On buying used books . . .
I received this letter from a reader, who had discovered my books and had been reading library copies. But now in lockdown, the libraries are closed, and she couldn’t afford to buy them new. So, being a kind and thoughtful person, she wrote to ask me about the ethics of buying used books.
Good Morning Ms. Gracie,
I am delighted to be a new reader of your fine work. I read “Autumn Bride” last Autumn because I searched for books about Autumn. I loved that book so much, so I have been searching for additional books by you. I am just about to finish “Marry in Haste” and I do not want it to end.
I was searching through libraries for your books before the libraries all closed. While sheltering at home, your books are helping me make it through and giving me something to look forward to each day. So now I am considering purchasing your books. I found several on “Barnes and Noble” and “Thrifty Books” web sites, and before I purchase, I want to make sure you would receive the appropriate royalties if I purchase? Thrifty Books is about half the cost of Barnes and Noble.
It appears they have 16 of your books I could buy. I would appreciate your reply. Thank you for sharing your beautiful talent; you are truly a Blessing in my life.
Isn’t that a gorgeous letter? Here’s what I wrote in reply:
Thank you for your lovely email. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my books.
It’s true, authors don’t get royalties for second-hand books, and it’s lovely of you to worry about that — BUT please, don’t give a thought to that, especially in these difficult times. I’d much rather you read and enjoyed my books, so by all means, shop around and grab whatever bargains you can with my blessing.
And if you wanted to help me (or any author) just pop a review up about the books, or recommend them to a friend. For me, word of mouth is as good as royalties any day. <g>
Please stay safe and healthy in these difficult times. And dive into reading — that’s what I’m doing, as well as writing.
All the very best
And this reply came back:
Oh that is so kind of you.
I just bought 18 of your books; I am so excited!
Thank you for taking the time to email back and for your nice words.
I have been and will continue telling my friends about you, my new favorite author.
Keeping you in my prayers,
So here I am, smiling. I know a lot of authors disapprove of people buying used books because we authors depend on royalties from new book sales to earn our living. But in times like these, we need to find comfort where we can.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone, and dive into some good reading.