ARE YOU BUYING USED BOOKS ON THE INTERNET?
Recently, my webmaster forwarded a request to me from an Internet used book outfit asking that their link be added to my website (www.johnmorganwilson.com
). This was my reply:
No, Internet book sales have pretty much finished off my career writing books (after an even dozen). Because of used books sales, my publisher no longer brings out my books in paper, which is true of many other writers. Why should someone purchase our trade paperbacks when they can buy a used hardcover for less? Because of Internet used books sales, I probably will not get another contract to write more mystery novels, since used books sales, after killing off my paperback contract, have now started to eat into my hardcover sales as well. My income is down by half from ten years ago, and dropping, while I'm actually reaching more readers than ever. (Recently, my Edgar-winning title, originally published in 1996, was ranked #51 among Amazon.com's current
top 100 gay men's mystery titles, and it has been out of print for seven years, meaning it continues to sell well, while I get no credit for those sales.) Unfortunately, they are buying used books rather than new, for which I get neither credit for sales nor royalties. It also makes getting older titles back into print very difficult, because, again, they are already available used, who what's the incentive for the publisher? Internet used booksellers are killing the golden goose, little by little, and don't seem to give a damn. The bestselling authors will survive and I guess that's all that matters.
Used booksellers argue that used books are a way for readers to discover new authors but the fact is that most of those readers will continue to buy that author's work used. The tradeoff of picking up a few new readers this way, who might buy new books, doesn't begin to offset the enormous loss and damage to our sales and careers that massive used books sales are causing. The last figure I saw was that used books now account for 12% of all books sales, a number that grows each year.
The point is, anyone who is buying used crime novels is hurting the authors. Are you?