You walk around the old marketplace, through antique stores and old stacks of records, looking, hopefully, for that one store where you’ll be able to enter entirely new worlds. Yes, you’ve found it! A storefront for used ebooks.
What is a used ebook?
Used ebooks? As outrageous as that sounds, if a new ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union is followed by similar rulings, a used ebook could soon come your way. Of course, that all depends on how ebook publishers deal with this paradigm.
When you buy an ebook, you buy the license to use that file. The ruling declares that you have the right to resell that license to a third party, but only if you cease to use that file (and not make duplicates of it). Whether digital content will now come with the ability to be resold, or if new software will create a whole market of secondhand books, remains to be seen. But if this ruling gains traction, it appears that publishers will at least have to make this option available. Or not — it’s also quite possible that a publisher would slap on a “no resale” protection to their eBooks.
As a writer, does it make sense to allow your ebook to be resold? You don’t make any money on a resale (at least not traditional ones), and it’s possible digital content could just be traded around until it’s sold for mere pennies. Still, it never seemed like used bookstores were to be the downfall of the publishing industry in the pre-digital days.
A positive perspective
However, Digital Book World paints a very positive picture of this new development:
“If ebooks could be easily resold by readers, the effects on the growing e-book industry would be great. Used ebookstores could pop up; new, exotic forms of digital rights management (DRM) software could be developed; and the price of eBooks, facing upward pressure from their new-found resale value and downward pressure from a used book market, could change.”
Do you think a used ebook is smart? As a writer, will you offer the option for used copies of your ebook to be resold? Is this a good alternative to piracy?