Monday, November 21, 2011

Slightly Used, One Previous Owner

I love the feel of a good book in my hand. I love rippling the pages and smelling the paper and ink. New books smell different to old ones, and both smell like adventure, as far as I'm concerned.

Most of the books I've bought since getting here have been second-hand. Apart from the first Dresden Files novel, Storm Front, the rest of the series was collected pre-loved. All of the Sigismondo series had to be gotten third- or possibly fourth-hand, as they have been long out of print. I don't mind. I actually like having a mismatch of covers on a shelf.

Toys are made to be played with, which is why I don't keep any "Mint In Box". Books are made to be read and reread. I love falling into the world created by the author, and I like to follow an author once I find that I enjoy his work.

Which is where my problem arises.

I do buy second-hand books. It makes financial sense for me. But I also regret that I'm not supporting the author. They get royalties from the original sale, but not the second-hand market. Jim Butcher and Cherie Priest are the only authors to get any money out for me since I got to Vancouver, and then only from one sale each.

I can't recall ever hearing an author complain about second-hand book stores or, unimaginably, a library. They just simply accept it as another chain of distribution and hope that people will move from there to the newest releases, I guess. It's a very different view to that taken by the video game industry, who are actively fighting the second-hand sales market, coming up with initiative after initiative to combat the loss of income from pre-owned game sales.

And that makes me want to support authors even more. They are aware of, or at least have grudgingly accepted, the positive effect of the pre-loved market. They hope that once they have captured your attention you'll feverishly purchase the new releases as they come out.

And for me, it's working. Because of when I like to read, I really only ever buy paperbacks, so I'm awaiting the trade paperback edition of the latest Harry Dresden casefile, Ghost Story, as well as his collection of short stories, Side Jobs, due out next month, I believe. And I can't wait for Wise Man's Fear to get a paperback edition! But there are over two dozen other titles from various authors that I love that I'd like to be able to say "Thank You" for in a way that doesn't affect how I choose to buy or read my books.

I like to support local business, and love chatting to the staff in my favourite second-hand book store. I'd just like to be able to share my appreciation with the original author as well.

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