Is There a Market for “Used” Ebooks, Apps and Digital Music?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amazon believes there is a market for “pre-owned” digital products, such as eBooks and apps, which is why the online retailer pursued a patent from the U.S. government.


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Amazon the patent (“Secondary Market For Digital Objects”), giving the company the ability to set up a marketplace for the transfer of used digital objects, whether they are sold, rented, loaned, traded or gifted.


Amazon’s effort has raised the question of how digital products become “used,” which is more easily understood with hardware or physical retail items.


The company’s plans also have produced opposition from content creators who argue they will lose out from these new secondary markets.


John Scalzi, best-selling author and president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, wrote on his blog that artists like himself will see less money, while Amazon will make more.


“I would rather you pirate the eBook than buy it used,” Scalzi wrote. “Because if you’re not going to pay me, the guy who wrote the book (or also the folks who edited it, did the cover art, marketed it and put it out there in the first place), why the hell should [Amazon founder] Jeff Bezos get paid? He doesn’t need the money; he’s a billionaire. Amazon doesn’t need the money either.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Will You Soon Be Able To Buy Used Ebooks and Digital Music? Amazon Moves in that Direction (by David Hill, Singularity Hub)

Used Ebooks, the Ridiculous Idea that Could Also Destroy the Publishing Industry (by Brian Merchant, Motherboard)


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