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PEBKAC
02-08-2013, 09:06 PM
http://www.wired.com/business/2013/02/amazon-used-e-book-patent/all/

This is...interesting.

Torgo
02-08-2013, 09:11 PM
Yes, in the sense that an enormous meteorite the size of Texas screaming towards the Earth would be 'interesting'.

How do I hate this? Let me count the ways:

1) Lots more money for Amazon, no extra money for authors or publishers
2) Hideous legal/contractual entanglements to sort out
3) Implies the need for horribly persistent DRM, but also feels like it might make DRM impossible, so we'll end up with some kind of hot mess
4) People setting up their own fraudtastic ebook stores because we can't reliably trace the provenance of every ebook. Is it something that was legally purchased or just copied? No idea. So we get ACTUAL for-profit piracy on a massive scale instead of ebook filesharing.
5) Ugh

shadowwalker
02-08-2013, 09:27 PM
I just automatically hate any ideas Amazon comes up with.

PEBKAC
02-08-2013, 09:49 PM
Hey Torgo,

My gut reaction is the same as yours. The article does touch on the topics on your hate list though. Wired didn't get a response from Amazon on the topic, so the article speculates on how it could be implemented.

No matter how it works though, somebody in the equation has to be losing money; if Amazon is looking at this, it's not going to be them.

veinglory
02-08-2013, 09:51 PM
I am more bothered by the insanely general patent. Like no-one else could think if a place to buy and sell digital files.

stephenf
02-08-2013, 09:55 PM
I don't know if this Idea can be made to work ? But I can't see the difference between reselling a paper book and a digital one .

CQuinlan
02-08-2013, 09:59 PM
I don't know if this Idea can be made to work ? But I can't see the difference between reselling a paper book and a digital one .

A paper book is one book. You could copy it or scan it but it would take ages. An ebook can be copied without limit and within minutes. I could give you a file without loosing that file myself.


But how the hell can an ebook be 'used'? It's not like the quality would be less. Colour me confused.

hlynn117
02-08-2013, 11:10 PM
A paper book is one book. You could copy it or scan it but it would take ages. An ebook can be copied without limit and within minutes. I could give you a file without loosing that file myself.

Another implication is that the person who does the file copying -- making 10,000 copies, say -- gets all the revenue and none goes to the author. Effectively, it turns the middle-man into the person who profits from the book. With physical books, you'd have to buy 10,000 copies to sell them, but with ebooks, you just need to buy one, and you're making all the money that would go to the author. The copier could price their book at .99 or even freaking give it away. It takes the power of material distribution completely away from the author. My suggestion is borrow an ebook from your library because many of them are lending ebooks now.

PEBKAC
02-08-2013, 11:16 PM
A paper book is one book. You could copy it or scan it but it would take ages. An ebook can be copied without limit and within minutes. I could give you a file without loosing that file myself.


But how the hell can an ebook be 'used'? It's not like the quality would be less. Colour me confused.

That's somewhat addressed by information in the article and the patent.

DRM is used to manage how many times content may be transferred/sold/downloaded/moved between devices/etc. Imagine this situation: I buy an e-book for $10. The rights/DRM are such that it can only ever be accessed from 5 individual devices ever. I download it to my Nook and a copy to my computer. I get a new e-reader for Christmas and download a copy. I buy a new computer and download it there. Now I decide to sell it. It can only ever be copied to one other device ever. When I go to sell it as used, I only get 1$ for it because the buyer can only put it on one device ever, and can't resell or ever because all of the licenses are used up. After the sale goes through, it is removed (or rendered inaccessible by DRM) from all of my devices.

That's just one example of how it could work.

PEBKAC
02-08-2013, 11:21 PM
Another implication is that the person who does the file copying -- making 10,000 copies, say -- gets all the revenue and none goes to the author. Effectively, it turns the middle-man into the person who profits from the book. With physical books, you'd have to buy 10,000 copies to sell them, but with ebooks, you just need to buy one, and you're making all the money that would go to the author. The copier could price their book at .99 or even freaking give it away. It takes the power of material distribution completely away from the author. My suggestion is borrow an ebook from your library because many of them are lending ebooks now.

That would be straight up pirating and is something you could do now. This patent wouldn't make that any easier or any less illegal than it is now.

veinglory
02-08-2013, 11:39 PM
It could leave them saying what file-sharing sites do. That their members may break the law every second, but they are an innocent bystander. But with the extra legitimacy of the Amazon brand.

benbradley
02-09-2013, 12:03 AM
The proposed used digital marketplace would take that one step further. Instead of loaning the access rights of an e-book, music file, video or application, in exchange for some cash, the original owner of the digital file would transfer the rights to use that file to another party permanently.

If the file were downloaded to a device, after the sale, the original owner would be unable to access the file. the data would still be on the device until deleted by the original owner, but access to the contents of that file would be turned off.This inherently implies DRM, and furthermore, DRM that's exclusively under Amazon's control.

