Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yard Sale Prices


I don’t know how much you readers pay for books, or if you pay for them at all. I was a library lover as a teenager, because my parents were not able to buy many books. Now, I’m much older, with more cash, so I tend to be a purchaser. Still, I like a good deal.

Despite the title of this entry, I don’t buy books at yard sales. Actually, I don’t visit yard sales, because I don’t like standing in the heat looking for treasures. Instead, I sometimes buy at a used bookstore which is in a neighboring town. The selection and quality varies, of course, but I seldom visit The Corner Bookstore without finding a new contribution to my ever growing book collection.

Another way I save money and space (more the latter than the former) is through buying eBooks. Those require no disposal whatsoever, and if I choose to keep them, having a few more files on my Mac just isn’t a big deal. Many of the eBook authors I enjoy are so obscure that readers won’t find their titles at any bricks and mortar store.

Finally, I do use online bookstores quite a bit. My favorite, for price and selection, is Amazon, but sometimes other stores are better for certain items; therefore, I do shop around. At Amazon, I sometimes use the “other buying options” to get a used book at a better price than a new one. Shipping adds quite a bit to used pricing, so I always do a quick calculation to see where the best deal might be found. Buying used doesn’t contribute to the author’s income, of course, but I am not overly concerned about Stephen King’s welfare. He no doubt has enough to retire whenever he desires, and folks like Clancy and Grisham are also well-fixed.

When anyone asks, I tell them that publishing has not been profitable for me. That’s why I took my part-time teaching gig. Not that it matters to my pocketbook, but I’ve noticed a downward bidding war for used copies of The Gift Horse. The last time I looked, the low price on Amazon was $11.78 used, plus $3.99 shipping, which yields a “drive out price” of $15.77, a small savings over the new price. As more people decide that my first novel, signed or not, is not really collectible, those prices will continue to fall. As yet, Trinity on Tylos is not widely available used, but more copies will end up in the “pitch it pile” and the price will drop. In time, you can join in the hunt and get both of Pam’s books at yard sale prices. Until then, there is always the public library, a great place to find books and booklovers.

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