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
    Pete Austin, 30 Sep 2005 @ 1:31am

    Re: Entire dumpster full of old books

    There's a book store down the street here that has an entire dumpster full of old books. Why not in charity?

    Probably the book store has a deal with the publishers to get a refund for unsold copies - but only if the books are returned or destroyed. Publishers know that if unsold (new) books are donated for charities to sell, this will reduce full-price sales.

    However "dumpster-diving" and keeping the contents is legal in some places (IANAL, get legal advice etc.) so maybe you could donate them to charity yourself.

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