Cheap Books

Tuesday, 30 December 2008, 14:39 | Category : Life
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So, I recently read an article about shopping for bargain books online, and what it does to book retailers. (Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It) Since I work for a publishing company, it did give me a few pangs of guilt. I’m guilty of both buying and selling from Half.com, and like one of the people mentioned in the article, I find it gives me funding to buy even more books.

Sure, I’ve thought about what it does to the publisher, and the local retailer. But I also know that there’s rarely a day that I can find a space in the parking lot at my local Barnes & Noble that doesn’t require a bit of a walk. And often the books I order online are ones that either aren’t carried by the local store, or that I’m willing to wait for. When I want a book, and I want it right now, Barnes & Noble is still my first choice.

Thinking about it, I almost feel more guilty when I use the library. Granted, I pay my taxes to support the library, and will browse through the books at the giant “Friends of the Library” sales. But overall, copies of books in the library are read dozens if not hundreds of times, and the author only gets royalties for one sale. I’m not critizicing the library, and I certainly don’t want the library to start charging for books (which I’ve heard rumors about), but I can’t feel bad about buying a book for a few dollars cheaper when it saves it from the landfill. And maybe I’ll donate some of those used books to the library for more people to read. Rather than complaining about the economics of how people are getting books, I think we should be grateful that they’re still reading at all.

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