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Amazon & Used Books II: Bezos Strikes Back

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the eye-of-the-bookholder dept.

The Almighty Buck 387

theodp writes: "Last week's call for authors to de-link Amazon from their sites has reportedly prompted Jeff Bezos to fire off a letter to all Amazon Marketplace sellers, asking them to help out by sending e-mail on Amazon's behalf in response to the Guild's call for Amazon to stop placing prominent used book ads on each title's main web entry and soliciting new books purchasers to resell their books through Amazon shortly after purchase. Bezos wants everyone to be 'super-clear' that Amazon.com is supportive of and good for authors, indicating that Amazon's steep discounting of new titles and royalty-less sales of used books are two examples of how Amazon helps the book industry and authors. Good to see Jeff's found a new cause, since it looks like he's done with up patent reform."

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FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344569)

Ha Ha Ha.. I gots a First Post Again

Writers (5, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344575)

Good god, I wonder if writers buy all their books new?

Re:Writers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344841)

Does Katz count as a writer? By the amazon.com review of his book below, I'd say, "no".

Jon Katz does have a problem but it isn't a midlife crisis. This is a book about an unemployed New Jersey writer who deserts his family for a couple of months to "find himself" by embarking on an odyssey to a local Vermont vacation home only to find that he's bored and runs back to his family for entertainment and a cure for his own shallowness. The "mountain" is a hill off a local Vermont highway. The "spiritual transformation" is analogous to that of a couch potato who feels hungry during Monday night football and heads back to the fridge to discover replenishment. The man has no insight. His thoughts and observations are as shallow as Howard Stern. He attempts to lend some credibility and substance to his ramblings by comparing himself with Thomas Merton and dragging Merton anecdotes in to pad the book where Katz clearly has nothing substantive to offer. Save a tree and avoid this book at all costs. Better yet, write your own and offer the rest of us something worthwhile to ponder rather than this drivel. If you read this book you will understand why Katz was unemployed when he wrote it.

Re:Writers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344867)

Oops, I forgot to include a link to the book, or the name of the book.

Never mind.

first post for mathematics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344585)

the queen of the sciences

What's next? (4, Interesting)

maelstrom (638) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344590)

A call to get rid of libraries as they damage sales? Actions like this are going to make the changes which are going to come for copyright law all the more popular with regular joes.

Re:What's next? (1, Redundant)

greenfly (40953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344669)

Exactly. The idea of something like a library would NEVER fly if it were proposed today. The book publishers would never allow it to happen.

Companies don't seem to understand that they don't have a *right* to make a profit.

Re:What's next? (3, Informative)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344718)

Libraries already pay extra for books because they loan them out (at least they do in the U.K. anyway).

Re:What's next? (1)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344789)

I dread to think then, what libraries have to pay for the CDs and videos they loan.

  • Video shop: 1 night video rental, £5
  • Public library: 7 day video rental, £3 (and if you check-out the video on December 18th, 2 bank holidays mean you get to keep it for 3 weeks)

Bezos (3, Informative)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344595)

"Bezos wants everyone to be 'super-clear' that Amazon.com is supportive of and good for authors," - so that's why the Guild of authors wrote:

"Amazon's practice does damage to the publishing industry,.."?

Re:Bezos (3, Insightful)

gorilla (36491) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344706)

Authors != the publishing industry.

So, basically - (1)

errxn (108621) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344862)

Amazon is the Napster of the book business and the Guild is the RIAA? Oh, I get it now...

Slashdot Beatitudes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344597)

And seeing the multitudes, He went up unto the mountain: and when He was set, his disciples came unto him: And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

"Blessed are the poor in karma: for theirs is the Kingdom of the Page-Lengthening and Page-Widening Posts.

"Blessed are they that mourn the death of *BSD: for they shall be comforted with an ultradense Linux server from VA Linux, now sold by California Digital Corporation.

"Blessed are the posters of smug one-liners: for they shall inherit an Account Capped at 50.

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after The First Post: for they shall have the Third or Fourth Post.

"Blessed are the karma whores: for they shall obtain "Score: 5, Insightful".

"Blessed are those who dismiss out-of-hand: for they shall fail to see the Point of the Original Post.

"Blessed are those who seek to associate themselves with the latest techno-fad: for they shall be called 3L33T for at least Another Half Hour.

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for their own self-righteousness' sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of "Ask Slashdot".

"Blessed are the over-eager, who believe that Open Source is a social movement heralding the rise of a new generation: for they shall not realize that There Are No Sacred Cows.

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for the sake of your Favorite Operating System.

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD

LUNIX SUCKS!!! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344598)

LUNIX SUCKS!!!

heh (4, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344602)

No used books? Just imagine if the car industry was going through the same thing.

Everyone, not just the rednecks, would have used cars sitting on their lawns.

It's small beer (3, Insightful)

westfirst (222247) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344614)


There may come a time when book publishing starts to think seriously about used sales. They tried long ago to capture a portion of secondary sales but failed when the Supreme Court said that the purchaser actually got something for the money.

If Amazon gets more successful at this, we may have only a few copies flying around the country as people resell books. This would be great for the postal system but bad for the author.

I'm not in favor of giving the copyright czars any more power, but I do get a bit creeped out by the "buy it used" button on Amazon. If authors make less money, there will be fewer books. I would rather the authors get the money than the post office.

Eventually, Amazon and Half.com are going to really hurt the publishing industry too. We need to find some balanced, middle ground. I wish someone could suggest something.

Re:It's small beer (4, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344668)

Wow. I love fatalists like you. So you only buy books that you will sell the minute you finish reading them? There are only a small fraction of people who routinely sell their used books. Most of us have these things called "bookselves" upon which we store the books we have purchased. Be they purchased new or used. Let's be honest the problem with the publishing industry is that they try to make too much profit off of new books. Who has the money to routinely buy $30 new books? If they really wanted to compete with used book sales they would try to sell more copies of paperbacks at competitive prices ($5). When you say "destroy the publishing industry" you're really saying destroy their 99% profit margins.

