The first time I bought a used romance online, I felt so guilty, I wrote the author and apologized.  It was back when I started reading romance and had stumbled across Liz Carlyle's "Devil" novels and wanted more, more, more.  Problem was, some in her series of somewhat dark, yet sexy and terrifically well-written Regencies already were out of print. 

Many of us've bought used novels at library fund raisers and stuff.  But purchasing a book going out of circulation seemed to me a different animal from scoring a read on a used page at an online bookseller.  And maybe it's my respect for intellectual property and the rights of creative folks to be paid for output that made me feel creepy about not buying "new."

But I was dying to read the rest of Carlyle's books, so I clicked on over to the "used/collectible copies" pages of my fave online bookseller and gathered up as many of her out-of-prints as I could find.

Then I wrote her to confess my sin.  As romance authors on the whole are wont to do - part of the reason I was inspired to start online communities connecting authors and readers - Carlyle shot back an email pretty quickly absolving me of my shame.

She graciously thanked me for reading and liking her novels, then explained that it's flattering when a reader goes to great extent to find her out-of-print books. And in Carlyle's opinion, my doing so made it more likely I'd stick with her books in the future and be jazzed to score them when they came out.

A few years older/wiser to the ways of book selling and profit, I think Carlyle's is a practical way of looking at things inevitable.  Of course, an author's goal is to be paid when books are sold on publication and, like any of us who write to eat, I'd like to see novelists earn as much as possible.

In the spirit of that ubiquitous term, transparency, I get most of the books I write about gratis either pre-published, or the "bound" form in which books are sold.  But I remember not being able to afford books for more than half of my life, so I have a great deal of respect for why folks enjoy novels by using the library or buying used.

Still, I continue occasionally to buy out-of-print novels and recently paid $25 for Laura Lee Guhrke's 1996 release, " Conor's Way," which the seller apparently paid $1.25 for at a yard sale.  But it's always a crap shoot; I weigh my purchase against whether I think the novel might go into reprint as Carlyle's did about a year after I purchased them.  

Why do you purchase used romances?  Does the purchase of used novels help or harm an author's career?  What authors have you found through stumbling upon them "used?"

by Author Eva_Gale on ‎11-27-2009 02:58 PM

I have purchased used books when they're out of print and I've spent a lot on them, too. The old Penelope Williamson's that you can't find? I have all those in triplicate and I found thenm in the UBS and became a die hard fan. I spent 24 on Penelope's Once in a Blue Moon online and then bought my other copies when I stumbled across them at the UBS for 2 bucks. :-) I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when the glue gets too old to open them. *sniff* I would hope for my daughter's sake they reissue them. 


I don't think out of print books can harm a career, but it can make a new fan. 

by 1AnneB on ‎11-27-2009 03:17 PM

Hi Michelle - AnneB here - Interesting question, but really quite a dilemma. Often, when introduced to a new (for me) author, I enjoy reading all their books. In many cases, there are series that started a while back and in order to find all of them, my only option is used - or garage sales (quite a gold mine, I might add !). Lately, however, I have found that if the book is not out of print, it is often more cost effective to buy new copies from one of the online booksellers who have free shipping - so everyone wins ! I agree with Eva, that if the only way is a used book, then the author will ultimately win, because they will have gotten a new fan...



by Joan_P on ‎11-27-2009 09:41 PM

Hi Michelle!

I found you! I am new to blogs and to reading fiction (well, it's been a long time anyway). For years I've been caught up in either reading professional books/ articles or children's books so I haven't read fiction in a long time. Don't get me wrong, I especially love children's literature :smileyhappy: A good friend said I need to treat myself to some "just for me books" and recommended historical fiction romances... Enter B & N Blogs- a great way to find that "just for me book"! I fell in love with Emma Wildes books. I found one at the library and that got me hooked. I decided to pre order her new book coming out and see what I could find used since the library was All. Out. Of. Emma (feel the agony??)You invited me to H2H. So now to the point of why I'm posting this- I never thought there was anything wrong with buying used books (I buy children's books used all the time) but I see your point. My conundrum- affording all her books- looks like there's a lot to catch up on! I loved the book so much I can't wait to get them all- she just might be an addiction! I don't know if any are even out of print at this point. "Feeding your family" spoke to me and now I have guilt!!! Help!


by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-28-2009 09:49 AM

Ok, Eva?  You've made me want to search out Penelope Williamson, because I've not read her, and if you're recom'ing her, I'm thinking she must be worth finding.  It's a hazard of this hanging w/other romance lovers: the groaning TBR pile full of recommendations. d'oh!  But I'm with you in the 'helps careers column.


