Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Secret

So I went to B&N last night after the children had gone to bed and browsed for 45 peaceful minutes. The best part? I bought two books – Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, both by Jeff Shaara, both over 500 pages, for a buck-forty-three. Isn’t that amazing? That’s nearly eight pages a penny. I honestly don’t know how they stay in business, ’cept for all the pretty shiny overpriced new books stacked all about the first three-quarters of the store.

So that’s my secret. Last year I bought about fifty books and spent about a hundred bucks doing so. Not bad, right?

[There are only two ways I’ll buy a hot-off-the-presses new book – 1. If I’m using a gift card, or 2. If I just got a bonus or a raise or something from work. Call me cheap if you wish; I call it frugal. Plus, the majority of the stuff I’m into is outta print anyway.]

Now go and buy a book!


Something’s been nagging at me for the past couple of hours since writing this post. I think it has to do with this: what would I say to a reader who argues that I am denying a writer his fair share of earnings for his work, a work that I’m enjoying second-hand for pennies on the dollar? Especially since my goal is to make it as a published writer, too. Isn’t that hypocritical?

Well …

In the main I don’t feel that way. Meaning, I don’t feel hypocritical or that I’m ripping anybody off. Why?

A couple of reasons, I guess. First off, thirty to forty percent of the stuff I read has been written by men that are long dead. So whatever royalties I’d be contributing to had I purchased a brand-spankin’-new book would not go to the author but rather his estate. I don’t feel any pangs of guilt about that. Now, in the original post I’m bragging about snagging a pair of Shaara’s books, and he’s alive and well. But the two writers previous I’ve read, Dan Cushman and Isaac Asimov, have been deceased over ten and twenty years, respective.

Do you feel guilty reading library books? It’s the same principal at work there. True, the writer was originally compensated when the library bought the book. But in the used book market, the same is true, only the author is compensated originally by the first person to buy that book, months or years previously.

But the biggest reason why I don’t feel guilty about any short-changing a writer’s work that I’ve read without paying full publisher-marketing-production-royalty cost is this blog. By far and away most of the books I review here I give positive reviews to. (I can only think of two or three that I extremely disliked.) There have been over a hundred and maybe close to two hundred posts that explicitly promote these awesome books and these awesome writers. It’s free advertising. Now, I’m no internet juggernaut, but the Hopper gets 30 visitors a day, and that translates to 10,000 visitors a year, almost 40,000 since I’ve been blogging. I have to believe that someone somewhere has bought one of these author’s books based on my recommendation. Maybe more than one.

So, no, I don’t feel guilty. Whew! Thanks for bearing with me as I worked this out on the electronic page. I feel better already!

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