Re:It's small beer (1)

martissimo (515886) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344684)

used books have been available thru small stores forever, now that they are available on the internet, its bad?

when i was in college i lived soloely on used books, it made classes much more affordable... i come from a fairly upper-middle class family that supported me. I can't imagine how hard it would have been for a kid of lesser means to get by, even with a grant to help pay.

the letter mentions that this group has advocated charging royalties of libraries as well, that ones just ridiculous.

it sure sounds to me that theese guys ideas would hurt the people with less cash a lot more than the wealthy... and imo thoose people deserve every chance they can get.

publishers will still plenty of new books, the idea of used books being available is nothing new

Re:It's small beer (2, Interesting)

Monte (48723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344686)

Eventually, Amazon and Half.com are going to really hurt the publishing industry too.

Then so is the small mom&pop used book store on the corner. In fact it seems more than a few used books I've bought from Amazon or Half have come from those same type of little stores.

You could make the argument that eBay is killing every industry, because anything bought there is one more thing that wasn't bought new.

From this viewpoint what's the difference between Half and a library book sale? Or eBay and a big flea market? Should we go after the garage sales and hamfests next?

Re:It's small beer (2, Interesting)

timothy_m_smith (222047) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344689)

When a book is first sold as a new book, the author gets his/her due royalty. This situation is just like when GM sells a car, when Britney sells a CD, or some home-builder sells a home. What would happen if I bought a house and when I sold it again I had to add more commission for the home builder even though I had paid him/her the first time. So, Amazon should be able to sell as many used books as they want. This Writers Guild is holding a baseless position.

Re:It's small beer (2)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344696)

Eventually, Amazon and Half.com are going to really hurt the publishing industry too. We need to find some balanced, middle ground. I wish someone could suggest something.

What if used book sellers charged an extra 25 or 50 cents per used book sale that went directly to the author? That's probably as much as an author makes per copy of a new book anyway. No need to further reimburse the publisher, who has (theoretically) paid for printing and distribution by the first sale of the book.

I'm not suggesting that it become law, just standard practice agreed on by the industry.

I'd be happy to pay it; most authors could use the money. Though I wonder if used book sales are high enough for authors to make any serious income from such a scheme.

Re:It's small beer (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344755)

What if used book sellers charged an extra 25 or 50 cents per used book sale that went directly to the author?

Shakespear's estate is going to be very, very happy.

Re:It's small beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344707)

As a writer, I can assure you that I don't care if people buy my book used or not. It isn't going to hurt me at all.

If the publishing industry wishes to compete by collecting and reselling used books, they're free to do so. That's their only "middle ground" to seek.

You are an idiot, sir. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344720)

"but I do get a bit creeped out by the "buy it used" button on Amazon"

Why? Do you get creeped out by the used car lot? How about the used software bin?

By your reasoning, nobody should be allowed to sell something used because it hurts the sale of new.

I've got news for you. Its too damned bad. Forcing people to pay for everything they do every time they do with it will be the commercial death of books, music, and entertainment. You're advocating a place where you've got to pay a lot of money to be part of popular culture. Maybe that's for the best (because it will kill off popular culture), but in the long run it will destroy the book and entertainment industry.

It isn't the government's job to "protect" industries (although they seem to love trying). And as to your assertion that less books will be written....GOOD! The world can live without a new stephen king novell.

I think you're screwed up in the head or trolling for the industry.

Re:You are an idiot, sir. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344763)

Do you get creeped out by the used car lot?

Yes, indeed - don't you?

Re:It's small beer (2)

SimplyCosmic (15296) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344736)

I'd say that Amazon is the middle ground, in that they sell new books, and oh yeah, have access to used versions as well.

I'd love to see some hard numbers from Amazon, but even without any hard evidence, I'd bet that their new book sales outnumber the used book sales by a good five to one ratio.

The only real way this hurts the publishing industry is in that hard to prove "people who would have bought a new book, had the used book not been there" catagory.

Seriously, where do they think used books come from? Someone had to buy them new at one time. People who really want a book and can afford to buy it new generally will, and people who want the book, but go for the used book generally wouldn't buy the new book if it was all that was available.

This is just another case of an organization who sees a small percentage of potential (not actual) lost profit and goes off annoying the people reponsible for the larger percentage of their profit, much like the RIAA and MPAA are doing currently.

:shrug:

Re:It's small beer (1)

jamesmartinluther (267743) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344746)

"If authors make less money, there will be fewer books. I would rather the authors get the money than the post office."

I would rather that more books get read. An author (much like an open-source software engineer) earns more than money from their efforts. They make a difference.

So what? (2)

czardonic (526710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344756)

If Amazon gets more successful at this, we may have only a few copies flying around the country as people resell books. This would be great for the postal system but bad for the author.

If this happens, it will only be because there are no books being written that are worth keeping or re-reading. If that is what the industry is churning out, maybe it deserves a kick in the shins.

Re:It's small beer (2)

nolife (233813) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344759)

I do get a bit creeped out by the "buy it used" button on Amazon.

They are responding to a demand. If it wasnt a specific button it would be placed somewhere else on the site. If it was too hard to find the average consumer will shop elsewhere. Some portion of thier sales and traffic are coming from consumers specifically looking for these used book options and they would not be there without it. This was one of the problems that the early .bombs failed to realize. Other shopping sites are 5 seconds and a few keystrokes away.

I disagree. (5, Insightful)

oGMo (379) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344773)

Eventually, Amazon and Half.com are going to really hurt the publishing industry too. We need to find some balanced, middle ground. I wish someone could suggest something.

I disagree. I think this will, in fact, help the industry.

First, let's clear something up. If someone is buying a book used (or even selling a book used), then the author already got money for the book sale. Beyond that, they don't deserve anything.