Anne, are you the one who always talks about The Other Bookseller Who Shall Remain Nameless?  :  ) Maybe that's someone else. But they do have that opt-in program w/ 'free 2-day' shipping that pays for itself if you buy lots of books. Even if not, sometimes there's only a buck between the used and new price at any outlet, and it's always cool to have the new. 

Hi, Paula!!!!  Glad you found your way over. I really should have left directions for you. Sorry! :  ) Ack!  Believe me, I'm the last person who wants to give anyone guilt, having grown up Italian, you know?  But economics is first with all of us, and it'd be ridiculous of us not to understand that for those of us who can't live w/out books, we should get them any way we can.  Someone bought those books at full price at least once (we hope).  So it's not like I'm saying, "hey, do you ever buy stolen books w/no covers?" 


I think my guilt was misplaced/naive, which is kind of the point of this piece, as well as wanting to get folks thinking about whether they misjudge the topic.  Or, whether there's other info to look at. Plus, I also want to know that I'm not the only person who's gone crazy to get an out-of-print book they were dying to own like i did w/the gurhke. :  )


I think it's FAB you're back to fiction, especially historical (romance),which is my fave.  I was the same w/ not reading fiction for a long time when my children were 'little,' and read 'hungry caterpillar' ad nauseum -- or simply didn't have the energy to read after they finally went to sleep.  It's funny, but when I hear about women reading the books their daughters read, I break out in a cold sweat, because I SO love having separate reading material from my kids.  But mine haven't fully hit the teens yet (12 son/10 girl).  Yet I can't imagine reading (as in a book club way) w/my daughter unless she brought it to me. A helping-for-school type of thing would be differnt.  But I know the other works for lots of women.


I hope you're going to come back, because, really, we generally don't make anybody feel guilty here. 'least I don't think so...

by Joan_P on ‎11-28-2009 11:28 AM


Thanks for absolving my guilt! I see your point- at least I've never bought a book w/o a cover!! I'm not Italian but I am easily guilted- hehe! That would be my conservative upbringing! OH! Wouldn't my mom die if she saw  what I was reading; guess I won't share that TBR list with her!

As for coming back- oh; you've got me hooked! I went searching for more reading after finishing Wildes last book! Is there an off topic thread to talk about, well, off topic items?


BTW- I have boys 6 and 10! There's a whole other "off topic" piece!

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-28-2009 02:02 PM

You're definitely one of us.  Here are two ways to find great romances, if those are what you're looking for.  First, you can page back through the H2H archives, if I may flatter myself that we talk about lots of them here.  The comment areas are gold mines, because so many folks make great suggestions. Next, head over to the Romantic Reads (RR) boards here at  The delightful Melanie Murray hosts there. Each Tuesday, she writes a column here at H2H letting us know what's being discussed in the new threads there, as well as which authors will be visiting RR to "chat there' with readers at the RR boards. Go to this link: to get to Romantic Reads.  There are tons of great threads including a "what are you reading now" thread that's always fun. 


