In the recent past, there was a huge debate among players in the lesfic publishing world about whether buying used books was an acceptable practice (for writers, anyway). The argument for used books was that it allowed people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them to buy books. The argument against them was that it took money out of writers’ pockets and the only ones to make a profit are the re-sellers.
And until now, the loss of revenue from ebooks was mainly due to piracy.
Well, people, now you can add ebooks to the second-hand book controversy.
According to Jenny Shank, in her article “Will Authors Get Compensated for Used E-Book Sales?” HERE, Amazon has received a patent for technology that will allow them to re-sell ebooks and other digital products.
This does not bode well for writers. Unlike physical books, an original digital file can be retained and endless copies can be made and resold. Once a print book is sold, it’s gone.
The writers interviewed for the article argue point out that by purchasing used ebooks, you will be ensuring that only big-ticket authors (and the independently wealthy) will be able to continue writing. This is the same argument many writers have had against used print books. Used book stores have been around practically since Gutenberg printed his Bible, but this used e-book market will be an entirely different ballgame.
Writer John Scalzi wrote:
“People are always going to want to get things inexpensively, so part of our job these days is to remind them there’s an actual human being on the other end of the equation, and that actual human being has rent to pay, and children they’d like to feed. The vast majority of writers are not like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins. The average author makes a four-figure salary a year from their writing. If you don’t pay them, a lot of them will decide they can’t afford to write professionally anymore.”
Scalzi also stated on his blog that he’d rather people pirate his e-book than buy it used, explaining in this article that if he’s not going to get any money from a resale, then why should Jeff Bezoz (Amazon CEO) or anyone else get money?
The music world has already been battling this issue and it’s been a long, hard, uphill struggle. The publishing world is following in its path and I don’t think it will be any more successful and curtailing the reselling of ebooks than it’s been at curtailing piracy.
Read the full article HERE. It’s quite an eye-opener.