Old books never die…

…they just mate at night while you’re not looking, which is why there is never any space on the bookshelves.
The New York Times reports on the used books market:

“Consider a recent paper, “Internet Exchanges for Used Books,” by Anindya Ghose of New York University and Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang of Carnegie-Mellon. (The text of the paper is available at ssrn.com/abstract=584401.)
The starting point for their analysis is the double-edged impact of a used book market on the market for new books. When used books are substituted for new ones, the seller faces competition from the secondhand market, reducing the price it can set for new books. But there’s another effect: the presence of a market for used books makes consumers more willing to buy new books, because they can easily dispose of them later.

Ha. I’ve been conning myself and my long-suffering partner for years into believing that it’s okay to buy more books (and MORE books, and STILL MORE books) because of course we can always sell the ones we don’t read any more to the chaps at the back of South Extension. Except that “the ones we don’t read any more” is a category that doesn’t exist. Instead, we build more bookshelves. And move house a lot.

One comment

  1. Don’t know if you’ve read Jasper Fforde’s The Well of Lost Plots. Found it sulking about in the children’s section of BCL for some reason. It’s about a woman who goes on a character exchange programme into a book that is about to be demolished because it’s unpublishable. Here’s an extract:”Making one’s home in an unpublished novel wasn’t without its compensations. All the boring day-to-day mundanities that we conduct in the real world get in the way of narrative flow and are thus generally avoided. The car didn’t need refuelling, there were never any wrong numbers, there was always enough hot water, and vacuum-cleaner bags only came in two sizes – upright and pull-along. There were other, more subtle differences, too. For instance, no one ever needed to repeat themselves in case you didn’t hear, and no one shared the same name, talked at the same time or had a word annoyingly ‘on the tip of their tongue’. But there were some downsides. The relative absence of breakfast was the first and most notable difference to my timetable. Inside books, dinners are often written about and therefore feature frequently, as do lunches and afternoon tea; probably because they offer more opportunities to further the story…”It’s not a treatise on writing, it’s fiction. At one point, one of the characters breaks down because he’s upset the book is so bad and about to be demolished, and yet, he has to go one saying his lame lines and living his lame life.I thought it might be one of those annoying books that tries to preach its pet subject in the guise of a story like Mark Haddon’s book about his annoying dog — sums and problems sneaked up on you even when you were looking. Hated it. But this book’s nothing like that. It’s so creative, like Walter Moer, for instance. You must try and find a copy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s