On Used Books

A couple of readers wrote me to register their surprise about my post on used books last week. I’d quoted the reports that show how huge the used-books business has become, and I’d mentioned seeing used copies of my own book pop up on Amazon only hours after it became available for sale. I thought I was being funny when I parodied a hurt author, but given a couple of readers’ reaction of surprise, maybe I should stay away from humor.

So here is serious me: I don’t have a problem with used books. They’ve been around for centuries, and will continue to be around. The only difference is that with current technology people are better able to keep track of these sales. But in general I think it’s useless to worry about them. Hell, if it weren’t for used books, I doubt I would have read as much I did when I was a kid. I spent so much time at the bouquinistes in my hometown of Rabat that I was practically on a first-name basis with the sellers. We can’t seriously hope to get more people reading while at the same time bitching and moaning about used books. So there. I hope that was serious enough this time.

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