When I first discovered JAFF/Austenesque literature and wanted to expand my collection without breaking the bank, I headed straight for the local paperback trade shop. They did not have many choices in this genre, but I managed to find three used/traded-in books that I immediately purchased. One of them — The Pemberley Chronicles — I did not care for at all, and the book took a return trip to the shop almost as soon as I’d finished reading it. (I do not like to post negative reviews, so suffice it to say that the story is not so much a story as a timeline of events, not at all like the wonderfully creative stories that I’d been reading and that featured an expanded role for Mr Darcy.)
When I subsequently discovered the kindle reader app for PC, I immediately loaded it into our computer and started buying and downloading e-books for it. Reading them was a bit of a nuisance, tho’ — it tied up the computer so nobody else could use it for hours, or I couldn’t get access because somebody else was already using it. And as we have a desktop, not a laptop, it was rather uncomfortable to sit and read for long periods.
In April I received a kindle for my birthday, and again loaded it up with lots of JAFF e-books. This was of course a much more comfortable and efficient way to read, and I admit to buying most of my books on kindle for a long while.
While I love my kindle, and can see the advantages especially when traveling, being an analogue kinda girl, I found myself longing for paper — for printed books that I could touch. And I missed the back-cover blurb that appears on most print books. So whenever I would shop at amazon for a book mentioned on one of the gazillion Austenesque sites and Facebook groups I follow, I’d look beyond the two featured format choices of paperback and kindle to the little blue links beneath those two formats. The ones that say “(Number available) Used from ($X)” and “(Number available) New from ($X).”
Following these links will bring you to a page (or pages, depending on how many links you follow) that lists vendors who sell via amazon but sell items and fulfill orders themselves from their own stock. Altho’ they are separate vendors, they are contractually obliged to meet amazon standards of customer service, such as shipping on schedule, limiting the shipping costs they charge to customers, and accepting returns. If you have problems with these vendors that cannnot be resolved directly with the vendor, amazon’s all-powerful customer service will step in and resolve the issue for you.So essentially you have the amazon “machine” working for you while you do business with smaller vendors, which many people would prefer anyway.
I recently purchased a new copy of a paperback book for $4 (including shipping) — a book that was selling in kindle version for $8. Today I received a hardcover copy of a book that sells for $3.50 kindle and $14.75 paperback — it was listed as new and clearly it is, as it is in perfect condition including dust jacket. It cost me $4, again including shipping. I have ordered various paperbacks and hardcover books listed as used; each listing describes the condition of the book, and the ones I’ve purchased have all been in excellent condition and all for less than $5 each.
Yes, I know some people do not like hardcover books, but I prefer them except when traveling. When I’m at home, I appreciate the quality of the paper and binding, and all the lovely little notes and author biography on the dust jacket. It seems that these days very few books are published in hard covers unless they are by well-known authors and being promoted by their publishers — or unless they are children’s books or “specialty” books: beautifully illustrated, or tourist books, or the like.
Of course you will not necessarily find used or re-sold new copies of newer books; I came to JAFF/Austenesque relatively recently so I have a lot of reading to catch up on. The books I’ve been able to buy at these lower prices are mostly older books written by writers whose more recent books I’ve already read — and am now looking to see what else they wrote.
I recognize that authors are entitled to be paid for their work. IMNSHO, they have in fact been paid when the book was first sold. A case could be made that when the original buyer sells or gives the book to a reseller, the reseller is entitled to be paid for their part in it too. So I’m good with buying re-sold books. I just hope that authors agree with me, and if any of you don’t: I’m terribly sorry you feel that way, but I probably would never be able to read many of these books if I could not buy them from resellers.
Comments? Other opinions? Click Leave a Comment in the upper left-hand corner.