Resurrecting the Book Market of Baghdad (Aditi Sriram, Narratively, 12-30-13) When a car bomb obliterates Iraq’s millennium-old literary heart, a bookseller seven thousand miles away resolves that the voices of Al-Mutanabbi Street will not be forgotten.
Al-Mutanabbi Street was like so many streets all over the world where books are sold, bought, browsed, thumbed through, read. “Anywhere where someone sits down and begins to write towards the truth. Anywhere where someone picks up a book to read. That’s where Al-Mutanabbi Street starts,” Beausoleil says, explaining how the project got its name.

Things Found in Books (Richard Davies, on "Aside from all the letters, torn out newspaper articles, shopping lists, business cards, and postcards (send and unsent), other objects discovered by booksellers include" 40 pressed four-leaf clovers, 40 $1000 bills, and a strip of bacon. Check the insides of those books before you donate or sell them!

World Book Night (spreading the love of reading, person to person). Each year on April 23, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. go out into their communities and give a total of half a million free World Book Night paperbacks to light and non-readers.

Bookstruction, by the Naughty Librarian, delightful book art made from least-used books in libraries, ready for recycling and not moving at book sales.

"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality."
~ Beatrix Potter

“Nobody reads a mystery to get to the middle. They read it to get to the end. If it's a letdown, they won't buy anymore. The first page sells that book. The last page sells your next book.”
~ Mickey Spillane

Quick Links

Find Authors

Acquiring, swapping, or selling books


Bigwords (buy, rent, or sell textbooks--with focus on lowest price)

Bimbambim (Swapping, Not Shopping)

Book Collecting, more info on (RBMS, Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Association of College and Research Libraries, ALA).

Book Crossing: In This Club, Books Free to a Good Roam (Christina Ianzito, Washington Post, 8-11-09), story about, a catch-and-release program, "leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise."
From the Post story: "The best BookCrossing journey has to be that of a copy of Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity,' placed by a Scottish BookCrosser on the summit of a 'wee bittie hill' in the highest village in Scotland six years ago. According to journal entries, it was picked up by someone with the name explorer-21, who wrote, 'hopefully I'll be able to help it on its journey, maybe onto a much bigger hill.' A week later explorer-21 reported having left it on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The book's last entry is from a German physician, who described receiving it as a gift from a patient while he was working at a Tanzanian hospital. ('Thanks for the book!' the doctor wrote. 'It looks a bit battered but still ok.").'

Book and Book Depository UK. Prices differ, but both offer free shipping worldwide.

BookFinder's list of most-sought-after out-of-print books, 2011

BookFinder4U (you give it a title and it scans 130 stores and finds best price for that title; it also rates the stores) (exchange used books: earn points for giving a book away; redeem points to get books you want)

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered. Clive James' classic poem about about literary schadenfreude, as posted by Dwight Garner on the NY Times Paper Cuts blog about books.

BookFinder4U (you give it a title and it scans 130 stores and finds best price for that title; it also rates the stores)

The Book Thing (in Baltimore--"Our mission is to put unwanted books into the hands of those who want them.") Get rid of books you no longer want, or get books donated by others, free. Open Saturdays and Sundays.

Collegebookrenter (rent or buy college textbooks), a searchable database of antiquarian books, maps, prints and autographs offered by the world's leading booksellers, affiliates of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB). Website also lists international book fairs of interest to antiquarian book dealers.

• First Edition Book Values: How Much Is a Book Worth? (Denise Enck, Empty Mirror, on determining value via online sources) See also Enck's story, How to Identify a First Edition Book

• Frequently Asked Questions (of Sellers and Buyers) (Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America)

How to Date Undated Books (Denise Enck, Empty Mirror)

Indie Bound, a community of independent bookstores. Click here for information on how to link to the site, or be an affiliate (getting a fee for sales that come through your recommendation). Many websites link to Indie Bound as well as (or instead of) Amazon and Barnes & Noble, to give regular brick and mortar bookstores a chance to survive. Information here on becoming an Indie Bound affiliate : Link to books on our website or become an affiliate.

Librarians (we love you!). Dave Robicheaux's salute to librarians in Last Car for Elysian Fields by James Lee Burke

Marketing Resources for Web Entrepreneurs (Lisa Angelettie's helpful links)

My life story is written on my bookshelves (Tracey McGillivray, The Globe and Mail, 2-7-12) "Our books show what we’ve cared about, where we’ve visited (or perhaps wished to visit) and the challenges we’ve faced. How could I give that away?"

