This article was a topic of discussion on a email list today — seems like this discussion recurs in the fall. I wonder why? Internet Grows as Factor in Used-Book Business
Over all, used-book purchases accounted for $2.2 billion, or 8 percent, of the $26.3 billion that American consumers spent in 2004 on books of all types. That total was up 11 percent from the previous year, the study found.
“The growth reflects how easy is has become to sell used books and to create inventory in this business,” Jeff Abraham, the executive director of the [Book Industry Study Group], said in an interview.
[…] Publishing companies and authors have long expressed concern over used-book sales, saying they cannibalize potential sales of new books and, because they generate no royalties for authors or revenue for publishers, they harm the ability of authors and publishers to make a living.
“It certainly is a threat,” Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Authors Guild, said in an interview. The guild has complained in particular about Amazon.com, whose Internet site offers consumers the ability to buy used copies of a book on the same screen where it offers new copies. In many instances, used copies are made available for sale by outside parties almost as soon as a new book goes on sale.
See also Donna’s summary here: In Praise of First Sale, Part IIEmail This Entry