• Chip Kerchner

    I’d love to see this. I would even pay more on the original e-book if I knew I could sell it later.

  • Martha Smith

    I look forward to this development. It’ll be interesting to see how it works in practice.

  • Daniel Martone

    This is an exceptionally BAD idea and I can guarantee there will be court battles. The only way it would ever work, is if a digital book could be marked as “Single Use”, thus not resold. Honestly, entire back catalogs of author’s books would be worthless.

  • Author Dyphia Blount

    First kindle unlimited, now this? Again authors are left in the dark about potential earnings until it’s earned? I am not for this!

  • Becky Parrott Davis

    This is illegal. Does Amazon not read the law? Each seller can be fined $2,500 for each sell if sued.

    Each ebook carries this statement or something similar. “WARNING: This book is for single owner purposes only. You may not sell or share in any manner for it would violate International Copyright laws. This law overrides any other laws or permissions individuals or companies say you have such as Adobe Reader and The Nook Proprietors. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The only exception is the use of brief excerpts for the use of reviews and promotional use which is hereby given permission from the publisher or author.”

  • I think what Amazon could possibly do, is roll this out with publishers who use KDP. I am fairly certain Amazon could simply have an OPT in feature that is automatically checked that says “do you want to opt your e-book for used sales” Amazon could do this with titles it publishers not only with KDP, but also KDP Select and even books that belong to their myriad of imprints (don’t forget, amazon is a publisher too)

  • I’m sure this would necessitate an OPT-in and the article doesn’t really concern me. It might actually be good. I’ll hold final judgement until it comes out, but just think: you can’t make money or gain word of mouth or social proof off of someone that bought your book on the cheap and is just languishing in the back recesses of their Kindle or Cloud.

    But if they were to realize it was not for them and to list it for sale, you may have 1 more person trying to sell your book and you make a profit from it.

    Good or Bad? I think we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Clifton, imagine all the possible “mistakes”. Amazon requires entire files of every book it sells for the “look inside” feature, even for books that are not available as ebooks.

  • Mistakes? I don’t follow? They can only resell ebooks bought within Amazon, so what is being sold will likely be equivalent to the current ebook version, just with a different monetary allocation.

  • Cliff, Amazon illegally created ebooks of all my books and illegally sold them owing to an alleged “mistake” because they had the files for “Look Inside” from my print publisher who never had ebook rights. Now, all my print-only books are ebooks on pirate sites, even though Amazon told me that it never sold any of the illegally created “ebook” versions of my work (except to me) if Amazon lied to me, and if Amazon allows people who illegally bought illegal copies of my works which were created in violation of my copyrights (and for which I was never paid any royalties) do you think those re-sales will be legal? If Amazon can do this to me, it can do it to anyone.

  • Hmm – it seems to me, any action that takes revenue away from the copyright holder is a bad thing for authors. As usual, it won’t hurt Amazon, more like cement their market leadership, because readers will of course love it, as they can basically almost read a book for free by on-selling on a platform built to make that easy, to recoup their initial purchase. Who loses – the author…. Second hand books stores hurt authors but marginally because the number of books was small overall. This has the potential to half authors income instantly. I for one will not be participating just like I don’t participate in KU.

  • Hi Rowena, that sounds terrible and I’m sorry to hear that as a result your work was pirated. But I don’t see how that relates to this potential ebook resale market. It sounds like you had no authorized ebook versions, so you need to sue Amazon for allowing distribution that resulted in pirated work.

    As to your concern of a pirated version of your work, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’m certainly no expert, but pirates typically won’t pay for work anyway, so if your work is pirated it will end up in more reader hands than you would have managed alone, and if a reader likes your work they are likely to look for more of it. Only the biggest names out there will get sought after for pirated works, and only likely if they are expensive ebooks.

    So, make sure to get your book up on all the sites in ebook format and make some sort of call-to-action links to your other ebooks at the front of your ebook and at the back.

  • Tom

    Hi Bronwen – We (my wife and I) are having a tough time understanding your argument in your second sentence. After “free by”. Could you correct or clarify? Also how different is this from Amazon selling physical new books and the same used physical books online? Authors and publishers, don’t see a dime of that transaction. In this proposed used e-book marketplace, it seems to resolve it. Thank you for your post and I look forward to your reply.