To find other fiction reads, head to Book Clubs tab at the upper right of this page, then hit the Genres/Ideas tab on the top left under Browse Book Clubs.  It'll give you a list of all the great boards at : )

by 1AnneB on ‎11-28-2009 02:10 PM

Hi Joan P - AnneB here - Welcome... but Michelle forgot one more great resource - her blog - Romance B(uy) The Book - LOTS of good stuff there, too. Hope to see you around the boards...



by Author Eva_Gale on ‎11-28-2009 06:00 PM

Ohh I can go on and on about Penelope Williamson. The Outsider is an Amish romance, *swoon*, The Passions of Emma made me cry my eyes out, Heart of the West is a saga that just can't be beat-I could go on and on. She's a lyrical writer and her new stuff under the name Penn Williamson is fantastic, too. Mortal Sins is steeped in NOLA (and although my copy is under Penelope Williamson, I think it's out again under Penn Williamson). Think the Great Gatsby meets NOLA.


Just searching out the names of her books and they're used, and all around 20 bucks. You may want to check out your UBS. I'll check mine and ship them to you, too. 


(I'm just a romance pusher, really. All I need is a corner :-)

by 1lovealways on ‎11-28-2009 10:05 PM

Hi Michelle! 


I hope you and yours had a great holiday!  I did and now I'm trying to catch up with all the great articles (laugh)!


I have Penelope Williamson's Once in a Blue Moon.  Good writer!  Hey, I didn't know she was writing under a different name?  You learn so much here!  Gotta check out the new books of hers and the older ones too.


I've bought used books, because sometimes I couldn't afford the new ones.  I've also bought books at garage sales and book sales.  But, I soon learned that buying from used booksellers was killing me as far as the shipping and handling were concerned.   Most times when I bought used books, I could never find more than one book from a seller.  Then I read an article about the authors not getting paid for their work if the books were bought used.  I felt guilty and I haven't bought a used one since. 


That literally broke my heart, because these authors bring me such joy through their writing and I know for the first time authors who struggled to get their work out there and accepted is just like me, trying to survive.  So, now it doesn't bother me to buy them new.  I've checked and compared prices and it's really not that much difference.  I'm going to have the book for a long, long time on my keeper shelf or maybe share it with someone by way of a reommendation.  I don't lend them out anymore, because I've lost several that way.  Although, the people I loaned them to wanted to read them, they didn't care about them like I did.  Most of my books are paperbacks and I learned long ago, not to bend my spines,  Getting them back with crooked spines didn't particularly appeal to me.  So, you see I'm picky about my books and the less hands handling them the better.  


Also, bn has a great deal where you get free s&h on $25 or more books.  It also only takes 3 business days until you receive them.  I like that as much as getting the break on the s&h.  Thanks bn, you're rock out!  Happy reading all!!!!!!!! :smileyhappy:

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-28-2009 11:30 PM

I paid ridiculous prices for used copies of Jenny Crusie's THE CINDERELLA DEAL and SIZZLE, and now they're reissuing Cinderella Deal. It's one of my absolute favorites of her books, so as soon as the reissue comes out, I'll buy that one, too. I've also paid pretty steep prices for some out-of-print Anne Stuart books.


My local library branch is pretty small, and they don't carry an extensive of romance. I do order a ridiculous number of new books (just ask my mailman how many book boxes he delivers to my house), but, inevitably, I buy used books, too. It's only because when I find an author I like, I crave more. I buy old books, new books -- anything I can get my hands on. And, of course, I pre-order their upcoming books, too.

by Joan_P on ‎11-29-2009 01:47 PM

Hi Friends!!!


I'm so excited to be here:smileyhappy: I bookmarked this page so I can come back to reference it! So many ideas! I think that TBR list will be so long I'll have to update my wish list here on line and tell my family that's what to get me this holiday season!


I went to my local B&N to pre order the new Emma Wildes book coming out in January!! Shocked they didn't have any of her other books on their shelf! Bet there's just not space for all the great Romance books out there! I think it's just that particular location anyway. Someone recommended Lisa Kleypas so I researched her a little here online and decided to try "Mine Till Midnight". I fell in love with the book- can't wait to read the whole series!!


