortunate that we have multiple used bookstores around here, including a few chain ones called Bookworm. Granted, they're pretty small and don't carry much... but there's one called The Almost Perfect Bookstore about 10 miles away - huge store with a very broad selection of... well, everything. I stopped buying books online when we found it.

LuckyH
03-02-2010, 07:45 PM
Iíve been trying to find an out of stock book, nothing rare and only published seven years ago by a normal publisher but minor author and the cheapest used copy I can find costs £99, which Iím not prepared to pay.

Imagine paying that amount and finding strange substances on the pages!

SirOtter
03-02-2010, 08:09 PM
I don't think anything in the world smells better than a musty old book.

Agreed! It's the aroma of culture. :) And you find such interesting things in old books, stuff people have used as bookmarks and intriguing inscriptions. Who was Aunt Martha and why did she think this particular book was a good pick for Jimmy on his tenth birthday in 1928? Is the laundry that issued this ticket in 1956 still open? If so, can I take the ticket in and walk out with somebody's old suit? I always get a kick pondering stuff like that.

Palmfrond
03-07-2010, 02:44 AM
You are all writers. Support your fellow writers by buying new books from independent bookstores so that the writer will get something for it.

brainstorm77
03-07-2010, 03:35 AM
You are all writers. Support your fellow writers by buying new books from independent bookstores so that the writer will get something for it.

What about the stuff that is OOP?

veinglory
03-07-2010, 04:27 AM
You are all writers. Support your fellow writers by buying new books from independent bookstores so that the writer will get something for it.

As a writer I hope my work will not be forgotten and considered completely undesireable the millisecond it goes out of print.

CatSlave
03-07-2010, 04:50 AM
Don't forget, Goodwill and Salvation Army are terrific hunting grounds for used books.
I've found some real gems.

kposa
03-07-2010, 04:55 AM
I haven't had to do this myself, but I've HEARD that if you place the book in a ziploc bag with a bit of baking soda for a few days, it will take the smell out without damaging the book.

I did this with a used book that I got on ebay. It reeked of cigarette smoke. I didn't use just a bit of baking soda, though. I made sure there was enough to cover every page of the book, and kept the thing in the ziploc bag for weeks. It worked!

Linda Adams
03-07-2010, 05:45 AM
Sometimes good things can come from used books. I ordered a book my uncle had written that I didn't have. When I got it, was greatly surprised to discover that it was autographed by him to my great-grandparents!

brainstorm77
03-07-2010, 05:46 AM
Don't forget, Goodwill and Salvation Army are terrific hunting grounds for used books.
I've found some real gems.

I second this and I also donate :)

The Grump
03-07-2010, 08:23 PM
I like browsing used books and find it a cheap way to try new-to-me authors. I'm lucky to have lots of places to browse within 20 miles. Guess it's a toss-up between paying shipping fees and gas.

Ephrem Rodriguez
03-07-2010, 08:40 PM
I order used books from Barnes & Nobles and haven't had that experience. I generally choose the sellers (actual used book stores) with the four star or more ratings, where they've been voted on more than a few times. Often they sell "new" books and they come in wrapping, like, really new.

Ebay always spooked me. Asking someone to send me something from their home doesn't sit well with me. I mean, one man's "clean" is another man's pig pen. If someone says, "like new" it could just be code language for, "meh, I can still make out the letters. I need the money".


http://curledupwithabook.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/book-damaged-by-water.jpg

Miss T
03-08-2010, 07:32 AM
Speaking of terrifying used-book stories, I found a graying public hair in a library book the other day. THE HORROR.

jodiodi
03-08-2010, 08:18 AM
I've bought off of Ebay, Amazon and in bookstores new and used. I've also sold books on Ebay though I tend to take excellent care of my books. I used to take them to the local used bookstore but without a vehicle handy, I don't get there as much as I used to. I also used to donate a lot to the library, but again, I don't have the means to get them there when they're open.

Generally, I tend to keep books I really enjoyed or that I think my friends or kids might like, then give them to them.

I spend hours, though, in Books-A-Million, Borders, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores when my husband will drop me off and go do something else like get the oil changed or new tires or pick up the kids.

The Lonely One
03-08-2010, 08:27 AM
Sorry you had this experience. I hardly use online purchasing, but recently had to use Amazon to get a copy of Hell House and I Am Legend (the double-copy my teacher wanted me to get was out of print...nice, right?). Both were used and cheap and in decent condition, but I'll admit it was the first time I've ordered used books online. I much prefer the personal experience of a bookstore, especially a gem of a mom and pop store. I've found at least one of those in each of the places I've lived. They're around if you look for them.

But this is something to consider about online purchasing. Buyer beware, I guess?