  • Tom

    Hi Rowena – Forgive me but I have some experience with piracy from a publishers perspective. My first question is how do you not know your books were illegally scanned in the first place by pirates. It happens all the time. If Amazon, did as you say your publisher should be seeking damages for lost sales but the fact I see that you have a Kindle e-book entitled “Mating Net” available right now undercuts the validity of your earlier statement of no e-book rights. Are you sure of your own publishers activity and rights? I recently had an experience with Amazon when they they were informed by the rights holder, they removed the illegal books very quickly. (This case was under the Kindle Unlimited program to be clear involving illegal fan media fiction so copyright infringement)

  • Clifton, thank you for your kind words. It affects the discussion because, if Amazon actually sold some illegal ebook versions of my works, those purchasers will be able to legally resell their illegal copies in Amazon’s digital marketplace.

    Can’t sue Amazon. Can you imagine the cost? That’s the trouble with Federal law. Only the most wealthy can afford justice.

  • Tom,

    Statements made by Rowena Cherry about books written by Rowena Cherry are not undercut by the status of a work by ROWENA BEAUMONT CHERRY (although I am rbc, also.)

    I know that Amazon scanned my books because my traditional publisher DORCHESTER when confronted by my lawyer fessed up to the mistake in the case of one of my works (but did not fess up to the rest of the works, which apparently went on sale as ebooks 6 months later). Amazon also agreed that they had scanned the works, but claimed that the publisher gave them permission. The publisher blamed Amazon, and Amazon blamed the publisher.

    I was talking about the full length works Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight’s Fork by “Rowena Cherry”. Once upon a time, there was an NBI version of “Forced Mate” which is why I never granted ebook rights to Dorchester… because the ebook and POD rights had been sold elsewhere. After NBI went belly up, I kept the no-ebook, no POD language (and 23 other changes) in my contracts with Dorchester. True, the ebooks were removed from sale, but I suspect that they would reappear if resale of digital works were legal.

  • Hi Tom – the problem is physical books have a limited print run, my eBook is unlimited. I can see a time when there are so many used eBooks no one will buy new and therefore I’ll make less money. Also it’s far easier to trade an eBook than a physical book which has to be posted, etc so it’s more of a hassle and often not as cheap as buying a new book when postage is included, also they get damaged and worn and often readers want a good condition book. EBOok files don’t get damaged. Amazon’s platform will make it extremely easy and convenient to exchange eBooks. Second hand books have never made authors money, and I can see that my share of each book a reader reads will plummet with second hand eBooks. Read for free, I’m referring to readers on-selling the book, therefore in reality they have read my book for whatever they had to pay less the resale price. Who’s winning in that scenario – it is not the author.

  • Tom

    Great observation! It might make it all the palatable for everyone concerned. I wonder if the library friends groups across the country could benefit from such a development. Could one donate an ebook to a library or a friends group?

  • Tom

    Thanks for the comment. Actually you are quite correct there would be court battles the to the nth degree going all the way to Appellate and Supreme Court. A single use restriction I think violate consumers rights when they purchase and if they choose to resell it later. It would be earthshaking if there was such a restriction and legally abhorrent to consumer law. IMHO.

    Based on the recent history, I think the publishers would lose since the first sale doctrine would be applied. I’m no attorney but it would make for an interesting and vigorous dinner table discussion in the homes of the Justices for sure. Really, thank you for the comment.

    And how would it make the back catalogs worthless? You reissue a new ebook version with creative supplemental material and suddenly you have a new opportunity to sell the original book in a whole new way…well not new.. Stephen King has done it and I buy it every time. Maybe the old back list model needs to be altered and refreshed in a creative way.

  • Daniel Martone

    It would make the back catalog worthless because unless you offer to cut your asking price dramatically, the “used” digital version would outsell even the altered versions… plus that writers would have to continuously focus on adding material to older works, would diminish their capacity for creating new work. Readers in the digital world really do operate differently than those who purchase print. The fact that the Zon knows how to price ebooks (a lesson the publishing industry has yet to learn, despite their digital sales dropping last year) and that is to keep prices low, really shows that is something the average digital reader expects… you lower that even further… a $2.99 ebook sells for $.99 and that is the version they will purchase, imho…

  • I’m thinking they wouldn’t be able to resell because the copies are being sold (I’m assuming?) on another website. Amazon isn’t likely to create a digital marketplace for used ebooks that aren’t already on their own site. And I would imagine the only way to make sure the author is getting a piece of the pie is for them to be reselling ebooks that were bought on Amazon. So I think you’re safe there.

    As to suing Amazon, yeah, expensive for you. But it sounds pretty cut and dry unless there is someway the thief hacked the “Look Inside” to pull at the full ebook. I wouldn’t know if that was possible. Either way, I would imagine a lawyer hungry to make a name would be interested in looking into it for you for cheap or free. Or if you find a number of people in the same boat, then you have a class-action.

    As to justice. Yep, I agree. The system is wacked up the side of the face, but if you work at it, I think there are still options.

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