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Saturday, September 26

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Ink Tue Aug 19 2008

Paid for Secondhand

Should authors receive a share of sales from used books?

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Veronica B / September 3, 2008 12:48 PM

You know, I always wonder about whether my penchant for used books takes away from authors' livelihoods. I think I would be okay with authors getting some part of the second-hand profits, especially if it's a book I ended up liking. I'm not sure why the people who commented in that article are so against the idea - after all, we do pay so much more to actors who no only get money from the initial showing of their movies, but also from DVD sales. If I'm not paying any more for the books from the used bookstore, than I don't suppose I'm too terribly concerned with where the money's going (as long as it's not, you know, to some organization that kicks puppies or something).

C-Note / September 3, 2008 7:57 PM


You would have to pay more in order for the author to get a share of the profits. You can't maintain the same price and create a new share of the profits, unless you're suggesting that the bookstore should just take a hit and split their profits with the authors, which obviously couldn't work. Also, many of the authors are dead. Moreover, not many authors would actually get the money; the publisher, on the other hand, generally would.

The movie/DVD sales situation (two products) is like apples and oranges from the book resale situation (one product).

On the other hand, if the authors want a share, tell them to put that in their publishing contracts and find a way to enforce it, by, for example, getting the US Congress to pass a law requiring that book resellers keep track of the books they sell and remit a share to the publishers. Otherwise, it's an idle question. The easier solution is for you, the consumer, to send money directly to the author. Who needs a middleman?

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