Is the rise of reselling books on the internet destroying publishing? Book lover David Steitfeld thinks it might be.
The explosion of people selling used, nearly new and rare books online means readers can save money if they are willing to wait a while for a new book to make its way to these re-sellers. And it’s not just Amazon. There are over 20,000 such booksellers around.
The upside is that never have so many old, classic, out-of-print books been available so widely, so easily and so inexpensively to so many book lovers. The downside? Maybe it is killing publishers.
But then I wondered, Could Kindle actually be the answer? Digital publishing is coming whether we like it or not. Those in publishing (e.g., me) approach it with a combination of excitement and fear. With a Kindle ebook, however, you can’t loan it or resell it for pennies (or for any price) as you can with print books. It totally eliminates the online reseller phenomenon that Streitfeld is so concerned about.
Has Jeff Bezos saved us once more? Or is it an anomaly on the path to our digital future?