NovelRank (track your Amazon sales rank)

Oyster (a Netflix for ebooks)

Paperback Swap. a Netflix for used books. For a monthly fee, trade in your used books for credits that can be used to buy the used books of other members. Sister sites: SwapaCD and SwapaDVD.

Paying More to Send U.S. Mail at U.P.S. Stores . Ray Rivera, NYTimes, 12-20-09, investigates wide-ranging markups on U.S. postal service rates at UPS stores. UPS stores charge whatever markup they like, and one Manhattan store suggested prices of $19.90 and $21 on an 8-pound package that cost $8.80 to ship at the post office across the street. Packages sent via UPS and the U.S. postal service both arrived in two days. Check the inventory of popular online bookstores (such as Amazon, Half, and Chegg) and compare prices on all available new, used and rental textbooks.

Used Books for Those in Need (Sondra Forsyth, Family Circle, Feb. 2013) Susan McNeill has made it her mission to put used books in the hands of those who need them, especially children.

Where things are going in book publishing, part 1, Mike Shatzkin's important "What I would have done in London (part 1)" blog entry, a follow-up to his major Stay Ahead of The Shift blog essay. Starts with things "coming right up" and continues with the view of the next 20 to 25 years. Essential reading for booksellers and buyers.

Would you pay $27,500 for book proofs? Emma Mustich,, on the high price of pre-publication copies of literary classics, from "1984" to "Harry Potter"

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How to buy and sell books

• Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It (David Streitfeld, Week in Review, NY Times, 12-27-08), on the rise of a network of amateurs selling books from their homes.
• Bookburro.When looking at a page about a book, this Firefox and Flock browser add-on tells you which online resources, libraries and stores have the same book.
Your Old Books. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries answers frequently asked questions about rare and older books and their value. (For example: What makes a book rare? What is the difference between a rare book and a secondhand book? What kinds of books are usually not rare? What is the difference between a first and limited edition? How can I ascertain a fair price? Who might accept my old books as a donation?) You can also download a compact PDF version of same FAQ answers.
Books about how to buy and sell books

Books about how to buy and sell books

If you purchase anything after connecting to Amazon through one of the following links, this site gets a small commission on the whole sale -- which helps support keeping the site going.
• Internet Bookselling Made Easy! How to Earn a Living Selling Used Books Online by Joe Waynick
• The Home-Based Bookstore: Start Your Own Business Selling Used Books on Amazon, eBay or Your Own Web Site by Steve Weber
• Sell on Amazon: A Guide to Amazon's Marketplace, Seller Central, and Fulfillment by Amazon Programs by Steve Weber (being more specific!)
• How to Sell Books on Amazon: The Stay-at-Home Mom's Secret Guide to Selling Used Books on Amazon by Christine E. Miller
• Amazon Top Seller Secrets: Insider Tips from Amazon's Most Successful Sellers by Brad and Debra Schepp
• Barcode Booty: How I found and sold $2 million of 'junk' on eBay and Amazon, And you can, too, using your phone by Steve Weber (who must have made a fair amount just publishing these books--in this case a book about using cellphone apps to check the value of "finds" at yard sales, retail stores, outlet malls, warehouse clubs, wholesale dealers, bargain basements, and online bulk suppliers)
• Selling Used Books Online: The Complete Guide to Bookselling at Amazon's Marketplace and Other Online Sites by Stephen Windwalker. One reviewer suggests that it needs updating to include services such as Scoutpal, Sellerengine, Aman, Mail Extractor,etc., which allow online sellers to batch-edit large parts of their inventory
• Buying Books Online: Finding Bargains and Saving Money with Booksense Stores, Amazon Marketplace, and Other Online Sites by Steven Windwalker

• The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth by Eric M. Jackson
• The Perfect Store: Inside eBay by Adam Cohen

• ABC for Book Collectors by John Carter and Nicholas Barker
• Book Finds: How to Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books 3rd edition, by Ian C. Ellis
• Collected Books: The Guide to Identification and Values (4th edition, 2011) by Allen and Patricia Ahearn, authors of Collected Books: The Guide to Values (2002)
• The Official Price Guide to Collecting Books by Marie Tedford
• Pocket Guide to the Identification of First Editions, compiled by Bill McBride
• Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone

• Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book-Hunter in the 21st Century by Nicholas A. Basbanes (a who's who of booksellers and book collectors, with information on what questions to ask, how to use the Web, why book fairs and book dealers are invaluable--a guide to "gratifying a passion in a sensible way."
• A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books, also by Nicholas A. Basbanes. A "celebration of books and the people who have revered, gathered, and preserved them over the centuries" -- a history of book collecting that will educate you also about the history of bookmaking.
• Patience and Fortitude: Wherein a Colorful Cast of Determined Book Collectors, Dealers, and Librarians Go About the Quixotic Task of Preserving a Legacy (also by Basbanes).
• The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop: A Memoir, a History by Lewis Buzbee

