Oh my, oh my, who would think there would be so much controversy in the book blogging world? In the two years I've been blogging (2 years on January 2), I've seen faked memoirs, angry authors and plagiarism. Next up, used book royalties.
I was planning on writing about this issue after I read a tweet from Anika\Write Black linking to this article from Chris Meadows. Then more recently book blogger Molly was tsked-tsked for her used book bargains. Apparently, there is movement to make used book stores pay royalties. Now in this article it mentions books less than 2 years old but once you get a foot in the door, who knows where that will lead. Also, this is US law, but whither the US goes, so does Canada. An item whether book, CD, painting, basket, car, oven, stroller, etc, should be sold to the consumer directly once. Then it's yours to do as you please. We'll need Garage Sale Police next. Shesh!
This seems bizarre to me. Used book stores have been around since Adam was a little fella. They aren't new. What is new are the online stores on Amazon or ebay selling 'used' books in large quantities. I understand the frustration of authors and publishers on this one. How can a book be used if it hasn't even been released yet? Something's fishy there, but let's deal with that issue instead of painting all used book stores with the same brush.
Take my local book store. It is a hole in the wall filled to the brim with well loved books. It's the last independent book store in town. They also sell new local interest books but everything else is used. Some of these books are older than dirt. I'm sure the majority of them have been in and out of the hands of locals dozens of times but they do have some newish books. I have sent some of my newish books there as well. So, what do you do with these books then? Line the bottoms of bird cages or rotting in landfills? (Not me.) Most likely I'd pass them onto my circle of friends and family (a book can take 2 years just to get back to me!) who are also not paying royalties. That's dozens of non-paying readers right there.
I'm going to be honest here and tell you all I'm cheap. I'm also a stay at home Mom with one income. New books are a luxury. I might buy a new book for full price a couple of times a year and rationalize as I do it: "It's for bookclub, my birthday is coming." It's just the way I've always been. A new hardcover book in Canada can cost upwards of $30. I will wait a year to buy a paperback at a third of the cost, when it hits the sale table or I wait in the library queue for months. Buying used books helps me keep my sanity. I love to own books but just can't keep a library of brand spanking new books.
At one time books were for the wealthy who could afford the luxury. I'd hate to see the thrifty book buyer being chastized for how they buy books. Anyway, I'm not going to feel guilty about it. I'm reading. It's important that the literate keep on reading. Where would the publishing business be without readers afterall?
You all want to weigh in?