Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bargain Books

I recently reviewed a novel by S J Bolton on my blog. The author, who has Google Alerts, came to the blog and left a nice comment.

Having enjoyed the book, a lot, I went looking for another book by her, entitled 'Awakening'.

I couldn't find it in my local branch of WHSmiths, the only 'local' store we have now, and to find a Waterstones, about the only bookshop chain left in the UK, you have to go to a large town or shopping mall.

I was about to order it from Amazon, but came across a stall in my local market selling paperbacks. Sitting in the middle of a plastic packing case was, 'Awakening' by S J Bolton, new, pristine and unopened, for £2.50

In fact all the books were brand new, pristine and unopened, and all at the same price, with new releases mixed in with well known titles from best selling authors from Wilbur Smith, Marian Keynes and yes, well, S J Bolton.

None of the books were pirated copies, or at least they certainly didn't look it. I took one home and compared it with the same copy I bought from a bookshop and it was identical.

This book has a RRP of £8.99 - and although I felt pretty bad about buying it, I did. But what does that say for the current paperback market? How does an author make money from royalties at this rate? Also, this is the market I aspire to, so if I finally 'make it' and get published by a mainstream house, I imagined it would be sold from a shelf in Waterstones, not from a market stall.

Apologies SJ, but I'm only human. And mean.

8 comments:

S J Bolton said...

Hello again Anita

To be honest, I'm not really sure how this happens. I know when editions are "remaindered" ie, when a hardback is replaced by a paperback, the out of date version can be sold through cheap outlets. The paperback of Awakening has only been out a few months, though, so this shouldn't apply.

At this stage in my career, I'm just grateful someone is buying and reading my books. The yacht and the mansion in the country can come later!

Hope you like Awakening, anyway. It's my personal favourite so far.

Lisa Yarde said...

I'll confess I do the same time thing, Anita, in looking for the bargain first. But sometimes I will pay full price for a first release because I just want the book so badly.

Talli Roland said...

I always feel guilty too, but I'm cheap as well (or rather, I'm broke). Hope you enjoy the book!

Vicky said...

I see books that are "remaindered" at both stalls and also in discount areas of standard book stores. I live in NZ and the Auckland Borders has a remainders store right around the corner. Usually, though, the same books are not available on both the standard store and the remainder one.

I wonder about independent booksellers, though? You know, the shop in your neighborhood run by someone passionate for books who always knows exactly what you read. They're a rare breed in the US now, but they're still common in New Zealand. Our local independent could keep on his shelf a book that's been remaindered elsewhere. Since I try to support him, there is always the chance I'll find the same book at a discount later.

When you consider the outrageous price we pay for books here in NZ ($29.95 for an standard-size paperback) I'm not against finding books at a discount, though as a writer myself I think "ouch" when I wonder what will happen to my royalties. Does the author get a portion of the royalties from a book the publisher discounts? If its a store that discounts it, what happens? One would assume the store payed a wholesale price for the book originally, had left over copies and decided to sell them rather than return them?

I'm assuming a book doesn't get remaindered until what a publisher thinks its "shelf life" has passed. For novels, though, especially trade novels, that can be very fast, a matter of a few months. But it would be nice if authors were kept current as to what was happening to their books.

Jen Black said...

I found Awakening on my library shelves and read it really fast because I wanted to know what happened at the end! I enjoyed it as much as Sacrifice, and thought that like that novel, Awakening got a bit woolly in the middle but all came clear in the end. I suspected everyone but the actual villain ... and there's a reason for that, but I won't spoiler this in order to say why.
Love the glasses, Anita!
Jen

Anita Davison said...

Thanks for not spoiling the ending for me Jen, and I hope you are having a wonderful holiday in France

Anne Whitfield - author said...

More books to add to my TBR pile!
There's not enough hours in the day!

Dawna Rand said...

In the US, the author's royalties are a percentage of the cover price, not what the book actually retails for.

Good news!

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