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
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Sep 2005 @ 11:09am

    It's just DRM in a different guise...


    Let me put this another way for those of you who argue in favor of killing off the used book market.

    In the future, car manufacturers won't let consumers re-sell their cars. They'll lock you to the vehicle using a fingerprint/eyescan and then the only thing you can do with it is drive it or send it to the junk-yard. When that happens, the price of a car had better be a LOT cheaper than the $16k prices they command today. Consumers won't pay high prices *and* accept all of the restrictions that come with being locked to a product.

    It's the same with books, too.

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