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Is it possible to swap books?


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Showing 1-25 of 29 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 18, 2009 11:46:21 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 19, 2009 11:33:12 PM PDT
Persis says:
Every one's talking about the recession.
I know for sure that no matter how bad the recession we book lovers will always find that little bit of extra cash to buy a book.
But what about those book lovers who might not have that little bit of extra cash.

Is it possible to look at books other's might have, and maybe they would be generous enough to let others read it. The same way we would swap normal paper backs only now we do it electronically.

It would be nice to hear what others have to say about this.

Posted on May 19, 2009 6:03:52 AM PDT
I just saw this post and am really interested in the answe!!

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2009 6:52:29 AM PDT
I just got my Kindle 2 and I love it. But I really regret not being able to pass along a good book to a friend. I'd love to know if sharing is possible.

In reply to an earlier post on May 19, 2009 7:40:15 AM PDT
If I only had $1 left to my name I would purchase a .99 book. It would be nice to swap books but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Posted on May 19, 2009 11:27:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2009 9:10:52 AM PDT
Brent says:
You can swap Kindle books the same way you can swap physical books, by swapping the physical item. :-)

In all seriousness, the nature of the Amazon Kindle e-book format makes it rather complicated to swap books. Each e-book you buy from Amazon has your Kindle device's ID stored directly in the book. This is to prevent piracy. It's also an anti-theft measure, so that the owner de-registering a Kindle effectively "kills" the books stored on it (when next that Kindle connects to Whispernet).

So, swapping a book would involve diving into the guts of the books *already stored on your Kindle* to modify them.

EDITED: Kindle books are tied to the Kindle device's ID, not the account ID as I previously stated.

Posted on May 19, 2009 11:31:38 AM PDT
I've done this within my own family. For the iPhone version at least - you can merely log in as the other person's account to download their downloads. Of course sharing your user name and password with strangers is unacceptable, but keeping in within the same household seems like it passes the morals test.

Posted on May 19, 2009 4:51:21 PM PDT
Chrisitan G says:
The only interesting aspect of an economic meltdown is the rise in ethical ambiguity. My two cents worth.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/12/02/stealing-books-for-the-kindle-is-trivially-easy/

Posted on May 19, 2009 5:03:41 PM PDT
Patch1958 says:
I think the best way to swap books with friends is just to use your computer and an SD card or flash drive. Upload your book from your kindle onto your PC or flash drive, then email the document to your friend and vice versa. I do that now with my friend and it works out just fine. Also, you and your friend can send each other the books to your free kindle email address. Just my $.02

Posted on May 19, 2009 7:29:48 PM PDT
Brent says:
Patch1958: The Kindle 1 is the only model that supports SD cards.

Posted on May 19, 2009 11:15:13 PM PDT
Akiva says:
I asked before I bought my kindle because I was not going to buy it if I could not share with my sister. I was told you can share with up to 6 people. However, I haven't figured out how to do it.

Posted on May 19, 2009 11:30:29 PM PDT
Persis says:
Is it not possible to email friends or fellow book lovers the book file?
Where you could just download and send it straight to your kindle, this can be done both wirelessly or through the USB.

Posted on May 20, 2009 9:09:49 AM PDT
Brent says:
Akiva: You can register multiple Kindles on one account, yes. All those Kindles will have access to all the books bought on that account. On Amazon.com, go to Your Account > Manage Your Kindle > Register a new Kindle. Since there's no privacy, it's meant more for families than for casually sharing a couple of books with friends.

Bookz 4 All: Each Kindle book is tied to an individual Kindle, by a code embedded in the book file. It can only be read on the Kindle to which it's tied. You can certainly transfer Kindle book files to another Kindle, but the other Kindle won't be able to read them.

Posted on May 20, 2009 9:12:54 AM PDT
Brent says:
Note that this device ID is only stored in Amazon Kindle books bought in the Kindle Store. So this restriction is only true for books bought in the Kindle Store. If you have, for example, a .txt file or an unprotected .mobi file--many online books can be downloaded or bought in those formats--it can be read by every Kindle on the planet.

