New, used, or library?

Okay, I've read a few places (okay, this really is just in response to the 2BRead post) in blogland about readers buying books used or getting them from the library and rather than chiming in there, I'm posting it here. So there.

I buy a lot of books new each month. Anywhere from $30 to $100 (which I know is far less than some people, but is a lot to me and I feel fairly comfortable off, financially). But that's still not enough to buy all the books I'm interested in. Would you, the author, rather I didn't read the books at all rather than have me pick them up used or from the library?

For many many people, the choice isn't to buy new or used/library, but to read it or not. Face it, life's expensive. And we're not going to be thinking about someone else's when we make the budget for the month. I mean, I think about it more because I read so many author blogs, but readers in blogland are probably a minuscule amount of the buyers. The average romance reader isn't thinking that the author needs to make money, they're thinking they need to save money.

Perhaps there are just too many choices each month and the collective money that people have to spend on romances is just stretched too thin. Not that I'm suggesting that we have less choice, but it's just not possible for people to buy every single book they think looks good new. It just plain isn't.

I suppose all I can suggest is to write the best damn book you can, get the name out there where readers will see or hear it. And get a good cover. I'm a sucker for a good cover and that has led me to many new authors (okay, so this one is just one of my pet loves). And well, hope that publishers start better advertising. Other than that, I don't know.

But for now, I'm still going to take advantage of my library and used bookstores. And I'll still buy books new. Until authors can find a way to give me more money each month, I'm still going to be buying from the used bookstore and checking things out from the library.

13 comments:

Alison Kent said...

Nicole - I linked to the post at Julie Leto's Marisela site, and added the caveat "have readers buy their books new when they can." I know a lot of authors share that sentiment. If it's possible, we love it. If it's not, that's fine! I haven't read anyone say not to buy used or not to use the library. Just if it's in a reader's budget, then great because it's a big help. But if not, then borrow and read away!

Marg said...

If I was only reading the books I could afford to buy then I would be down to 1 or 2 books a month, instead of around 20. If I love a book I will be sure to tell everyone whenever I can. I know that the author doesn't make money out of this, but chances are that in the future they will, if it gets to the point that I just HAVE to have a certain authors books. I also know it doesn't make any difference to the author, but I very rarely buy used, especially of books that are still available, but the library means that I am able to try a whole range of new authors that I could not take the risk of buying new.

Nicole said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alison.

One reason I posted here on my blog was I was pretty sure once I posted my mini-rant that someone would come in and point out points I didn't think of. :-) I meant that in a good way.

I suppose I just get slightly annoyed when people (okay, authors) try to guilt people into buying new. I think unfortunately that it's just a lost cause.

If nothing else, suggest that if someone buys the book used or checks it out from the library for them to tell someone else how much they liked it. That word of mouth is strong and the next person might be able to better afford it and will buy the book new.

Lauren Dane said...

You know what? I don't have a problem with it. And I write for a small publisher!

I'm write and I read and I buy and read books used and frmo the library. Before I had three kids and a writing career, I read five to seven books a week, there is no way I could have bought them all.

However, I did find a great many authors who I've gone on to buy every new title they write (Kim Harrison was a library find and I've bought every new title since, same with Charlaine Harris even into hardback).

My hope is that someone will find my at the library and like my books enough to be an auto buy later on.

BTW, libraries buy a lot of books! Just getting my title on a library shelf is a huge deal for me and I just got a report last week that Triad was in a local library system and I danced a jig.

If people can afford to buy my books, please do! I love the numbers and it helps me later on most definitely. But if they can't I still want them to be able to read me and so if they buy me used, that's okay too. If they like me, I hope they tell their friends about me like I do when I read something fabulous.

Jane said...

Nicole - I can't agree with you more. I really dislike seeing the "buy new" mantra out there as a plea to readers. We'll buy what we want and when we want. I hate the idea that each time I go into a bookstore I have to think about feeding some author's kid or whatnot. I do try to buy new when I can (and like you I buy a LOT of books) but it goes against the grain to have some author tell me to buy new.

meljean brook said...

