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Authors Guild To Members: De-link Amazon.com 458

Posted by chrisd
from the fascist-authors-guild dept.
theodp writes: "Angered by Amazon.com's practice of offering [prominently placed] used editions of relatively new titles, the Authors Guild is urging authors to replace Amazon.com links on their web sites with links to Barnesandnoble.com and BookSense.com. 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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Authors Guild To Members: De-link Amazon.com

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  • by Hittite Creosote (535397) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:14AM (#3315140)
    Can I expect to see pickets of authors next time I go to a library?
    • Re:What next... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by kpetruse (572247) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:17AM (#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.
      • (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.
      • Car manufacturers have been known to sell even new cars at cost - if the buyer is taking financing through their firm.
      • Re:What next... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by WowTIP (112922)
        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.
      • "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."

        Oh, I don't know. Maybe the fact that Amazon doesn't actually create the products they facilitate the sale of, used or new. Maybe the fact that used car sales are an essential component of marketing new cars (the trade-in market). So much so that many manufacturers have their own "certified" used car programs (Honda's and Mercede's being the most prominent right now).

        • >Oh, I don't know. Maybe the fact that Amazon
          >doesn't actually create the products they
          >facilitate the sale of, used or new.

          Car dealerships manufacture their own cars now?

          >Maybe the fact that used car sales are an
          >essential component of marketing new cars (the
          >trade-in market). So much so that many
          >manufacturers have their own "certified" used car
          >programs.

          And it's far from unlikely that people who are selling books on Amazon and E-bay won't use some of the profit to buy more books. I myself do this.

          So the analogy isn't perfect. None are. But the point is that the transaction happens with no benefit to the original seller because they already sold it.

          Matt
    • Re:What next... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Blikkie (569039)
      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... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by david.given (6740) <dg@cowlark.cCURIEom minus physicist> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:45AM (#3315248) Homepage Journal
      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... (Score:4, Informative)

        by someone247356 (255644) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:21AM (#3315511)

        Last I knew in the U.S. (unless there's yet another sneaky law just around the corner) we have something called the "First sale doctrine" it basically boils down to the copyright holder looses the right to say what you can do with a work, (book, CD-ROM, VHS tape, etc.) once they have sold it to you. You can lend it, sell it, give it away, burn it, wallpaper your bathroom, or wipe your bottom with it. The only thing you can't do is make copies and sell them (I think with the NET law you can't make copies and give them away either).

        So a library just has to buy a book like anyone else and they have the right to loan it out as often as the like. No additional charge levied or required. Sometimes a publisher will produce a "library edition" which has a better binding for libraries, and probably cost more.

        That's one of the reasons that e-book publishers are so upset over libraries. They want to license the title, not sell it.

        We've bought into that silliness with software and now they want to push that lucrative, rights withering model to everything else. Licensed music, movies, books. Seems like a real convenient way to get around silly little things like the "First Sale Doctrine" and "Fair Use".

        The problem is that unlike software, or even movies, books have been around near forever and people (especially libraries) have gotten used to actually BUYING books.

        Unlike the disorganized groups of people fighting EULA's and the MPAA/RIAA, libraries are pretty well organized.

        They have the added PR benefit of being real hard to miscatagorize as "evil, thieving, hacker pirates, hell bent on bringing down the American way".

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

          by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:34AM (#3316207) Homepage Journal
          (I think with the NET law you can't make copies and give them away either)

          In general, it's the making a copy part that's prohibited, not the what you do with it. You can buy a work and give it away on the NET, so long as you don't make a copy in the process. When you figure out how to do that, let us know.

          The problem is that unlike software, or even movies, books have been around near forever and people (especially libraries) have gotten used to actually BUYING books.

          This is an excellent point which is often overlooked, but it goes much deeper. Think about state of the art computing ten years ago (1992). The 386's were just begining to gain popularity, and Windows 95 was just a proposal on Microsoft's 5 year plan. If you were "computer literate" back then, you likely bought (or otherwise acquired) some software to run on it. How much of that software do you still have? How much of it will still run on any sort of computer you still have access to?

