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Posts tagged used books

House first sale doctrine hearing: My points of view
June 4, 2014 | 2:49 pm

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 graphic artist, a media executive, a major library, and more. They all had their own unique viewpoints, and reading all of them really gave me a new appreciation for how complicated first sale is—not just the proposed digital type, but the ordinary physical media type we all...

Tough Times for the Used Book Market Too?
August 2, 2013 | 3:33 pm

used booksUnclutterer 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, moldy or in terrible condition. Many libraries have 'friends' groups that sell donated items to raise revenue for the library, and even a very old book can lose its value when it becomes too old. But she offers this caveat as well: "Our Friends group in Lawrence, Kansas, recently adopted some guidelines when we moved into a...

More on Amazon’s used e-books controversy
February 19, 2013 | 3:00 pm

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 owner of a digital book should be allowed to sell it used.  Members of this group include some library trade groups, used resellers of paper books, and eBay. Some readers consider this a good thing, because they can get cash back on books they've read, in the very same way many readers do with paper books. But...

Amazon scores broad patent on reselling ‘used’ digital content
February 7, 2013 | 8:32 pm

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 digital media sales, Amazon may have achieved yet another leg up on the competition. On paidContent, Laura Hazard Owen reports that Amazon has been awarded a patent on the idea of a marketplace for “used” digital content. Amazon applied for it back in 2009, and it...

Supreme Court First Sale Doctrine case could give boost to resale-proof digital media sales
October 30, 2012 | 12:00 pm

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 contend he earned $1.2 million in revenues, and essentially set himself up as an unlicensed importer/distributor, damaging the publishers’ market for the books within the United States. The publisher plaintiff is John Wiley & Sons, which has also garnered attention for its recent lawsuits against unauthorized BitTorrent distributors of its books. The article discusses the Costco vs. Omega case, which I covered...

Video: AbeBooks explains the smell of books
April 20, 2012 | 12:12 pm

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 that a lot of these books were printed on. See the video embedded below the jump. Funny to think that the classic smell of old books is actually the aroma of paper rotting. Of course, this isn’t necessarily the same thing as the smell of more recent books, which book...

Piracy, Amazon, Wal-Mart, and ‘ethical reading’
March 28, 2012 | 1:05 am

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 picture of paying full-price at bookstores rather than buying cheap and/or used books from Amazon: We might now be seeing a better understanding between writers, publishers and agents, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that book prices are being pushed to zero – either through piracy...

Amazon price bots result in unusually high- and low-priced books
February 26, 2012 | 3:20 pm

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 Ipsum, about understanding how computers work. He priced it at $14.95 on Amazon—then he discovered a pair of third-party-vendor bots listing the book at around the $55 mark. These bots would, presumably, place an order from Amazon for the $15 book as soon as someone ordered the $55 one, then sell...

E-books pose problem for the underside of the digital divide
September 17, 2011 | 1:39 pm

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 afford e-book readers, or e-books to go on them. They can afford paper books, because books are cheap. The problem is that printed books are starting to go away due to the encroachment of e-books. Writes McGuire: [E]very time a discussion of ebooks turns, seemingly inevitably,...

DC digital comics not favorably priced
July 17, 2011 | 2:53 pm

52issueMy 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”. While at first glance it looks like great news for those who prefer their media digital—especially since print comics are no longer as widely available as they used to be—Burns finds it runs up right against one of the same problems that has dogged print versus e-books: the matter of price....

Found on a railroad day trip: a used book store and small-press tourist titles
May 15, 2011 | 8:43 pm

img_0966You 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 a year, it makes a special run out of Seligman, Missouri, traveling four hours and about a hundred miles down to Van Buren, Arkansas and the same length back, allowing passengers to spend three hours at a Van Buren arts and crafts street fair in between. I found a couple of used book...

Do PDA-toting Amazon Marketplace used book resellers have a reason to feel guilty?
October 16, 2010 | 6:19 pm

iPAQ 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 bookstores, library sales, and other sources of second-hand books. He takes along an old Dell PDA with a bar code scanner (like the one pictured plugged into an iPAQ at left) plugged into it, with software that immediately tells him the going rate on the Amazon marketplace for any title he scans. He...