Writers, publishers and board members of Authors Guide speak out for Amazon’s used books
Sylvia Nassar (who sits on the board of the Authors Guild and wrote the bestselling “A Beautiful Mind”) has written a stirring defence of Amazon’s practice of interlisting used and new books.
Well-organized resale markets have often helped, not hurt, producers of other durable goods. An efficient market for used books may allow publishers ultimately to charge more for new ones � and authors thereby to collect higher royalties � without necessarily sacrificing sales. Amazon’s resale service has effectively split the market for new books in two: readers who buy and keep versus readers who buy and resell. They wind up paying different amounts for the same book, just as airline passengers pay different amounts for a seat on the same flight. Take, for example, Michael J. Fox’s new memoir, “Lucky Man.” The cost to the “business-class” customer who buys and keeps the book is $16. The cost to the “economy-class” customer is roughly $7, assuming the customer resells it for $12 and then pays Amazon’s fee and commission. Splitting the market lowers the average cost of owning a book, creating more buyers.
Also, Tim O’Reilly has written a great note from a publisher’s PoV:
Anyone who cares about books and authors should be applauding Amazon’s expansion into the used book market, which is a real boon for consumers, and frankly, even for authors. As a publisher, I’m willing to take the chance that I’ll lose a sale to a used book if that means that books that are otherwise unvailable can be easily found by someone who wants them.