          Go back another decade to 1982, the era of the Commodore Vic20 and the Timex/Sinclair ZX80/ZX81. Apple's Macintosh wouldn't hit the market for another two years yet; their Apple ][ was dominant. How much of that software do you still have? How much of it will still run on any sort of computer you still have access to today? Emulation is fair game.

          And that's just looking twenty years into the past.

          Now think about electronic media going forward. You know that eBook you bought last week? Do you think your eBook reader will still be running 10 years from now? 20 years? Do you think your license will still be valid? What about that DVD? How long do you suppose you have before the 'new and improved' DVD players won't play the 2002-format DVD's, even if you've kept them in mint condition? And you can bet DMCA-like laws will make emulation a non-option.

          Now go to your bookshelf and see if you can find a book with a copyright date in the 1992 or 1982 era. Got some? Can you still read them? Is the information still relevant? Heck, I've got magazines from back then, some of which I haven't got around to reading yet. I've got paperback (disposable) books from the 60's. I have hardcover books a century older than those. In many cases, the publisher is long out of business, but fortunately my license (and ability) to read those books is not dependent on the publisher being around.

          I can't fault the authors or publishers for choosing the more money option over the less money option, and I guess they think there's more money for them if a new copy is sold over an old copy being resold. But what we see here again is the age old truism that businesses like dumb consumers. Where education will lead the consumers to purchase less product, a business has only one incentive to educate or inform: competition. This is why the Author's Guild is reacting against Amazon; in this case, Amazon is providing a service which is beneficial to consumers at the (percieved) expense of the members of the Author's Guild. It also shows how important competition and the free exchange of information has become in this new wired world, and how damaging a monopolistic construction, or the obstruction of free information flow can be.

          • Re:What next... (Score:3, Insightful)

            by VAXman (96870)
            A more fruitful analogy would be recorded music. You can buy a turntable in any stereo shop which will play anything made in the last 50 years, and if it does 78 RPM, it will go back 100 years. CD's from 20 years ago can still be played like new. Videotapes, too.

            Any industry in its infancy has multiple standards which get sorted out in the longrun. A hundred years ago there were all sorts of competing standards for records, but one won out. Twenty years ago there was all sorts of competition for computer platforms, now there's one. And BTW you should be able a twenty year old DOS program on a modern PC.

            So it's likely that the e-book industry, if it is to grow, will evolve the same way.

  • by The.Nihilist (543140) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:21AM (#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!
    • The "complaint" is just that authors want more money from new book purchases.

      There's nothing wrong with wanting that. Hell, if I were an author, I'd want people to buy new copies of my book rather than recirculating old copies. If the Authors' Guild help out their constituents by directing more sales to B&N, where presumably they would get more new book sells, then more power to them. If they're affective, then Amazon will learn and then modify their display tactics in order to regain business.

      It's a capitalistic society and the Authors' Guild is just playing it.
  • 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.

    • by jgerman (106518) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:38AM (#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.
    • As an author... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by agshekeloh (67349)

      Yes, this group represents all writers who join, in the same way Congress represents the US citizenry. The phrase "tyrrany of the majority" comes to mind. It's a committee, with all that that entails.

      The Guild requested members not link to Amazon. Individual members can decide whether or not to comply.

      Personally, I will comply. Here's why.

      As a new author with my third book [nostarch.com] coming out, I have a simple goal: make a living doing something I enjoy. Some people enjoy systems administration, or get the warm fuzzies from nursing or working in a pet shop. I want you to read my stuff. If you enjoy it, I want you to buy more of it. As an author, it's my job to make damned sure you enjoy it. Used bookstores assist in this goal, for reasons detailed elsewhere in this discussion.

      I would prefer you bought my books new. I would also prefer that my publisher paid me a royalty of $500 per copy sold. And, while I'm at it, I'd like a pony.

      These days, the economics of writing are harsh. We're being squeezed by publishers in the same way users are being squeezed by publishers. (I'm very lucky to have a publisher who is not only reasonable, but downright generous. It's also a small company, which explains a lot.) The DMCA is a weapon to be used against users, but the publishing contract is a weapon to be used against writers. When you have a one-on-one relationship, and one party is freakin' huge compared to the other, the big guy don't needs laws to enforce his will.

