Bezos Bites Back


Aaron Tunn passed along an email from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos who is responding to the Author\'s Guild.

He calls them a small, but vocal organization that from time to time has advocated charging public libraries
royalties on books they loan
out and says the used books business does not take
business away from the sale of new books.

Email is below:\"I\'m writing on behalf of to request your help with something I
think is important to the used book industry.

As you may have read in the newspapers over the past few days, we\'ve been
criticized by the leadership of a small, but vocal organization because we
sell used books on our website. This group (which, by the way, is the same
organization that from time to time has advocated charging public libraries
royalties on books they loan
out) claims that we\'re damaging the book industry and authors by offering
used books to our customers. They would have us stop offering used books,
or at least put them in a separate section of our store instead of on our
high traffic detail pages.

First, their assertion that used books hurt the book industry and authors is
not correct. We\'ve found that our used books business does not take
business away from the sale of new books. In fact, the opposite has
happened. Offering customers a lower-priced option causes them to visit our
site more frequently, which in turn leads to higher sales of new books while
encouraging customers to try authors and genres they may not have otherwise
tried. In addition, when a customer sells used books, it gives them a
budget to buy more
new books.

Second, and perhaps more disturbing, is the implication that used
booksellers don\'t care about authors. I\'m sure this bothers you as well,
but let me be super-clear-- is now, and has always been,
supportive of and good for authors. We do care about authors, and the way
we have operated our business demonstrates it. From the start, we\'ve
carried a broader selection of titles and authors than anyone else, and
we\'ve expanded that selection through the years via Advantage, a
program that\'s introduced customers to thousands of independent publishers
and authors. We\'ve also helped authors by discounting hundreds of thousands
of titles by 30% (rather than only discounting a select handful of New York

Third, when someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell
that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone
understands this.

Finally, and most importantly, offering used books is simply good for
customers. It makes out-of-print books available and other books more
affordable. Making books affordable is a fundamental good (as are
libraries). This is why we\'ve worked so hard (with used booksellers like
you) to offer customers a huge selection of used books-- and our customers
have voted with their wallets that they find this service valuable. Why
would any company that cares about customers bury or hide a service that
customers find valuable?

Here\'s where you can help. Please write an email to the Executive Director
of the Authors Guild (the leadership of which orchestrated this campaign)
explaining how the sale of used books actually helps
> the entire book industry. Of course, a polite and civil tone is
appropriate-- these are good people who haven\'t had input on all sides of
this issue. You may agree with the points above, or you may have your own
reasons, but please share them with the Authors Guild. If you make a living
from selling used books, please mention that too. You can email the Authors
Guild\'s Executive Director, Paul Aiken, at:

[email protected]

(Please \"cc\" us at [email protected].)

Thanks for all your support and we look forward to continuing to work with
you to bring lower prices and better selection to our customers.


Jeff Bezos
Founder and CEO\"

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