Romance novels are "just what the doctor ordered"!! Actually great for my marriage too! (blush) There's an excerpt in the back of Emma Wildes last book for "Lessons From A Scarlet Lady" (blushing more) about some cleavage. I went shopping w/ my husband and truly, by accident, (tehe) I wore something w/ more cleavage than usual... he liked the view but didn't complain (like in the book). The end result wasn't exactly the same (after all, the kids were in the car- oh, my!) never the less, I had a good time after the kids went to bed. (REALLY blushing now) You'll have to read the excerpt to get the rest of the picture. Or not lest I really blush 20 shades of pink and red!! lol


Thanks again for all the great ideas/ resources- "I'll bee bahck!"




BTW- While at B&N I found the new "Skippy jon Jones" book, "Lost in Spice". It come w/ a CD of Judy Schachner reading the book!!! Very cool! Kids will love it and the adults will appreciate the references from past Sci- Fi programming ie. "one great leap into the universe for Los Chimichangos." I could go on but I won't :smileyhappy: Perhaps this is an example of what happens when Children's Literature meets Science Fiction!!!

by Joan_P on ‎11-29-2009 01:55 PM

... Sorry I didn't realize how long I was rambling on!


Joan :smileyhappy:

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-29-2009 04:59 PM

Joan, I wonder whether Paul Goat Allen,'s SciFi/Fantasy moderator/blogger/expert/god knows of that kid's book?  He wrote about a YA Connolly book called "The Gates," that my son read and was crazy for. :  )


Ah, and you -- and your husband-- obviously are realizing one of the best part about romance books!  Isn't it joyful?!  I love that the novels make us so happy, and they provide such healthy experiences for folks who read them.  And I'm glad you're sharing your excitement with us, because it reminds many of us about our own discoveries as we began reading romance, or began sharing the "joy" with our partners and spouses.  Many folks don't want to talk about the sexual aspect of romance because it's so emotional and can make folks outside romance see the genre as "cheesy."  I, frankly, shout from the rooftops that romance readers' lives are imbued with wildly healthful benefits from reading, and so very, very many have seen improvements in sexual intimacy w/their partners -- and -- emotional intimacy and communication as well. 


You may find that different BNs and other stores have differing amounts of books based on needs in a particular area.  BN has an AWESOME buyer, Tommy Dreiling, who really cares about romance. So, luckily, if you can't find it in the stores, you can get it online.  I can't wait to hear how you like (and your husband likes ) the Wildes.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-29-2009 05:03 PM

hiya, 1la!  Thanks for telling us about this deal, which I wasn't aware of (shame on me):

Also, bn has a great deal where you get free s&h on $25 or more books.  It also only takes 3 business days until you receive them.  I like that as much as getting the break on the s&h.  Thanks bn, you're rock out!  Happy reading all!!!!!!!! 


And you're another Williamson fan, too.  with you and Eva reccing, I've got to try her. Becke was just talking about how we care for our books -- and how fearful we can be of loaning them out.  I was thinking about how I like to, this is embarrassing, touch my favorite covers, smooth over them, kind of pet them.  Does that make me really odd, or just odd?

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-29-2009 05:06 PM

Eva, I think 'pushing' on line has become respectable these days. : )   Can  you help me?  I can't remember what NOLA means?  I know I should know, but I'm terrible w/remembering titles when they're not in front of me. ack.  I'll check some stores here; now I'm craving Williamson...

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎11-29-2009 05:07 PM

And thank you, Anne, for the nice words about Romance: B(u)y the Book!  I really appreciate that you've joined us there, too. : ) 

by on ‎11-29-2009 05:56 PM

Joan, I wonder whether Paul Goat Allen,'s SciFi/Fantasy moderator/blogger/expert/god knows of that kid's book?  He wrote about a YA Connolly book called "The Gates," that my son read and was crazy for. :  )


Send Paul a PM, we do YA books every so months, and we do talk about our fav children's sci/fi's. Not to mention we have been talking about how so many of us do not care what a book is whether adult, YA, or kids; so... worth a try.



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎11-29-2009 06:59 PM

Michelle - You pet your books, I sniff them. I love the smell of my old favorite books, and I adore the smell of bookstores!

by 1lovealways on ‎11-30-2009 12:52 AM

Gee Guys, we're all in the same boat! 


