On Used-Book Sales

January 2003
by Cynthia Brian & George DeTellis Jr.

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Dubious Definitions & an Argument for Residuals
by Cynthia Brian

An interesting thing happened on my way to becoming a PMA member!
During the past year, the Authors Guild sent out notices advising members not to list their books on Amazon.com or to link to the Amazon site because of Jeff Bezos’s practice of selling “new-used books” at half the retail price. Sometimes angry authors would write to the Guild’s newsletter editor and complain that Amazon seemed to be selling consumers “review” copies of books (at deep discounts) that weren’t even in the stores yet. This was very troubling news.
With rapid resolve, I typed in the URLs for my two books (published by HCI and Ten Speed Press) and found that several copies were listed as “brand new, never been read.” These “used-new” books were cheaper than my author price from the publishers. My alarm signals surged, but what could I do about it?

My Test Case

This year, I decided to become a bona fide publisher with my 13th edition of my comprehensive career guide for actors and models, The Business of Show Business. For the past several years, I had published this manual with a spiral binding for the San Francisco acting community, printing the copies as needed.  It sold more than 25,000 copies by word of mouth. Since I was now getting orders through my Web site from around the U.S. and sometimes from foreign count…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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