Well some of us do end up paying pennies, but not to the author....at least those of us who tend to forget to return the books on time
Although my library now gives me 4 weeks and I'd think ANYBODY could read even War and Peace
in that length of time (and I don't think Tolstoy gets royalties any more!)
Being one of those who depends on "old book sales" to raise money for worthy causes, I can't comment of the ethics of this although many of the books we had last fall were not that old....a large number of hardbacks by reasonably "hot" authors being resold. One could, of course, argue, that Patricia Cornwell (who can afford to tear up valuable art by other people apparently) got paid the first time the book was sold. Hers were among the ones of which we had multiple copies for resale.
However, if you have paperbacks that you don't want to keep, there are several charitable groups that will take them and give you a tax deduction. Liz has mentioned elsewhere a group in Philadelphia called "Books Through Bars" and locally in Roanoke the jail chaplain is one of our best booksale customers when we throw the thing open for freebies to worthy groups.
Mostly I think they want paperbacks only.