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April 17th, 2002, 10:55 AM
"We believe it is in our members' best interests to de-link their websites from Amazon. There's no good reason for authors to be complicit in undermining their own sales. It just takes a minute, and it's the right thing to do.

Authors should consider linking to other online booksellers, including Barnes&Noble.com (bn.com) and especially BookSense.com, the online hub for independent booksellers."

This is in response to Amazon's sale of used books. Opinions and comments?

April 17th, 2002, 07:14 PM
Not sure I understand the implications or why there was a need for the recommendation in the first place. Can you expand on this some please, Gary?

[This message has been edited by erebus (edited April 17, 2002).]

April 17th, 2002, 07:52 PM
It is not just that Amazon sells used books, but that they generally sell them even before the new book is out (review copies), pointedly push them, and even e-mail those who have just bought new copies to sell them again.

Someone else could probably explain it better. Suffice to say, they are promoting used sales over new, cutting into author's sales. Authors are at the bottom of the publishing chain and get the least out of the cost of the book (on average 4-6% of a paperback price, for instance.) Amazon did not even want to hear about a 30-day waiting period.

Those who enjoy new authors will find that this especially hurts their chances of selling enough to continue on.

No, I am not exaggerating.

April 18th, 2002, 04:27 AM
richard - you stated it quite well. and of course, when a book is resold as a used book, the author gets no royalty at all.
what's even worse, i logged on to amazon a few weeks ago i noticed that if i checked the availability of my books, amazon said they were backordered, but they had 'used' ones available for sale. the fact is, GemQuest is a POD book and is always available. i emailed them at amazon and complained, and sure enough, the next day, they showed the book with a 24 hour delivery! it seems that they are promoting used books over new purchases for some reason. i have not pulled my listings from amazon, as the author's guild suggested, since they no longer offer the book used since i contacted them.

April 26th, 2002, 01:57 AM
I think the whole issue is totally overblown:
How many review books are out there perhaps 30 per book, Even if every one is sold three times that's the royality of at most 100 books, an author looses, now the usual royality is 8%, if 8% of 100 books cut decesivly into the income you get from your book, sorry then you can't make a living from your writing anyway.

But others (and professional writers to boot) have put all the arguments together than I ever could. Check out Neil Gaiman's journal at Neilgaiman.com and even better Eric Flint in the recent introductions to Baen's Free library where they have whole books for free download: (Prime Palaver 7 and 8)

April 26th, 2002, 05:05 AM
As far as I am aware, the money from used books doesn't go to Amazon, just to the readers who decide they want to part with the books.

I have no problem with used books, but then again I am not an author yet. I do not think I'll have a problem even then though.

To those of you that are authors, did you adopt an anti-used book feeling [if that is indeed what you have] before or after you became published? Honestly?

Amazon reaches a lot of customers, and gets a lot of sales ofr authors. Maybe not for POD authors, but once you become mainstream I am sure there will be benifits from that site.

I just don't think I agree with a 'boycott' of Amazon.

Gary Wassner
April 26th, 2002, 05:12 AM
I have no problem at all with someone selling a used book of mine. in fact, i think it's a good idea. what bothered me was that amazon seemed to be pushing the viewer to the used books instead of the new one by stating that the new ones were backordered while the used ones were available immediately. if they offered both, fine! it should be the buyer's discretion how much they wish to spend and whether they care if the book is new or used.
in some case in fact, it promotes sales because a new book can be too costly for some. i just want people to read what i write! it isn't about the money!

Steven Savile
April 26th, 2002, 10:42 AM
There is a very serious point to this argument that is being overlook guys, and that is simply that in the performance related world we live in new authors have to sell, and even established authors have to sell. What does that mean? Simply but if you land a contract with HarperCollins or BantamSpectra or AvonEos, these guys will have a target that you have to sell (the accountants that is) in order to warrant a second contract, or third, or forth. A number of very good authors get dropped, like Angus Wells from the Bantam list, because they aren't hitting the sales figures necessary to warrant being kept on the list... so they cut him. Now, if Amazon or Half.com or whoever are offering your brand spanking new debut novel at half the price or less for a NF/F/VG copy (nearly fine, fine, of very good) odds are a number of people will take that option. What number? Well, if I need (as a debut author) to sell 30-40,000 copies in the US to keep my spot on my publishers list, and amazon are linking up customers with copies that I won't get the credit for selling (not the money - just the acknowledged sales with the numbers men) you can bet it cuts into my sales which in turn diminishes the likelihood of me getting that second contract - I mean, I am a midlist author, not a GRRM, I don't get the maximum PR, I have to rely on good reviews and word of mouth... It is tough enough to sell those 30-40,000 copies, believe me. Remember we are the people we love to read, that we want to continue to read... The poor sods have to contend with bookstore returns, amazon second hand marketing and a lot more - it is a very real danger for the midlist author, and that isn't simply scaremongering.

I'm not anti-used books... I love trawling the second hand bookstores - but I am looking for rare/outofprint titles, not a bargin basement offer of so and so's latest...

I love writing. I love books. I get paid for what I write but I don't do it for the money. I want to make a living at it so that I can write more. I have to sell a certain amount of titles to do that in an already overcrowded marketplace... does this amazon thing help me? No. Does it hurt - honestly, I think it does...

April 26th, 2002, 01:02 PM
I've never really found a 'bargain-basement deal on so and so's greatest' in a used book store. I do find new releases pretty cheap at Powell's or B&N brick and mortar stores after the book has been out for a year. I guess they like to reduce their stock.

I look for rare/OOP books at used bookstores too, but I am also looking for commonly available books as well.

I buy books new when I like what the author has done previously [like Palahniuk, King etc...] or books of a series that I am really into [Goodkind, Dragonlance, Martin, etc...]

As a consumer, I usually try to find the best deal I can, unless my favorites have a new release. If the author engages me in their writings, I will buy everything they put out, usually new if I am reading them as they put stuff out.

As a consumer, I am not looking to purchase in a way that best puts money in the author's pocket. If I want to give a new author a chance, I'll try very hard to find the book in the library or borrow it from a friend. If that fails, I'll try very hard to find it used. If that fails, and if the new author isn't highly recommended to me by people I trust, I won't pick up the book.

I like to spend my money reasonably wisely, and I don't like to take chances on new authors unless those I trust tell me 'I have to read it.' The author has to really grab my attention.

And sometimes they have. I mean, from this forum I've picked up Erikson and really enjoyed him. If I didn't hear good reviews constantly about him, I probably would not have made the leap.

And I am glad that I did, but not every leap ends so happily.

Unfortunately, there is this stigma with POD authors. They have to work three times as hard to get people to pick up their novels, paying full price for them.

i think I'll end this before I go any further. This sin't a POD topic, but a topic against Amazon's practice of pushing used books first.

Personally, I find nothing wrong with the service. They are in business to provide the best service for the customer, not the author. The best service for the customer is usually the best price. They know this and this is what they are doing.

That's all for now.

April 27th, 2002, 04:19 AM
Strapped for cash as I am, I go to the local library and get out books I wish to read. When I get enough money I'll buy the books I've read and enjoyed. I have never considered buying used books. I guess it's just too costly for some people to own the books they want. Someone who is POD published and is good deserves to to recieve the money for their novel to keep the books coming.