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Can I sell Kindle Books that I bought?


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Initial post: Mar 6, 2009 8:33:45 AM PST
I was trying to figure out how (if it is possible at all) to sell my Kindle books that I bought, only to be tolde by Amazon that that is not possible. I feel just like we can buy and sell used books (thanks to Amazon), we should be able to buy and sell used Kindle books. Why not?

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 8:37:51 AM PST
Digital books are encrypted to your Kindle and not readable on another Kindle (unless it's on your account). Not being able to lend or sell used books is a drawback, but only a small one for me. I got over not being able to lend books really fast because of the convenience I have with a Kindle.

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 8:47:29 AM PST
Alyson D says:
No you cannot. Another reason the price of ebooks should be lower than DTBs (dead tree books).

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 9:29:25 AM PST
Brent says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 6, 2009 10:02:02 AM PST
monoblocks says:
The logic is simple: when I'm done with a hardcopy book I have the option of moving it on. Really nice for those novels where the story turned out to be not all that good or involving. The Kindle or Sony locked-down eco-system doesn't give you that option, whether loaning to a friend, selling to a used-book store, or taking the tax deduction when donating to a library or charity.

You lose that power when buying a digital download; there's no clear means to transfer ownership. The ONLY intrinsic value derived from the purchase is what enjoyment you get from reading the e-book itself.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 2:25:33 PM PDT
It's the same as with music bought from the iTunes store. It all comes down to intellectual property, and the concept that you're not "buying" the words/music/what-have-you, but are purchasing access to the data itself. You're not the rights-holder, so you can't pass on the viewing rights to someone else.

In short, Kindle books are treated like any other DRM'd media. You're just buying access to it, not the actual media.

Welcome to the digital age.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2009 4:19:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2009 4:27:50 PM PDT
Kyle Topp says:
In response to: Brent P. Newhall

Digital world is NOT different.

How does your post make any sense? Most people I know give or lend books to others when they are done with them. E-Books should be exactly the same way. Why should I buy an E-Book that I cannot loan or give to another person when I could buy a paper copy (which is usually cheaper) and let another person enjoy it when I'm done? Highly anticipated new releases would be the only exception, as my friends wouldn't want to wait for me to finish. Either they need to give the electronic version with the paperback version (exactly like Blu-Ray movies do, Blu-Ray copy and a digital copy) or they need to allow you to put the book on a limited number of Kindles (like Apple does with I-Tunes).

Your rationale makes me wonder what your agenda is. Are you a publisher/author or just a blog troll?

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 4:36:21 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Thanks for expressing your opinion, Kyle!

There actually is a significant difference between giving someone a paperback and sending the file, as far as copyright is concerned. The paperback is a physical object, so when you give it to someone else, you are not making an unauthorized copy. When you send someone a digital file, you create a new copy of the item. You do have the right to make copies for yourself, but unless granted, you don't have the right to make a copy for someone else, under most circumstances under current copyright law, if the item is still under copyright.

You certainly don't need to buy an ebook. If giving the book to a friend is more important to you than the other benefits electronic versions give you (such as ease of look-up), then do that.

By the way, I'm curious: what leads you to say that most paper copies are cheaper than most ebooks? My experience is that the opposite is true the vast majority of the time, but not always.

Oh, and one suggestion that has been made is that a system could be developed whereby you could transfer your license to someone else. You would delete the copy (or copies) you have, and not be able to redownload without paying for it again. The other person would then have the right to download it for themselves. I think that is unlikely to develop in a widespread way, but it's an interesting concept.

Bufo Calvin
Author, Free Books for Your Kindle
http://tinyurl.com/BufoKindleFAQs

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2009 6:59:23 PM PDT
In response to: Bufo Calvin

You have raised a valid point. With paper books you can only sell or gift original copy. You can not just make copies of paper book and sell. But with digital file you can possibly make multiple copies.

Here Amazon is in a very unique situation with Kindle books. Their site control what can be view on a Kindle. So why not Amazon provides a way to legally sell or gift used Kindle books. Once the owner sells her copy Amazon can delete the book from her account.

Amazon being the leader in used book market, it sounds very hypocritical for it to say that used Kindle books can not be sold.

