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Authors Guild To Members: De-link

chrisd posted more than 12 years ago | from the fascist-authors-guild dept.

News 458

theodp writes: "Angered by's practice of offering [prominently placed] used editions of relatively new titles, the Authors Guild is urging authors to replace links on their web sites with links to and Amazon spokesperson Patty Smith insisted the policy really "ends up helping authors and publishers" although neither the author nor the publisher receives royalties from Amazon's used book sales, and Smith could not cite an author or genre helped by the availability of used editions. " CD: I'd imagine they don't want us to go to our local used book stores either? This is the second time they've tried to call Amazon to task for this.

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What next... (3, Funny)

Hittite Creosote (535397) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315140)

Can I expect to see pickets of authors next time I go to a library?

Re:What next... (4, Insightful)

kpetruse (572247) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315150)

What's the difference between what Amazon are doing, and what many car sales firms are doing (other than the cost, of course...). Plenty of car firms sell nearly new cars right next to the brand new ones.

Re:What next... (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315183)

Nothing, other then being online and therefore very naughty indeed.


Re:What next... (2)

funkman (13736) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315283)

(MOST) Books don't have add-ons, need repaired, parts replaced and regular service. Cars do - Fixing and servicing cars is big business even if new cars sales slowed down.

Re:What next... (2)

evil_one (142582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315291)

Car manufacturers have been known to sell even new cars at cost - if the buyer is taking financing through their firm.

Re:What next... (2, Insightful)

WowTIP (112922) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315346)

Nope, exactly the same deal. It reminds me a lot of the fuzz when Nintendo threatened to boycott swedish game shops that sold used games. If people then defended the shops right to sell used stuff, why wouldn't the same go for Amazon. Every book Amazon sell by an author contribute to his fame (if it is any good, that is) and will earn him money in the long run. If people didn't have the option to buy much cheaper used books or borrow them at the library, many probably woudn't be read at all.

Re:What next... (-1)

Ralph Malph Alpha (551824) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315151)

Lick ya fingas 'n' flick ma titz. YOU HAVE THE GAY.

Hand him over, IT IS MY TURN.

Re:What next... (2, Interesting)

Blikkie (569039) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315247)

Can I expect to see pickets of authors next time I go to a library?

I don't know what it's like in the USA, but at least in Holland it is not logical for authors to go picket libraries, since at least in here libraries pay a fee to a foundation that distributes it over the authors. Second I want to mention that real booklovers that read more books then they can afford still buy the books they really like even if it is just because that will allow them lo lend a book to friends and convince them a particular author is very good. Being the secretary of a student's library myself I know a lot of fanatic readers that are big bookbuyers.

Re:What next... (5, Interesting)

david.given (6740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315248)

Can I expect to see pickets of authors next time I go to a library?

I don't know about the US, but in the UK, Canada and Australia, authors get paid according to how frequently their books are withdrawn in libraries. The amount is pathetically small, but it's there.

Re:What next... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315347)

The entire premise that linux is 'revolutionary', and that it will someday supplant the Beast of Redmond as the desktop OS of choice is entirely flawed. The linux craze was a creation by stock market speculators, brokerage houses, and venture capitalists. Their purpose was to pump up the valuations of certain linux-oriented corporations. When their valuations were sufficiently high they dumped their shares and made obscene profits.

The sad thing was the number of highly intelligent people who were swept up in this fraud. I have several friends, respected and published scientists, who put a lot of money in these stocks, and subsequently lost a lot of money. Now that H. Blodgett is being investigated for his role in some of these pump and dump schemes, I wonder how long it will be before the investigation reaches to the upper echelon's of today's linux-biz powerhouses.

Many of you are slow to wake up to this fact, and wishing that that is wasn't true only proves your gullibility. The truth is obvious in light of these facts. Linux is a fraud. If we look back with an objective eye, it's obvious. Everybody now knows that you can't make a fortune by selling something that can be got for free. I'm referring to downloadable ISO's. I went out and bought my 1st distro for something like $40. But then as soon as I learned you could just burn a copy of the latest distro., I never paid again. Ony a fool would, and thus selling distros is a business catering to fools. That is the heart and truth of the linux-biz, it's a business catering to fools.

As far as a tool for doing computer science, networking, research, programming, testing, etc. it's a spectacular success. I think that is all that it was ever meant to be, and all that it will ever be. If you know someone who is a linux advocate, please bitch slap them, because they should have known better.

am I first? I don't care (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315141)

DS9 fucking slays... hail the prophets...

DS9 sucks ass (-1)

Voyager Sucks Ass (570844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315316)

DS9 sucks ass almost as badly as Voyager. That soap opera shit is for chicks and faggots. Take out your Kotex and put some fucking pants on, for christ's sake.

Re:DS9 sucks ass (-1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315337)

Yeah, no kidding. I hate that shit.

Stop the ads, permanently (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315149)

For Windows 98/ME/2000/XP users:

Open c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts in Notepad. Go very bottom and add


Save the file and restart your browser.

I am working on a solution for linux/unix.

Tell these trolls at Slashdot that you don't want their ads! And their content sucks!

Re:Stop the ads, permanently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315159)

you would think it'd be the same thing, except in /etc/hosts

Dumb anonycow!!!

Re:Stop the ads, permanently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315252)

I have Windows Me, and the hosts file is located in the main WINDOWS directory, not in the SYSTEM32 directory. Also if you're using mozilla it's better to use the image manager to block ads, if you want to avoid the annoying refused connection popup window.

