All writers define what success means to them.
Success could include: favorable reviews, completing the first draft of a novel, winning a writing award, a well-attended book signing, and of course, a publishing contract. With the exception of a contract, I’ve experienced these achievements to varying degrees.
Writing can be a lonely avocation, with days, and even weeks, passing without positive feedback. Writers need to be self-motivators, finding inspiration wherever and whenever possible. I recently stumbled across what might be a new source of encouragement for authors—used booksellers.
I was checking my reviews on Amazon and noticed one of my books, CORRUPT CONNECTION, had five sales offers. I thought it strange, so I clicked on the offers and found that in addition to Amazon, four other booksellers were offering used copies of my paperback at prices ranging from $10.75 to $33.95, plus shipping. Keep in mind this book sells for $11.95 on Amazon and the Kindle download is only $2.99.
I looked at my other books and found MELTING SAND marketed by several resellers with a top price tag of $19.95. One copy was featured as “signed by author.” The ad even had a photo of the signature page which I’d endorsed to a reader named Cliff. Good ole Cliff must have picked up my book at one of my signings and decided to recoup his expenses after reading it. (The ad stated it showed slight wear.)
My first reaction was amazement. How in the world could anyone expect to get $33.95 for a used copy of a book I sell as new on Amazon for $11.95? I did a little research and discovered the selling of used books is a growing business, both online and in brick and mortar stores. Amazon even offers instructional books for entrepreneurs on how to make a buck selling used books online. There are several book reseller websites where you can plug in the ISBN of your used book, and out pops a price they will pay you for it. This still doesn’t explain the unusually high prices resellers ask for some of my used books. I hope they don’t think I’m going to die soon and develop a cult following.
After thinking about it more, I’ve decided to consider it a compliment that readers and resellers believe my books have a used value. It’s better than ending up in a landfill. It gives me some pleasure to know that once my books are printed, they could float around for years, finding their way to new readers. In fact, if it turns out my used books are selling better than new, I may even dog ear a few copies and open my own used bookstore.