You can’t be in the independent publishing space and not have heard about the change Amazon made to the buy box. Now, Amazon will allow third party vendors to take the “buy box” when purchasing paperback books. What does this mean?
It means that there is a chance that used book vendors or vendors who obtained ARC or other non-resalable copies of the book can sell those books and you will not receive royalties as you would if they purchased a copy from your publisher or from CreateSpace/your printer.
But how much will this affect you?
Though I share an article I read in Vox, most everything I read talked about the worry that ARC copies or other free copies, usually given for advance promotion, ending up for sale. Honestly, this is nothing new. I’ve picked up ARC copies in used book stores and seen them for sale at library book sales. Unless you or your publisher issue a large amount of these copies, most of the copies that are sold are either going to be new copies obtained from the printer (such as the CreateSpace estore or Lightning Source) or used copies, which already exist on the used marketplace.
Since most indie authors I know don’t produce a large amount of these books, I think we ought to take a wait and see approach. There’s a lot that we can worry about in this business. Amazon will change information and how they do business to suit them. I don’t think this is something about which we need to worry–yet.
For you, keep an eye on your books. See what is selling and what isn’t and from whom. Do you offer paperbacks through Amazon’s Seller Central? Maybe this is something you ought to think about. Instead of worrying about something that may never affect you, look at ways to make the most of the market. This is also a good reason to check out having your own author webstore.