Buying Used Books—Good or Bad

I’ve seen that some writers don’t approve of the sale of used books, often because they make no money from such sales.

I have no published books, so I can’t speak from that viewpoint, but as a reader, I love having the opportunity to buy new or used, to find books that are no longer in print.

And once someone buys a book, isn’t it his to do with as he pleases? Even if he recoups a few cents by trading it in to a bookstore that specializes in used books, isn’t that his right? He could sell it in a yard sale. Give it away. Even throw it away.

Isn’t it better to have your books out in public for readers to find?



About the author

Beth Hill. I'm a freelance fiction editor and I write medieval adventure and contemporary romance. And, yes, I've got a day job, too. But it allows me the flexibility to edit and write, so it's a good one. I blog at The Editor's Blog, where you can find all kinds of writing/editing tips. My editing Web site is A Novel Edit.

»» 3 Responses to “Buying Used Books—Good or Bad” »»
  1. Vivian A says:

    Once purchased, a book rightfully belongs to the owner and can be disposed of how one wishes. I, too, have no book out, but at the end of the day more books circling in different levels of a reading public are a good thing, imo.

    I buy new, used, and borrow from friends and the library. I don’t like to buy authors I don’t know, but will purchase new books from those authors that I have enjoyed and then donate them for others to enjoy and maybe they’ll find something new. I think there’s a karma issue with being too rigid in life.

  2. Pat Bertram says:

    I have no objection to people buying used books. It’s more important for people to read them than to get the royalty. What’s weird to me are the sites that sell used books for huge amounts. Some of my used books are listed at $67.00 on Amazon. Who are they trying to kid?

  3. Books are a many splendored thing and there’s lots of ways to get access to them. Libraries are a great resource and I often use them to read books published by mainline publishers. Selling or recycling used books to other other people can be good marketing for the writer and opens the possibility that the reader will want to get more from the writer and make their own purchases. As an author, you want to get your books read and the used book market is one of the ways that will happen. And those used books were purchased once, whether by an individual or an institution such as a library.