Miss T
03-08-2010, 10:31 AM
I think indiebound.com has most of said mom-and-pops in their database. My town's lucky in that everyone already prefers our various local bookstores to any of the big guys!

Ugawa
03-08-2010, 03:07 PM
I ordered a used book from Amazon last year. It was supposed to look 'new', but it had no back cover and there was a page missing near the end.

That's what I get for trying to be cheap.

Chasing the Horizon
03-09-2010, 03:34 AM
I buy most of my books on eBay and very rarely have a problem. Sellers who sell a lot of books and have good feedback generally know what they're doing in their listings. I can often get a hard cover of a popular title on eBay for $5.00 or less.

Library books, on the other hand, are often completely disgusting. I've lost track of how many times I've come across pages that look sneezed on in library books. Gross. I guess you get what you pay for.

I wouldn't be able to afford all the books I want to read if I had to pay full price for new copies.

Jess Haines
03-10-2010, 12:59 AM
I've bought a lot of out-of-print stuff from Amazon and eBay. Only ever had a bad experience once. Book was listed in great condition, but someone had taken a pen and made a mark all the way, top to bottom, on the front cover. Bleh. Left 'em a bad review for falsely advertising the condition.

shaldna
03-15-2010, 03:43 PM
Why would anyone buy used books from a seller they've never met? Buy new books, or go to a used bookstore, or visit your local library and save a ton of money.


I have to admit that I have a bit of a problem with germs, and I KNOW that alot of people read on teh toilet, and I like to read while I eat. So second hand books freak me out.

dgiharris
03-16-2010, 01:58 PM
I get used books from Amazon all the time, easily have bought over 50 used books, and never had a problem.

Mel...

milly
03-17-2010, 07:42 AM
I have a family member who has an account and sells used books on Amazon...he has excellent taste and is very conscientious, using recycled materials to ship...also, extremely reasonable...I think he's had success with getting what people are looking for and is honest about the condition of the book

CheshireCat
03-22-2010, 02:57 AM
It truly saddens me how many aspiring writers are doing their part to destroy publishing.

Every book you buy used is an invisible number to both publisher and author. I've watched many one-time successful authors over the years quit writing because no publisher would have them even as they "enjoyed" a wildly successful career in the used book market.

The Internet, Amazon, and eBay have only compounded the problem.

If you can't afford new and there isn't a library nearby, buy used by all means. But understand what it means.

If the publishers aren't making money off at least some of us, then they have none to buy your latest opus.

Bear it in mind.

(I'm now prepared to receive the usual firestorm of protest.)

Or maybe I'll just go read a (new) book ...

brainstorm77
03-22-2010, 03:01 AM
No protest but what about the OOP books?

CheshireCat
03-22-2010, 03:13 AM
OOP books are more or less exempt from my argument. Though I would point out that reissues happen all the time, and that if you should buy used a book that is later reissued, offering a few coins to the author (especially if she or he is still living and writing) by buying a second copy is always appreciated.

I have books on my shelves like that. Cheap used copies I found because I couldn't order new, side-by-side with reissues (sometimes two or three versions if they were repackaged more than once).

I made a habit of that as soon as I became a writer myself and began to understand what buying used actually meant to the careers of my favorite authors.

stormie
03-22-2010, 03:16 AM
CheshireCat--I agree. I would love to be able to always be the first one to crack open a brand new book. As a writer, I would love to be able to support all writers by buying new books. Or to go to a library and find a decent copy of the book I want.

Unfortunately, I go through books quickly. I don't have the money to support my habit. And the library my taxes go into is adorable and cozy but that's where the love stops. The librarian and her aides haven't heard of several of my favorite authors. The non-fiction section is on the verge of non-existent.

So the only thing I can do is go to the neighboring library's book sales, four times a year, and stock up.

I'd love to not have to feel like I need a dose of antibiotics every time I open a book.

Maybe if someday I win the lottery....

brainstorm77
03-22-2010, 03:27 AM
Most of the books I buy are new. That's just my preference but I have a thing for vintage books, especially ones with unusual covers that grab my attention.

RickN
03-22-2010, 07:20 PM
It truly saddens me how many aspiring writers are doing their part to destroy publishing.

I bought a used car last year, so I'm also doing my part to destroy car manufacturing.

I hate to think of the destruction I have wrought amongst furniture makers when I bought some old bookshelves for my basement.

Hollywood, too, is reeling from the used DVDs I purchase.

In each case, the original maker lost nothing, because I would not have bought the product new. The choice was not between buying new and buying used, it's between buying used and not buying.

At any rate, publishing cannot be 'destroyed' because people will always want books, in some form or fashion. Publishing might be changed, but it cannot be destroyed.

CheshireCat
03-23-2010, 12:53 AM
**Hollywood, too, is reeling from the used DVDs I purchase.**


This is the only valid comparison you made, since it involves intellectual property in a package rather than real property.

