Used Book Sales Are Booming

from the isn't-that-a-good-thing? dept

theodp writes "A landmark study confirms what publishers, authors and booksellers have believed - and feared - since the rise of the Internet: Used books have become a modern powerhouse, with sales topping $2.2 billion in 2004. More than 111 million used books were purchased last year, representing about one out of every 12 overall book purchases." It's not clear why this is an issue, or why it's to be feared? Having a healthy used resale market only increases the value of a new book, because the buyer knows that he or she will be able to resell it later. The study doesn't actually look at the impact of used books on new book sales, so to imply that it's bad (or good) for authors at this point is premature. However, even if it is bad for publishers, then that's something they, as a business, need to deal with. To claim that it's somehow "bad" that products are out there for less money and more people can read them means (just like certain other industries) the publishers are missing opportunities to give book buyers what they really want.

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  1. identicon
    Andy Lester, 30 Sep 2005 @ 8:37am

    Re: Entire dumpster full of old books

    Consider also that they may be books that no one wants, even for free.
    Librarians in school libraries are constantly fighting the battle just to weed their collections. I know of school librarians who, in order to get old, out-dated books off the shelves, have to sneak them out a few per day and throw them out at home, because to throw out boxes of them would cause a furor.
    I love books, too, but sometimes they lose their value.

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