My book United States of Love is set in the historical West Sussex town of Arundel. I’m lucky enough to live just a short drive away and love going over to the lake for a walk or a wander around the town, which ALWAYS involves a pot of tea and a slice of cake. Usually, the children are in tow but on a recent visit, I was child free so I took the opportunity to browse a local second hand book shop.
It’s a tiny shop front but rather like the Tardis when you go inside. It is also a book lover’s paradise. There is shelf after shelf of old books. A lot of specialist books and a lot of first editions. Set over three floors; a warren of little rooms, narrow staircases and sloping ceilings, I was amazed at how organised it was.
Venturing up to the top floor where the fiction books were kept, I was surprised to see a book by an author I have on my reading list. A paperback by Paul Christopher, The Sword of the Templar. A secondhand paperback in excellent condition priced at £2.50 – a bargain. However, I didn’t buy it. Not because I didn’t want it, but I suddenly felt guilty. By buying this book secondhand, I would get the enjoyment, but the author wouldn’t actually benefit. I felt like I was cheating him out of his royalties. Okay, I appreciate missing out on one sale of his book, probably isn’t going to be life-changing, but, all the single sales add up.
It made me stop and think.
Is it okay to buy a book secondhand which means no royalties for the author? Or, should I buy the book from a book shop or on-line? Either way, if I enjoy it, I’m likely to buy another. At the end of the day – does it really matter?
What are your thoughts on buying books secondhand?