Hi everyone! I am so excited to have Shaunta guest posting on my site today. And it is not just because she is an author, either. Although, that makes me feel pretty good! I love her topic for today, so I hope that you enjoy it as well!
As an author, I obviously hope that some people buy my books brand spanking new from a bookstore. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your local indie—all of those are great places to buy new books. Buying new books supports authors, and that’s always a good thing in my (not biased AT ALL) opinion.
But before I was an author, I was a reader. And as a reader, I like to be able to actually afford to read all the books I want to read. So I go to the library. I buy books used at thrift stores, used bookstores, and garage sales. I borrow books from friends. I download free eBooks through Kindle Unlimited. In fact, I write a lot on my own blog about thrift shopping and the books I pick up when I’m digging through the bins at Goodwill.
Authors and readers have a symbiotic relationship that goes beyond one of them producing something that the other pays retail for.
I know it might seem counter-intuitive, but it doesn’t bother me that my books might be sitting on a thrift store shelf somewhere. Or that someone might be borrowing Viral Nation from a friend instead of buying it new. I get a little thrill out of the idea of people sharing my books. I have great memories of passing around dog-eared copies of Judy Blume books when I was a kid. Having my books in libraries (where the library bought it first, but lots of people can read it for free) is one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me.
Here are three reasons why, as an author who makes a living off people buying my books new, I’m totally okay with used books:
I believe that books were meant to be shared.
Have you ever read a book and then gone on a desperate search for someone, anyone, else who has read it so you can talk about it? Or thrust a favorite into a friend’s hands so that she’ll read it and you can finally have someone who understands why you’re so obsessed with this story? Reading might seem like a solitary hobby, but in my experience it’s actually very social.
Books aren’t meant to belong only to the people who can afford to buy them new.
I buy new books sometimes. There are times when I just can’t wait to get my hands on a story. Or when I make a conscious effort to support the author even though I could buy the book used. But if someone can’t afford to spend $10 on my book, I still want them to be able to read it. Maybe not every author will agree with me, but for me the most important thing is the reader. I get happy thinking about someone coming across my book at a yard sale or in a used book store, and then feeling like they’ve found something special.
Books really are social.
I’m going to come back around to number one for a minute. If someone reads a used copy of one of my books, the chances of them going out and buying another one of my books at a bookstore have suddenly skyrocketed. The chances of them telling a friend that they really liked my book jumps from zero to it-might-happen.
Someone bought that book new.
Here’s the difference between finding a used copy of a book or borrowing it, and being a pirate. If you pirate a book it’s stolen. Please don’t steal. If my book is in a library, that means that an awesome librarian thought it was worth spending her limited resources on. If it’s in a thrift store that means that someone laid down their hard-earned bucks for it new. Share. Don’t steal. Thank you!