This post about hardbacks versus paperbacks and the bottom line for authors by Brandon Sanderson is getting a bit of discussion around the blogosphere and genre message boards. I found it to be a rather well done explanation of the typical author's situation (rather than the big-time sellers we can easily assume all authors are), and not preachy or pushy – he walked the line very well. I don't know if this will actually change my buying habits, but it is making me consider it.
Right now, I spend somewhere between $500 and $750 per year on books (yes, you read that correctly). I love books and I'm almost compulsive about buying them – combine that with the desire to keep my book budget to a 'reasonable' level, I often hold out for used, remaindered, or otherwise heavily discounted books (exceptions happen when my pseudo-collector personality kicks in). I can often find 4 used hardbacks in good shape for the price of 1 new one – gee what's a guy to do. But I do want to support authors – especially the newer authors who have a day job to support their writing habit. I may need to slightly alter my buying habits.
A main exception is gift season –my b-day and Christmas are within a week of each other and everyone knows to get me gift cards to bookstore (this year one was even to a local indie bookstore ). This is when I often catch up with new books (and I don't like mass market paperbacks, so it's either hardcover or trade paperback). This year was about $150 in gifts to bookstores, and with sales and coupons I was able to extend that to the equivalent of about $200. New hardbacks (and trade paperbacks) were the majority of the books I purchased.
On a related note, this reminds me of a blog I wrote last year - a rant about a 'letter to the reader' that a publisher put in the back of the book. It was similar to what Sanderson wrote, but done in a more inappropriate way, and it really pissed me off.