Yes, the law currently regards both as the same, to the detriment of those of us trying desperately to protect our intellectual property.

I don't buy used DVDs, either.

Or used CDs.

I want the people who produce my entertainment, at every level, to be fairly compensated. And I want my support of them to be counted, not ignored because I buy used and am therefore invisible.

Miss T
03-23-2010, 03:07 AM
Why is buying used so much worse than using the library?

Shadow_Ferret
03-23-2010, 03:18 AM
*

I don't buy used DVDs, either.

Or used CDs.

I want the people who produce my entertainment, at every level, to be fairly compensated. And I want my support of them to be counted, not ignored because I buy used and am therefore invisible.


Well, we're poor. If we didn't buy used, we'd own nothing.

Mr Flibble
03-23-2010, 03:36 AM
When I buy used I

a) buy from a charity shop or the hospital ( they have loads and they're always looking for more, so I donate too)

b) either buy books that are out of print or ones I'd never normally buy new - you know, the ones you take a chance on. Because they're 10p.

I could name you several writers who'd I'd never have got into ( and bought new books from the book shop later) if I hadn't taken a chance on that tatty old second hand job in Oxfam. It's almost like advertising with a free read on your website. It can get you new fans


( plus i got a load of old Michael Moorcock first editions for almost nothing!)

Gugland
03-23-2010, 06:30 AM
I worked for many record labels & distributors, and even a book distributor. You'd think I'd be on CC's side, but actually I have mixed feelings about used goods.

When it comes to entertainment products (books, CDs, DVDs, games, etc - and yes, I know they're not ALL for entertainment purposes) what most folks don't realize is that the bulk of the retail price is to cover the marketing. That's right, YOU are paying for them selling a book (or whatever) to YOU.

Gugland
03-23-2010, 06:33 AM
Oh, and back on topic (sorta):

I was going thru my books today to see what I could sell, and came across this big Readers Digest book about animals that I've had since I was a little kid. I was flipping through it, reminiscing, and came across a page where I had written "Julie Dixon is a fox"

CheshireCat
03-24-2010, 03:36 AM
Why is buying used so much worse than using the library?


The difference is that when you buy used, somebody other than the author or publisher is making a profit on that "sale," or multiple "sales."

When you check a book out of the library, you're enjoying a benefit of being a taxpayer, but you are not enriching business people selling goods purely for their own profit.

I happen to believe it's a distinction that matters.

SirOtter
03-24-2010, 03:59 AM
I could name you several writers who'd I'd never have got into ( and bought new books from the book shop later) if I hadn't taken a chance on that tatty old second hand job in Oxfam. It's almost like advertising with a free read on your website. It can get you new fans

Interesting point of view from someone who does have a dawg in this particular hunt: http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

The same applies to books. Every contact with a reader, paid or not, is a valuable contact because it could lead to real sales. I bought my first Lee Child book (hardback) off a library sale table for a dollar. I met him a couple of nights later at a Sisters-in-Crime meeting, had him sign it, we had dinner with him, and the next day I started buying his books new wherever I could find them. In hardback, which is my prefered medium. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.

BTW, I've also dined with Janis, along with a different group than cited above that included Anne McCaffrey, and she's very bright, very intense, and very, very short. ;) Not that there's anything wrong with that. Randy Newman was wrong.

Alan Yee
03-24-2010, 03:59 AM
The difference is that when you buy used, somebody other than the author or publisher is making a profit on that "sale," or multiple "sales."

When you check a book out of the library, you're enjoying a benefit of being a taxpayer, but you are not enriching business people selling goods purely for their own profit.

I happen to believe it's a distinction that matters.


And don't authors earn royalties on books bought by libraries?

SirOtter
03-24-2010, 05:27 AM
When you check a book out of the library, you're enjoying a benefit of being a taxpayer, but you are not enriching business people selling goods purely for their own profit.

Having known many a used book dealer, I think they'd all be amazed that anyone would consider that they were being 'enriched' by their clientele. Profits are very slim in that business; most do it for the love of books. Than which I can think of few nobler ideals.

Are you suggesting that those who prefer to not keep books they've read should burn them or haul them to the dump, instead of selling or trading them? Were a book of mine involved, I would vastly prefer my readers passing said used volume along to another potential customer rather than destroying it, and if some poor bookseller garnered a couple of dimes profit along the way, so much the better.

CheshireCat
03-26-2010, 02:07 AM
And don't authors earn royalties on books bought by libraries?


Authors earn a royalty on any book bought new so, yes, they earn a royalty on a library book when that library buys its copy or copies.

CheshireCat
03-26-2010, 02:17 AM
Having known many a used book dealer, I think they'd all be amazed that anyone would consider that they were being 'enriched' by their clientele. Profits are very slim in that business; most do it for the love of books. Than which I can think of few nobler ideals.