The Funny Part (1)

GutBomb (541585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315157)

The funny part of this is that the "used price" for the newer books is often higher than the retail price, so why would quick-to-click consumers buy the used version anyway? I can see where the author's guild is coming from, but really, is it that big of a problem?

Re:The Funny Part (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315214)

First editions are often valuable. Also sometimes publishers often change cover art, and people prefer the old one.

Re:The Funny Part (1)

GutBomb (541585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315219)

i can see that, but then these people that buy the used one are collectors who would not have bought the retail amazon copy anyway, so i still don't see where they have room to complain. The author already got paid for that copy once, why should they again?

Re:The Funny Part (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315238)

Because people are greedy. And frequently stupid about it.


Re:The Funny Part (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315269)

To be fair, they aren't trying to go the legal route. They're really just lobbying Amazon to advertise their products instead of used copies, and using ethical reasons why Amazon should do so.

I get the feeling Amazon sees it differently. I also don't think the Authors guild they'll get that much support from their members. Many authors won't see this as a potential loss. Typially writers are also readers, and also feel that used books are perfectly reasonable.

Re:The Funny Part (4, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315215)

The funny part of this is that the "used price" for the newer books is often higher than the retail price, so why would quick-to-click consumers buy the used version anyway?

Well, I've recently bought a copy of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House [] . This is original book of the brilliant film, a film which for me is probably the best horror ever made.

Has he lost his mind, I hear Slashdotters say? No, I haven't. I'm not talking about the recent effects-driven dross [] , I'm talking about one of the edgiest, psychological non-gore horrors that have been filmed. []

Sadly, my new book's cover is splattered with "Now a major motion picture!"-type idiocy all over it, and the 'major' picture they refer to is the recent poor quality remake. I have the actors from this 1999 abomination all across the top, whereas I'd prefer to simply erase all knowledge of the film's existence from my memory.

Now, I definitely would have paid extra for an older copy of the book which had a non-film based cover. Sadly, one wasn't available in a reasonable amount of time and so I've ended up with the new cover.

Just one personal example as to why people are sometimes willing to pay for more for older copies.


Curious about the actual complaint... (3, Interesting)

The.Nihilist (543140) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315161)

... to be sold on the "used" list, the books had to have been bought, right? Which means the author already got their share of the sale. If this is after-market purchasing, it falls under classic copyright laws, which give the owner the right to sell such material for whatever price they deem. I can see their point of "prominently placing" the link to used books next to newer releases, but maybe it's just me: I never buy used books. :) Unless it's a school text, does anyone? Something my father got me into, I guess, only because I saw the state of his books post-read... nicotine stains, bits of crumbs in the bindings... eaugh. ... First time posting, release the hounds!

Re:Curious about the actual complaint... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315178)

So when do books start coming with an EULA making the right to own/read it non-transferrable?

Re:Curious about the actual complaint... (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315232)

When they are E-books.

Re:Curious about the actual complaint... (1)

mshiltonj (220311) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315339)

but maybe it's just me: I never buy used books. :) Unless it's a school text, does anyone?

As often as possible, for two reasons:

1) I'm cheap.
2) With books, it's the information I want, not pristine paper.

No Way! - you mean Americans have free speech! (2, Insightful)

noahbagels (177540) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315162)

Holy Bagels Batman:
If people start talking to other people, and agreeing on ideas, and practicing what they preach, who knows what will happen!

but seriously, while I personally have no problem with shopping for used books to save some $$$, what's not to like about authors speaking their minds. it's not like they hacked Amazon's website to remove the books - they simply made a group decision not to link to Amazon when it comes to promoting their book sales.

I really don't see the big deal here, and hope this doesn't become a flame war between people arguing over the virtues of used books, and those calling the authors elitist or whatever.

Re:No Way! - you mean Americans have free speech! (4, Insightful)

jgerman (106518) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315220)

And more importantly, not like they tried to pass legislation banning the sale of used books. Let them cry all they want right. Amazon has to make a business decision, which is more important to their business, the prominent used book link, or the free advertising. I'd place my bets that the free advertising is creating more revenue, but that's just a guess.

I can see their argument, but... (2, Interesting)

CmdrTaco (editor) (564483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315165)

I can see the logic in their argument, as I too would be quite pissed if I didn't see any money from the sales of something that I created. I've wondered for a long time how artists felt about used book sales, because in their mind it might just as well be someone selling illegal copies of their creations.

But, on the other hand, I haven't bought a book or CD new in the past 4 years or so. This is in protest of the collaboration and price fixing between publishers. I figure if they try to screw me, I'll find a legal way that hurts them in the pockets. So the ban on direct linkage, while it may appear to be a good idea for the authors, will only hurt the effectiveness of their site. I'll just end up going to [] or Amazon [] anyway, and ignore their site completely.

Anyway, if the authors want more money/any money at all from used book sales, they should publish themselves, because the large publishing houses would hardly like to share a new source of income. I'd be glad to buy a book new even if it did cost a little more from an author who publishes independently a la Edward Tufte [] .

Re:I can see their argument, but... (4, Insightful)

HT5 (54366) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315218)

I can see the logic in their argument, as I too would be quite pissed if I didn't see any money from the sales of something that I created. I've wondered for a long time how artists felt about used book sales, because in their mind it might just as well be someone selling illegal copies of their creations.

well, then their mind is stupid. it's not an illegal copy of their creation. it's not even a legal copy of their creation. it's not a copy at all. it's the original book that was bought and paid for. once you own it, you're free to do with it whatever you want. if you buy a used car from someone, should the manufacturer get a portion of the money?

