First I want to make it clear that I purchase new books, and probably too damn many of them—I won’t be able to retire until I’m 93. I can’t walk past a bookstore without going in, and most of the time I find myself pining for a bookshop I’ve never been in. I’m always certain if I found the right shop I’d discover a treasure that would change my expectations of reading forever. So the thought of a world without used bookstores is desolate, stark, and shameful. Especially when you consider that something like 99% of books that have been published are currently out-of-print, and I bet that’s a conservative number. It’s probably more like 99.9999%.
I usually don’t buy many books that are currently in print at used shops, but it has happened. I recently picked up Lost Echoes by Joe R. Lansdale at a Friends of the Library book sale, but that is the exception rather than the rule. At this particular sale I purchased a dozen novels—The Emerald Illusion by Ronald Bass, (Signet, 1984), The Red Fox by Anthony Hyde (Ballantine, 1986), One-Shot Deal by Gerald Petievich (Pinnacle, 1983), several old Alistair MacLean novels published by Fawcett Gold Medal in the 1970s—cover art so cool I want to hang them on the wall—and a couple old thrillers from the 1970s that haven’t seen print in thirty years.
I absolutely support writers of all stripes—fiction, non-fiction, etc.—to be able to make a living from their work. But get real. Can you imagine a world without used bookstores? Maybe Ray Bradbury had something when he wrote Fahrenheit-451. Or is that too harsh?
To read the Gorman post click Here.