Used Book Sales

NYT: An increase of 10 percent in new book prices would raise used sales by less than 1 percent. Some book authors are concerned that selling used books side-by-side with new books (like Amazon.com does) will cost them money. However, used books drive demand for new books. As Cory Doctorow points out, knowing you can get a good price when you want to sell a book makes it more likely that you’ll buy the new book. And, as anyone can clearly see, used books only exist when new books are available. Why is this interesting? Because many publishers and producers of information (by which I mean everything from science fiction, to software, to music, to databases) are scared that they’re loosing control of that information. The fear is that loss of control means loss of income. In fact, I believe this is not necessarily true: that profit does not require control. See, for example, POSSE: this is a group of entrepreneur’s that do not have complete control of their means of making a living. In fact, they’re attempting to capitalize on the fact that they don’t control the source for the software that they service.

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