Publishers could rewrite their contracts with Amazon to specifically refuse to give a license for such a "resellabe" ebook, but I wonder if that will happen. It wouldn't be the first time Amazon has pissed off publishers.

Torgo
02-09-2013, 12:10 AM
This inherently implies DRM, and furthermore, DRM that's exclusively under Amazon's control.

Publishers could rewrite their contracts with Amazon to specifically refuse to give a license for such as "resellabe" ebook, but I wonder if that will happen. It wouldn't be the first time Amazon has pissed off publishers.

Current ebook contracts don't contain any provision for resale and in fact it is expressly prohibited by our copyright page boilerplate (though that could be superseded by the terms of sale I guess.) The situation is much like that of Kindle lending: though Amazon are set up to handle it, most publishers don't tick the 'enable lending' box, for a variety of good and bad reasons.

The DRM would have to be under Amazon's control to some extent - Kindle DRM already is, of course, so I think this would just be an extension of that, with Marketplace ebook sales being brought into the fold. But I don't know whether the law would force publishers to allow resale via other DRM systems - so that if I bought a .mobi copy from Amazon, would I then have to be allowed to sell it as an epub with Adobe DRM? That in turn implies some kind of legal tool to strip the Kindle DRM and replace it, while preserving the license history.

veinglory
02-09-2013, 12:55 AM
You can specify a number of 'lends' allowed on Kindle. So presumably 'paid lends' would not be an impossible leap.

Torgo
02-09-2013, 01:02 AM
You can specify a number of 'lends' allowed on Kindle. So presumably 'paid lends' would not be an impossible leap.

Technically, yeah. Contractually...?

DancingMaenid
02-09-2013, 03:56 AM
It seems to me that a less messy choice would be to offer rental periods on some ebooks like they do with movies. That's something the publisher can have more control over, I believe, and it gives people the opportunity to pay less for a book without removing the incentive to pay full-price for an owned copy.

hlynn117
02-09-2013, 04:49 AM
It could leave them saying what file-sharing sites do. That their members may break the law every second, but they are an innocent bystander. But with the extra legitimacy of the Amazon brand.

This is what I was getting at. People that are pirating books already are going to sell those pirated copies. You're going to have a glut of ebooks in the used column that cost pennies. Who'd buy the regularly prices ebook when you can get a 'legal' used book for practically free?

benbradley
02-09-2013, 04:57 AM
I don't believe Amazon would allow the sale of DRM-free or copied or otherwise "unregistered" ebooks. I don't get that from reading the article.

Torgo
02-09-2013, 05:12 AM
I don't believe Amazon would allow the sale of DRM-free or copied or otherwise "unregistered" ebooks. I don't get that from reading the article.

Right, but the question is who has control of the resale mechanism. If it's all done under Amazon's auspices, of course they won't allow for any of that stuff. But some of the pressure for this is coming from things like the recent Oracle decision in Germany. If it turns out that secondary markets in digital content are sanctioned, then the DRM underpinning them would have to allow licenses to pass out of the control of Amazon at some point, or you've got yet another monopoly.

kuwisdelu
02-09-2013, 05:30 AM
That's somewhat addressed by information in the article and the patent.

DRM is used to manage how many times content may be transferred/sold/downloaded/moved between devices/etc. Imagine this situation: I buy an e-book for $10. The rights/DRM are such that it can only ever be accessed from 5 individual devices ever. I download it to my Nook and a copy to my computer. I get a new e-reader for Christmas and download a copy. I buy a new computer and download it there. Now I decide to sell it. It can only ever be copied to one other device ever. When I go to sell it as used, I only get 1$ for it because the buyer can only put it on one device ever, and can't resell or ever because all of the licenses are used up. After the sale goes through, it is removed (or rendered inaccessible by DRM) from all of my devices.

That's just one example of how it could work.

That sounds horrible.

JSSchley
02-09-2013, 06:27 AM
“There are no dog-eared pages or scratches or nicks or cuts or highlighter marks or whatever,” says Bill Rosenblatt, a consultant and expert witness in digital content patent cases. “It’s the same exact product.”

In other words, a customer given the choice between a “new” e-book and a less expensive “used” e-book will buy the used copy every time. The extra expense of “new” won’t get you anything better. So why would Amazon want to get into a business that would seem to undercut the business they’re already in?

Therein lies my big issue. But I don't agree with the bold. I can think of many reasons Zon would want to get in this bed--it's going to turn a lot of heat up on publishers to lower their "new" prices, which is the same drum they've been beating for ages.

But what about the publishers and authors? Sure, I buy used and remainders. But I also buy new--for that new book smell, or to have that perfect dust jacket of a pretty new copy of my favorite author's book. But the used ebook is going to be the exact same--no remainder mark, no highlights, no bent edge, etc. So why would I buy a new copy (aside from timing) if I can get a used copy for even a dollar less?

It really puts the screws to the publishers and authors.