      If your name isn't headline material, you're shafted. The advance on a novel in 1960 was about three thousand dollars. The advance on a novel in 2000 was about three thousand dollars. You do the math.

      As an outhor, not linking to Amazon is a good idea. There are other vendors that will sell books that will put more money in my pocket. In this context, asking Amazon to not display used books so prominently is reasonable.

      It's also reasonable for Amazon to say no.

      The real problem here is the majority of publishing companies. More books are published, by volume, than ever before. Fewer individual authors are published than ever before. Most of the books on the Web are crap -- the technical content is OK, but when was the last time you read a good, new, Web-only novel? The "publishing explosion" of Web stuff is simply an explosion of compost with a few diamonds strewn through it.

      I long for the day when print-on-demand becomes possible for mainstream distribution, and new authors can have their works available. But by that time, the publishing companies will have tightened the "standard contract" so far that an author will no longer own their own work. It's already happening, much as it happened to the music business.

  • 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 half.com [half.com] or Amazon [amazon.com] 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 [edwardtufte.com].

    • by HT5 (54366) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:37AM (#3315218) Homepage
      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?
    • Taco,
      They DID see money from the sales of that book. They got their cut when was first sold. Why on Earth should they get more money when the person who first bought it sells it to someone else?

      Re-read the article, only substitute "car" for "book" and you will see how silly the complaint sounds. When I sell my old Civic should Honda get any money from that?

      Finkployd
  • 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...

    Kierthos
  • 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 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quila (201335) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:26AM (#3315180)
    Through DMCA and other legislation, and now pressure from authors, the doctrine of first sale is dying a slow and horrible death.
  • 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 [gnu.org]?

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

    • "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.
  • by Darby (84953)
    I personally will make all of my future online book purchases from Tattered Cover [tatteredcover.com].
    How quickly we forget who [slashdot.org] is standing up for our rights.

  • 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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by krmt (91422) <therefrmhere@yaC ... minus physicist> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:53AM (#3315266) Homepage
      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.
      • by haggar (72771)
        I see the Guild's point, and I don't approve. For too much time and too many things the consumers have been screwed over. Having the option of buying a used copy almost immediately as a book is published, is a pro-consumer thing all around.

        I can see a legit way that the authors could fight this: make the books so good that noone would ever part from them. Tough, but not impossible. No way I will ever sell my copy of "A book on C".
      • 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.

      • So couldn't they just make Amazon send them back the cover of any book that was remaindered? They could still sell it, but not as many people would buy it.
        • No. Covers are only removed from pocket paperbacks. And they couldn't then go and sell them without a cover -- recent paperbacks have the following notice:
          If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book."
      • Your post is quite interesting, and I'm sure that sort of things happens, but the links in the article don't even hint that this is what they're worried about.

        Are you aware if Amazon actually does this? I thought that unsold books were supposed to be destroyed, not resold through other channels. Of course a few books do escape, but not that many.

      • by RocketJeff (46275) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @09:38AM (#3315817) Homepage
        How is the parent to this +5? Rogerborg doesn't know a thing about how books are remaindered or reimbursed for by the publishing companies.

        If Amazon was selling remaindered books, the publishers would sue them so fast it would make their heads spin. The publishers are always on the lookout for people selling remaindered books.

        It's not like it's hard to spot a remaindered book - they don't have covers (that's what is sent back to the publishers for the refund).
      • Have you even bought or sold used books on amazon? I have and amazon's used book sales is not even close to what you are describing.

        The used books sales in amazon are mostly person to person sales. For example, I buy a book, I finish reading the book, I want to sell the book. I go to amazon.com and post the book I want to sell. Someone else buy the book and I ship the book to the person. All amazon does is facillitate the sale and payment. They don't even see the item. As you can see, this is much akin to ebay's model.

        What you are describing does happen to certain degree for other items but is *highly* dependent on the contracts. Some contracts, amazon is responsible when they get the items, sometimes amazon is in possesion of an item briefly before the item is sold. However, this does not apply to used books section.

        Anyway, visit the site and see what the used books is for yourself before submitting comments.
  • 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.
  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:35AM (#3315211) Journal
    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.
    • 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 =)
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.

      Kierthos
  • 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....