Second, if someone is buying a book used (or, again, selling), that means someone else bought the book and for some reason found it not to be worth keeping. They then make this book available to others at a cheaper price, who in turn may or may not feel that it is worth it, until:

  1. Someone finds the book worth keeping, and keeps it.
  2. It sits on the shelf of a used book section, and no one ever buys it.
In any case, each time the book is bought used, it devalues the overall worth of the book to the author. This is a good thing. It means that if they wrote a crap book, then the market compensates then at the rate for crap books.

This means that yes, we may see less books. Authors who write books may see less money. The qualifier is that these authors are the ones who are writing crap books, and the should be making less money.

Books have been passed on and sold used for centuries. I don't think we have any fewer books today because of it.

Re:It's small beer (3, Interesting)

47PHA60 (444748) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344787)

I buy books at a store in my town that has a huge selection of publishers' overstock, which allows me to buy books at a fraction of their cover price. If it was not for this, I could not buy as many books as I do. I also buy many used books that are out of print, which I could otherwise not obtain.

I think I am helping the publishing industry by spending many dollars at local bookstores, which allows them to stay in business and order more new books.

By buying at locally-owned stores instead of chains, I help the booksellers who are more willing to special-order or search out hard-to-find stuff for me, which also helps keep publishing healthy and diversified.

And, by buying lots of small press titles, at the reduced publishers' overstock prices, I get books that I could normally not afford (university press books are often 2 or 3 times the price of a large publisher title). Presumably I am helping smaller publishers more than hurting them, because my purchase is one book that won't get returned to them for credit.

Finally, saving money on used and overstock books means that I can occasionally get that $100 reprint of, say, Kepler's 'Harmony of the World,' which helps the small publisher who struggled to produce such an esoteric but historically important and fascinating book.

Having worked in the publishing industry, I know that the cover price is vastly inflated, and most publishers know that they are going to end up dumping lots of books near or at cost as overstock. Maybe the publishers need to find a better balance in their pricing schemes.

I don't feel I can criticize this amazon habit unless I am willing to change all of my own buying habits. This would mean a change in my reading habits (like buying less, and getting more from libraries), and would actually bring less of my money to publishers, bookstores, and authors. Also, I'd have to stop buying used records and CDs, used cars, used houses, used clothing. God, I just wouldn't be the same person!

Re:It's small beer (2, Insightful)

eyegor (148503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344806)

I'd say we leave well enough alone. It's a USED book, for god's sake. I prefer to buy new, but when books are out of print (or grossly overpriced) it's the only way to get what you want to read.

If we're to bow to the publishers wishes (and while we're bent over, take it like a good comsumer (now, didn't that feel better?)), who's to get the money?

The Author? What if they're long dead?

The publisher? What if they no longer exist?

What extra burdon are the book stores and on-line merchants going to have to bear?

They need a few less bored lawyers, I think.

Re:It's small beer (2, Insightful)

Mahonrimoriancumer (302464) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344824)

If it wasn't for the "buy it used" button on Amazon, I wouldn't have been able to purchase a book that went out of print in the early 1970's. Not all books are always in print.

Tough noogies (2)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344865)

Eventually, Amazon and Half.com are going to really hurt the publishing industry too. We need to find some balanced, middle ground. I wish someone could suggest something.

The book industry seems to be doing its own thing here: jacking up prices madly. So it is very appropriate to resell books used, however one wants.

Elegy for *BSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344620)


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my ty keyboard
and whistle a cheerful tune
but keeping happy is so hard,
*BSD will be dead soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

I'm a bit puzzled by the whole mess (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344624)

I first was attacked to Amazon, years ago, because of their ability to track down those old OOP books. It's rather nice seeing options for used books to come up in searches, although they need to police their affiliates better as some are pretty bad about delivering books or inflation grading them (i.e. torn jacket, food fingerprints/smudges on pages == Mint)

I also know a few authors and as far as they are generally concerned they prefer to see books in print sell befor used copies, if it's out of print then they're usually more supportive of the used book market, as they'd like people to read and become acquainted with their works. It's a two edged sword, and I'd prefer not to think of anyone as being greedy, in particular authors as many don't make en entire living by it.

OOps.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344642)

Replace 'attacked' with 'attracted'... too much video gaming lately :-)

bezos = hateful (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344626)

and the same can be said of anybody who shops at amazon. barne and noble is just as good, the shipping is faster, and they do not abuse patents and authors. people need to make a stand or else everybody's rights will be crushed by amazon and those like them, all that amazon wants is profits and could care less about the greater good.

Amazon *is* good for authors (3, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344633)

Ok, not in the way that you think. However, I have bought MANY MANY books online, as opposed to going to a book store and browsing. I don't have time or patience to drive to a book store and buy a book that way. So, for me at least, they have made it easier to buy a book, therefore I buy more.

Whine, whine, whine... (5, Interesting)

pmz (462998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344640)

The Author's Guild had their chance when the first-ever used bookstore opened however many decades/centuries/millenia ago. Just because Amazon.com can sell used books on a much larger scale than Mom&Pop Used Book Store doesn't change the fundamental issues about selling used books.

I say to the authors, "Too bad." This whole supposed scandal just reeks of the same Napster fiasco odors, where the proposed solutions just don't fix the underlying issues. Publishers, authors, record labels, musicians, etc., just need to think harder about how to live in this modern world. If they can't deal with it, they should just become Amish or find some 3rd world country that is stuck in 1400AD and move there.

Re:Whine, whine, whine... (2)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344680)

Yes. Why the hell should authors expect to get royalties from second-hand sales? First sale doctrine and all that.

I support Amazon's offering to find secondhand books - I only wish they would do the same for software.

Re:Whine, whine, whine... (2, Insightful)

dinivin (444905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344877)

Why the hell should authors expect to get royalties from second-hand sales? First sale doctrine and all that.

They weren't hoping to get royalties from second-hand sales. Please try to keep up with the issues, otherwise you'll just look like a fool.

