There's nothing in the world like a library book sale. I had the pleasure and luxury of going to one twice last weekend. Once when hardbacks were $2 and paperbacks were $1, then again on the last day when a bag stuffed full of books was only $4. I know, I know, I should be supporting publishers and authors by purchasing new books, but it also makes me a little sad to see a really good book out on the table along with twenty dusty copies of really bad popular books. I came home with over forty books and part of me wonders why I would ever go to a book store again.
As much as I love used books, I have never bought as many new, hardcover books as I have this year (D'ambrosio, Woodrell, McCarthy, Ford, and more). And not just as gifts. I'm more than pleased to help out their numbers and shell out the money for books I'm dying to read. When books get a little older, I wonder why I should being paying full price for a book that's been sitting there on the shelf for a couple of years or more when I can go to a book sale or used bookseller and pick up the same book at a considerable discount.
I have always loved used book stores. Dark aisles, shelves crammed with books. I'm always looking for the rarity, the special first edition or out of print book I can't find elsewhere. And then there are classics, public domain books or not, in mass-market size that I really should own and read. How can I rationalize paying full-price for these?
I don't really think I can take a side on this. I'm cheap and I love a good bargain, but I want to support authors and the industry. So, if I want To the Lighthouse, I'll look for it used, and if I want the next Litblog Co-op pick (I'm particularly interested in Sidney Thompson's collection Sideshow), I'll buy new.