  • by HrVad (572453) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:43AM (#3315239)
    I have instant flashback to some days ago when A.J. from Userfriendly.org 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
  • NYT article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tetrad (131849) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:46AM (#3315249)
    The New York Times has an article [nytimes.com] 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....

    • by Kanon (152815) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:12AM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phunhippy (86447) <zavoid@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @06:46AM (#3315251) Journal
    .... 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)...

  • -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 =)
    • The Guild could invent paper that spontaneously combusted after you read the last page - try to read it again and you're toast!

      at least it'd break the habit for people who read the last page first ;)
  • I search, usually using Google [google.com].
    Well, you tell me who comes out on top [google.com].
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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.

  • 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.
  • by dipfan (192591)
    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 abebooks.com, a co-operative of used book shops around the world. It's great.

  • Tough decision (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pedrito (94783) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:36AM (#3315378) Homepage
    Being an author myself, I can sympathize with the Author's Guild. I spent a great deal of time on my book and just barely made any money off of it to begin with. Had Amazon had this at the time my book came out, I may have never made a dime.

    Unlike movies and CDs, authors main source of benefit from a book is usually the book itself, and if new copies don't sell, the author doesn't make any money.

    With CDs, this isn't really a significant source of income for most musicians. They tend to make most of their money from touring. Movies tend to make most of their money from theatres and selling to video stores (who then rent).

    Authors, unfortunately, usually don't have another source of income from their books.

    That said, there have been used book stores for years, and there should be. There are certainly a lot of out of print books that are made available through this channel that is invaluable to book collectors. If you allow this, you simply have to allow any book to be bought used.

    Then there's Amazon.com. They're a company that is trying to make money. That's their job. They have an obligation to their shareholders to do the best they can to make money. Failure to do that, especially after they've clearly shown that it's a source of income for them, could actually make them liable to stockholders. They'd have to somehow show to their stockholders that the overall benefit would be to remove this feature (such as the Actors Guild putting together a big enough campaign against Amazon to cost them more to implement it than it makes them).

    As an author, I'm torn, but when it comes down to it, Amazon is doing the right thing for them. They have to try to make money.
    • With CDs, this isn't really a significant source of income for most musicians. They tend to make most of their money from touring. Movies tend to make most of their money from theatres and selling to video stores (who then rent).

      Do you have a source for this? Everything I've read says that most tours lose money.

    • Re:Tough decision (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jacobito (95519) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @11:27AM (#3316706) Homepage
      Had Amazon had this at the time my book came out, I may have never made a dime.
      I find this hard to swallow. Do you think Amazon would have immediately made hundreds of used copies of your book available?
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:43AM (#3315400) Homepage Journal
    Would it be so bad if our government, laws, and ethics, revolved around a simple principle ?

    An individual can do anything they like such that it doesn't infringe on anyone elses rights.

    Where there is no "right" to profit, and if you're doing something in the privacy of your own home, no one else is involved, so theres clearly no infringing of anyone elses rights going on.

    I don't want anarchy. You shouldn't be allowed to shoot me, but you should be allowed to buy a gun.
    I shouldn't be allowed to steal a TV (or a copy of Windows), but i should certainly be able to build my own TV or my own windows.

    If i dont feel like paying for aspirin, why shouldn't i just make it myself ?

    When did our system get so unusable. When did it become "Acceptable" to pull this kind of shit ? I expect revolution at some point. I claim that our current system of laws is so complicated that it is not possible to spend even a single second of your life without breaking some law at some level of government. Is it any wonder why there are more people entering law school currently then ther are lawyers, and people have a utter malaise and disrespect for the law in general ?

  • by CDWert (450988) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:47AM (#3315409) Homepage
    Neither does Barnes and Noble, they broker them from data mined and average pricing, off of used book dealers central listings (Abebooks.com Bibliofind.com, etc)

    Heres how it goes, amazon lists ANY book out there look at the lead times on out of print sometime. THEN they Order from a Used book dealer in their distribution channel, theey tak and ADDITIONAL 15% and you (the book dealer) Ship using Amazon shipping materials , lbels boxes, bagging etc, they have supplied, they then to the consumer mark up about another 15% over that (the mandatory 15% cut on YOUR list price).