Authors get their slice on the initial sale. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315351)

As mentioned above, they already HAVE seen money from the sale of something they created. How many times do you expect to get money from the sale of the same damn item? It's not a rental, it's not a service, it's not a performance, it's a durable item I can wonk you on the head with to demonstrate.

If I want a pristine book to collect, I buy it new. If I just want to read the words in it, I buy it used.

Yeah, just kill some more trees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315167)

This shows a certain lack of social responsibility. Reuse is good, in particular of something like books. Presumably, if the original owners of the books had liked them enough, they would have kept them.

Here we go again (1)

mpicker0 (411333) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315168)

Now that technology has made it "easy" to resell used books, we finally hear complaints. Just like when technology made it "easy" to exchange music, which was done previously (remember cassette tapes?) but on a much smaller scale.

Thankfully we won't see watermarks placed on books, but I worry that now, in the guise of "protecting authors," there will be some new legislation to "crack down" on used book sales.

Re:Here we go again (2)

jgerman (106518) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315241)

No there won't. That's just an absurd conclusion. It's allready established law the resale of a product is ok, not that anyone has a right to tell me what I can or cannot sell.

Dear (2, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315169)

By continuing to display advertisements of used books (book v1.0) instead of the new book with the glossy cover (book 2.0 - same contents, new box - hey it works for M$), you are depriving starving young writers like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling of the money they need to provide for their families.

Failure to remove these ads may result in sanctions against you from the WIAA (Writing Industry Association of Amercia) and possible fines.


Hey, pretty much the same shit seems to work for the RIAA...


What about Holocaust deniers? (1, Offtopic)

CaptainPotato (191411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315174)

About the only genre I can think of that is assisted by the sales of used books is Holocaust denial literature/propaganda. Many so-called 'classic' texts are out of print, and the only way to get them is secondhand. Furthermore, many of them provide their works free of charge on their web pages, so the sale of secondhand denial tracts won't hurt their sales in that regard, either.

In addition, as far as Holocaust deniers go, any publicity is good publicity, and anybody who buys a piece of Holocaust denial propaganda - whether new or secondhand - is an additional 'convert' to the cause - as far as deniers are concerned, most don't care whether one believes them or not - a new reader is potentially a new supporter... also, deniers cite often that anybody interested in their stuff must be positively inclined towards it - just check out what they write about their web page hits...

Re:What about Holocaust deniers? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315208)

"Holocaust deniers?"
One could turn that around and accuse others of
being "Holocaust fantasists". One person's propaganda is another's truth and vice-versa.

Re: ! deny yes! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315210)

Its a absolute concrete fact that no people were exterminated on german soil in death camps.

And it has been proven that at many camps the stories and lies about the exterminations reached crazy proportions.

Its easyt to deny the LIE of 6 million jews killed.

because lies are easy to denounce and refute.

maybe a couple million perished, but not 6 million.

Why cant you rad for one hour than remark. I dare you to spend 60 minutes reading these facts :

I am sure you heard of

its owners have been persecuted by jews and snipers and would be murderers ccountless times.

They risk their lives for the truth.

The simple truth that it is easy to deny the falsities about the Holocaust.

The funniest info (dont know if its on their site) is that the LA Holocaust museum used to show photos of bodies of people that died from infectious diseases and tried to give impression that these sad souls died deliberately rather than from natural causes (disease epidemic).

Re: ! deny yes! (0, Offtopic)

larien (5608) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315259)

no people were exterminated on german soil in death camps
Hrm, quite possibly; the most infamous camp of Auschwitz was in Poland. Also, it depends on whether you define a gas chamber (or whatever) as a "death camp".

To be honest, I've never looked into the details enough, but I believe there to be a lot of evidence supporting the view that it happened; certainly the Jews were persecuted by the Nazi regime in the 30s.

In any event, even if it didn't happen, it should still serve as a warning against extremist views.

Re: ! deny yes! (-1, Flamebait)

shilly (142940) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315317)

Tell you what, mate, here's a challenge for you. Rather than sitting on your fat fucking arse spouting idiotic "theories" you just barely managed to copy from vicious pigs who have more wit, if not more conscience, than you, why don't you go and look all over Eastern Europe and tell me where half my family's buried? When you've finished failing to find their graves--they went up in smoke in your favourite butcher's camps-- you can spend some time contemplating who the fuck you think you are to insult the memory of the dead like that. On the way home, you can stop for a little wankfest with David Irving, consoling him on losing his court battle.

Better planning needed (2)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315177)

Of course, if publishers had realistic expectations of sales and the advertising/marketing for any given book was more likely accurate rather than a complete lie and if most high profile reviewers weren't in the pockets of the publishing houses then maybe this wouldn't be so much of a problem.

Bye bye first sale (3, Interesting)

Quila (201335) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315180)

Through DMCA and other legislation, and now pressure from authors, the doctrine of first sale is dying a slow and horrible death.

Re:Bye bye first sale (1)

MrFredBloggs (529276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315213)

Oh yes. The power of the DMCA is meaningless next to the awesome pressure authors can apply with a pithily worded hyperlink.

But the acronym doesn't end in AA! (2)

achurch (201270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315185)

This reminds me far too much of MPAA/RIAA tactics . . . what will we see next, ranting against libraries because they allow people to share books [] ?

And here I thought all Evil Organizations had acronyms ending in AA . . .

