I love used bookstores. Well-run, well-organized - it's like walking into someone's extended keeper shelf. There's one in the Milwaukee airport (I know brilliant, right? There are small magazine vendors in the gates, but not a bookstore and this one is in the main lobby, so if you're waiting for someone you can find a book. ) And there's one in Florida where I vacation with friends, that literally every year sends me into fits of book love. I've found City of Thieves (AMAZING BOOK)! The Shadow of the Wind (OH!!! The nights I've stayed up too late!) The Birth of Venus (delight, start to finish). All by authors whose next books I will buy - because I am in love with them.
I know a lot of writers think that used bookstores are robbing them of royalties, and in way - they're right. But I've been thinking a lot about Sherry Thomas' comment that what sells books is love. People have to love your book to talk about it to their friends, on-line, in the grocery store, over dinner - everywhere they can. And the only thing that builds love is actually reading the book. And that's where used bookstores come in. People take bigger risks on books and authors they've never heard of, when the price tag is in half.
So, yes, no royalties on that second sale. But if you think of those bookmarks everyone makes, or the postcard mailings to bookstores and booksellers - and the end result isn't known. Do the postcards get tossed in the trash? Do they make it to readers? Do the readers care? That feels to me so often like money tossed away. But getting books into hands of readers - how can that be bad?
That said - Internet piracy sites. The scum of the very earth - all they do is ensure that good books and good authors don't get published. It's stealing and there's no love there.