Used E-Book Sales: Amazon’s Hidden Agenda?


When I heard a reference to this topic at my chapter’s conference the other weekend, I was appalled at the thought. No one seems to know if this is true or not, but the rumor reared its head on one of my loops after The Fussy Librarian made mention of Amazon’s “used e-book marketplace.”

So I thought I’d look in to it just a bit and familiarize myself with the concept, with the arguments for and against. And wound up finding a lot of articles from 2013 and 2014, but maybe one from 2016. Hmmm. I wonder what that means exactly.

After going through several of these articles, I thought I’d share this one that lays out the situation very succinctly. It also has links to additional editorials about the subject. So if you want to know more about the possibility of used e-books being sold through Amazon, read Brian Merchant’s 2013 article for Motherboard entitled :

Used E-Books, the Ridiculous Idea that Could Also Destroy the Publishing Industry

If you are a reader or a writer, what do you think of this proposal? Is it a tempest in a pot of tea, or a monsoon heading right for us?

This entry was posted in On Publishing, Reblogs, Writing Craft and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Used E-Book Sales: Amazon’s Hidden Agenda?

  1. Melissa Keir says:

    It is an interesting concept. Apple has the same patent and can have a used “ebook” store but like Amazon hasn’t done anything about it. I think that they are doing it to protect themselves from someone else doing it. They own the patent so that no one else does it. I am sure that Amazon is smart enough to know that people would change how they buy books and writer would change how they write.


  2. sherifredricks1 says:

    I’m nodding my head in agreement to everything posted here. What’s the incentive to keep authors writing? As it is, if one kept an accounting of hours spent writing and marketing a book, their commission from royalties would equal a Third World wage. As an author, I’m scared for my future.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. lizaoconnor says:

    I am totally in agreement that an ebook cannot be ‘used’ and if they try such a claim I expect a class action lawsuit will occur.

    Another thing: If we have the right to remove our ebook from their site, how can they claim the right to resell after we’ve removed it. I know they are claiming they’ll be selling the book in someone’s ereader, but are they really going to upload it from that person’s ereader and ensure it has been removed from the ereader. I don’t think so. Is it even legal for them to retain a copy of the ebook once we remove it? ANY electronic book should equate to the current version, unless that are going to retain every ecopy we’ve ever made, and sell the appropriate one to a new reader.

    In such a diabolical state of theft by Amazon, the best way to protect our books values will be to constantly remove it, retitle it, and put it back up, so the number of ‘used’ ebooks a less. Instead of the latest ‘edition’, we will flood Amazon with ‘new’ books. It’s a terrible idea, but then the original idea of reselling ebooks is a horrific idea that should never happen.

    Or we could mass move to one of the few remaining book sites and make it our new home.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lisakumar says:

    If Amazon does go ahead with this proposed used ebook marketplace, I can’t believe it would mean anything good for publishers or authors. It already seems like we’re expected to write for pennies, what with the low prices of ebooks, doing giveaways, promotions, going “free,” etc. If Amazon makes it where we’re writing virtually for free (and nothing works to stop them), I think many authors will quit writing. I know I’m not going to continue if royalties nearly become a thing of the past. Writing is hard work and takes time away from other things, so why bother? For those who do want to continue, they might just as well publish their stories on Fiction Net and other such sites where people go to read free stories.

    Hopefully, none of this will happen. But we all know Amazon does what Amazon thinks is best for its bottom line, which seems to be gobbling up everything in its way until it has captured its intended market

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Victoria Adams says:

    With so many books being pirated or given away for free – to then resell it – everyone else makes more money than the authors.
    As to whether it is true or not – it still needs to be discussed – Amazon knows it’s the biggest fish in the pond – but even Rome was brought down!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t see how an ebook could be ‘used.’ I think my publisher would have something to say about it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenna, when I saw that Fussy Librarian email, I had no idea what to make of it. A “used” thing implies that it has suffered wear and tear — a used book, for example, cannot be expected to retain the same value as its more fortunate new counterparts because it has been handled, and all too often mishandled. You cannot “handle” digital content; therefore, it cannot be “used.” If Amazon implements such a policy — thereby screwing authors out of yet more royalties (don’t get me started on how it already does this or I will never finish this comment :-P) — then it will leap ever higher on my list of pirate companies. Oh, wait. Amazon is already in my Axis of Digital Evil (Microsoft and Google being the other two, in case you’re wondering). Yes, this is like biting the hand that feeds me, but Amazon deserves to be bitten, viciously and repeatedly, until it backs off its greedy practices.

    Liked by 2 people

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