Will we see rare and ancient volumes on kindle?
Amazon can lay an ever-bigger claim to being the largest independent bookseller in the world, with today's news that the "etailer" has agreed to acquire AbeBooks. AbeBooks, a major player in the online marketplace, says it offers "over 110 million primarily used, rare and out-of-print books listed for sale by thousands of independent booksellers from around the world."
amazon.com is already promoting used-book traders by posting links to their sites, which is very irritating for authors who check the amazon page of the latest book, to see the prices of used copies of the same book advertised -- sometimes before the book is out! -- with an invitation to the customer to compare prices, and then hit the link to the used book firm. Not only are no royalties paid on secondhand books, but the publisher gets no money from subsequent sales, either. Let's face it, the practice is detrimental to the economics of publishing, which means that amazon is biting the hand that feeds it.
Obviously, however, commissions paid by booksellers who have bought into the program have proved profitable enough to make the deal attractive to the bean-counters there.