Sunday, August 20, 2006

New vs. Used

Paula Graves posted an article about why we should buy books new instead of used.

As an author-to-be, I absolutely understand the reasoning. As a poor, SAHM on a limited budget with a voracious appetite for books, I also know it's impossible for me to follow the advice.

I read approximately a book a day. If I'm busy, it's a book every two days. I'm a fast reader (blame my mom, she's even faster than I am). Let's say I only bought paperbacks new to feed my hunger. Let's say they run $5.99 each. I would need about 15 books (or more) each month. That's $89.85 a month in costs for books. This would also mean that I couldn't read new releases from my favorite authors, because most of those come out in hardback (at about $24.95 each).

I get most of my reading material at the library. There are few books that I read that are "keepers". BUT when I do find a keeper at the library, I promptly go out and buy it. New.

And when folks I know come out with a new book, I do my best to buy it. New.

When "Secret Society Girl" came out, I couldn't afford it. So I requested it at the library. They hadn't planned on buying it -- it wasn't even on their radar. But they like me (I am, after all, their best "customer") so they bought it. Does that count as a purchase from me? After all, it's one more than there would have been.

I do try to buy at least a couple books new each month. With some exceptions, I never buy hardback (I did buy "Don't Look Down" in hardback the day it was released, but Jenny Crusie is an exception to most of my rules).

And, no, this post didn't have a lot of point. I was just thinking out loud.

What do you think?

4 comments:

Tori Lennox said...

I spend way more on books than I should. One, because I do want to support my favorite authors. Two, because I have bad allergies and lot of times used books can reek with perfume or cigarette smoke residue. Then, too, some of my newer favorites only come out in trade paperback which is, granted, cheaper than hardcover, but they still cost more than mass market books.

Usually the only time I'll buy hardcover is when the price has been drastically cut.

I've started requesting more stuff through other branches in our little library system, but I can only get three at a time and it takes awhile to get them. But our library is really small (with a budget to match), so they don't always get a lot of new stuff that I care to read. Luckily, I've recently discovered a few "new to me" mystery writers that I'm enjoying. :)

Allie Boniface said...

I love buying new books. I always stop by the local library used book sale, though, and have found some good ones there too. Books are my "collection", the way some people collect dishes or figurines or art, I suppose. I also buy books because I reread my favorites over and over again.

Ceri said...

I could spend thousands of dollars in a bookstore, but since I don't have thousands in disposable income I have to rely on the library, recycling center, yard sales etc. There are a few authors who I'll buy brand new, like Dean Koontz and Nora, and a few "friends" who I'll buy to support them.

I used to read as much as you, but I have to sacrafice writing time to get my reading in. :(

efsuhgg-even flies should use huge gooey grapes

Diana Peterfreund said...

Um, I may be biased, but I say that counts as a purchase ;-)

Seriously though, I understand what you mean, especially with a book appetite like that. Not everyone can afford 100 bucks or more per month (assuming that all your paperbacks aren't 5.99). And you also have to consider that libraries often get only a few "checkouts" out of a given paperback, so they are probably replacing the more popular ones, even if they replace them with the special library binding, etc.

I don't tend to think UBS are the problem. Certainly not more than that more and more people are either a) not reading or b) finding their discretionary reading online, for free. I've been buying a lot fewer magazines now that I can get all my celebrity gossip online.

I also think that most readers who frequent the UBS and libraries do it like you describe. Maybe they'll pick up a new author at a UBS or a library because it's cheap or free, but if they like it, they'll tell their friends, buy future books new, etc. That's certainly what I did when I had a UBS near my house.

Of course I want to sell copies of my books, but I think it's more likely that the people who may enjoy my book don't know about it in the first place than that they are only buying it used. Perhaps that's naive of me. They've certainly been moving on Amazon marketplace. ;-)