A topic that comes up frequently in author discussions is the matter of used books. The legitimate complaint is that if you buy a book from a used bookstore, the author (and publisher) get nothing out of it.
However, the author got his or her royalty and the publisher its wholesale price when the book sold the first time. The buyer then became the owner of a product that he could do whatever he wished with it. He could read it, tear out the pages, burn it, eat it (on a really hungry day), or sell it to somebody else.
The argument that says "so what" boils down to this: if somebody reads one of your used books, hopefully she'll like it enough to buy another of your books new. Not only that, but tell her friends and neighbors about this great new author she read.
When you buy a book at a used bookstore, you expect to get it at a nice discount. But if you buy online, you'd better watch out. I'm signed up with Google to get what is called Google Alerts. Whenever someone does a Google search on one of my books, I get an email telling me where they landed.
Today I got one on Designed to Kill, my second Greg McKenzie Mystery, which took me to eBay. Yep, someone was auctioning a "signed copy" of Designed to Kill. It was in good condition, they assured me, signed only with the author's name. Under that was "9/9/89."
Hmm. The book didn't come out until 2004. I don't recall signing any with the date September 9, 1989. Oh, well, that was a minor point. What got me was the asking price...$22.99!
Hey, folks, you can go to my website and buy the book for $9.50, 40% off the retail price. So don't go eBay, try chesterdcampbell.com. I'm leaving my Christmas Gift Blowout Sale up until the middle of January. It's a real deal.