This evening I went to Half Price Books looking for something that was not Jenny Lawson’s book, but when I saw Jenny Lawson’s book–in hardcover–for $6.99 I grabbed it right up. Because when the book came out a couple of years ago, every time I went to a bookstore they were always “out of stock” and “expecting more in” and so I’d leave and forget to go back, and then when I remembered, it would be the same story. Any time that happens, I usually forget that I wanted something because a new something takes its place. Then I’d read Jenny Lawson’s blog (The Bloggess, if you didn’t know), and I’d think, Damn, I need to get her book, only by then it was due out in paperback, so I waited, and then, you guessed it, the paperback was always out of stock wherever I went. It was like the years I could never find a copy of Portnoy’s Complaint after my mother removed it from our house before I could get my hands on it when I was fourteen or fifteen.
All that being said in more words than should ever have been used, when I saw this book and its bargain price, I was a little conflicted. After all, if I bought this copy, Jenny Lawson wouldn’t be getting royalties because I was buying it used. Though I mean it when I say I don’t care if people buy my books in used bookstores and deprive me of royalties, because if they like that used book, they may buy other books I’ve written or helped write, or they may tell people how much they loved the book because people always share positive information, right, just as they do in comments online?
But I still don’t like to feel that I’m depriving authors of the pittance they make on their book sales.
Then, as I held the book, I reminded myself of three things.
1. Unless the book was stolen from Brazos Bookstore (who I assume was its original seller because of the bookmark inside it), Jenny Lawson has already earned her royalty pittance.
2. Stephenie Meyer never surprised me by showing up at one of my book signings. And I know how to spell her name!
3. I never got to collate paper with Wil Wheaton. Actually, that last thing isn’t really a big deal, because though I like Wil Wheaton, he’s not first on my list of celebrities I want to collate paper with. (That’s not a euphemism.)
So overall, I’d say Jenny Lawson’s writing career has gone pretty well for her and she won’t care that I bought her book used. But because she has entertained me so often, because I think she’s a genuinely good person who’s done many generous and kind things for other people, and because the stories she’s shared and the information she’s provided about depression helped me understand this disease better at a time when I really needed to understand it, there is another way I can show my admiration. On some future RPM transport, there’ll be a dog named Foxen–but only because Hamlet von Schnitzel (pictured on the book’s dust jacket) has too long a name.