Posted on May 20, 2009 8:49:09 PM PDT
Betty Allain says:
What abou the books I've already bought on Amazon? Do I have to purchase them again for Kindle use? IT SEEMS LIKE THEY SHOULD LOAD MY kINDLE WITH MY LIBRARY OF AMAZON PURCHASES.
Betty A

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2009 1:49:12 AM PDT
Persis says:
Hi Brent

Thanks I wasn't aware of that. If we need to share books on kindle who ever sends over a book we would have to register their kindle on our account and then deregister it later.
This can't be done unless you know the person very well or trust them too.
It's not as easy as swaping paper backs. I think thats about the first drawback that I've found with Kindle.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2009 4:16:20 AM PDT
If that's your opinion on trading used books, why aren't you up in arms over Amazon's market in used books? That's what this question is about, passing on used books, which has nothing at all to do with the article you cited.

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2009 8:09:28 AM PDT
Brent says:
Bookz 4 All wrote, "If we need to share books on kindle who ever sends over a book we would have to register their kindle on our account and then deregister it later.
This can't be done unless you know the person very well or trust them too.
It's not as easy as swaping paper backs. I think thats about the first drawback that I've found with Kindle. "

Yes, though for me, the Free Sample feature somewhat makes up for it. I often want others to *check out* a book, not necessarily read it if they don't want to. So I can tell them to download the sample chapter.

And if I'm really worried about them being unwilling to pay for the book, there's always Amazon Gift Certificates. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on May 21, 2009 11:56:31 PM PDT
Persis says:
Hi Brent,

Whispernet doesn't work here in Africa so it's a bit difficult to read book samples.
But I compensate that by going to Audible and listening to a book sample before I buy the kindle version of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2009 5:58:33 PM PDT
Akiva says:
Thanks, but my sister is unable to purchase a Kindle yet and wants to read on her iPhone-- I don't see a way to register a second iPhone on the page where I manage my Kindle. Can you tell me how to do that? (btw, I love being able to read on my iPhone when I don't feel like carrying my Kindle around!).

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2009 10:41:41 PM PDT
But what does the writer do? If people do this, writers are going to end up in an unemployment line! Come on, people -- play fair. If you want good books to read, remember than someone had to write them first ... and writers deserve to eat, like the rest of us.

Posted on May 24, 2009 10:47:19 PM PDT
But, Patch1958, if you just give the books to pals via an SD card, what does the writer do? If people do this (it's actually frowned upon, as piracy ... you might as well upload the book and just give it awa -- and this is happening right now, on various pages, ex. Live Journal) writers are going to end up in an unemployment line!

Come on, people -- play fair. If you want good books to read, remember that someone had to write them first ... and writers deserve to eat, like the rest of us. It takes years to get the skill to be a good writer, and most ebooks are so inexpensive. Writers are earning about $1 from each sale -- don't take such a small financial return away from them. Pretty soon, the good writers will quit because they have to go work at the factory, and that's a situation which absolutely sucks.

Posted on May 25, 2009 2:16:56 AM PDT
Seth says:
people buying kindles and trading books aren't starving the writers... i mean we're playing with a gadget here... if i didn't do it this way, i'd BORROW the books from the library 3 blocks away and not buy a book at all... and my family would read it when i was done and vice versa. this way, they are getting some sales anyway, and trading among a family or close friend isn't piracy. how about the ability to delete an old book and "re-sell" it to a friend or to amazon where they could buy it? is it the possibility for more than one to have it the real issue since trading a paperback is still just one copy of the book?

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2009 1:37:59 PM PDT
Hope Piece says:
That would be an amazing idea! My friends and i used to do that at school all the time, just pass the book around so everyone can read it and not everyone has to buy it!

