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Amazon revisited

Some of you may remember a couple years ago when I posted a tirade about Amazon and their attempt to strong arm print on demand publishers into using their own printing service. Well, I did some checking to see whatever happened with that and it turns out that an anti-trust suit was filed by rightfully upset publishers and, unable to get the suit dismissed Amazon ended up settling. Good on the publishers for standing up to them and not letting themselves be swatted around.

Now, this being said I should make a confession. Some months ago I quietly started buying used books, occasionally, from Amazon. It seems like there’s no escape from the beast. And, given that they’ve backed down in their attempt to fuck with the publishing industry, at least in this respect, I seem to have found a way to assuage my conscience a little.

So, with all this in mind I’ve decided that I will start linking back up to Amazon (and the publisher of course) when I review or write about books. The simple fact of the matter is that most readers will buy from Amazon and I’m not helping authors or publishers out by not linking to Amazon. So there you have it. I’ve sold out just a little bit more. But if people get more books because of it, then at least some good has been done.


  1. Online Bookbuyer wrote:

    Have you tried any of the other used book selling databases on the internet, such as or ? What has the quality of the used books been like that you’ve purchased via Amazon?

    Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    Oh yeah, I use many other book selling sites. Generally I don’t see a major difference in quality between sites, its really more between sellers’ accuracy in their descriptions.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink
  3. Gary wrote:

    Amazon is hard to avoid, but linking to indiebound can also get books sold and helps people find local bookstores. Customers can also create wish lists, which is one of my favorite things about Amazon too.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  4. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    I find a mixture of Amazon, big distributors, and smaller publishers is inevitable. Ironically, in contemporary classical music, you can get a supremely mixed set of results. One CD I bought I had to get through a massive bargain bin on-line retailer that some snobbier classical guitarists like to boycott because, get this, the label that produced and distributed the album wouldn’t get back to me when I said I wanted to order the CD! On the flip side, Amazon’s German website WOULDN’T let me order a CD I wanted so I ended up contacting the German label directly and just ordered it from them.

    I ended up having to use Amazon’s third party vendor system to get my copy of N. T. Wright’s Climax of the Covenant. It took a while for the super-Reformed pundits to finally get around to that one but it’s a worthy read, and I admittedly was stuck trying to find the book through other ways because I’m not sure it’s in print anymore and I wasn’t going to just keep the library copy I checked out. :)

    Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  5. Dave Mesing wrote:

    Is it almost or equally as bad to buy used from other sellers via Amazon?

    Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  6. WenatcheeTheHatchet wrote:

    Things vary dramatically with other sellers via Amazon. My experience with some were very negative, with others positive, and with others mostly good with some bad patches (some vendors who are sold on manga reprints aren’t so good at flagging down bootleg DVDs–if you can find third-party vendors on Amazon that have out-of-print CDs of Orthodox music and liturgy I’m afraid you’re probably in a seller’s rather than a buyer’s market!). There was one book on sale by George Oldroyd for a freakish amount of money that I bought through a standard brick and mortar (Borders, no less) by asking for a search to be placed on the ISBN#. When I bought the book they told me most of the money was going into the search and that the book itself didn’t really cost too much since it was a cast-off from a library system. Oldroyd’s The Technique and Spirit of Fugue is for us music theory nerds sort of like a first run early issue of Spiderman comics for comics nerds. But I’m clearly just going off on a tangent. :)

    Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink
  7. adamsteward wrote:

    They all have different strengths. Amazon is nice because it has the best boolean search capacities, and then lists the results with separate group listings for each edition of the book (and also keeps a listing with all the information even when there are no copies of that edition available). Abe (now owned by Amazon) is nice because is allows you to do a simple author-title search which will list all editions of that book together. Abe also has the best showing of international booksellers (especially UK), and tends to have the cheapest prices. Alibris is the most professional site since it charges dues and takes the largest commission. There you will generally be dealing with a reputable seller, but you will also pay more for it. Antiqbook is the best for searching an individual bookseller’s inventory such as, ahem:

    Online booksellers have definitely changed the game, and there is no going back. Use them, but use them responsibly. If at all possible, avoid patronizing such scavenging bitches as betterworldbooks or greenearthbooks and pay the few dollars more to get the book from the bookseller trying to make an honest living (and who probably isn’t outright lying in his description of the book). If you live in a city with a decent used book store, just put their number in your phone and make it your practice to check with them before going online.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

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