Okay, I’m familiar, from watching friends’ books get published, with the fact you can often buy “used” copies on Amazon even before the book is formally available. I assume these are usually review copies the reviewers have dumped on the market.
I haven’t tried working out the economics of this. Do reviewers make the majority of their income from selling their review copies? Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this. (Perhaps my pal David Thayer, who receives review copies by the cartload.)
In any case, I’m not puzzled that Shock and Awe, which is now available on Amazon (subtle hint), should be accompanied by a bunch of offers to buy copies from other sources, in mint conditions, at lower prices. But why would anyone be offering to sell on Amazon for above Amazon’s price? Amazon is selling the book for £9.89. Two people want to sell it for about £8.90—so far so good. But the rest of the offers are all around £11.99. What’s the point of that? Are there people who go onto Amazon but refuse to buy books from Amazon but still buy books through Amazon? Is there a special Executive Edition of the book out there that plays a tune when you open it?
A little over a week ago, Faye Booth updated the ever-expanding list of online retailers handling her forthcoming Cover the Mirrors (subtle hint). She raised an eyebrow at the fact the book was being handled by Computer Manuals.
Being a nosey parker (which I discovered from reading Edward Charles’ In the Shadow of Lady Jane, actually means being a nosey gamekeeper—who knew?), I checked to see if Computer Manuals was also handling Shock and Awe, or if they’d somehow decided that Cover the Mirrors was a new programming language.
Indeed, when I searched on Isaak, I found that they were selling my book (three cheers for them!). There it was, listed right between Russian Space Suits: Soviet/Russian Space-Suit History by Isaak Abramov and A. Ingemar Skoog, and The Compleat Angler by Isaak Walton. Shock and Awe: £10.94. Computer Manuals seems to sell a complete range of fiction, including self-published novels from the United States.
But someone called Computer Manuals is listed twice on Amazon as wanting to sell copies for £11.99…
Is this a shell game? A tax dodge? A system by which terrorist communicate commands to their distant cells?
The book business is really odd.