Re:But the acronym doesn't end in AA! (2)

Cato the Elder (520133) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315329)

"This reminds me far too much of MPAA/RIAA tactics"

Really? Recommending that authors don't link to a page that an organization feels shafts their members is the same thing as sueing? Trying to have a reasonable dialogue is the same thing as campaigning for restrictive legislation?

"what will we see next, ranting against libraries because they allow people to share books"

Yes, in the world where the slippery slope fallacy is a foundation of logic--oh wait, we're on Slashdot.

Forget Amazon and B&N (2, Interesting)

Darby (84953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315186)

I personally will make all of my future online book purchases from Tattered Cover [] .
How quickly we forget who [] is standing up for our rights.

How long will it be... (1)

AVee (557523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315193)

... before we see pay per read?
If an author doesn't want it's book to show up as a used book at amazon he should write a book that people want to keep. Something that is good enough to read again one day. Those books won't show up as second hand at amazon...

I fail to see the logic in this (2, Redundant)

codexus (538087) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315196)

The authors are complaining they are not receiving money for the sale of used books? Are they forgeting they have already received that money when those were sold the first time. Are we going to see EULA for books that license the reading right to a specific user (reader) and prohibit the resale of the license??

Are You Serious? (5, Insightful)

krmt (91422) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315266)

Come on... you're putting a sensationalist spin on this one that's just not fair to the Author's Guild at all. Of course they got money on the first sale, and of course you have the right to sell the book if you want to. That's not the point.

The point is that they are upset with the prominent placement these used editions are getting on the website, because people will generally prefer the cheaper used edition to the new one. This will prevent the author from getting that second or third new copy sold, and thus 1/2 or 1/3 of the potential money. They are not trying to restrict your rights in any way at all, so stop being so sensationalist about it.

The fact is that both sides have a very good point, if you bothered to read the article. The authors are concerned that they will get less sales of new books (which is a tough thing to get if you're not someone like Anne Rice or Steven King to begin with) which will decrease their profits. Note that this isn't the publishers talking (like the equivalent of the RIAA) but it is the Author's Guild, which represents the authors themselves.

However, in the end I think I like Amazon's position: "It encourages customers to explore authors or genres they might not otherwise try because of the price," said spokeswoman Patty Smith. "That ends up helping authors and publishers." This is a good thing for new authors that won't really hurt the established authors or the publishers themselves. Either way, no one is trying to slap a EULA on your books, so please try and calm down a bit before you post.

Re:Are You Serious? (1)

FinnishFlash (414045) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315336)

The authors are concerned that they will get less sales of new books...

Emphasis mine...

Their main complaint (according to N.Y. Times) was the fact that you could byu used books almost the same instant the book is published.

Some representative of the Authors guild actually proposed a "wait"-period (of few months) after the book was published before amazon would start selling used books.

They are not (as far as I understood) against selling used books in general.

Re:I fail to see the logic in this (1)

flipflapflopflup (311459) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315285)

Just a thought - when did an being an artist (be it recording, writing, whatever) come with it the automatic right to make loads of cash, or even make a living from it too?

No matter how much people lend/borrow/sell copies of anything, it is never going to detract from the pieces of art in question.

Re:I fail to see the logic in this (1)

m94mni (541438) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315287)

If you (still) have not read this, do it *now*: The Right to Read [] by RMS

Re:I fail to see the logic in this (2, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315355)

  • The authors are complaining they are not receiving money for the sale of used books? Are they forgeting they have already received that money when those were sold the first time.

Sigh. But they didn't receive the money. What they are complaining about is Amazon provoking large scale remaindering.

Example. Amazon agrees with a publisher to take, say, 10,000 books at $5 a book. However, they only sell 5,000 of them. The publisher gets $50,000 and Amazon are out $25,000, right?

Wrong. Amazon are out $0, because they only actually pay for the number of books that they sell. The rest are "remaindered". This effectively means that the publisher writes them off and either takes them back and pulps them, or - the least hassle for them - sells them for pennies direct to Amazon.

The issue here is what Amazon is doing at this point. They have actually purchased the books, so the books are technically used. It appears that they are then selling them as such (and remember, they bought them for pennies, and I do mean pennies), or selling them on to retail partners, who then immediately advertise them back through Amazon.

Authors get no royalties for remaindered books, and it really hurts publishers, who put in the investment to print the books in the first place. Amazon can't lose off of this; the only cost to them is to warehouse the books, and Amazon are very efficient at warehousing. The publishers could take them back and pulp them to stop Amazon selling them on, but this costs them money and publishers really aren't set up to do this; they are set up to order books from printers that go direct to resellers. I think the real issue is that they're angry that Amazon is deliberately over-ordering in the first place.

Librarys and Used books: Education for the people (1)

GdoL (460833) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315197)

This Author's Guild is just like arguing that librarys are bad for business because people will not buy books if they van get them from a public library, so "close all librarys!".

The used book shops and p.lib. are a way for: (1) people who don't have the money to be able to read books, (2) Get access to books already sold out, (3) To know unknown writers and make good pub to them if the book is good and probably get future (new) books from them.

So I don't see how they don't "profit" from this. I believe in the long run good authors will only profit from this.

Stupid managerial types... (1)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315201)

... learn this basic rule-of-thumb: "Never, ever, act against you customers."

Amazon provides an excellent service for the reading community, and therefore to publishers and authors. No, it doesn't lick publishers' boots like authors are forced to. And yes, it is big enough that it poses a menace to publishers -- it is big enough to exert a visible pressure on the market.

