Awhile back, there was -- as a kind of sideshow to the "mostly Baen authers vs. SJWs" whatever-it-was, or possibly the other way around -- a flap over the author's-eye-view of Amazon vs. the traditional publisher/bookstore model, and to a lesser extent, the reader's perspective of same
I had trouble really engaging with it. Just "Meh." Tonight (or early this morning, depending), standing in the kitchen looking out at the dining room-library, I finally realized why. There are something over 5000 books in there (and elsewhere), mostly SF, and of that number, less than five percent were purchased new. Many of those were bought via Amazon. What've I bought new? Most of the C. J. Cherryh books, a fair amount of Elizabeth Moon and Lois McMaster Bujold, reprints of Robert A. Heinlein books and his last three new novels and collections; recent Ursula K. LeGuin and Kim Stanley Robinson,* plus H. Beam Piper reprints and most of Michael Z. Williamson's SF.† The rest of it -- thousands of books -- I bought used.
I grew up not poor but by no means well-off, and a considerable distance from the local public library, which kept a few shelves of SF with the children's books. School libraries were pretty thin, too, a good assortment by not nearly enough of it. I was and remain a fairly voracious reader. Harvey's Book Exchange, a dark and cluttered building filled with used books, had plenty of Science Fiction and you could fill a brown paper grocery sack‡ with books for five bucks. It was the start of a lifelong habit and I watched the demise of the small-scale used book store in recent years with alarm, though the later rise of Half-Price Books has made up for it.
Visiting the new-book seller has always felt like an extravagance. Visiting the used book store was a necessity. And it still is. I like my Kindle a lot but I like shopping for books more.
* Oh, dear, looks like I'm some kinda borderline commie.
† Or not.
‡ Ask your parents, kids.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
7 months ago