The economic reality of used books

The New York Times has an article today on the economics of used books and the the place of Amazon.com in the market.

Personally, I love used book stores. Amazon is great if you really need something, but nothing beats the browsing experience. Fantasy and sci-fi is such a tough genre sometimes – the covers and blurbs are so awful and misleading that it’s hard to pick anything up at the bookstore – and if it’s crap or yet another lame Tolkien rehash, you’ve wasted your money. (Libraries, meanwhile, will often only get the best-sellers.) With a used bookstore, you can unload the crap and get more books for half off the cover price or less. It’s a win-win situation for the reader.

In fact – may Lucasfilm and Del Rey not smite me as I type – I would recommend getting used books if you’re trying to catch up on the Star Wars novels. They’re plentiful in many used bookstores and with the ups and downs in quality, you’re probably better off not wasting the extra cash on anything but the authors you know you’ll enjoy. Face it – the Jedi Academy trilogy is simply not worth $21 new when used copies are available on Amazon for as low as 39 cents.

Generally, with authors I enjoy, I do make it a point to buy new when possible. But the amount of authors and series I’ve gotten into because of used bookstores is hard to estimate. But with new releases, I simply don’t have the patience to wait for books to hit used. I shudder to think of what I’ve spent on the Expanded Universe over the years – I even bought Shadows of the Empire new, even though I knew it probably sucked at the time. (And so it did!) Learn from my mistakes.

Trailer park

V for Vendetta – a movie from the folks who brought us the Matrix, starring Hugo Weaving and (an almost-bald, British) Natalie Portman.

Mirrormask, a film directed by Dave McKean, written by Neil Gaiman, and involving the Jim Henson company. Could do without the more-annoying-than-usual Voiceover Guy…

And I can’t remember if I linked this before, but what the hell – The Brothers Grimm. Terry Gillam! Matt Damon! Heath Ledger! Some girl who looks kinda like Keira Knightly!