Acting against Amazon is stupid. It is futile -- the market chooses the best service, and doesn't give a shit about the publishers. It is also stupid, from a publishers' view. Destroying Amazon would decrease book sales overall. Isn't this obvious?!

This goes in line with movie producers wanting me to use a XPTO-approved device for viewing movies. Expected result -> I won't buy movies -> less business overall.

Re:Stupid managerial types... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315307)

Where the HELL do you get "publishers" from all this? Did you miss the part where it says "Authors Guild"?

Same thing with Records (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315202)

Didn't Garth Brooks have a fit a few years ago about used CDs? Didn't they try to outlaw the used CD business?

Copyright is not license. Although they can soon change that.

Re:Same thing with Records (2, Insightful)

AcidDan (150672) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315341)

"Didn't Garth Brooks have a fit a few years ago about used CDs? Didn't they try to outlaw the used CD business?"

Ok mod me down for this one but I couldn't help it:

Why didn't they try to outlaw Garth Brooks???

-- Dan, This should so be -1 sorry guys!

Come on now.. (1)

Acideous (162622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315203)

You know, Amazon is only doing what the customers want here, not necessarily what the publishers or the authors want. Amazon is a company looking to make money (even if they've yet to pull a profit), and if by selling used books they can help turn a profit, and at the same time please us, the customers, who here is doing any wrong?

Granted, whenever someone buys a used book, cd, or movie they're ripping off the artists and publishers, but at the same time, they're buying into something someone else really didn't want, and are giving their hard earned dollars to help some establishments, like Amazon, or in the case of used cds, places like Amoeba Records here in the Bay Area, earn more of a percentage to make up for the expensive overhead that new media from major publishers and corporate oligopolies like the RIAA are forcing them to charge.

I don't know if there's a fair solution that would make both sides happy. But as a consumer, I sure know that I appreciate the ability to buy used books, cds and movies for a much cheaper price, actually a more reasonable price, I think, for what I am buying.

Boo hoo (1)

mriker (571666) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315205)

They're basically protesting Amazon participating in making it more convenient for people to find used books. Cry me a frigging river ya greedy bastards. They don't have to like it, but tough. I'm going to support Amazon because I appreciate the convenience of purchasing used books.

Re:Boo hoo (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315226)

Same here. About six months ago, I started reading Rex Stout's 'Nero Wolfe' series. Now, I can either wait prolonged amounts of time for the books to be re-released, or I can try and find old copies through

Am I likely to pay more? Well, frankly, yes. Is it worth it, to me, though? Absolutely. And that's what is going for. It's a business, it's apparently successful, so why should they even consider the arguement to take the used listings down from their prominent location?

The only other real-world analogy I can think of (and it's a crappy one) is one type of food-industry complaining to a chain grocery store about the prominent and easy-access of bread and milk. Sorry, dude, it's what people buy.


Another advocacy group goes off half-cocked (2, Insightful)

quistas (137309) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315207)

Used books are good for any number of reasons:
- ecologically, used books = no new resources expended, no landfill required
- lowered price points mean poorer readers (like me, for years) can afford to assemble a decent library without paying $30/hardback
- lowered prices mean I can pick up books of an author unavailable at my under-funded branch library mean that I can look at more authors, finding ones I want to buy new in the future
- used book dealers like the ones that sell on Amazon are really the last bastions of independent thought and customer service, because they can't compete on the razor-thin margins B&N/Borders/etc have brought to the new book market

By their logic, instead of lending or giving my friends good books I think they might like, I should burn my copy and then direct them to the nearest B&N. What a load of crap.

I write, I make some money at it, and my library is easily 50% stuff I bought used at Half Price Books or my other local hole-in-wall places. Screw these morons. Used books rule.

Re:Another advocacy group goes off half-cocked (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315314)

Don't forget out of print books! When I have a free afternoon, I go to a local used book store and browse to my heart's content (I buy a few books, too), mostly in the last of the pulp novels from the '60s.

"although neither publisher or writer gets paid.." (5, Informative)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315211)

Except for those books that I buy from the used/discounted section that I would never buy at full price, and then go buy a bunch of books by that author because I found out I like him/her.

Recent case in point- I picked up a book called "The Ice Limit" by 2 authors. Same guys wrote "The Relic" and "Riptide". Ice Limit was so freaking good I went and 3 more of their books at full price becuase I liked their stuff so much. (Review- Ice Limit was great, Riptide was merely very good, haven't finished Relic yet)

I'm guessing that most people (who read a lot) buy used books to try out new authors rather than wait around to get a used book by a favored author. I buy every Clancy and Dennis McKiernan (spelling might be off; he did a great job of taking Tolkien's universe and changed it slightly to produce a great serious of books. Check him out.) book as soon as I now that they have been released.

To wind down this windy post, I think that once again an industry is making a big fuss out of a certain method of legal distribution.

But what do I know, I'm merely human.

It's so much more than money... (2)

AcidDan (150672) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315304)

I think you've really said it all: that this is a whole lotta fuss by the Authors Guild about something that I belive actually helps Authors...

You really can't underestimate the value that one small book can do to you (and your wallet):

- "Red Mars" by Kim Stanley Robinson
- "Empyrion" by Stephen Lawhead
- "Magician" by Raymond E Fiest
- "Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind
- "Battleaxe" by Sara Douglass

Once you get a taste, you want more. By discouraging the sale of 2nd hand books I think that you can lose out on follow up sales. Even the small list of Authors above can easily fill a bookshelf.

