In the last month, the publishing world was rocked by discovering of yet another new Amazon update allowing third party sellers to bid on the default “buy now” button on a book’s Amazon page. A huge outrage sounded out from indie authors and indie publishers, if third party sellers bought that button and now had their discounted copies highlighted, their sales numbers and royalties were sure to be affected.
Amazon has tried to clarify this issue by claiming that third party sellers only selling new copies of the book were eligible to bid on the “buy now” button. But there still is the concern of where these books are coming from and whether the authors and publishers will see any of the money they are owed. And if they see any of that cash, it won’t be much as third party sellers typically list their wares less than the price set on Amazon so they can remain competitive.
In the meantime, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) has a proposition to all you indies out there: check out who the seller is for your books. You can see this yourself by going to your book’s Amazon page, look all the way to the right where the “add to cart” button is (this is the infamous “buy button”), and look who is listed above that button where it says “Sold by _______”. If your book is sold by Amazon.com, that means Amazon is selling the book straight from the publisher and you are good to go. If it says your book is sold by someone else, then that is a third party seller.
IBPA’s call to action doesn’t end there, they want you to purchase your book if it is sold by a third party seller, and when your book arrives, carefully example it and see if it looks like it is a new book. Post what you find your book’s condition is on Twitter using the hashtag #IBPAAmazonBuyButton.
If there is enough proof that these third party sellers are not selling brand new books, Amazon will have to make some changes to this new policy. We need to prove to Amazon this “buy button” is getting taken advantage of by some third party sellers.
Read more about IBPA’s call to action about Amazon’s “buy button” at IBPA Online.