Dinivin

Re:Whine, whine, whine... (1)

md17 (68506) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344778)


Wow, That is the most brilliant comment I have ever seen on Slashdot!!! People are so against change... Here is a good quote about change:

"I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better."
-G. C. Lichtenberg


People must learn to deal with change.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."
-Maya Angelou


Lastly, My favorite on the subject:

"If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living."
-Gail Sheehy

Re:Whine, whine, whine... (1)

yivi (236776) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344813)

Just because Amazon.com can sell used books on a much larger scale than Mom&Pop Used Book Store doesn't change the fundamental issues about selling used books.


Thats silly.

I agree that the Guild is completely wrong, but your reasoning doesn't hold water.

Scale and modus operandi DO affect the "fundamentals issues". Is like saying that it isn't wrong for MS to include IE by default in the OS because the same thing is done by different players.

Scale (monopoly, in this case), says that a different rule should apply.

Mind you, I still think that the Guild is greedy and lost. But if you argue, you should be careful with your arguments.

Next story, please (1, Troll)

Zico (14255) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344641)

Bleh, used books. I don't think this story's going to attract many responses. However, I hear that Google has released an API to their database, perhaps we could have a story on Slashdot about that?

Re:Next story, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344815)

this ?
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/15/142 256 &mode=thread

Re:Next story, please (2)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344855)

He was making a joke... The google API story has been posted to slashdot about 10 billion times this week.

Used Booksellers (5, Insightful)

svwolfpack (411870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344649)

Used booksellers are one of the great things about living in small town America... You can find all sorts of books on various subjects that are out of print, because the information or whatnot may be slightly dated. Furthermore, the publishing industry was able to survive before amazon with brick and mortar bookstores, both new and used. And to claim that a website emulating what exists in the "real" world anyway is killing them is just foolish. Real authors would be happy that more people can now read their books anyway, because in theory, that's what it's all about.

Re:Used Booksellers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344768)

In the slashdot queue....

  • Hemos: Kathleen Fent: Will you marry me?
  • CmdrTaco: C|Net reports google API released
  • Jon Katz: Amazon used book sales - return to the hellmouth
  • Timothy: YRO - Windows FTP sends username and password
  • CmdrTaco: Konquoror 4.0 roadmap released. Google API included
  • Cliff: Ask Slahshdot - best browser for boycotting amazon.com with?
  • ChrisD - Stephen King dead at 54
  • Hemos - Star Wars iii script released. Natalie Portman to be cryogenically frozen in grits.

Resale value (3, Informative)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344655)

A large contributer to that value of an item is it's resale value.
This is why they can charge so much more for a hardcover.
It's the same with cars clothing etc.

Re:Resale value (1)

sweet reason (16681) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344691)

A large contributer to that value of an item is it's resale value.
This is why they can charge so much more for a hardcover.
It's the same with cars clothing etc.


what kind of clothing costs more because of its high resale value?

Re:Resale value (3, Funny)

nosferatu-man (13652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344765)

Underpants?

(jfb)

Re:Resale value (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344842)

I'm an attractive 36-24-36 geek-girl that loves Linux - want to buy my panties?

Re:Resale value (1)

red5 (51324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344772)

I didn't say it cost more I said it's worth more.
If you buy the expensive stuff you aren't thinking about reselling it anyway.

Writers should be happy. (4, Interesting)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344660)

How many times have you gone to a used bookstore and seen and see all the books to an entire series there used? How many times have you seen all the books by one author used? From all my used bookstore shopping I have almost never seen this. So what is the point I'm getting at? Well when people buy a book from a series of books, they tend to buy other books in the series or by the same author. If the used bookstores don't have them, then they buy the books new. I do this all the time. I buy a used book from a new author because it's cheap, so if the author is bad I didn't waste much money. If the author is good, I buy more books by him.

And for the people that are going to say you can find all the books used online, they are all going to be from seperate dealers. Sure you will save a few dollars buying a book used but you have to pay for shipping too. If you buy a bunch of books, all from different dealers, you will have to pay individual shipping on each of those books and not save much, if any, money.

Re:Writers should be happy. (2, Insightful)

zuff (72669) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344795)

Absolutely. I very rarely buy new books by an author I haven't read before - but I'm perfectly willing to buy a second-hand copy. Then, of course, if the author is good, I go on a mad book-buying rampage. Mmmm, books...
One publisher, Baen, sometimes makes the first book in a series available entirely online for this very reason. http://www.baen.com/library/
The discussion there is about online copies, not used, but the person doing the library (Eric Flint, a sci-fi author) says specifically that "any kind of book distribution which provides free copies to people has always, throughout the history of publishing, eventually rebounded to the benefit of the author." Yep.

RIAA all over again? (4, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344662)

This is just another example of an industry trying to keep a stranglehold on distribution when cheap, good alternatives exist. The media tyrants want to either ban digital media or make it prohibitively restrictive to use (I'm not endorsing piracy).

Now the book publishers want to stop a perfectly legitimate practice just because someone has made it earier? Remember when R.E.M. was whining about their used CD's being sold? If this keeps up, we'll simply start trading books, and when they ban that, we'll just have to overthrow the government.

Re:RIAA all over again? (5, Funny)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344705)

If this keeps up, we'll simply start trading books

You know ... I have an idea ... we could collectively buy books and place them in a storage area, where anyone could browse and borrow books.

Hmmm ... I think I'll call it a library.

Re:RIAA all over again? (5, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344803)

Hmmm. I smell DCMA violations all over the place. That idea'll never fly. The media companies and book publishers will never stand for it and rightly so.

Why it's communist in its very nature: sharing things! Next you'll expect the government to finance and run the thing. Go back to Beijing, Pinko!