I do those same things too!  Sometimes, just to smooth your hand over the cover and remember the joy you got from reading that book brings a smile.  There's something so warm and comforting about the smell of bookstores!  Only bookworms can understand our reasoning about these things.  Never mention this to non-readers, they'd be ready to confine us to a looney bin!  :smileyhappy:

by amyskf on ‎11-30-2009 10:04 AM

I don't know where to start! I just was feeling guilty about buying a used book...but I feel much better(er) now -- probably because I spend my fair share at b&n buying new, but mostly because of Liz Carlysle's answer to you Michelle -- pure class.


Penn Williamson! I found her a few (10?) years ago, but only read her 1920s books -- another hero named Rourke, and well deserving of the name. But I assumed she was no longer writing, I kept trying to find the next book in the series, Eva and 1love can you help? I adored them.


Joan -- you had me laughing so hard -- your shopping with cleavage escapade! I would try that, but no bra could give me cleavage...sigh.


Beckes and Michelle, I love to smell, touch and just look at my books -- I think every room should have books in it.


by Moderator dhaupt on ‎11-30-2009 10:17 AM

Hi everyone, hmmm Michelle I never thought about feeling guilty buying a used book I sort of looked at it like the author finding a new fan and like someone before mentioned becoming a buying fan of their future works.


In the same frame of thinking do you consider using the library hurtful to the author since most library districts only buy a limited amount of copies?


The way I think is this - As long as the author is getting read I think that's a plus in their column wether it be by buying new copies, used copies or getting them on loan from the library. There are many of my collections that started by finding the author in the used section of a store, through a garage sale or from the library.


In fact I think what hurts authors more than anything is if they make themselves inaccessible to their fans. A case in point, I recently read a book that I really wanted to get an autographed copy for a Christmas present and found no way to communicate with the author to find out how.  She is a pretty famous author, but there are many who are very famous who let their public have at least limited access to them. So now she lost a sale of her book.



by amyskf on ‎11-30-2009 11:17 AM

Deb, I work in a library -- therefor I use the library, which gets me excited about an author, which makes it impossible for me to wait for the library to purchase the book, catalogue the book, label the book, and then send it out -- so I buy the book.


Michelle, NOLA -- New Orleans, Louisianna. Took me awhile, until I started to think about the books set in the south...

by playground_monitor on ‎11-30-2009 11:46 AM

Because I read a lot of category romance, I'll often buy an author's backlist used because after a while that's the only way you can get it.  But in every instance I've done this, the author has become an auto-buy for me and I buy their new books hot off the shelf.  But even with my reduced in-the-middle-of-divorce income, I buy new releases new because I know how hard the author has worked to create that book and want her/him to get every penny she/he can.


Wanna know what REALLY gripes me?  People who sell ARCs on eBay for ginormous prices.  First, it's illegal.  But worst, it's just downright shameful.

by PrincessBumblebee on ‎11-30-2009 02:23 PM

Hey, Bellas! Hope you had a good weekend!

Busy, wonderful, and sick! That was my 4 day weekend, hehe.

Well, the only bookstore we have here is a used bookstore, so I get a lot of my books there. But, if I can't find the ones I want there, I order them online new. Which, really, evens out because a lot of my fave authors, like Nalini Singh and Kresley Cole, they never get in. So, I order them new. Mostly, the ones I do get are authors I have never tried and, as mentioned, really is a good start. Afterward, I'll usually order them online new. I think it evens out. I get to enjoy my read and the authors get paid for it.

Hopefully, someday I will get paid for my writing, hehe.

But, I think it's great that even in this economy book sales are higher, so that's definately a good thing for authors and new authors!

Keep up the good work, everyone!

by Joan_P on ‎11-30-2009 06:47 PM

Ease your guilt... on line sale tonite @ B&N... check it out! Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux- $3.99; Angels at Christmas Time... by Debbie Macomber- also 3.99!! It's 50% off NY Times Best Sellers... Cyber Monday- sale till 11:59 pm tonight!! Go spend $ so I can feel better, to be in good company!!! Toodles, Joan


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