James D. Macdonald
02-09-2013, 06:40 AM
It really puts the screws to the publishers and authors.

It's Amazon trying to burn down publishing so that they can rule the ashes.

Say goodbye to the profession of "author."

And good luck finding well-written, enjoyable books in the endless mudflats.

Sheryl Nantus
02-09-2013, 07:27 PM
Therein lies my big issue. But I don't agree with the bold. I can think of many reasons Zon would want to get in this bed--it's going to turn a lot of heat up on publishers to lower their "new" prices, which is the same drum they've been beating for ages.

But what about the publishers and authors? Sure, I buy used and remainders. But I also buy new--for that new book smell, or to have that perfect dust jacket of a pretty new copy of my favorite author's book. But the used ebook is going to be the exact same--no remainder mark, no highlights, no bent edge, etc. So why would I buy a new copy (aside from timing) if I can get a used copy for even a dollar less?

It really puts the screws to the publishers and authors.


Amazon doesn't care - they sell k-cups, snowshovels, tires and toys.

That's why I don't support them - they sell EVERYTHING and thus can take a loss in one area so they can profit in the other.

They are no friend to the publisher OR author, imo.

JSSchley
02-21-2013, 09:35 PM
The topic hit Nathan Bransford's blog today. (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2013/02/should-consumers-be-able-to-buysell.html)

I made a tl;dr comment, but I am really intrigued by the commenter who suggests that in the face of DRM, etc., ebooks need to go the way of Netflix. I find myself agreeing that such a model is a superior way to handle a lot of the problems with ebook pricing (though I think the monthly subscription would have to be figured out--$15 seems too low for me.)

Jamesaritchie
02-21-2013, 09:47 PM
By an large, if Amazon is for it, I'm against it. Amazon is bad for writers, and worse for readers.

Phaeal
02-21-2013, 10:27 PM
And Amazon is right. Unless the used books are printed on rice paper, they shouldn't be making sake out of them.

thebloodfiend
02-22-2013, 03:12 AM
The topic hit Nathan Bransford's blog today. (http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2013/02/should-consumers-be-able-to-buysell.html)

I made a tl;dr comment, but I am really intrigued by the commenter who suggests that in the face of DRM, etc., ebooks need to go the way of Netflix. I find myself agreeing that such a model is a superior way to handle a lot of the problems with ebook pricing (though I think the monthly subscription would have to be figured out--$15 seems too low for me.)Well, you have to figure in what people would pay. I only buy two ebooks a month at best—that's about $18. I use Netflix every single day watching various movies and television shows. I only pay $8 a month. I'm sure many people, including myself, would not be willing to pay an astronomical price like $50 a month to rent ebooks. I don't have cable because the prices are insane—and I'm paying for commercials when I can just catch the episode for free on Hulu.

But I've always thought the argument for keeping ebooks and hardbacks/paperbacks the same price was because you were paying for the content, not the packaging—regardless of how used paperbacks sell for less. Isn't that what it's always been? That it costs little to nothing to print a book?

Torgo
02-22-2013, 03:16 AM
Well, you have to figure in what people would pay. I only buy two ebooks a month at best—that's about $18. I use Netflix every single day watching various movies and television shows. I only pay $8 a month. I'm sure many people, including myself, would not be willing to pay an astronomical price like $50 a month to rent ebooks. I don't have cable because the prices are insane—and I'm paying for commercials when I can just catch the episode for free on Hulu.

I suggested to work once that we put some kind of subscription mechanism in place but, you know what? It's all going to be too tricky in terms of rights and software and assorted other mechanisms. I am not sure who would be the person to institute this, considering you'd want AAA authors involved. But I'm sure something of the sort will happen eventually.

CourtneyC
02-22-2013, 03:33 AM
I hate that Zon would potentially get earnings (many times over, unless there is a limit to how many times the digital book can be "resold" as used?) while the author gets none. This is going to hurt content creators, IMHO.

On a side tangent re: DRM, I have a music playing device (that shall remain nameless), and it is several years old. When I first setup an online account to buy music, I used an email that has since changed. I have no idea what the old password was. Music I legally purchased there will no longer transfer to my new device. I also uploaded some music I owned on CD to that device. Well, the new software version wants to sync with my old device, but tells me I have no right to those old songs. So, that is several hundred songs that were lost in the shuffle, so to speak. Upshot: digital versions are not tangible and can be deleted/lost/denied to you. That is why I only purchase e-books I consider "throw-aways" or airplane reads. If I like a book, I want a physical copy.

Axordil
03-08-2013, 08:26 PM
With Apple announcing "me too" and ReDigi looking at books (not to mention the European Court of Justice ruling on reselling used software last year) this is starting to look like a major issue.

At least in the Apple and ReDigi models for money going to the original artists and/or copyright holders...but this all strikes me as one half-measure after another, epicycles on epicycles to avoid the (get ready for it) paradigm shift.