Re:RIAA all over again? (1)

God! Awful (181117) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344838)

This is very similar to the RIAA/MPAA controversy on slashdot. From the authors' point of view, they are selling you entertainment -- the experience of reading the book. You can read the book as many times as you want, although you will probably only want to read it once or twice. They are selling the physical media as a proxy for the entertainment, on the assumption that there is approximately a 1:1 correlation. If 30% of new books get resold to people who might have bought the original then they lose some money, but not a lot. If, however, the used book sellers target their prime market -- people who were right on the verge of buying the book new -- then they are screwed.

Have you noticed that the price of books has been steadily increasing? It's hard to make a book like a movie or a hockey game, where you can sell people a ticket which allows only a single person to view the event (and only once). Maybe in the future, they will resort to only 'selling' books in digital format, using anti-piracy technology which cause the books to expire after a few months. Sure, the books will be immediately pirated, but mainstream consumer isn't going to go underground to find them.

-a

Just one question, Mr. Bezos ... (2, Troll)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344671)

Amazon's steep discounting of new titles and royalty-less sales of used books are two examples of how Amazon helps the book industry and authors.

How?

I mean that authors receive royalties for the books sold after the publisher takes their cut for the advance and publicity for the books.

Now, I suppose you could attempt to claim that you sell new books cheap ... so you "help" the authors by getting to their royalty payments a bit faster (by paying off the publisher faster).

But how does this help the authors for used books? Hmmm? They don't receive ANY royalties from these sales ... nor does the publisher. So what's in it for them if you do this? Now ... if I could find a new book for $30 (which pays royalties, and Bezos loses money) or a used book for $15 (which pays NO royalties, and Bezos gets $$$ for the listing) ... certainly the $15 book would probably get sold. Personally, I don't normally buy used book, except in very good condition, and a title that I want.

However, the only thing this helps is your pocket, profit, and the bottom line. NOT the author or publisher.

Re:Just one question, Mr. Bezos ... (1, Insightful)

DHR (68430) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344748)

if the authors get the royalty payment when the book is sold the first time, why should they get royalties for each time the book is sold after that? this would be akin to chevy collecting a profit every time anyone sold their old nova.

Re:Just one question, Mr. Bezos ... (1)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344861)

Ahhh ... you mean like the DMV forcing you to pay taxes EVERY TIME a vehicle is sold, and not just the first time? If a vehicle exchanges hands 10 times, the DMV gets 10 sets of taxes paid on the selling price of the vehicle. (NOTE: this may not be in every state, but it is in mine)

My point isn't that I'm for or against used book sales (normally I buy new) ... my point is that Jeff's arguements are not necessarily valid.

Personally I think that the Writers Guild (or whatever), should really shut up, since they don't legally have a leg to stand on. Plus they're giving "free publicity" to the fact that Amazon sells used books (and I can sell one of mine through them). Also, it gets books that normally sit on the shelf collecting dust into someone's hands that will actually read it, and possibly buy more (new) books from that author.

Re:Just one question, Mr. Bezos ... (1)

eyegor (148503) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344837)

You're missing the point, professor.

That used book DID generate royalties for the author on its original sale. The publisher made their money on the sale and perhaps Mr. Bezos made a tiny bit too.

You can't expect to double and triple dip. It's not fair to the consumer. I suspect that they're not too concerned about that though.

Re:Just one question, Mr. Bezos ... (2)

TotallyUseless (157895) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344857)

there have been a few times that i bought my first book by an author used, to try them out. if i liked them, i continued buying their books, new. robert aspirin, clive barker, and several other authors mainly owe my loyalty to that first cheap used book i bought. if the author is good, i honestly think they have little to fear from used books.

Ok, the last book I got, author died in 2001... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344674)

...and the next book I'm planning to read outside study is over 2500 years old.

Goodness, not even the Sonny Boner-o Copyright Act is going to protect the owners of THAT work!

If the Author's Guild can't get enough money off of first hand books, the problem is the publishers not paying enough royalties.

Re:Ok, the last book I got, author died in 2001... (2)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344817)

Well, retroactively extending copyright to then would give Saints Luke and Peter much more incentive to contribute to the useful arts surely?

It's all price to me... (1)

Jaycatt (530986) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344688)

If they could sell a new book for the same price as a new one, I'll gladly buy the new one. Until then, it's the cheapest for me (unless there's a reason I need it new, ie book collections, gifts). They made their money off the book when it was first published; I don't feel bad about buying used.

I wonder.. (4, Interesting)

Kwil (53679) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344694)

Offering customers a lower-priced option causes them to visit our site more frequently,

I don't doubt it, Jeff.

which in turn leads to higher sales of new books

Does it? Or does it simply lead to higher sales of used books?

while encouraging customers to try
authors and genres they may not have otherwise tried.


Absolutely.. too bad used books give no indication to the publishers that these authors and genres deserve a second book contract.

I've got no problem with Amazon selling used books. More power to'em. But when a book published in April 2002 already has a used book link offer up *right beside* the new book.. that strikes me as hurting the author and the publisher.

At least have the courtesy to separate them out for a few months so that publishers can have a more accurate indication of what's selling well and what's not.

Re:I wonder.. (2, Insightful)

QuodEratDemonstratum (569501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344719)

already has a used book link offer up

Just because there is a link doesn't mean there are enough used copies to satisfy everybody that wants to buy the book.

For there to be used copies, there has to be sellers.

And if it's a new book, sellers are likely to be outnumbered by buyers.

Re:I wonder.. (2)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344739)

Does it? Or does it simply lead to higher sales of used books?
It seems unlikely that you could increase the sales of used books by a non-trivial amount without having the side effect of increasing the sales of new books.
But when a book published in April 2002 already has a used book link offer up *right beside* the new book.. that strikes me as hurting the author and the publisher.
Yeah, and when the public library has a book published in April 2002 already on the shelf for people to check out or read, that strikes me as hurting the author and the publisher. NOT!

Next you'll tell us that people shouldn't be allowed to lend lawnmowers to their neighbors, because that deprives the lawnmower manufacturer of revenue.

