Friday, April 17, 2009

How is a used book sale like the stock market?

Our local library has two book sales a year & they are impressive. The next one begins tomorrow & I would not miss it for the world. A will be out of town but I still plan to face the crowds (& there are crowds, believe me). Typically, we will drive downtown just before lunchtime; the real hardcore booklovers will have been waiting for the doors to open & will be trickling away by then. Sure, it will be blisteringly hot, but we will be able to find a parking spot.

We go to at least one sale a year & may go more than once in the course of the sale, each day getting progressively better bargains. I have never once been & not run into at least one person I knew would be there at some point (either because they said so or because it was so patently clear they must go at some point) & at least one person I was not expecting to see (not because I think these people are idiots, but because they just have not passed thru my brain in quite some time).

Last year we ran into several good friends including C***** who had brought J***** with her. He was going through old VHS tapes; she was looking for old 33rpm records to use in art projects. I also ran into M*** L** who talked at length about the GED program she volunteers with at the county jail; she was at the sale buying books to loan to the prisoners to meet their GED requirements. I learned that haiku is very big in the prison (or was last Fall) & a number of her books dealt with the history & architecture of that style of poetry. S** & R***** had traveled from their new home in North Carolina to volunteer at the sale because they miss it so much but did not happen to be there on the day we went. I wonder who I will see this year.

ANSWER: The initial sale (of book or stock) is the only time the originators (the author, the publisher, the principal of the company) really benefit financially. After that, the buying & selling of used books/stocks profits the seller. There are exceptions. My favorite is when a company goes public & the principal stays on as an 'adviser'. If the stock does well, the shareholders might vote him a big fat bonus.

If you are asking yourself why then does a company care so much what its stock is worth you are asking the wrong question; the company does not care (sort of), but the guy who is hired or fired on shareholder say-so cares very much.

//On re-reading this I realize I inadvertently implied I think people who do not support their local libraries &/or go to library book sales are idiots. Let me clarify: I think they are willful idiots which is so much worse than just plain old born stoopid. Glad to have the chance to clear that up.

1 comment:

  1. I have been known to go after the book sale is over to help them "clean up" those that did not sell. Got the idea from your mother.