    Amazon and Barnes and Noble SELL NO USED BOOKS THEMSELVES, they BROKER them PERIOD.

    Want to buy them cheaper ? Got to bebooks.com Bibliofind.com (one even being owned by B&N) and buy direct from the dealer. Youll get a hell of a lot beter deal. PLUS youll get extended information on the book condition not available on Amazon (Especially important for those tasty first editions).

    Amazon will sell you a book they dont have and dont even know wqhereone is , if they can locat it throught their network Great, if they cant they cancel your order. They offer an average pricing based on the books listed previously of that edition/title.

    How do I know these things ?
    My mom in addition to being a F500 exec owns a Rare book shop.

    Check it out if youere a paper head Snowball Books [snowballbooks.com]

    • by karmawarrior (311177) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:15AM (#3315489) Journal
      Amazon just broker, taking a small cut. They don't provide Amazon shipping materials to the seller. It's not dissimilar to eBay, except everything's "Buy it now for..." and the payment system is provided for you. Most of the sellers in my experience are "ordinary people", selling their collections, though there are a few companies that use the system too.

      From what I can work out, B&N doesn't list sales from anything other than affiliated bookshops.

      I've purchased second hand books from both Amazon and B&N, and that's been my experience. Oh, and a note to the authors and publishers: If you really don't want us to buy second hand books:

      • Keep your books in-print. That's, believe it or not, the #1 rule. People can't buy new copies if you refuse to sell them.
      • Don't try selling paperback fiction for $25. I don't care how good the book is, that's excessive.
      • Keep all types of your book (hardback, paperback, etc) in print, rather than just the MMP.
      Asking Amazon to make the second hand option less prominant will not help you, and cheap shots like this will only make you less popular. Less greed and more selling = more sales. More greed and forgetting to sell = less.
      • Actually B&N has bought one of the largest prior listing services, Actually most dealers Became affiliated after they bought interloc, a pre web listing service.

        Amazon does just broker the Out of Print books. Period nothing else, Amazon does not stock one single used out of print book. They provide ALL the shipping materials, there is a difference between the normal amazon purchase procedure and marketplace. Actually they force the dealers to take a 15% cut off of THEIR own list price, Say the dealer wants 100 bucks, Amazon says hey you want to sell to us you sell it to us at 85, then they mark up another 15% to the consumer you pay 115, a total of 30%, PLUS the Dealer MUST pay the shipping cost (not the materials, but the actual postage)

        I guess unless you own, or work with a rare/op shop on a regular basis you would have no clue about how things work, fact is its getting uglier. BUT prices are on the rise because of the web, Amazon has changed my moms shop (Currently over a million titles, the WS is way out of date) literally from a break even to a profitable business. And at the moment they only have a catalog of about 30k titles listed online.

        I agree 100% with the rest of your statements about OP books. The greed has its upside for shops like my moms, she can actuall undersell NEW titles by another 5% less than amazon, B&N anyone, sometimes more. For NEW in Print books, 2 day turnaround.
    • by dipfan (192591)
      No that's not how it works at Amazon - you (or your mom) should have a look at its website.

      Amazon doesn't order books from any second hand dealers, and it doesn't handle the postage and packing - it just facilitates the sale through its Amazon Marketplace thing...

      From Amazon's explanation:
      The order will be sent directly to your seller, and within two days they will ship your item using standard delivery.
      ...
      Please note that since we are not directly involved in the completion of sales arranged on Amazon Marketplace, buyers will need to contact the seller directly....


      Informative? Not very.
      • by CDWert (450988) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @09:06AM (#3315678) Homepage
        ZZZTTTT, that is SEPERATE,

        I need to look at nothing but the back room filled with Amazon shipping materials.

        My mom does approx 5k a month through amazon, its not bad,

        Market place is SEPERATE and DIFFERENT, there complete descriptions, of the same books are listed for a direct purchase, the cut is different.

        You have absolutley no clue what you are talking about.

        The above informationholds true if you purchase it through Marketplace, it does NOT if you order the same book through their main interface while searching, althought the book will return both results.

  • Car showrooms are being persuaded by car manufacturers not to sell both used and new cars. The manufacturers say that they do not make any profit from the sale of used cars, and which is not fair.

