On Used Bookstores

United Bookstore

A lot of folks have been talking about used bookstores over the last day or two. Some of them have been talking about how used bookstores are detrimental to us working authors. Other folks have been speaking up in favor of used bookstores.

Here is my two bits.

I love used bookstores. A lot of them have closed here in Halifax. I miss them greatly.

I have always understood that a sale in a used bookstore does nothing for my pocketbook. But I also know that I have discovered writers in used bookstores and have gone on to hunt up their books in other bookstores – just because I wasn’t willing to sit around and wait to see if the rest of a certain author’s line-up showed up at one of the used bookstores that I frequent.

So – in the long of it I would say that used bookstores CAN sometimes benefit an author. I have quite a few friends whom I realize will NEVER buy one of my books – because they are too broke, or they don’t like booga-booga horror or they just aren’t big on reading. I don’t figure I should “unfriend” them just because they aren’t buying my books. So I stay friendly with used bookstores for that very same reason.

The fact is, I am NOT a business person. I would be if I were smarter at this gig of mine – but I am better at making shit up than I am at making a profit at it. I figure that doesn’t make me a lesser writer – just a less than rich one.

Anyways – I ought to be writing right now.

I need to make a little bit more money so that I can go and spend it at my local used bookstore.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


9 responses to “On Used Bookstores

  1. Also a great place to find books that are out of print! I love used book stores too but usually buy classics there.Jane Austen or Charles Dickens won´t mind! A relatively new book by a struggling author I will buy at a book store or on Amazon.


    • You bet – a used bookstore is a great place to find the classics. Mind you, they are available as e-books as well – but a lot of those older classics have been bought up by merchandisers who then sell them in e-book format for eight to ten dollars. Way cheaper to buy them at a used bookstore.


  2. My problem with used bookstores (although I can see how it’d be an appeal for other people) is that they’re always so messy. It’s like you’re going through someone’s pile of books in their basement or something. How are you supposed to find anything in there? Rather, standard bookstores have organized sections (or even just, you know, shelves) that help you find the genre or type of book you’re looking for…even if you have nothing in mind. There are some new and used bookstores in my area that have a separate section for the used books, but they’re still displayed in a similar fashion to the new books.

    Anyway, that wasn’t really the point of your post. Discoverability is great in used bookstores. I’ve discovered some great books because I got them for free (or cheap) from a used bookstore or rummage sale.

    It’s the same idea of a permafree for an ebook. I think authors tend to forget about that. They just want sales. Sales are nice, but if nobody knows you exist, you’re not going to have any sales. That’s my focus for this year. Getting more attention.


    • Too messy?


      You ought to see my office.

      All kidding aside, used bookstores can be really cluttered – but i find that a lot of the so-called “organized” regular bookstores still make it hard to find certain types of books.

      And I hear you about discoverability. I have over fifty e-books available on Kindle alone – and there are still at least two or three out there on this planet who amazingly haven’t heard of me.

      But I am working on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree Steve. I don’t mind if someone buys one of mine at a used book store either as it’s possible they may like them enough to pay full price for another on Amazon.


  4. I love used bookstores too, and was sorry to see the only one in my immediate area close. I have no problem at all with my own books ending up in a place where book-lovers browse.


  5. I LOVE used book stores!! I haunt my local one frequently 🙂


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