used books

House first sale doctrine hearing: My points of view

By Chris Meadows
June 4, 2014 // 6 Comments

Well, that was quite a few articles. I hope you at least read my summaries, and they didn’t put you to sleep. I was impressed by the breadth of viewpoints represented in that sample of testimony. We heard from a major publisher, a company and an interest group lobbying for digital resale, a [...]

Tough Times for the Used Book Market Too?

By libertyc
August 2, 2013 // 2 Comments

Unclutterer has a great little post guest-written by a librarian, who counsels potential downsizers to stop and consider before they bring a carload of books to their library to ‘donate.’ She runs through the usual disclaimers about feeling free to chuck the books that are damaged, [...]

More on Amazon's used e-books controversy

By Marilynn Byerly
February 19, 2013 // 12 Comments

Digital products like e-books are licensed—not sold—to a buyer, so they can’t be legally resold, shared, or loaned. (See my article on e-books and the first sale doctrine for more information.) A group called the Owners’ Rights Initiative wants to change that. The ORI believes that the [...]

Amazon scores broad patent on reselling ‘used’ digital content

By libertyc
February 7, 2013 // 0 Comments

I’ve written quite a few pieces here about the various attempts to try to create a workable digital resale market—most recently with digital music resale firm ReDigi, which is currently engaged in a legal dispute with music label EMI over its activities. Now it looks as if, as with a lot of its [...]

Supreme Court First Sale Doctrine case could give boost to resale-proof digital media sales

By libertyc
October 30, 2012 // 9 Comments

Ars Technica has a couple of great, in-depth pieces laying out in detail the facts of the matter surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court case concerning a Thai exchange student who imported and resold cheap foreign editions of English-language textbooks to finance his doctorate. Publishers [...]

Video: AbeBooks explains the smell of books

By libertyc
April 20, 2012 // 0 Comments

Ever wondered what causes the smell of old books? According to Richard from AbeBooks, chemists at University College, London have determined that “old books release hundreds of volatile organic compounds into the air from the paper.” This is often associated with the decay of the acidic paper [...]

Piracy, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and ‘ethical reading’

By libertyc
March 28, 2012 // 31 Comments

The Literary Platform has a fairly long piece looking at the question of ethical consumerism (primarily focused on books and e-books, but also stepping back to look at the larger picture of consumerism in general). This includes the question of buying versus piracy, but also touches on the wider [...]

Amazon price bots result in unusually high- and low-priced books

By libertyc
February 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

I reported on a story last April in which the algorithms of two used-book-listing bots resulted in a $23.7 million used textbook. Now here are a pair of recent stories about it happening again—in both directions. First of all, Carlos Bueno wrote a self-published children’s book called Lauren [...]

E-books pose problem for the underside of the digital divide

By libertyc
September 17, 2011 // 29 Comments

On her LiveJournal, writer Seanan McGuire makes an important point about the nature of the digital divide and how it affects paper versus e-books. People below the poverty line—which at least 15.1% of Americans are, and probably more than that since it goes by an old standard of poverty—can’t [...]

DC digital comics not favorably priced

By libertyc
July 17, 2011 // 1 Comment

My friend Eric Burns has recently started blogging again on Websnark, his blog that largely covers webcomics and comic books. In a post today, Burns looks at DC’s plans for same-day digital availability of every issue of every book starting with its “reboot” later this year, the “New 52”. [...]

Found on a railroad day trip: a used book store and small-press tourist titles

By libertyc
May 15, 2011 // 4 Comments

You can find small-press books and e-books in some of the strangest places. Yesterday, I took a ride with my parents and some of their friends on the Arkansas Missouri Railroad, a small rail operation that operates cargo and passenger excursion runs between Springdale and Van Buren, Arkansas. Twice [...]

Do PDA-toting Amazon Marketplace used book resellers have a reason to feel guilty?

By libertyc
October 16, 2010 // 5 Comments

E-books aren’t the only book-related revolution ushered in by the Internet. On Slate, Michael Savitz writes about his profession as a PDA-assisted used book reseller on Amazon Marketplace—and an interesting profession it is, too. Savitz spends as much as 80 hours a week haunting used [...]

Trading e-books for p-books: Why don’t publishers start doing it?

By libertyc
September 12, 2010 // 11 Comments

Aaron Miller has a brief post on the FrontMatters blog about Google’s book digitizing service. You can send in whole boxes of books and get them digitized, OCR’ed, and converted to “a multitude of digital formats.” The only problem, Miller notes, is that the service isn’t available to [...]

Used game controversy continues; e-book vendors could stand to learn from Valve (again)

By libertyc
August 26, 2010 // 9 Comments

Video and computer games share a bit of an odd similarity to books and e-books. Like books, they can be an example of intellectual property encapsulated in an object, which can be bought and sold new or used—but like e-books, they can also be delivered purely digitally, and equipped with [...]

Are ‘second-hand e-books’ possible?

By libertyc
July 25, 2010 // 41 Comments

Nick Harkaway has posted on the Bookseller’s “FuturEBooks” blog wondering about the possibility of selling “second-hand e-books”. He points out (as I did in this TeleRead post on the idea) that, since there is no physical artifact to depreciate, an e-book couldn’t really be considered [...]

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