Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Okay...after this blog posting, I do promise to let this issue go...Here's what transpired...

I joined Shelfari, an online community of people who love to read and/or write books. I like that there are no chat rooms. Dialogue between members is done via a thread.

I decided one day to start a discussion in the Writer's Chat Group on how allows people to resell their books. I wanted to know how authors, especially those published by small, independent presses, felt about losing royalties to used book sales.

I had hoped for a lively discussion. Boy, did I ever get one! One person came right out and told me to GET OVER MYSELF (caps his/her emphasis, not mine)and that I was writing for the wrong reason.

Ooo-kaay...guilty. I like to get paid. Writing is how I make a living. Like any other laborer, I have the expectation that I will indeed be paid for my labor. I spent more than three years working on Painting The Invisible Man. All that time I never saw a dime. Is it really that offensive that I prefer people to buy a new copy of the book, one that puts a few bucks into my pocket? Seems to me that it's who's truly profiting from my labor.

Now, I must be truthful and disclose the fact that I have bought used books on Amazon. However, with new writers, I make an effort to buy direct from the author, particularly those writers who started their own publishing houses or who are with indie publishers. They either have a large investment to recoup, or as in the latter group, they are getting 10-15% of a net sale. Since take 55% of retail, the writer is making a paltry 10-15% of 45% of the retail price.That's pennies on a dollar, folks.

When I buy used, it's generally books by bestselling authors. I think Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Patricia Cornwell, and the rest do all right without my few cents.

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