    Realators are being persuaded not to sell old houses, and only new ones. Building companies complain that they don't profit from the resale of properties, which isn't fair.

    Ok, so I made that up. Whatever.
  • I think it's OK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jjohn (2991) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @07:58AM (#3315438) Homepage Journal

    I co-wrote this book [amazon.com] and I don't have a problem with Amazon's used book policy. Heck, I wouldn't have been able to read the out-of-print Day of the Triffids without that used book option. While I have great sympathy for full-time authors who need every red cent they can get, I also feel that it is better to look ahead to the next project rather than worry about used book/priracy sales for an old project (I'm looking at you, RIAA). I think focusing on the past (if you aren't a historian) is generally unproductive.

  • Here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Konster (252488) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:00AM (#3315446)
    Couple of things.

    First and foremost this is about the marketability of new IP. Forget all the inadequate comparisons to car dealerships or RIAA or anything in the same vein.

    Publishers depend upon revenue from sales of new IP. Authors of such IP depend upon such sales to do things like feed themselves and their families and forge out a future for themselves. Without publishers of new IP, the authors of such have no way to earn a living and vice-versa.

    No publisher really cares nor do authors care about the sales of old IP. A year or so out and its old hat anyways.

    The beef here is about Amazon selling used but new IP that returns no profit to them but competes against the sales of that which does turn a profit.

    As an author, I do not wish to see my efforts undermined by a retailer in such a fashion. This is a really good step that benefits both sides of the new IP chain.

    On to reality.

    Publishers don't back the Authors Guild. It isn't a national association of publishers; it's a central point of information for authors (hence the name). It operates independently from publishers, so any comparison to RIAA or such is incorrect. While RIAA acts in its own best interests as a collection of business entities, the AG is not self-serving in this respect.

    Here's the letter written by AG to Amazon (OLD NEWS):

    December 11, 2000

    Mr. Jeffrey P. Bezos
    Chief Executive Officer
    Amazon.com
    1200 12th Avenue S., Suite 1200
    Seattle, WA 98144

    Dear Mr. Bezos:

    We are writing on behalf of the more than 8000 members of the Authors Guild and the 278 member companies of the Association of American Publishers to express our grave concern that Amazon's new method of marketing used copies of recently published titles will significantly harm sales of new copies of those titles.

    At the moment, when customers view information about a title on the Amazon Web site, a blue box links users to a screen where they may buy or sell used copies of that title. To encourage them to click on the blue-box link, Amazon informs them of the number of used copies of the work available for sale and of the lowest price available for those copies. With one mouse click, customers depart the new book's screen and enter the used book Marketplace.

    Some of the used books now available through Amazon Marketplace Sellers are very recently published titles. A quick review of the site reveals that used copies of the following works (among what appears to be thousands of others) are available: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver (published October 17), Drowning Ruth by Christina Swartz (published September 27), Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (published May); The River King by Alice Hoffman (published July 13), The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (published September 5), The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (published October 10), and Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan (published November 7). For every title not yet available in used form, the blue-box link allows a reader to list it for sale "in 60 seconds."

    As you know, these Marketplace sales earn no payment for the authors and publishers of the books in question. Only the seller and Amazon are paid. These sales are excluded when calculating sales figures for various bestsellers lists, as well as from the publishers' own sales records of their authors' titles. In addition, Amazon does not appear to have taken any precautions to prevent Marketplace users from selling review copies or other promotional copies not intended for resale.

    We understand that Amazon wishes to provide customers with all manner of services including the ability to buy and sell used books. However, as a leader in the bookselling industry, Amazon's sales practices can have a significantly deleterious effect on new book sales. If your aggressive promotion of used book sales becomes popular among Amazon's customers, this service will cut significantly into sales of new titles, directly harming authors and publishers.

    We're all in this business together. Without talented authors producing a large number of new titles every year, Amazon's sales will certainly suffer. If book authors and publishers aren't adequately compensated for their work, however, then more and more writers will be compelled to pursue other creative outlets and professions. For the sake of authors, publishers, readers and Amazon, a compromise must be found that will not discourage writers from writing or consumers from buying new books.