I really think they should not be worried about 2nd hand books (even close to the release date) as the books will (along with the reputation of the Author) will be transfered to someone who will buy the next umpteen bagillion books by that Author...

... or is that just me?

-- Dan =)

It's called resale value (2)

cosyne (324176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315216)

But she did not have a percentage for books and could not cite an author or genre helped by the availability of used editions.

Some car makers advertise that their cars are worth more used, and expect people to buy them because of that. Books and CDs and such cost so much less than cars that resale value hasn't been much of an issue, but i'm sure some people would be more willing to buy a book if they knew they could sell it for a reasonable percentage of it's original value once they'd finished reading it. It's stupid to imply that people can't redistribute legal copies of copyrighted works.

On the other hand, the writer's guild hasn't done anything illegal, isn't passing any new laws, etc. They have the right to do whatever they please with their own websites, and until the average consumer starts thinking logically enough to take resale value into account when making small purchases, this is probably in the writers' best interests.

It hurts us (1)

Airline_Sickness_Bag (111686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315227)

What they really would like to do is to eliminate *all* used book sales. Since books can be legally sold used (there was a court case many years ago about it), they can only use alternative methods like this boycott attempt, or they could try to limit a stores access to new books (Garth Brooks tried to keep one of his albums from being sold (new) at stores that also sold used CDs).

Attempts to reduce the possible outlets of used book sales can result in reduced value of the books we already own.


Nice to see the authors guild active... (2, Flamebait)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315231)

Wow, next we will see cries from the worlds authors that they are losing money because people can read texts from free/public domain repositories like Project Guttenberg.

Oh the horror, Poor starving authors. I hope they get together with the poor starving Musicians and software developers and create a poor-starving commune to help ease their burdens.

Ok, enough sarcasim... This is nothing more than a century old whine by book-publishers and book-writers. They started their whining over 100 years ago on this very topic.

Basically, this proves that they are nothing more than spoiled children... just like the MPAA,RIAA,BSA,and everyone else who whines about someone selling an old item they are done using instead of destroying it as the creator really wishes they could force us to do.

Re:Nice to see the authors guild active... (2, Insightful)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315254)

Oddly enough, because of Project Gutenberg, I've gone out any bought copies of what I've read there. Mostly because I wanted to own a copy of Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" that I can take to work, on trips, whatever, without having to worry about firewalls preventing me from reading, power failures, whatever.


Re:Nice to see the authors guild active... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315302)

you download a new copy every time? Someone is paying for that bandwith, and I'd bet it's not you. Buy a fucking palm. The older handera models are cheap and accept compact flash. There, your portability problems are solved. Then take a trip to and get the reader. Finally, download the ZIP format of the files.

Re:Nice to see the authors guild active... (1)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315328)

No, I don't download a copy every time. I do, however, read different books. And considering that, theoretically, PG is adding new books, there is almost certainly something there I have not read before. If I really like it, I buy a hard copy (i.e. a book) so I can read it any time I want to, rather then having to download it any time I want to re-read it.


Re:Nice to see the authors guild active... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315343)

This is nothing short of failure to comprehend that we live in an interconnected society. So what if I resell my recently read copy, the money I receieve will put money into my hands. Money that could very well be spent buying more books... The cheaper resold copy will allow poorer people to own what they otherwise wouldn't afford and spread interest about a particular author or series of books.

People should learn to see the wholistic picture, not let their fear drive them into insane positions about the world revolving around them. Fear is never justified if you have the knowledge.

Personally I use amazon for books only.... (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315233)

I personally only use amazon for reviews and a good listing of lots of books availble to myself and then i go down to the local bookstore(really good in New Hope, PA) and buy it there :)

Basically i think the guild is upset because such a "high profile" bookseller such as amazon sells used books. I would think that if Barnes & Nobles(which they've stated they won't do) started a used book section at their physical stores they would get upset too. basically they think everyone should by a NEW COPY of the book.. Imagine a world when i finish a new book by say.. terry pratchet(damn discworld rocks) and give it to a friend to read.. and i could go to jail for it!!

Hmm maybe the book guild should team up with the RIAA....

Why should they get a royalty (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315234)

Doesn't copyright only apply to copying and broadcasting? No copying is occurring here. Nothing is being copied at all. It is simply changing hands.

Car manufacturers don't seem to complain that used cars are being sold on the same forecourt as new ones. TV manufacturers have no problems with people selling their TV. Why are books so different?

Re:Why should they get a royalty (2)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315243)

Car manufacturers don't seem to complain that used cars are being sold on the same forecourt as new ones.


Userfriendly revisited (3, Insightful)

HrVad (572453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315239)

I have instant flashback to some days ago when A.J. from is harrassed by the inquisitors, who try to make him pay for his CDs more than once. I mean, if I buy a book, I should be free to do with it what I please afterwards. That amazon helps me excercise this right is just a great service. --Vad

So wait a minute here! (1)

Acideous (162622) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315240)

If the used copy of Atlas Shrugged I just bought is caked with blood and urine, does that mean Ayn Rand gets a percentage? No? Blast!

NYT article (5, Interesting)

tetrad (131849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315249)

The New York Times has an article [] about this too.

My favorite quote:
"We asked could we at least talk about when something could become available as a used book? Could we maybe wait three months after the book was published?" said Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers. "The biggest problem is that it is legal, I think. I wring my hands, pound my desk and say, `Aargh.'"