Wow.. (1)

Kwil (53679) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344856)

It seems unlikely that you could increase the sales of used books by a non-trivial amount without having the side effect of increasing the sales of new books.

Yeah. But it also seems unlikely that people would purchase higher priced new books when the lower-priced used book link is right there.

and when the public library has a book published in April 2002 already on the shelf for people to check out or read, that strikes me as hurting the author and the publisher. NOT!

Where do you live that your library gets new books that quickly?

Around here, the book has typically been on store shelves for a good two/three months before our local public library gets its copy. So either your library system is a hell of a lot better than what I'm used to, or you don't actually use your library and are simply talking out of your ass.

Next you'll tell us that people shouldn't be allowed to lend lawnmowers to their neighbors, because that deprives the lawnmower manufacturer of revenue.

Guess what, I never said that used book sales shouldn't be allowed - that's the second part of my post - but because that doesn't fit into your desired vitriol, perhaps you simply ignored it?

All I suggested was maybe Amazon could have the decency to say "Hey.. this book is new.. let's give the publisher/author a chance to make some decent sales numbers out of it before we start trying to pull in the used book trade." I don't see how a separate section would hurt Amazon or the consumer terribly - it'd still be there after all. Those who really want the discount can just go into that section, but those who are on the fence, maybe buy new, maybe buy used, that extra step might be enough to convince them to buy new. Thus increasing the chances of a publisher seeing high enough numbers to justify a second book from the author.

Crying through the laughter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344757)

"that strikes me as hurting the author and the publisher"

I good 2x4 to your backside would hurt you plenty. But in the end (ha ha), you'd be better off.

So what's the moral dilemna here?

Re:I wonder.. (1)

rtscts (156396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344870)

which in turn leads to higher sales of new books
Does it? Or does it simply lead to higher sales of used books?
It sounds like a loss leader [dictionary.com] to me. No guarantees it'll work, but any publicity is good publicity, and that goes tenfold for actually getting the suckers^Wcustomers into your shop (or on your website as the case may be)

Liars (1)

jeff13 (255285) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344701)

Yeeeaaaa...
Create giant online book distribution, get exclusive contracts from publishers to sell product. Destroy every other bookstore in North America (Amazon is just part of this, not directly taking part. However, they exist BECAUSE of this... not because it's 'better' in any way for anyone... except the Corp. Publishers who tell Amazon what to sell). The market is now yours.

Congratulations, you have managed to destroy years of independent literary commerce and turn it into a Wal-Mart.

Now, many Slashdot readers seem to think Wal-Mart, and thus any Corporate market control, is OK and I'm just a whining flame bait bastard.

The liar is you. (2)

czardonic (526710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344800)

get exclusive contracts from publishers to sell product.

Never happened.

out of print (2, Insightful)

avandesande (143899) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344702)

90% of the books I buy used are out of print!

Bad Website (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3344714)

Would someone who can see the site post a mirror? All I get out of the link is an infinite forward loop.

The Smart Authors Will Run With It... (2)

zulux (112259) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344715)

What makes used books apealing to people, is that they cost significantly less than the dead-tree-publisher bloated prices of real books. A smart author, could be sell HTML copies of his book at a vastly reduced cost and make still make a profit.

And nobody would buy a 10 cent 'used' HTML book, when they could securely and convenetly order a 'new' HTML book from the author for 50 cents.

What stands in the way of this utopia:

1) Preception by the masses that inexpensive=cheap crap
2) Many authors are locked into contracts with dead-tree publishers
3) Micro-payments are a pain in the ass.

Re:The Smart Authors Will Run With It... (2)

jbf (30261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344807)

And also that it's a pain in the rear to read on an electronic device.

I could see doing this as a preview, but you're still going to want a dead-tree-publisher. Also, warez'ed copies of your html book may not make you a happy camper.

Re:The Smart Authors Will Run With It... (1)

Brandon T. (167891) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344811)

What stands in the way of this utopia:

Perhaps more importantly, computers in general are not suitable for reading large amounts of text. Perhaps if you had a nice laser printer and a postscript copy of the book you could print it out, but I would not pay any amount of money (no matter how small) to read a good sized book in html format. I'd rather spend the extra 10 bucks to get it in paperback.

Brandon Tallent
http://www.resynthesize.com/code/ [resynthesize.com]

I hate to admit it... (4, Insightful)

ultramk (470198) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344717)

...but I agree with Amazon on this one. This is such a throwaway culture, it really pleases me that reselling used books has become a real, mass-market movement. Until recently, you were pretty much screwed if you lived in an area where you didn't have any good used book stores.

...and frankly, if you're just in it for the money, you probably shouldn't be a writer. It's just not a good way to get rich.

reduce, reuse, recycle: even on just an enviromental basis, isn't reselling books the best of ideas? How many trees have been saved because people bought used books?

just a thought...

Re:I hate to admit it... (2)

czardonic (526710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344840)

...and frankly, if you're just in it for the money, you probably shouldn't be a writer. It's just not a good way to get rich.

Damn straight. I am sick and tired of these industry shills and IP lawyers whining about how no artist is going to create anything if they don't get to rake in loads of dough selling it. What author who was in it for the money created anything worth buying?

The real artists would be working two minimum wage jobs and creating their works for free if that was the only option (not that it should be). There is certainly no shortage of talent doing just that while they hope for their big break.

Of course, without all the profits they wouldn't be able to afford representation, and that would be a fscking tragedy!

Funniest part (2)

mosch (204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344733)

The funniest thing about their call to de-link amazon is that they suggest linking to barnes and noble instead, as if barnes and noble hasn't been thorough enough at destroying local bookstores where you can actually find knowledgeable clerks.

Books have real lives, they wear out, they get damaged, they get burned by christian fundamentalists. I fail to see the problem with encouraging people to use those books to their fullest.