    We believe the compromise is simple and straightforward: restrict the blue-box link to out-of-print and collectible books and list all used book offerings after all new versions of a title are listed. Our members want nothing more than a fair opportunity to earn royalties for their book sales whatever the sales outlet. We hope that Amazon will respect this very reasonable professional goal.

    We are encouraged by your publicly stated commitment not to hurt authors or publishers with your new Marketplace. We welcome the opportunity to discuss other ways to meet that commitment and would be happy to meet with you or your representatives regarding this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Letty Cottin Pogrebin
    President, Authors Guild Patricia S. Schroeder
    President, Assoc. of American Publishers

  • by s390 (33540) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:03AM (#3315453) Homepage
    Andrew Carnegie was once the richest man in the world, but he dedicated himself - not to extending his steel fortune into monopolies on construction, automobiles, and other durable goods made from steel - but to _public_ access to self-education, information, and knowledge. He literally gave away all of his considerable fortune for this vision.

    He single-handedly funded the establishment of the public libraries all across the United States that have played a large part in the subsequent success of this country over the last century. He believed that improving the lot of his fellow citizens was his obligation, and an honor to achieve. Andrew Carnegie was a truly great man and US patriot.

    Here [clpgh.org] is a brief appreciation. Use Google for more about this great man who funded the libraries that educated the citizens who built this country, defeated the Axis dictators of Europe and Asia in WWII, and stared down the totalitarian dictators in the Cold War. (By the way, the megalomaniac Bill Gates isn't fit to view his grave.)

    But what does this mean for the Authors Guild and their sniveling about Amazon offering used books? Simply this: serious authors (those who aren't just in it for the money) should (and do) measure their success not by royalties, but by how many people read and appreciate their works. They should not care (and the good ones don't) how many people _buy_ their books, but rather, how many people _read_ their books. The wise authors know that if they write well, lots of people will read what they write, and more people over time will buy their new works. It's only marginal authors and (more likely) their publishers who are whingeing at Amazon about the selling of used books online. Trading, lending and borrowing, even giving away used books are all Good Things.

    Now we just need to get the same standards applied for books codified for CDs and DVDs, that is, utterly defeat the RIAA and MPAA attempts at taking over the world.

  • by coats (1068) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:34AM (#3315563) Homepage
    IANAL, but my spouse is :-)

    The law on that point is that the authors have already received all they can expect on the basis of the first sale of the book; they cannot expect nor deserve more. This was codified by the US Supreme Court saying exactly that, back in 1910.

    The theoretics is this: secondary markets (used-X sales, for whatever X you choose) are a characteristic of free markets; attempts to suppress secondary markets are (technically) exercises in fascism.

    The pragmatics are this: for all that Paragraph 1 says that the authors already have theirs, the reality is that probably the publishers got it but the authors never saw it. It makes me sad; an editorial on MediaChannel argues that the habits of publishers would make a good object for antitrust action: see http://www.mediachannel.org/views/oped/bookcontrac t.shtml [mediachannel.org]

  • by Adam J. Richter (17693) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:35AM (#3315566)
    At least in the United States, copyright's purpose is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. If book publishers want to renegotiate the copyright bargain, then we should take a look at moving the balance in other direction, that of reducing the scope and duration of traditional copyright.

    Computers have greatly reduced the time involved in writing, editing, typesetting and printing books since the days of writing a book with a typewriter. Distribution, sales and shipping of books have also been accelerated by technology (printing in more than one location, nearly realtime sales information across entire store chains, etc.).

    Technology also means that the opportunities that copyright impedes have greatly increased. Being able to freely copy material online means that many people do not have to chop down trees to store information. Physical storage of books in digital forms is much more compact. Searching and sharing of free online information is orders of magnitudes easier.

    There is even a secondary opportunity cost to authors in long copyrights: the development of derivative works is greatly limited by copyright when they are outside of "fair use." For example, I think that, given how much time has elapsed, Richard Hatch should be allowed to make his Battlestar Galactica sequel [blast.net], and the rewrite of Gone with the Wind from a black perspective (The Wind Done Gone [csmonitor.com]) should be allowed whether or not the book qualifies as a parody. The opportunities lost by impeding this sharing are increased when the efficiency with which these derivative works can be made is increased (i.e., more potential derivative works that otherwise would be produced are lost during each year of the copyright).

