Thursday, May 19, 2005

Just don't steal 'em

It's not the fashion among my author friends, but I'm all in favor of used-book stores. I don't think we can go wrong if we just encourage reading. I think we should buy books, trade books, borrow books, and talk about books at every opportunity.

So this morning I was tickled to read this article in The Book Standard about a newish website where readers can swap paperbacks:

Readers on the lookout for bargains on mass market paperbacks may now have the ideal outlet: A six-month-old Website, allows users to swap books, pure and simple. Members post titles they’d like to get rid of and, in exchange for mailing them to other members who have requested them, they can search for the used titles they want.

What a good idea. Click over and read the article, especially the second half, where a couple of used-book store owners give reasons why their business isn't threatened by this kind of operation.

Here's something else I stumbled across this morning: on my husband's bedside table I found a bookmark that said, "Return this book with your receipt for a 50% refund." I wasn't aware that stores in airports all over the country are participating in this program, but you can actually buy a book in one city and get your refund in another. That's great for people like my husband. He flies every week--sometimes twice a week--and "lives" in several different airports.

When he phoned just a little while ago I told him I'd found the bookmark. "This is a great idea," I said. Knowing that he purchases three or four $8 books every week--usually at the airport--I congratulated him on getting half his money back. But no, he said, although he's thought about it several times, he has never taken advantage of that refund offer.

Why not?

"Because I keep losing my receipts," he said.

Ah. Well, at least the man is reading.


lindaruth said...

I love used book stores and judge the quality of a town by the presence of a used book store. We have a nice used bookstore here in Manhattan (Kansas) called The Dusty Bookshelf -- and it even has cats that walk around in it. I found a delightful little store in Chicago a couple of weeks ago called, appropriately, Books. Going to a used book store is an adventure.

Nicole said...

Oh..I love Paperback Swap. I use used bookstores to check out old backlists, check out authors I'm not sure of, or to pick up big name authors who are likely to have had people buy their book up fast and then send it on to the ubs.

I still spend plenty on new, but I love browsing used bookstores.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

I love used book stores! I read way to much to buy all brand new. All though for some odd reason since I have started pursuing writing as a career, I buy more brand new.
Hey Brenda, your book is at

Brenda Coulter said...

Ah, gee. You mean somebody didn't want to keep it forever?

Well, I hope it finds a loving home.

Chris said...

If only those airport book vendors would stop giving out shiny, metallic objects as receipts. Pocket gnomes steal those waaaay too often. I'm thinking something slim and flexible -- something that could be slipped between the pages of a book to keep track of it.

Man, that'd be sweet, wouldn't it?

I love used bookstores, but it's all about the thrill of the hunt. Online might be more efficient, but it's also less fun.


Mo said...

As an avid reader (and proponent of bookswapping), this particular post caught my eye, and I'm curious about your thoughts on * ? (authors either love it, or hate it - there seems to be no middle ground)

*For anyone who's unfamiliar with the site, the main idea is to "make the whole world a library". Check it out! Its fun & its free.

Brenda Coulter said...

I'm familiar with BookCrossing, Mo, and think it's a fine idea. As I said, anything that encourages people to read and talk about books gets my vote.

Brenda Bradshaw said...

(waves to Mo!) I see you found Brenda C's blog! :)

I LOVE used bookstores. Unfortunately, the one in my town sucks. They charge too much, so I can't walk out with a crapload in my arms. They charge $4 for paperback, unless it's from like the early 80s. And yet they wonder why they get so little business?!