A couple of months ago there was a bit of a kerfuffle (to put in mildly) in the publishing world when Amazon announced a change in their “buy box” policy when it came to books. That magical little box that looks a lot like this…
Previously, the buy box for books was always Amazon (see above) which meant that when someone bought a book it was (a) brand new and (b) the publisher (and by default the author) were paid for it. Recently, Amazon changed their policy to allow other third party sellers to “bid” for the buy box and sell “as new” copies of books as if they are new “new”.
So now, we have a buy box that can now look a little something like this…
The impact is huge because, honestly, who really looks at who the vendor is in the buy box? Most people just assume it’s Amazon and that they’re supporting the author by buying their book new. At least I did until this all happened.
So now we have a situation where a whole lot of consumers are clicking on the buy box thinking they are buying a new book when in fact what they are buying are secondhand copies in “as new” condition.
Because Amazon is now the biggest seller of books in the world ultimately this reflects in an author’s sales numbers and could impact on whether or not they receive another contract with their publisher.
There seem to be three ways that books are making their way to this market: