Used copies of my book are appearing on Amazon, but the book hasn’t even been printed yet! What gives?
New authors are frequently surprised and confused by the listings for “new and used” copies of their brand-new book on Amazon.com, eBay, and other sites. They are not stolen books or unreported sales. These online “virtual booksellers” are pulling title and inventory information from Bowker or Ingram’s electronic database feed, and they rarely have the books in their possession. Because the books are listed months before the official pub date, they may show up as “used” but they aren’t really used, or even available. The used books dealer will order from a wholesaler like Ingram if and when one of their customers orders the books from them. Yes, a new book. Priced like a used book. Their business model is to make just a little on each book and make it up in volume. Typically, the price per book will be quite low, but the shipping and handling fees are high. Since Amazon often offers discounts and free shipping, in the end, there may be little to no savings. Used books are one of the fastest growing segments of the industry, but not all used books are, in fact, used.