Brick and mortar bookstores

• A Different Kind of Book Tour (Emily Raabe, Wall Street Journal, 12-26-14) Let literature lead you to some of the country’s coolest towns—by heading where independent shops are thriving
• Truly Novel Bookstores (Jemima Sissons, WSJ, 7-12-13)
• How 'Indie' Bookstores Survived (and Thrived) (Peter Osnos, The Atlantic, 12-2-13)
• 6 Independent Bookstores That Are Thriving — and How They Do It (Boris Kachka and Joshua David Stein, New York, 4-13-14)
• Bookstores in Seattle Soar, and Embrace an Old Nemesis: (Kirk Johnson, NY Times, 4-11-14)
• America's most literate cities (2013, annual survey
• Why Indie Bookstores Are on the Rise Again (Zachary Karabell, Slate, 9-9-14) Borders and B&N tried to compete with Amazon, and failed. Independent stores can’t even try—nor do they have to. Sales at indies have grown 8 percent a year over the past three years, which exceeds the growth of book sales in general.
• 10 Great Independent Bookstores (Sue Douglass Fliess, 4-3-14)
• America's Best Bookstores (Sarah L. Stewart, Travel + Leisure, Jan 2013) (Square Books, Oxford, MS; Prairie Lights, Iowa City; Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL; Politics and Prose, Washington, D.C.; Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO; Bookbook, New York City; Powell’s Books, Portland, OR; Faulkner House Books, New Orleans; The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle; Crow Bookshop, Burlington, VT; City Lights, San Francisco; Chapter One Bookstore, Ketchum, ID; Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA; Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver;
• The novel resurgence of independent bookstores (Yvonne Zipp, CS Monitor, 3-17-13) Defying the onslaught of the e-book revolution, many small bookshops see a rise in sales, aided by savvy business practices and the 'buy local' movement.
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Textbooks, new and used

• Bigwords (buy, rent, or sell textbooks--with focus on lowest price)
• (compare prices for new and used college, high school, and homeschool textbooks etc.)
• DirectTextbook (enter ISBN, title, author, or keywords and DT searches 200 online bookstores for cheapest used textbook)
• eCampus (buy and sell new and used books and textbooks)
• GetCheapBooks (cheap books and textbooks)
• Get Textbooks
• (sell used textbooks -- free shipping)
• Textbook Superstore (, an eBay company

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Great bookseller blogs (and newsletters)

(hurrah for brick and mortar stores and the
booksellers that still hand sell books))
• Aaron's Books (Lancaster County, Lititz, PA)
• Barbara's Byline (Politics & Prose, DC)
• Bookdwarf
• Books that sell themselves • • (Boswell and Books)
• BookPeople's blog (Austin, TX)
• Boswell and Books (Milwaukee)
• The Boswellians (Milwaukee)
• Carla Comments Politics & Prose, Washington DC
• Emptyu Mirror (this bookselling site specializing in the Beat Generation writers and modern poetry quickly morphed into an online arts magazine)
• Greenlight Bookstore (Brooklyn)
• Inkwell Bookstore Fallmouth, Massa)
• Island Books newsletter (Mercer Island, Washington)
• Kash's Book Corner (Boulder Bookstore--check out recommended book lists along left side)
• McNally Jackson (Prince Street, NYC)
• Message in a Bottle (Mercer Island, WA)
• Mr. Micawber Enters the Internets
• Off the Shelf Boulder Book Store
• PowellsBooks blog
• The Regulator Bookstore (Durham, NC)
• RiverRun Bookstore (Portsmouth, NH)
• Sam Wellers (new, used, out of print)
• Scribbling in San Antonio
• Skylight (Los Feliz neighborhood, Los Angeles)
• The Strand
• There is no gap (Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor--closing?)
• Vroman's Bookstore Blog

[Back to Top] Making Changes in Listings and Deciphering the Rankings

The following material was migrated here from the soon-to-be-late website of the late, great Sarah Wernick, by permission of her husband, Willie Lockeretz.

If the listing for your book is incorrect; if the page omits features that might improve sales, such as sample content or laudatory reviews – or if a reader review is defamatory or obscene – authors or publishers can request changes. Here's information about updating your listing, as well as links to information about the Amazon sales rankings.

