Spencer from The Hills has a homeboy phone. I may die. He has one cell for his girlfriend Heidi and one for his homeboys. This seems perfectly sensible. So attention authors: I will no longer be reachable on my regular work phone. If you need to reach me you need to call my homeboy phone.
Wow. Anyway, a few days after I posted the You Tell Me about bookstores vs. online, there was an interesting discussion at the end of the comments section that I thought would make for and interesting You Tell Me. To wit: how do we feel about used books?
You might not have given too much thought to used books, but here’s the thing: authors and publishers don’t make any money off of used book sales. So while of course an author might appreciate that you read their work, that used book sale doesn’t count as an actual sale, and thus won’t count toward the books sold tally and won’t go to the author’s royalty account. Sure, it’s all about the love of writing and all that, but when a publisher looks at the author’s sales and decides whether or not to publish their next book, all those used book fans don’t count toward the total.
Now, of course, used booksales might help an author develop a fan base and might help with the next book sale. Used books are a great way to find a new author that someone might not have otherwise risked $24.95 on. But used books, even for very recent publications, are increasingly easy to find and buy — before you had to stumble upon a bargain in a used book store, but now you can find a used book online extremely easily.
So you tell me (preferably on my homeboy phone): how do you feel about used books? Are they an overall benefit to authors or are they something an author should be worried about?