Tuesday, March 30, 2010

10 Things Never to Buy New

The other day I was checking my email and one of the little filler news stories on AOL caught my eye. The title--10 Things Never to Buy New--appealed to my thrifty nature. So I clicked over and was totally bummed to find "Books" at the top of their list.

Ok. I understand that books are a discretionary purchase. And it's tempting to buy a used book. After all, you can't wear the words off the page by reading them. When my DH and I were young and poor, my library card was my best friend. I get it. In tough times, a new book is a guilty indulgence for many.

However, if all the reading public buys are used books, their choices of reading material will soon contract. Publishing houses (and authors) make NOTHING on used books. Zero. Zip. Nada. Used book sales don't count toward an authors sales numbers, not to mention bestseller lists. They do nothing to support the career of the author or the genre or the publishing house of the used book. And for better or worse, authors live or die by the numbers.

This hurts more than debut authors. Seasoned professionals can fall to the numbers blade as well. Last weekend at the writer's conference, one of our speakers (who'd been published for 20 years with more than 50 titles to her credit) found herself cut from her publisher's list because of "the numbers." And because publishing is a very small world, "the numbers" follow an author everywhere they try to go. This wonderful author, who'd given reading pleasure to thousands upon thousands of readers, found herself without a publishing home for a couple years before a new opportunity arose.


Believe me when I tell you I understand needing to economize. My DH was out of work for 6 months a few years ago, so I know what it means to tighten a budget belt. But if you can afford it, please consider buying your books new. Every time you do, you'll be supporting the authors and genre you love and guaranteeing more books from those authors will be coming your way.


One of the reasons I decided to post a free novella on my website this year is because I understand that readers may be a little strapped. If you'd like a quick read, I invite you to give A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS a try. While you're there, be sure to enter my quarterly contest for a $100 bookstore gift card. I'll draw the winner late on March 31st and announce the lucky reader on April 1st! Good luck!

17 comments:

chelleyreads said...

hi emily! i saw this too the other day. my reaction was "oh no thanks... i'd rather buy new books than drink starbucks." i don't know but i hardly buy used books (except college textbooks that is). i love new paperbacks and the occasional hardcovers--the smell of it, the feel of it, being the one to break that spine (though i try to be careful)... weird but true.

EmilyBryan said...

My DH is taking a course at Harvard this spring. Those textbooks can run hundreds of dollars each and there were no used ones to be had. But like you, he likes being the one to break the spine and take his own notes instead of seeing someone else's scribblings in the margins.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

That's just like saying we should all go digital for books. I love that concept too, but imagine libraries suddenly going digital, kinda like netflix...why would anyone buy a book.

I admit though I buy a good portion of my books used, because I'm on a budget, but my favorite authors get purchased new. Plus if its an author I love I certainly don't want a book that's been beaten up by previous readers.

SarannaDeWylde said...

Eep! If no one bought their books new, there would be no more new books.

I am of the tinfoil hat wearing tribe who worry about the future of physical books. :(

Yeah, I'm on a budget too. My husband works two jobs so I can stay home with the children and care for his mother. My budget is small. But I get a new paperback every pay day. That's my treat. :)

librarypat said...

I liked working at a library and doing some of the ordering. It gave me the opportunity to make sure we had a good selection of new authors and established ones. I miss that and am concerned because no one else that works at that small library reads romance.
I have developed a better appreciation for the author's plight since I started following the author blogs. My husband understands, and even though our income has taken a hit, books are still on the shopping list.

Glynis said...

When I arrived in Cyprus there were no English bookstores. I bought secondhand to feed my need. When the new bookstore opened, I was there, filling my boots. I then came across The Book Depository, it delivers to Cyprus free, so now I treat myself once a month to one or two (OK, three or four). I love a new book.

Beverly S said...

Unfortunately, people tend to be cheap. Personally I admit I am a bit of a book junkie. I can buy up to 30+ books a month in good times and 5-10 in bad. Now I seem to be a little different than the average reader as I buy all my books new. The only rare few times I have purchased used have been when it was an out of print favorite. Which is for me is very rare. I keep all my books as I love to reread the stories as the mood strikes. I will say that I am likely going to drop at least one author from my automatic buys soon as her books have been falling flat lately. It seems she is more on quantity than quality. Except for this one exception I am all for purchasing new. Not sure I’ll ever go the eBook route though. I prefer the feel of the paper in my hands, the satisfaction when I get to turn that last page.

Gillian Layne said...

It's a matter of priorities. If you are really on a desperately tight budget--and we have plenty of people like that around here--I'd rather see you buy a used book than go "bookless".

But for those of us who drop a few dollars here and there for chips or Sonic or iced-hazelnuts at Starbucks (YUM), then yup, that's a book. It's kind of like making the decision to spend a couple of extra dollars and buy from a local small town merchant. And it's good karma.

Beverly S, I love the feel of a book in my hands, too, but my hands are hurting more and more each year. So I can see eventually using an e reader just so my fingers don't hurt.

EmilyBryan said...

Mistress--If you're on a budget, used books are a great way to try a new author. (I think most authors would rather readers buy their books used than not at all!)

Then if you like what you read, buy the rest of the author's backlist new to insure there are more new titles from the author. Readers have more power to influence the market than they think. You vote with your dollars when you buy a new book.

EmilyBryan said...

Saranna--I can see you in that tin foil hat!!! LOL!

A new book every payday sounds like a reasonable treat! I confess to touring through the grocery book aisle, just to see who's there, and end up with a new title along with my Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Chip.

EmilyBryan said...

Pat, I'm sorry you're no longer at the library. A librarian who's literate in the romance genre can really help steer readers to authors they'll love.

Maybe they'd let you act as a consultant.

EmilyBryan said...

Glynis, please send me the link to the Book Depository and I'll make it a live link here. They deliver throughout Europe? Anyplace else?

EmilyBryan said...

Beverly--God bless you! Thank you for buying your books new.

I agree authors should remember that we are only as good as our last book. We have an unwritten contract with our readers and you're right to expect us to deliver.

Jane L said...

Ok, I will admit it, I buy new books, I just have this thing about where was that old book?? I know its a dumb germ thing for me! But I seriously love to support my favorite authors. I even buy them and give them as gifts. I recently bought a bunch and made a basket for a military momin my town at home.She cried!! Those moms are strapped to and they have given so much for our country. So if you can afford it, buy a book, donate it to someplace and if you are in finacial need, I have lots of books I would be happy to ship to you!

Nynke said...

Glynis, that's good to know, about the Book Depository! Shouldn't have bene so quick to order Tsunami Blue through Amazon; the Book Depository is cheaper...
Emily, this is the address: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/
And apparently, they deliver free worldwide.

EmilyBryan said...

Jane--Giving a box of books to a military mom. What a lovely, thoughtful, generous thing to do! (Like how I piled on the adjectives in your honor? ;-) Sometimes, it's just so fitting, you can't stop with one!)

One of the special things about giving a book to someone is that you are sharing an experience. It can really deepen a friendship. I still remember who put the first MM Kaye book in my hands.

EmilyBryan said...

Brilliant, Nynke! Here's the link for all my international friends:
www.bookdepository.co.uk

Another way to buy new books cheaply is to go straight to the source. Dorchester has wonderful book clubs! Member receive a couple books a month at 30-35% discount, plus 30% off any other books you buy through their direct sales center. And for every 5 books you buy, you get one free! You can sign up for the historical romance club or the Lovespell for paranormals or both! And there's a 10 day approval period. You aren't stuck with something you don't want. Check it out at Dorchester Book Club. I'm sure the other publishers have something similar.