Easy solution: outlaw used book sales. As the RIAA/MPAA have shown, convenient new laws can be bought on Capitol Hill. It's time for the Association of American Publishers to pay up....

Re:NYT article (4, Funny)

Kanon (152815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315324)

I suggest we all band together and gather up enough money to buy our own law.

I move that our new law should be that employers *must* give Unix administrators free doughnuts when requested.

Why? I like dougnuts. If you don't then buy your own damn law commie.

Clothing (4, Insightful)

phunhippy (86447) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315251)

.... So how long before all the clothing i donate to school yard sales and the salvation army becomes illegal because the manufactures want a cut of the sales or would prefer poorer people to only buy new clothes(and damn the poor sucker who buys my stinky shoes)...

Let's all join in screwing customers. (1)

AVee (557523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315255)

We're all in this business together.

Read: We all want to get money from our costumers, lets do it together instead of competing with each other. (and leave the customer a choice.)

My Top 5 Random thoughts on Books (2)

AcidDan (150672) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315262)

-5- You know, I think you'd find them giving their work away if no one was buying them.

-4- What's next? the Authors Guild going after libraries because "Anyone can come and get a book without paying for it!". The Guild could invent paper that spontaneously combusted after you read the last page - try to read it again and you're toast!

-3- An Authors reputation sells a lot of books and makes their name even more well-known (thus selling more books) and I doubt a move like this by the Authors Guild is going to endear a lot of authors to J Q Public.

-2- I'm a hoarder, so if I like a book I keep it. One day, I'll have enough books so I can say "let's have some brandy in the library and the professor will tell us about his latest adventure"

And the number one thought that popped into my mind when I read the post:

-1- I promise I won't buy 2nd-hand books as long as the Authors promise to give me back all the late nights where I couldn't put the books down :P

-- Dan =)

$cientologists are behind it! (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315274)

They're just pissed because they won't get their cut on the 87 used copies of Dianetics that are up for sale on amazon right now.

Give books free!!!!! (1)

GdoL (460833) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315276)

Anyone knows any free-profit org to whom we can send books so they are send to people who need them? Everywhere in the world?

I get it! (1)

RockyJSquirel (412960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315277)

Oh, I get it! I predict the Authors Guild will prepose new legislation requiring people to pay a royalty every time someone reads a book. Just like the movie industry and the music industry, reading a book will be considered a performance. Perhaps they'll write the law so that you'll owe a new royalty payment every time you re-read a sentence.

Thank God there's one group left in the world that can't afford to buy congress, or my little nightmare would come true.

Anyway I bought a used book on Amazon recently (it was out of print). The process was painless. This bull shit may just inspire me to buy used books when I don't have to. Who are they to tell me I shouldn't be offered used as well as new books?!!!

Rocky J. Squirrel

Alright then... (1)

Drakin (415182) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315279)

here's an idea. If the Authors want everyone to by new books, then the publishers had best keep publishing to meet whatever demand there is.

Oh, wait, that's not cost effective and the bottom line is so important... so, to get a book I want, I need to buy used.

Sorry. I buy books, new and used, depending what I can find. There's times that the new copy of a book is sold out, and there's used ones around... i get used.

When shopping online, how do you find your store? (2)

evil_one (142582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315284)

I search, usually using Google [] .
Well, you tell me who comes out on top [] .

Tough To Be An Author (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315286)

While I know the Slashdot community is going off about EULAs and all of that, I hope everyone will remember that authors make very little money and that big players like Amazon doing this can really make it even worse for them.

In the world of technical books, you want the best and the brightest of the field writing books for the rest of us, but it is so economically unfeasible that anybody who could make a decent hourly rate as a consultant cannot rationalize it financially. I know this from experience: I recently declined a contract from O'Reilly simply because I could not possibly spend that much time to get paid that little.

The only income authors get is from royalties. Digging into their pockets reduces only reduces the quality of the books you buy in the long term.

Secondhand sales do help... (1)

unapersson (38207) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315289)

I frequent second hand books shops frequently, as well as new book stores. In fact most of the second hand bookshops I know are small, independant and sell new books as well.

The existence of second hand books is good for authors whose work may have fallen out of print, without those bookstores their work may well be forgotten. As once you move beyond the big sellers, a bookshop like Waterstones may only have one or two titles out of dozens. It's a way of keeping your work in the public consciousness.

For instance M. John Harrison's Virconium books were out of print for quite a long time (or at least you couldn't walk into a bookstore and find them). There availability in the second hand market kept them visible though, so now they've been republished as part of the Fantasy Masterworks series. Along with many other titles that have bubbled under for years, out of print, on the second hand market.

If it wasn't for the second hand market I wouldn't have even started on some of the authors you like. It allows you to sample works you don't even find in libraries half the time, and then you can go off and buy everything you can find that is still in print.

It must be one of the best forms of marketing for authors out there, and has lead me to part with a lot of cash over the years.

Re:Secondhand sales do help... (2)

Cato the Elder (520133) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315315)

Used book sales may indeed help overall. I certainly like to think so, as I buy a lot of my books used. However, that's not really what the authors are complaining about here. They mainly object to the fact that new books, which have only been in print for a few months, are being advertised side by side on Amazon with used copies. They recommend linking to Barnes and Noble instead, who apparently have a seperate used books section.

Just like Cd's (1)

HybridTheory (551364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315293)

Wouldn't they be better off trying to get a cut of every ream of paper sold?
Worked with black CD's.

When in doubt... (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315299)

...always bet on greed as being a prime factor. Not that I don't blame them if they aren't getting a cut of the sales in any case.