Are you suggesting that those who prefer to not keep books they've read should burn them or haul them to the dump, instead of selling or trading them? Were a book of mine involved, I would vastly prefer my readers passing said used volume along to another potential customer rather than destroying it, and if some poor bookseller garnered a couple of dimes profit along the way, so much the better.

One, the age of the used book dealer in it for the love of books is, largely, past. As I said, the Internet has drastically changed the sale of used books, and I know LOTS of used book dealers happily raking in some very nice money. They don't have bricks-and-mortar stores, they have basements and garages and ship from home. They don't have staff, and I seriously doubt most pay any form of tax. Amazon and eBay have made it very, very easy and very cheap to sell used books.

Two, as for what people do with the books they no longer want, that's entirely up to them. I'm suggesting nothing. I'm merely saying that each reader who reads your book or my book or anyone else's book having bought a used copy is invisible to our publishers.

Which means that when you go to negotiate your next contract, you can't prove that you, in all probability, have five or ten times the numbers of readers your publisher can verify. (This is based on an old stat that used books tended to be traded five to ten times; I have no idea what the average is now.)

Your publisher is looking at hard retail numbers. Which means that you could have a growing audience while your publisher begins reducing your print runs or decides not to offer you a new contract.

Retail numbers are the only ones that matter in your career. You will live and die by them.

Readers may not understand that, but writers certainly should.

wrangler
04-12-2010, 07:20 AM
for every horribly stained book I have every received, there is a book with a lengthy inscription written inside of the front cover that makes it all worth it.

Word Jedi
05-03-2010, 02:16 AM
The difference is that when you buy used, somebody other than the author or publisher is making a profit on that "sale," or multiple "sales."

Can I ask where my "profit" is if I buy a new paperback for $9.99 and sell it (after reading it) at a garage sale for fifty cents or a dollar?

And what if I donate (as I have done) a box full of books to our soldiers in Afghanistan? Does that put up a red flag for you? (No pun intended.)

I'm sorry, but your argument has no value. If a book is terrific, people will scramble to the stores to buy a copy. That's why we have bestseller lists. If they're frugal, they'll wait for a friend to finish it and borrow it. You can wait for MONTHS to get a library copy of a hot new bestseller.

Most used books sold on the internet are out of print books no longer available as new. Believe me, I prefer new to used any day of the week.

colealpaugh
05-03-2010, 03:02 AM
The difference is that when you buy used, somebody other than the author or publisher is making a profit on that "sale," or multiple "sales."

When you check a book out of the library, you're enjoying a benefit of being a taxpayer, but you are not enriching business people selling goods purely for their own profit.

I happen to believe it's a distinction that matters.


It's a great time to buy used from your local library. Most small US libraries only get a fraction of their funding from taxpayers, having to rely on fund raisers and a few grants. It was disgusting how people rose up from in front of their televisions in our community to vote down a proposition that would have spread a tax increase out over five years to pay off our library's mortgage. Average annual increase to the taxpayer? Six dollars. What went on the signs the protesters held? Three hundred dollars. This at a time when patronage is up two hundred percent.

A grocery bag full of hardcovers is $5. The library director uses it to add to her collection -- money back in the pockets of the authors.

Buying used from a library creates a perfect circle.

CheshireCat
05-04-2010, 03:38 AM
Can I ask where my "profit" is if I buy a new paperback for $9.99 and sell it (after reading it) at a garage sale for fifty cents or a dollar?

And what if I donate (as I have done) a box full of books to our soldiers in Afghanistan? Does that put up a red flag for you? (No pun intended.)

I'm sorry, but your argument has no value. If a book is terrific, people will scramble to the stores to buy a copy. That's why we have bestseller lists. If they're frugal, they'll wait for a friend to finish it and borrow it. You can wait for MONTHS to get a library copy of a hot new bestseller.

Most used books sold on the internet are out of print books no longer available as new. Believe me, I prefer new to used any day of the week.

What you sell at a garage sale is not part of my argument -- except in the sense that the book you sell may well enter the larger market of used booksellers.

Nor does a donation of books to our soldiers.

I'm talking about people in the business of making a profit selling used books -- which is perfectly clear from my earlier posts. Sorry if you don't understand that.

As for most used books sold on the Internet being OOP books, I call bullshit. Go to any new book's page on Amazon and look at how many used copies are already being offered, often for pennies.

And as for people scrambling to buy a terrific book -- I assume you mean a new copy -- sure, if the book has buzz. Which likely means if it's a bestseller.

Most writers will never write a bestseller. Fact.

And in today's market, you're lucky if you get three books to launch your career. Lousy retail numbers mean you won't be offered a new contract.

Used sales don't count.