Where To Buy Books - Secondhand Is Valid

Image via Pixabay (CC0 public domain)

Where can you buy books? In a bookshop, obviously. And, nowadays, through the miracle of trumpets, cables and wireless, you can buy them online too. I try to offer a number of such places (called "websites" by the kids) where you can BUY MY BOOKS. I'm a canny promoter in that way, using my psychology background to implant subliminal ideas in a blog post that isn't overtly about self promotion. No-one even noticed.

I don't want to just point you to the usual suspects like The Zon. I used to be a librarian. A pretty good one. As part of that role I sometimes had to track down rare books, or find out more details about them while working on reading lists with a lecturer. Some of that knowledge might be useful to readers, so I'll share it with you. Round about ... now.

Books And Ethics

Where's the best place to buy books? The wonderful Ethical Consumer can help here. Look at their Ethical Shopping Guide To Booksellers. They point out that secondhand is best. I agree. Too many publishers will try to dismiss this option, but buying new all the time is wasteful. The ethical consideration for me is always this one:

Reduce > Re-use > Recycle.

Secondhand books count as re-use, whilst also reducing the demand for new products, so it is a double win. And if a writer on a (zero) budget - i.e. me - can totally support people sharing my books because I care about the environment more than money, then so can big publishers. Please take my blessing. This article may also help. Bear in mind that when you resell your sofa, your phone, your DVDs or your car the original manufacturer/producer doesn't get a cut - why should books be any different? My librarian persona also likes to shout "Reading is a good, and culture should be shared!" at the top of its voice. Usually before they cart me away in the little white van. Again.

The other advantage of secondhand sellers is that you can get books and editions that are no longer in print. Here are some options:
Or pop into your local independent secondhand bookshop or charity shop, I'm sure they'd be pleased to see you. They struggle in the face of chainstores and supermarkets. And just in case you're wondering: no, I don't have any connections with these sites. No affiliate schemes, no profit to me.

If you're in the UK you might want to just swap books. Read It Swap It is one free service for that (I've never tried it but it still seems to be running). Feel free to put other ideas in the comments.

Should Authors Be Worried About Second-Hand Books?

No.

I encourage people to do what they want with my books. I don't mind if they're given to libraries, charity shops, friends, sold on, composted, or carved into book sculptures.

In the long run, the more widely you're spread, the more people will have awareness of you. It's like music or games. When I was a kid people shared these round. Some of those games, musicians, bands and developers went on to become my favourites, where I'd buy everything they created - but if I'd never received copies for free off someone else, I'd also probably have never become a fan.

Buying books is a commitment (partly money, partly time ... and partly storage space!), and only occurs if the reader/buyer has enough impetus to make that commitment. And that requires a number of things, one of which is interest in the author, which often comes from having seen their previous work around. So don't be worried. The more your name is out there, the more it is shared, the more chance you have of becoming a name that people will pay for and support.

Share:

3 comments:

Susie said...

I like this. I buy most of my books from charity shops. I know it's controversial and I can see why writers grumble about royalties (or lack of them in the second hand market). But green living and caring for the environment is important. I'll admit it's annoying that since the 2nd hand market caught up with my Amazon books, my sales have plummeted. But I benefit from cheap used books picked up in charity shops, so I guess I should be gracious when the second hand market hits my sales too.

Karl Drinkwater said...

Thanks for the comment Susie! Over the years I've read stacks of secondhand books, along with piles of library books, and equal piles of ones I have bought directly. The main thing is to develop and fuel a love of reading by making books widely available. I'd rather see a book re-used than pulped! :-)

Jane said...

A refreshing view in an age of people complaining. :-)

Popular Posts

Blog Archive