People like to have things. Think about all the things you own. Go look through your closets and in your drawers. How many things in there will you honestly never use again? If you’ve got a lot of free space, there’s no reason to get rid of them, but if you’re like me, the objects are worth less than the space they take up. With the bad economy, more people are trying to sell this crap.
Recently I’ve become unemployed. I’ve got a lot of money saved up, so I’m not in any sort of financial situation. However, now that I don’t have to go to work, I have the time to try to sell or give away things I have been trying to dispose of for quite some time. I’ve already given everything to friends and family that they were willing to take, so everything now has to go to Amazon and/or Craigslist. eBay is dead, but that’s a discussion for another time.
In getting rid of things, I have noticed something pretty interesting. There are a lot of books being sold on Amazon at ludicrously low prices. I even saw some popular manga, like One Piece, selling for just one cent. I have the first eleven volumes of One Piece that I want to get rid of, but for one cent it’s not worth it. I’m better off giving them away. No, it’s not because I need the money. It’s because the time it takes to go to the post office is worth a lot more than one cent.
Here’s the phenomenon I think is happening. First, you have a bad economy. People are buying less. If they are buying, they are buying used and cheap. Places like used book stores are in trouble. They need to clear out whatever isnt’ selling, even if it’s for a neglible profit of a few cents. Manga publishers, and others like them, print way more copies of something than there is a demand for. Book stores buy it up like crazy. However, unlike actual books, manga are read very quickly. This is why there are so many manga cows. You can’t read War and Peace in the store, but you can read multiple volumes of Naruto, no problem. Even if the fans do buy and read the book, they don’t re-read it very much. Thus, a money-starved teen in a bad economy is very likely to resell whatever they have.
And there you have it. Lots and lots of people with manga volumes, and everyone who wants them has already read them. Used book stores who have extra stock sell it for a penny on Amazon. If they can ship it for less money than Amazon’s shipping reimbursement, then they can make some green if they sell in quantity.
I really wonder how long this will last, and how long publishers can have their new books compete with their old books selling used for a few cents. I can tell you one thing, Amazon has it made. They get paid whether a copy is sold new or used.