Posted on May 25, 2009 8:21:49 PM PDT
Danny says:
It's simply Marketing 101 and economies of scale. Your local library probably bought 20 titles of the same book (multiple copies per library, multiple copies for different branches, etc.). The kindle user bought single use digital rights for a specific title and paid less than they would have paid if they had purchased the same title at Barnes and Noble. The copyright holder absolutely should have the right to dictate the terms under which his/her work will be sold.

Perhaps we'll see a "library version" of the kindle digital file - one that sells for 10x the individual copy and permits libraries to "check in" and "check out" digital copies to a particular kindle.

Somebody else already said that the kindle users are a small group and we probably don't impact the publishers in a significant way. I'd be very curious to see detail on kindle title sales and how much revenue has been generated via this new delivery vehicle. I hope it is a profitable thing for the authors and publishers as I'd like it to continue and get better and better over time. I was a v1 kindle user and bought the v2 the day it was announced. I've probably read 175+ titles on my kindles and don't go anywhere without my kindle. Airplane, train, whatever - there's always time to spend a few minutes reading. I haven't spend a dime in Barnes and Noble since my v1 and I typically would have spent at least $200/month on books. Granted, I could have spent zero and visited my local library, but I'm a book guy. Wait, I guess now I'm a kindle guy - I have bookshelf after bookshelf in my home and I can count on one hand the number of real books I've purchased since my kindle arrived.

My point in all this? Kindle owners are undoubtedly a drop in the bucket in the publisher's revenue, but I'd bet if you were able to easily determine the "significant repeat customers" for a particular author/publisher, the % of them that would be kindle owners would be high. So... if you want to share books, loan your kindle to someone else. If you want to be able to use your kindle and still loan books? Buy a second kindle. I believe that you can have up to two kindles on the same account (I do). Or if you want to be able to use your kindle and loan your books? Buy books. Instead of digital files.

I'd still pay for Kindle titles if somebody came out with an easy way to steal them tomorrow. How come? Because I want the publishers to continue to make titles available. The breakeven for a kindle is only 40 books. I do that in 3-4-5 months. My breakeven? (For two kindles) was 75 titles. The thing that I tell my pals when they ask about the kindle is that if they believe that they'll read 40+ books in a year or so, get a kindle. The thing that I want the publishers to know is that I'll continue to spend on digital titles. I've got about $2500 or so into my kindle investments since day 1 and will easily spend $1000 year on books in the future.

Would be fascinating to see the data.

In reply to an earlier post on May 26, 2009 1:08:59 AM PDT
This is a gross misuse of the term "economies of scale". You get into the economy of scale when the marginal cost of producing the next copy is less than the cost of the previous copy. The marginal cost of producing the next copy of a Kindle book is essentially 0.00 starting with the second copy. Ok, maybe each copy has a fixed cost for the phone call to deliver it. Sure, that first copy may cost millions to produce, but running off more doesn't add to that cost.

In 1908 the Supreme Court recognized the First Sale Doctrine. This doctrine establishes that the seller of a book may only dictate the terms of the first sale of that book. He retains the copyright to the material in the book, meaning that the buyer can't make more copies, but the seller can't limit the buyer's right to do whatever he wants with the book - burn it, sell it, rip the pages out to paper the walls of his house, roll it and smoke it - so long as no new copies come into existence.

The point is not how big a market e-books are now. You see the advantages of them, and you even left one out. With e-books, a college students would be able to pack all their textbooks and supplemental reading into a bag small enough to carry around all the time without having to haul them in a grocery cart. They could even keep the books from previous courses at hand, or electronically sell them back to the bookstore or to another student. SELLING THEM ISN'T THEFT; THERE ARE NO NEW COPIES BEING MADE. When you talk about "an easy way to steal them" you are constructing the strawman for your argument. If you can't see the difference, look at it this way. Are you stealing from Ford when you borrow your friend's pickup? How about when you buy a used car? Then why is it any different to borrow or buy a used book?
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  18
Total posts:  29
Initial post:  May 18, 2009
Latest post:  May 31, 2009

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