Amazon assists my reading... (2)

toupsie (88295) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344737)

If I were the Author's Guild, I would shut up ASAP. The only reason I read today is due to Amazon dot bomb. The ease of ordering books online beats finding a bookstore and dealing with the pretentious, egghead twits that work in the store. I never bought a book before Amazon that wasn't required for a school course. Now with Amazon, I pour through at least 12 to 18 books a year. Up from zilch before Amazon came around. I am sure I am not the only one that has gained a love for reading from online bookstores.

I can't count how many of my favorite authors ... (4, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344741)

... I've discovered by picking up used copies of their books. I'm more willing to risk $0.50 - $4.00 on a used book by someone I'm not familiar with than $7.00 - $25.00 on a new book by same. And when I discover someone whose work I really like this way, I go out and buy everything I can from them new -- because I know that's the best way to ensure they keep writing.

I'd also talk about the number of bands whose work I discovered via Napster, and whose CD's I then bought new, but that's a dead horse.

Car makers guild letter (5, Insightful)

bubblegoose (473320) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344745)

We have found a disturbing trend among car owners, when they no longer want a car they are not just storing it on a shelf to collect dust.

Used car dealers are actively working to divert customers shopping for new cars into their used car lots by prominently placing used car ads on websites and newspapers.

This is affecting the quality and diversity of new cars available to car dealers.

We believe it is in our members' best interests to de-link their websites from dealers who sell used cars. There's no good reason for car makers to be complicit in undermining their own sales. It just takes a minute, and it's the right thing to do.

A copy of my own reply to the Author's Guild (1)

geekplus (248023) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344758)

Are you sure used books have hurt sales?
--
I was just writing in regards to your recent call for authors to de-link amazon.com in regards to its practice of selling used books, particularly right alongside new books.

I am definitely of two minds on this issue. Certainly I don't think Amazon is doing anything inappropriate, unless they have signed specific contracts stating not to offer used books in the given fashion.

And I certainly believe the Guild has the right to organize a boycott if it believes that doing so will further enrich its membership -- that's what any collective labor unit (be it guild or union -- I think there's a difference) should do.

I suppose I am wondering whether the proposed boycott will do that. Certainly amazon.com makes far more money on new book sales than on used book sales. So why would they continue to offer an option which reduces their profits?

I would argue that the upper-bound of any damage Amazon might be doing to new book sales is matched (or nearly so) by the amount of commissions generated by the partner links from author sites to their book listings on Amazon.com. Why else would an author link specifically to Amazon.com if not to generate the commission? They could link elsewhere if they got a higher commission there.

Perhaps that's the point you are trying to make. If so, I applaud you for so educating the Guild membership. If not, I would ask you to reconsider where the money is going in a total systemic sense.

I wouldn't be surprised if a small minority of Guild membership who is disproportionately harmed by Amazon's practices is the one generating most of the pressure for this campaign. If so, some may think the high-minded Guild is acting more like a mindless union whose leadership is dominated by the political machinations of a few noisy children who are not grown up enough to realize that life does not always dole out fortune in precisely regulated, homogenized chunks.

sooo....very.....tired....... (3, Insightful)

Hnice (60994) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344779)

inefficiencies exist. one such inefficiency is related to locating the book that you want, used, at a price you're willing to pay. the new-book market has been determining its pricing and its revenue model on the basis of the fact and magnitude of this inefficiency for, oh, let's call it *EVER*.

amazon is presenting The World with one way to eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) this inefficiency, by removing the fee-for-convience that is built into new books, rendering them no easier to get one's hands on than used books.

is this going to hurt new books' sales? probably. i don't see why it wouldn't. do we, as people who have been pissed at record comapnies for the last five years, have any tolerance left for individuals who choose to whine when their business model is exposed as outmoded by advances in technology? no. because when one's business model is threatened by changes in the environment, one can either try to turn back time, or one can embrace this change, and figure out how to best serve their customers given the new set of conditions. the former approach is pathetic and doomed, the latter, in the end, both more viable and admirable.

whether amazon, on the whole, is good or bad for authors is academic here -- although as someone mentioned above, the general increase in availability for both used *and* new books certainly has me buying more. all we need to keep in mind here is how ridiculous the RIAA looks going to court instead of updating its business model, calling on the public to pity them when a new technology makes it clear that they've been riding on an inefficiency for quite a long time.

ladies and gentlemen of the publishing industry, the ride is over, please exit to your left.

Authors not against used books (2, Informative)

Titusdot Groan (468949) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344781)

The authors are not against used books. They are not against libraries. They are not trying to force a "one reader one book" Big Brother society upon us.

If I go to a book signing an author I do not expect the author to tell me to check the book out of the library. I fully expect them to try to get me to buy a book from the book store they are signing in front of. I don't feel they are against libraries or used books for doing this.

This doesn't make them "anti-library" any more than the Toyota dealer not sending customers to Tony's Used Toyota Dealer makes them anti-car-rental-agencies or anti-used-cars. It's common business practice not to recommend customers shop somewhere else!

What the guild is saying is that Amazon by pushing used book sales on the same page as the new book sales for recently released books damages an authors sales by pushing customers to used books. Authors should consider linking to Barnes and Noble or some such site instead of referring potential readers to Amazon.

There is no slippery slope here, move along.

I think the guild is well within their rights to try to maximize their sales by referring potential customers to new book sellers (where they make money) rather than to used book sellers (where they don't). I think Amazon is well within their rights to push their used book sales.

Frankly this whole thread is pretty stupid.

Similar to the used CD debate... (2)

realgone (147744) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344785)

I remember way back in my college days -- that'd be the early '90s -- the same debate was raging between artists like Garth Brooks and music stores that chose to sell used CDs. Upshot being that said artists would refuse to stock their product in such stores and, even more effectively, would divert promotional money away from 'em. (You know those big cardboard standees and other knicknacks you see when you walk into your local record store? They're a halfway decent revenue source on their own... or at least they were back in my days of record shop clerking. And you start to notice the pinch when those promos stop arriving...)