Updated January 1, 2007. I have not tried to update this since then, but leave it here in case it is helpful. Tell me if it is not!

Correcting Mistakes

What if Amazon has omitted the subtitle of your book or misspelled the name of your co-author? At the bottom of Amazon's page for each individual book is a Feedback box. One of the links is to "Update product information."

Click on the link. This takes you to the Catalog Update Form. You will be asked to log onto Amazon to verify your identity. Once you've done that, you'll be allowed to proceed to the update form, which already has the title of the book and the ISBN filled in. You can correct any of the following by checking the relevant box and following simple prompts:
  • Title
  • Author
  • Binding
  • Publication Date
  • Publisher
  • Number of Pages
  • Edition
  • Format
  • Language

If you experience difficulties or delays (more than a week), send an email to book-typos@​ with the ISBN and title plus the correction. Indicate that you are the author.

If that doesn't work, try the telephone: 206-266-2992 or 206-266-2335.

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Adding Content

If you want to add descriptive material to the page for your book, you will need to fill out the Books Content Form. Though the form is geared to publishers, authors may use it too. Have your ISBN and the new text ready ahead of time to simplify the procedure.

Here are the types of material you can add with the Book Content Update Form:

  • Description
  • Publisher's comments
  • Author comments
  • Author bio(s)
  • Table of contents
  • Inside-flap copy
  • Fair-use citations from reviews (source plus up to 20 words per review)
  • First chapter or other excerpt

After you enter the content, you'll be given the opportunity to edit it. Before you sumbit the material, use your browser's copy function to keep a record of the final version.

Once you've sent your additions, a page will come up saying that the additions should appear within five business days. If you experience difficulties send an email to book-typos@​ with the ISBN and title plus the additions. If that doesn't work, try calling Amazon: 206-266-2992 or 206-266-2335.

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Dealing with Inappropriate Reviews allows readers to post reviews – including negative reviews – of books. Most authors would not wish to censor legitimate reviews, even if we disagree with them. However, we do have the right to protect ourselves from reviews that violate Amazon's policy prohibiting content that is illegal, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious or objectionable.

If an objectionable review appears on your page, you can ask to have it removed. For example, a reader posted a "review" of my coauthored book, Strong Women, Strong Bones, which is about osteoporosis, claiming - I assume as a joke - that it contained "wonderfully graphic photographs" showing a gaping hole burnt into the palate of my collaborator from "hooting" calcium. Needless to say, the book contains no such photographs. I drew the review to Amazon's attention and they deleted it.

To deal with an inappropriate review: Send an email to community-help@​ Include the title and ISBN of the book, as well as the review to which you're objecting. Identify yourself as the author and explain your objection. You might find it helpful to read and refer to Amazon's "Conditions of Use," which lists forbidden review content.

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Deciphering Amazon's Sales Rankings

Amazon ranks all of the books in its inventory in order of their sales. These rankings provide useful information for authors, from the proposal stage, when the rankings pinpoint our competition, to the post-publication stage when they help us assess the effectiveness of publicity and predict the likely content of our next royalty statement.

For a detailed look at how sales ranks are determined and what they signify, see Surfing the Amazon - Decoding Sales Ranks, by Morris Rosenthal. If you haven't read the article recently, check it again: Rosenthal updates it from time to time. Also check out his blog, which discusses rating-related developments at Amazon and elsewhere.

If you become obsessed with the Amazon rankings of your books (or those of your competitors), you can subscribe to a service offered by Books & Writers, which provides email updates weekly, daily, or even hourly. The cost is $10 per year for a single book, $20 per year for two to ten books, and more for additional books. You can try the service free for a month.

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Updated January 1, 2007

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Amazonfail. Craig Seymour in his blogpost Is homophobic? and you're done launched a spring 2009 controversy about which there has been MUCH Twittering. Amazon later explained to the press that its de-ranking of all gay and lesbian literature as "adult literature" was a "glitch," but it felt like censorship policy to most of the tweeters. Among tweets (under the hashtag #amazonfail, and apologies in advance: I don't know protocol on crediting these):
"Suggestion: make content filtering a selectable OPTION, much like Google does."
"Irony: a company named for a band of lesbian warriors considers lesbian content morally objectionable."
"Don't let Amazon decide which books you need to be 'protected' from."
"The revolution will be tweeted."
Seymour followed up on his initial post later with My AmazonFail Timeline.

Websites, organizations, and other resources

Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
New, used, and rare books, and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
Multimedia, cartoons, maps, charts and so on
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and writing for government
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including essays and academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
And views on the author-editor relationship