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My guess: These are review copies.

Strand bookstore in NYC always had (last time I visited) loads of review copies displayed as such. They weren't as cheap as remainders but were below list.

Here's Strand's link in case looking for your book there interests you.

Laura James

Hm. That's an interesting thought that hadn't occurred to me.

Since there's two books listed by one bookseller, though, I tend to doubt it.

I've gotten a lot of private notes about this post, and two authors tell me that it is not uncommon for used books to turn up on Amazon before a book is even released. As one remarked, "Amazon simply doesn't care. Alas."

When I get review books, I often keep them, but I just don't have room for them all, so I donate some to my local library. I would never dream of selling them used on Amazon. To my way of thinking that would be tacky and cold thanks to a publisher and author who share their work with me.


Robert A. Waters

Laura, do you have any info on how authors get paid when their books are purchased on Kindle? I was never notified by Amazon, but one of my books has been transferred to Kindle. I found out only because I checked it. I've attempted to get info on the payment arrangements for authors, but have received no real news. I have a new book coming out in November and would like to know about this. Anybody have any info? Methinks this might be another Amazon rip-off.

Laura James

Hi Robert,
Hmm... I can see why this would make you wonder! I don't have any ideas, but maybe someone else does. I wonder if your publisher has some information? Of course I know that publisher recently changed hands so.... Do you have an agent?

I posted a note about the Kindle question and the used-before-its-new question on DorothyL and will share any substantive replies.

I don't know if I want my book released on Kindle. Amazon is really raising the hackles on my neck by letting used copies of my book appear, pre-release.

I wonder if my agent can work my next book contract so that "kindle" rights belong to me and aren't sold (or given away).

Robert A. Waters

Any info at all on this would be appreciated. I don't have an agent but hope to get one for my next book.


In Kindle, I believe the publisher arranges this and it is considered regular sales at the list price (on the book rather than the kindle price) and counts against the advance like any other sale, unless your contract with the publisher stipulates e-sales in a different pay scale.

Leann Sweeney

Ah, Amazon. I just received a one star review on my last book. Why? Because the reviewer ordered it used and hasn't received it after 5 weeks. Um ... and exactly what does this have to do with reviewing the book? And why take it out on me? I asked Amazon to remove this as inappropriate, but of course it's still there. Expect anything and everything from Amazon.

As for Kindle, my publisher has the digital rights and they contract for Kindle. Yes, the author gets royalties for Kindle downloads. Let's hope Amazon is honest about that!


Some (dated) trivia re review copies based on my experience/memories.

Strand is a huge Manhattan store. It's ancient and enormous and a wonderful source for used books, remainders and review copies. Because of the prevalence of media people in Manhattan its resale of review copies is no small matter. Their "review copies" counter was near the main entrance and was usually piled with current (and not yet published?) books. On that counter many titles were represented by multiple copies.

A few years ago someone tipped the IRS off to the sell-the-review-copy racket and some reviewers were hit by IRS with penalties, not having declared the proceeds as income. There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

A NYC woman used to advertise in certain periodical aimed at small press publishers claiming she had a book review newsletter and inviting review copies. She never published any reviews (or a newsletter) and -- I am convinced -- sold all books to Strand. (She suckered a copy out of me.)

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