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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    Mike (profile), 30 Sep 2005 @ 12:31am

    Re: Authors are adversely affected

    Again, is that really true? If the used book market makes new books more valuable, then that should increase royalties to authors. Also, there's plenty to suggest that used books are often how readers discover new authors, and those readers are more willing to buy new books of those authors in the future. So, it seems like you could make the argument that used books help authors also.

    So, one question is which of these effects is stronger?

    More importantly, though, is an understanding of the fact that this isn't going to change just because some authors don't like it. Just as in other industries, the market changes. It's up to those involved to figure out the new business models to adjust. You can complain all you want, but there's not much of a market for horse-drawn carraige makers any more. It's all about adapting.

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