What's faster than the speed of a reading light?
eBay and Amazon sellers hustling "used" books that aren't even on the market yet!
FALL's national release will be Jan. 5, 2007 (although as readers of this blog know, a very limited sneak-preview was allowed in early December) but with almost two weeks before FALL officially debuts, a copy is already on the block at eBay.
Yep, bidding on this unread copy has started at $7.99 and (at the moment) almost five days remain. And any day now, expect to see "used" copies pop up at FALL's Amazon.com page, too.
It's freakish how the cyber-flea market can sell books even before brick-and-mortar retailers can shelve them. And it makes one wonder about the economics of it all, since deeply discounted new copies are available from both Internet and land-based stores.
Of course, the author doesn't make a penny in royalties from these sales. Plus, publishers often "dump" their slightly damaged books on eBay and other auction sites, so you should be especially suspicious of getting a "pig in a poke." And these eBay-style vendors don't often know much (if anything) about what they're selling, because they're simply dealing with too much volume -- and will put a lot more sizzle in the steak than they should. In the case of FALL's eBay seller, she bought it from another eBay seller and immediately put it online ... originally labeling it as a "fiction" (it's not) by a "New York Times best-selling author" (I'm not) that had been pulled from a bookseller's shelf (it wasn't.) Worse, she hadn't read the book ... although her site contains her glowing recommendation. Until I emailed her, she wasn't even aware that the book wasn't on the market yet.
Used-book dealers have been around a long time, maybe since Man began writing things down. But if some ancient form of eBay had been around at the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls, you might have seen a copy for sale the day BEFORE the author wrote "The End" on the last page.