Amazon is calling on used-book sellers and writers to send letters to the President of the Authors Guild, giving him what-for in return for his campaign to get writers to sever ties with Amazon to protest Amazon's practice of selling used and new books together. This is a stupid, reactionary response to an innovative idea that will drive more sales, especially for new writers (ahem), and the Authors Guild is way out of line here.
Here's some of my letter:
I'm quite distressed at the Authors Guild's reactionary position
on Amazon's used-book service. As a new author whose books will
be published as $25+ hardcovers, my principal challenge will be
to find a way to introduce my work to new readers. The
intershelving of used and new books has been shown to be an
effective means of driving sales of new authors -- I discovered
this myself when I was a bookseller, and it's an experience that
has been replicated in many bookstores, from corner operations
like my local genre bookstore, Borderlands Books, all the way up
to Powell's Books, the largest bookstore in the world.
What's more, the Amazon used-books service does not push the
bounds of established copyright law or practice *at all*. The
right of a consumer to resell the property s/he's lawfully
acquired (called the Doctrine of First Sale) is the reason that
we are able to have used bookstores at all. Also, yard-sales,
charitable donations, library discard sales, collectibles sales,
etc and so forth.
Indeed, one of the most revolting characteristics of many e-book
technologies is that they abridge this right -- think of all the
tens of millions of books donated to schools and libraries, sent
to prisons and literacy programs, passed from friend to friend or
within a family. The Doctrine of First Sale makes all of this
possible. READ THE WHOLE LETTER...
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