From The New York Times, By HAL R. VARIAN
Published: July 28, 2005
The Internet is a bargain hunter's paradise. Ebay is an easy example, but there are many places for deals on used goods, including Amazon.com.
While Amazon is best known for selling new products, an estimated 23 percent of its sales are from used goods, many of them secondhand books. Used bookstores have been around for centuries, but the Internet has allowed such markets to become larger and more efficient. And that has upset a number of publishers and authors.
In 2002, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sent an open letter to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon.com, which has a market for used books in addition to selling new copies. "If your aggressive promotion of used book sales becomes popular among Amazon's customers," the letter said, "this service will cut significantly into sales of new titles, directly harming authors and publishers."
But does it? True, consumers probably save a few dollars while authors and publishers may lose some sales from a used book market. Yet the evidence suggests that the costs to publishers are not large, and also suggests that the overall gains from such secondhand markets outweigh any losses.
Read more (registration to the NYT site, which is free, is required): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/28/technology/28scene.html?ei=5070
Posted by at August 3, 2005 4:50 PM