Every so often, you have to wonder whether the Big Five publishers really know what’s good for them when it comes to e-books. One of the big benefits of e-books from a publishing perspective is, after all, the way they can’t (at present) be resold or otherwise passed on—which in turn means that used copies of said e-books can’t become a drug on the market.
This is what happens when a book fad fizzles—suddenly everyone wonders why on earth they bought it, and looks for ways to get rid of it. This is the case for an Oxfam bookshop in Swansea, England, that has wound up with so many copies of Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels that they’ve built a fort out of them. They’ve begged customers to stop bringing them in, and maybe bring in more vintage vinyl instead.
If publishers had any idea what was good for them, they’d be doing everything they could to wean people off print and get them buying e-books. Once someone buys the e-book, it’s theirs, and they can’t resell it—which means, in turn, it can’t compete with new copies of said book for sales. By this point, there are probably enough used copies of Fifty Shades in circulation to satisfy the needs of the book-buying public for decades to come.
But instead, they’re doing everything they can to keep bookstores, including second-hand ones, in business. Go figure, huh?