    The costs of creating a book have dropped. The rate at which that investment can be recovered has accelerated, and opportunities that we lose during each year of copyright have increased. In my view, the balance point at which the public benefit of copyright is maximized has been greatly reduced. I believe that it would maximize public benefit to accelerate copyright expiration to about five years, maybe even less.

  • Local Shops (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Amigori (177092) <eefranklin718@ya h o o .com> on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @08:35AM (#3315567) Homepage
    While I do use many of the tools and services that Amazon provides, most of the time though, I end up ordering from my local bookstore, Horizon Books [horizonbooks.com]. Why? Because they can get just as many books as Amazon, their website just isn't as fully featured. Sure, they cost a little more per book, but I feel better knowing that my dollars are returning to the local economy rather than ending up out west.

    Amigori

  • if you are at all interested in getting into the used book trade, i recommend a great book. Its a book about books. They also talk about the different used book sites, the cheapest, etc...

    Used and Rare
    by Lawrence Goldstone, Nancy Goldstone

    You can find the book here [amazon.com]
  • The authors obviously need to supplement their income with large banner ads at the beginning of each page.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @09:01AM (#3315658) Homepage
    ...and I think that's a good thing.

    Not everything in life is a win-win situation, and listing used books possibly has some negative consequences for authors, but it is DEFINITELY a useful service to Amazon's CUSTOMERS, which is where Amazon's focus should be.
  • The ability to resale is an important element of consumer power over corporate control, and therefore consumers must act as citizens to fight efforts like this by the Authors Guild. The Authors Guild is just acting like an ugly stepchild of the MPAA and RIAA, but the beauty of this situation is that the resale of books has *long* since been settled in U.S. copyright law.

    In terms of democracy, individuals have the right to vote with their yard sales. If a book is crap, it deserves to have its retail sales depressed.

  • Scorned. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Mulletproof (513805)
    To de-link Amazon, you'd have to link to em to begin with. I personally never do business with a company that has fired me =p
  • sounds funny to hear that also the authors guild do its part on saving the planet ;) the next step will maybe be a crusade against libraries.
  • Garth Brooks was complaining [planetgarth.com] to the press on how the sale of used CDs hurts artists. He was actually part of a coalition trying to stop the sale of used CDs and was going to withhold sales of his new CDs to stores that also sold used CDs. Although he told Barbara Walters in an interview that he made "more money than my kids' kids could spend"
  • by drew_kime (303965) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:11AM (#3316053) Homepage Journal
    We all hate the RIAA and MPAA, right? We always make the argument that they are trying to prohibit the first-sale doctrine, right? Why is it suddenly a bad thing when Amazon makes it more efficient to exercise your first-sale rights with books?

    As with digital media, the real problem is that initial production and distribution in the current model presents too high a barrier to entry. The producers (record companies, publishers, etc.) end up making the lion's share of the money. We constantly make the argument that if musicians were able to cut out the record companies they would be able to make money even selling at a much lower price -- a price that more people would be willing to pay rather than filesharing.

    It's time to apply that theory to book publishing. If authors were able to go to low volume, on-demand micropublishers instead of the large publishing houses, they could sell their books for a tenth the price and still make money. The market for used books would be much less, because at $3 for a new book, who wants to waste the money on shipping a used one?
  • by StenD (34260) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @10:12AM (#3316055)
    To: staff@authorsguild.com
    Subject: Pressing Amazon.com to alter its marketing of used books

    Dear Authors Guild,
    I have read your letter to Jeffrey Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, and am appalled at your position. Are you next going to attack public libraries for making books freely available for loan, or individuals for loaning a book to a friend? After all, these loans "earn no payment for the authors and publishers of the books in question", meaning that, according to you, "book authors and publishers aren't adequately compensated for their work", "directly harming authors and publishers".
    Clearly, this is ludicrious, but it is the logical next step for your position, which apparently desires a pay-per-use model. Since you have chosen to advise your members to de-link Amazon.com and instead use Barnesandnoble.com and "especially" BookSense.com, I will advise my friends, family, and associates to avoid purchasing new books by your members, and instead patronize used book stores, the Amazon.com Marketplace, and especially public libraries for books by your members.

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