Wednesday, October 19, 2005

no recovery for book sales

chains report another quarter loss.

used book sales up over 11%.


interesting that this is close to the decline figure of 12% for mass market fiction.

i also find it interesting that in all of the articles i've read about the massive increase in used books sales, no one ever mentions the proliferation of online swap clubs.

years ago, i put this dedication in a book: special thanks to everyone who bought this book new.

i got hate mail. angry readers said they would never read another one of my books because of that dedication.

i have nothing against used bookstores. i love used bookstores. i have friends who own used bookstores, but i wish there were some way to control new book sales. i wish they couldn't be sold used for a year. i wish amazon wouldn't sell used books right next to the new ones. and i really wish they wouldn't sell used books BEFORE the new book is even released. 10 - 15 years ago, publishers should have united to tackle this problem. now it could be too late.


Kelly Parra said...

You got hate mail because of that dedication?? Wow.

I did hear about the used book sales. It's crazy, but some readers just don't care how a writer makes a buck. They have this weird idea that writers get mega advances.

Don't know where that idea came from...

Anonymous said...

The DeBeers cartel dealt with this problem by starting the "A diamond is forever" PR campaign (hidden message: don't ever sell a diamond or you'll be a horrible person).

Hmmm. Let's see. "A book is forever." Or, "show her you you'd read to her all over again," brought to you by Barnes & Noble.


Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Jer said...

I agree, Anne. Why in the world does put used books (sold by other people) right next to its new books?

anne frasier said...

ooh, jason. good idea. publishers keep saying there's nothing they can do about it, but a campaign like that might work.

Jeff said...

The article clearly states the problem lies in the sale of "used" books through online channels. Used bookstores are not the problem. Because of the sheer volume of used books available at discounted prices through online channels, these "quaint" and "musty" bookstores might possibly head the way of the dinosaur. Sad, because like you, Anne, I like used bookstores.
Until a clear definition of a "used" book is made,and when it can be sold as used, new book sales will continue to deline, the market will suffer, and many good writer's will say to heck with it, and quit because they won't be able to afford to stay in the business.
I agree with your idea of setting a time table as to when a new book can be sold as used. That would help.One year sounds reasonable. And I agree new marketing strategies would be beneficial.
But until buyers are prevented from being able to purchase essentially new books online at used book prices, the situation will not change, only get worse. :(

LauraP said...

And if that fails, publishers could study Monsanto's tactics and claim their 'intellectual property' wins as judicial precedent. Or maybe I just sniffed too many paint fumes today . . .

e-mom said...

Jeez. I've got about 6 people who all share books with me. We buy one and when we're done, we pass it on. Not only cause we're cheap, hey,I'm admitting it, but because we get books we might not normally purchase. I would've never purchased the Kite Runner, but T gave it to me and it was the best book all year.
I will only buy NEW books, I don't like worn in books. And some books I buy twice. One set for reading, one set for having. Someone here kills the books, leaves em out, disrespects em. So I've got 2 copies of many many books.
I think having a time on when a book is used is a good idea. But it's not realistic. Face it, most of us get our used books from friends, or garage sales or the like.

Rob Gregory Browne said...

I was in a thrift store recently and saw several ARCs of various recent books. Bad news.

As for Amazon, it's my experience that most of the "used" books they offer (when the book has JUST come out) are actually NEW copies at a slightly deeper discount than Amazon's.

anne frasier said...

emom, i think an important part of the whole reading experience is sharing books with friends.

ADD alert:

i suddenly had an image of book police in full riot gear, smacking some poor old lady who is reading a used book.