Thing is, you really don't hear these complaints from musicians any more. Why? Because: (1) someone eventually noticed that the big music boom of the '90s neatly coincided with the big boom in used CDs; sales weren't being cannibalized, or at least not noticably; (2) digital music formats continue to move the battlefield from issues of resale to those of duplication; Garth's original worries are no longer as pressing.

I can see the whole used books thing following a similar path over the next couple of decades. I wholeheartedly believe that used books help develop audiences for authors -- hook them on older books at an afforable pricepoint and they'll be more willing to buy the newest must-have title by that author at full price. Eventually, the powers that be will realize this and ease off the "anti-used" pressure somewhat. Moreover, once a company successfully gets viable ePaper out on the market, we'll see a shift of the debate from resale to duplicaiton, just like with CDs.

So in the meantime -- sit back, enjoy the debate, and know that this too shall pass.

Amazon sells used books? (4, Funny)

The Slashdolt (518657) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344786)

WOW, look how much money I can save! Thanks to the authors guild for bringing this excellent service to my attention!

Even CHEAPER way to buy books... (2, Informative)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344791)

Go to www.addall.com to do a mass search online for the cheapest book (this includes half.com, B&N, Borders, etc.)

Go to www.addall.com/used in order to find even better deals. This searches mom and pop sites and helps you find things that are out of print.

I have bought so many books this way. Almost all of the prices BEAT any used price that you'll get at Amazon, Half.com, etc.

So so ludicrious (2, Interesting)

dw5000 (540339) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344794)

There's plenty of proof that used books help the publishing industry. The idea that there should be no aftermarket for books is far more ludicrious.

In truth, the ones that are most hurt by used books are authors who either have a niche market or are so small-potatoes they only get one press run. But how much they get hurt is open to discussion; if people find a used book and find they like it, they're far more likely to buy the next one by that author new. If they don't, they recycle the book back into the used market. An author can build a pretty good following through the used market, sometimes enough to get larger print runs of new books and reprints of older books.

What the publishing industry is doing harkens back to the Garth Brooks' boycott of used record stores. To try to curtain the aftermarket on anything is just plain silly. If this logic were to pervade, one's choices would be to either hang onto a book or bin it, and throwing out all those trees is very ecologically unsound. Imagine 10 or 11 Fresh Kills full of the contents of Powell's. [powellsbooks.com]

If these publishers were smart, they'd come up with a simple and easy to work with system that would allow for one person to buy personal-use rights to a book and compensate both the publisher and the author, then allow for that person to transfer those rights to another person temporarily or permanently. Or, maybe they can have a group of people pool their money and buy these same rights, then house these books in a centrally located public building with a method of allowing these people who have paid to borrow these books once or multiple times. I think these are great ideas, and I'm sure the publishers will get right on it....

This is familiar (1)

UCRowerG (523510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344828)

Hmm.... looks like the RIAA and MPAA lawyers have started moonlighting.

Environmental Issues (2, Interesting)

pclinger (114364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344836)

By selling used books, Amazon.com is also helping to save the environment. If you are not going to use a book any more, pass it on (or sell in this case) to the next person. Don't go kill a tree just to make a brand new copy. The content isn't different.

These authors are making themselves look like real jerks in the public light. They will only get the bad PR, and Amazon will get the good.

Are they communist? Not understanding the issue! (1)

PierceLabs (549351) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344866)

What exactly does the Author's Guild want, people to not be able to buy used books at all?
When I purchased the book I purchased material that I should be able to sell whenever and *whereever* I please. This whole thing seems to be suffering from a bout of favoritism. Are they telling Mom&Pop used book stores to close? Are they petitioning ebay to prevent the sale of books? They seem to be going after a company who is only doing what everyone else is doing.
If one considers that the foundation of our economy is based on barter through currency - what they Author's Guild is proposing actually goes against the whole idea of capitalism and the consumers/businesses right to sell goods.

Counterexample for greedy authors (2, Interesting)

Australian werewolf (567345) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344868)

Last week I went to a bookshop and saw Rama II by Arthur C Clark for a buck (used book section). So I got it. I couldn't find the first one.

A week later I am in Borders and I see Rendevouz with Rama (the first book in the series). So I got it new.

If I couldn't buy used books, then I would never have gotten that book from Borders. There is so much flotsam on the bookstore shelves that I am scared to slap down a tenner these days.

So there you go - an example of a used book sale causing a new book sale that otherwise would never have occured.

The real problem behind this and so many other stories I read here is that the court system in this country has turned the legal system into a goldmine, and that means every business is forced to sue or be sued as a result.

Make the loser pay for the whole lawsuit and stop having campaign funds for judges and a lot of this shit would go away.

Bezos' Life Lessons (0, Flamebait)

No_Weak_Heart (444982) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344873)

"Making books affordable is a fundamental good."

Excerpted from The Collected Moral Teachings of Jeff.

When did hawking used books become a fundamental good? Obviously there is no need to search out the moral high-ground if your PR team can invent it for you!

It's a secondary market, folks! (2, Insightful)

Corporate Drone (316880) | more than 12 years ago | (#3344874)

OK, Bezos is trying to put a positive spin on it, but what's the big deal?

A market in used anything is a secondary market... the original seller has been compensated, and now, the holder of the goods has the right to re-sell.

Do the re-sales help the author in terms of unit sales of the product? No, but why should they?

Do the re-sales help build awareness of product? Most likely (cf. arguments in favor of Napster, et al), but not terribly easy to prove.

In any case, if Amazon can construct a profitable secondary market, good for them. That's what capitalism is all about. If the publishing houses wish to get in on the game, great -- let them build used-book marketplaces.

If not, tough. If they feel they're being insufficiently compensated, let them raise prices. Don't suggest, though, that they have the right to a "tax" on secondary purchases of their goods...

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  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>