Yep, I'd rather have someone actually read it -- and hopefully fall so madly in love with the book they either a) steal it from the library so the library system has to buy a new copy or b) go buy a copy -- but if not...at least it's getting read. And if they liked it enough, chances are they'll buy the next one.

I haven't had time to read a lot lately, but my budget is also limited -- I buy new when I can, but when I can't, to the library I go. (And rack up the late fees, supporting my local library at the same time.)

Devonna said...

I posted this on the 2BRead blog ~ maybe I shouldn't have, but it really ticked me off:

On the other hand, there are lots of readers out there like me who can't afford to go out and drop down full price for books every time they want to read. I wish I did, but right now I just don't. I do go to the used book store and I do go to the library, and yes I even have preferred cards at Borders and Barnes and Noble. And when I love a book ~ I tell everybody. I tell my coworkers, I tell my boss, I tell my friends. And then guess what happens? They go out and buy your books because I've recommended them to them. And if they like them, they're going to recommend them to everyone they know. And so on. And so on.

Kristie (J) said...

I buy A LOT of books. Over the past few years though I've tended to wait until the well known authors books start showing up in UBS's and rather concentrated on buying new or midlist authors. I figure someone has to be the risk takers for the lesser known authors and in this area anyway, I'm glad to be one of them. Reviews on places such as AAR, RT, TRR etc. are good, but I know if I just pay attention to them, then I may miss some books that I disagree on the rating of. For example, there is one book (on my rereading sidebar) that I read before the review at AAR came out. I loved it and gave it a 4.5 rating on my list. But the reviewer gave it a much lower grade. If I wasn't a risk taker as far as new/midlist authors go, I would have missed a great read. One of the best things about blogging is being able to share books I've really enjoyed that other readers might miss if they just pay attention to a particular review and vice versa. I've picked up books that I probably never would have noticed if I hadn't seen them recommended on reader blogs. And as far as the demise of the Bombshell line, well it is sad, But then I never tried any of them. I wasn't that into the kickass heroine and I know that there wasn't necessarily a HEA with that line. It was more about the heroine. But I want ROMANCE to be the most important part of the book. I think Harlequin has too many books out each month. Having said that however, I am looking forward to their new paranormal line coming out soon.
Boy - I did go on there didn't I?

CindyS said...

Yep, I'm a beg, borrow or steal (just a saying I don't steal) kind of girl when finances are strained. When we are doing well I buy most of my books new but only because I can afford to.

I do know there was an author there a few years ago who was adamant that people not buy used books. Just so happens I feel adamant about never reading her books.

I bet some of the best letters to authors are from those people who can't afford to buy all that many books. People who need to read an uplifting romance to clear some of the darkness from their life.

I figure as long as I can afford to buy new books I will. I think it would be asking a lot if I wasn't doing well enough to buy my books that I not be allowed to enjoy any just when I need to read the most.

CindyS

Charlene Teglia said...

Buying new is great, but used book stores and libraries do a service, too. Sara Paretski has credited library orders with making the critical difference between her series continuing and not in the early days of her career. And I've found way too many "auto buy" authors at the used book store to think it's a bad thing. If buying one used book convinces me I should buy the author's new hardcover that's coming out the minute it hits the shelves, that's good.

Mailyn said...

If it wasn't for buying used books [which look good as new, at least the ones I buy] I'd be out on the street with 3 dogs. LOL.

I hope authors don't expect me to be homeless just so they can afford to buy a new house or whatever.

Colleen Gleason said...

I'm with Meljean. I'd rather have someone buy it used, or borrow it, then not read it at all! A new reader is a new reader, a potential buzzer, and, hopefully, eventually, a new buyer.

Suisan said...

It's all about reading it first.

Once I read one I like, I am much more likely to *buy* the backlist of an established author or the next release of a new author.

And there are more libraries who buy books than just the local public library (one per town). There are school libraries, Senior Center libraries, College or University libraries, etc. But most of those buy from a Recommended or Notable list. Which means someone had to have read it first.

Round and round we go.