From author Douglas Preston (does remember him?) via The New York Times Opinion Page: Last March, Amazon quietly changed the sells books. An obscure and seemingly harmless modification to its website has opened the door for some third-party sellers to deceive Amazon’s customers by selling books as “new” that may not come straight from a publisher or its wholesaler, thus depriving authors royalties they should have earned from the sale a new book. Amazon decided to allow third-party sellers to be atop the primary purchase for new books, a spot previously reserved for Amazon’s own inventory, which comes directly from the publishers. Approved third-party sellers “win” this placement through a secret algorithm that considers, among other things, price, availability, seller’s rating and shipping time. In doing so, Amazon abdicates its as the retailer on its own website. The main requirement is that the books by the third-party seller must be “new.” So when you, the customer, hit that main buy , you should always to get a brand-new book, right? Not necessarily. To explain why, we have to take a journey into the underbelly of the book market. […]

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