In the Letters section of today's New York Times Alfred Glossbrenner, an author, suggests that the used book market on the internet is having serious effects on the earnings of authors and publishers. He uses, as an example, John Updike's latest book which had an initial print run of 150,000 with a list price of $25. According to Glossbrenner he can buy a used copy of the book from Amazon, pay a shipping cost of $3, then sell it again for nearly what he paid for it, thus being able to enjoy Updike's prose for approximately $3.
The cycle continues. The book is sold again and again while the author and the publisher were paid for only one book.
Glossbrenner suggests that in future no more that 10,000 copies of any book will be printed and that they will circulate through cyberspace ...'like a sparking cloud, a veritable Van Allen belt of books.'