Authors aren't fond of second-hand book stores, since it does deprive them of sales when one could go buy a shiny new copy.

ls -n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315300)

bash:~/shit : ls -n
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dog_on[1].gif, Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) Cool pic of gohan ssj5(!) and a wallpaper.jpg,
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Mega tokyo - 244 - Beach landing.gif, Mega tokyo - 245 - Virtual Freinds.jpg, Mega tokyo - 246 - Piros Sketch book 1.jpg, misc.exe,
More Windows wallpaper.jpg, Mystery wallpaper.jpg, Nature wallpaper.jpg, Netscape+Proxy, NoAngelsWallpaper(1024x768).jpeg,
NoAngelsWallpap er(640x480).jpeg, Osama bin laden - play goat magazine.jpg, POP-Sclub7 - Don't Stop Moving.mp3,
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The 60's USA wallpaper.jpg, The Golden Era wallpaper.jpg, Travel wallpaper.jpg, tux_small.gif, Tux small.gif, Underwater wallpaper.jpg,
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They should fucking de-link paramount studios (-1)

Voyager Sucks Ass (570844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315310)

For producing that piece of shit show Star Trek: Voyager. I swear to god if that shit doesn't get taken off the TV, I'm going to go on a throat-slitting, skull-fucking rampage through the cast's trailers.

And I'm starting with Harry Kim, that yellow fucker. That whiny shit is nothing more than Wesley Crusher in a chink suit.

Sharing Books, write good books (2)

nuggz (69912) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315311)

This is just as dumb as chasing down libraries.
I buy LOTS of books, particularly used, then rather then selling them, I give them to people.
I know that many people who didn't consider reading started doing so a bit more after a good book or too.

I gladly throw around $2 used books, I don't let anyone breath on my bought new hardcover fiction books. I'm also protective of my rarer bought new paperbacks.

If authors make good books people want to keep, they won't go into the used book store, I doubt I'll ever get rid of my copy of Enders game. The same can not be said of many others.

As an author... (1)

Bnonn (553709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315325)

...I'm disgusted by this. I thought the reason I was copylefting my work and moving to journalism was that the current IP and copyright situation is appalling and I didn't feel like being screwed by publishers, let alone supporting them. Now though...maybe I'm also deliberately segregating myself from the stupid, greedy authors out there. It's always surprising to me how people who supposedly work in the Arts can seem to care so little for their work, or the work of others, and only for their own pockets.

That said, I'm not surprised. That's humanity for you. But one must wonder...instead of going after Amazon, why doesn't the Author's Guild try targetting the companies who are really screwing authors out of money--the publishers?

Size matters (1)

shilly (142940) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315335)

It's sad to see that so many Slashdotters are so uncomfortable with that fact. Authors aren't objecting to just any old store offering used books. They're objecting to *Amazon* doing it. That's because they recognise that Amazon controls a significant share of the market: Amazon can potentially affect the buying habits of a huge number of consumers and so destroy the chances of authors making a living. And for every JK Rowling who can live without an extra $10m, there are literally thousands, possibly tens of thousands of authors who rely on royalties to pay the rent. What is happening is that Amazon is making the market much more price-competitive. The response will be the same as in any other market: consolidation, with small businesses (ie authors who aren't best-sellers) going under. That's where they're coming from.

Aspiring author here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3315344)

Yes, go ahead and laugh. I'm a procrastinating bastard who'll probably never get published, but hey. ;P

It's an interesting problem. On one hand, the author has already received money for the first sale. But then, there's the problem of the second sale. There's no money involved.

Factor in libraries, where you don't get to keep the book. One could easily be well read, yet not pay a dime to any author. However, I think the major point here is that books gotten via the library are not your property, nor in your possession at your convenience. Someone might have already signed out "Our Trolls, Our Selves: An Unauthorized Biography of CmdrTaco", and you'll have to wait a week or two for them to return it. You can't just walk over to your bookshelf and start thumbing through it, trying to find the exact words while you're attempting to make obscure quotes to impress your friends. If your dog eats it, the library lady will possibly pull out a large calibre weapon and hurt you.

Libraries have existed for how long now, and authors still get paid. Used book sales have been going on for how long now, and authors still get paid. And, in the end, you can't have a used book to sell without first having a new book.

I think a certain guild has seen the RIAA/MPAA and jumped on the proverbial bandwagon. If I ever, somehow, manage to publish anything which results in large checks coming to my door, I at least know what organization not to join. ;)

However, I urge you all to be wary of Amazon, and their damnable software patents. :p

Unfair to the authors? (2, Interesting)

dipfan (192591) | more than 12 years ago | (#3315350)

I'd imagine they don't want us to go to our local used book stores either?

That's an unfair characterisation of their position. Agree with it or not, the guild isn't against second hand sales per se, just Amazon's agressive marketing of second-hand sales through an ebay-style system that sits alongside new book sales. This is great for Amazon, because it picks up a commission for every sale without taking any of the risk involved with new sales - it doesn't have to warehouse inventory or administer the sale to the same degree.

What must be galling for authors is that most people using Amazon will be searching for their books in the expectation they will be buying a new copy. With this option, potential new book buyers are lured to buy a used book, so no royalties.

Barnes and Noble offer a slightly similar option, but through used book shops, and further removed from the book buying process, but then B&N has larger warehousing than Amazon and so is probably more concerned with turnover.

Anyhow there are better ways of finding (cheaper) used books - the best being, a co-operative of used book shops around the world. It's great.

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