Think of someone like me who has sold his Kindle. What happens to all the Kindle books you have bought? Once you sell your Kindle the books that you bought are not even available to you, unless you buy another Kindle and register it on Amazon.com.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 7:08:50 PM PDT
Bufo Calvin says:
Thanks, Rajeev!

Yes, if you sell your Kindle (and don't get another one), you don't have access to the books. Sort of like if you sold your VCR (or a record player, or a computer with a 5 1/4" drive) in the old days, you couldn't watch those videos. :) However, it's not the same of course, because you didn't have to buy your new VCR from the same company.

I'd like to see Amazon figure out a way. It would need to be within the license count for that title, in my belief. So, I have three Kindles, and download the same book on to all three of them. I sell my license to someone else and they put it on their own Kindle. However, if I actually sell it, it is worth less to them than it is to me, because there are only two more licenses left. The last person who bought it would probably pay the least for it. Same thing with giving it away.

This does not exist as an option at this time. The other thing it might do is make publishers cut back on the licenses, so you didn't get six. That's if they felt they were losing sales this way. Just a possibility...

Bufo Calvin
Author, Free Books for Your Kindle
http://tinyurl.com/BufoKindleFAQs

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 7:11:10 PM PDT
Yankee2NY says:
They way I look at it, reading a Kindle book is like going to the movies....I can't "sell" that experience to anyone else, it's just for my enjoyment.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 7:32:01 PM PDT
If these things had significant market penetration, the DRM being used wouldn't last long.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 7:53:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2009 8:07:32 PM PDT
You are not buying the book, you are buying rights to the digital content subject to certain limitations.

One of those limitations is that the author is not giving you the right to duplicate that content and pass it on.

For practical reasons when you buy a book and resell it there is still only one book. If you decided to duplicate it and resell it in volume you would be violating the copyright and breaking the law. However it is not as easy to do this with physical books. With digital content of any kind its much easier for even a casual user to create mass duplicates which is why digital content is so much more protected. (or over protected at the moment)

It reduces to this, once you had the content if you were allowed to sell it, you would basically still have it so now there would be 2 copies of the content and the author would only have been paid for one. Multiply that by thousands and add in the fact that unlike books digital copies don't decay and you see the issue.

This is basically true of most copyrighted digital content.

At the end of the day the passing on the used book is an artifact of the physical book. No physical book, nothing to pass on. Just as no LP/CD/Tape etc, nothing to pass on. If someone makes a copy of copyrighted material to pass it on they are breaking the law.

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 8:06:24 PM PDT
techweenie says:
If it's an issue for you...perhaps you should not own an e-book reading device...

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 10:56:12 PM PDT
Mayidunk says:
Amazon could provide the ability to allow you to upload a title back to Amazon, erasing it from your Kindle, and then give Amazon permission to transfer the license for that title to someone else's Kindle. This way, there is still only one physical file that's uniquely encrypted, that could then be re-encrypted for the buyer's Kindle, and thus effectively transfer ownership of the title's license to the new user. And if they wanted to, they could even keep a log of ownership with that file enabling them to trace all transfers of that particular file/license.

Just a thought...

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 11:50:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2009 11:52:24 PM PDT
"E-Books should be exactly the same way."

This is where your logic fails you, Kyle. Like it or not, the Digital World IS different, and it DOES change the way we have done things in the past, with like items.

Or would you expect that a car, which superceded the horse and buggy, run on hay instead of on gasoline? Or neigh and whinny too?

Come on, now. You knew going in what to expect from the Kindle. We all did.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2009 6:51:27 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2009 6:52:39 AM PDT
True Mayidunk.

That is exactly what my thoughts are. Amazon can control this transfer of license and there won't be any copying.

Right now with sell of used paper book, for publishers it is a loss of possible revenue. With transfer of rights Amazon can actually charge a fee and pass that on to the publisher of the book. Right now publisher does not get any money with the sell of a used paper book.

I see it as a win-win situation for all.

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 6:56:26 AM PDT
Could you register another kindle on your account, download the book, and then unregister it? I'm not saying you should do this, but would it work? Or when you unregister, does all the books become unreadable?

Posted on Mar 10, 2009 8:07:56 AM PDT
J. Butler says:
In reply to...."Yes, if you sell your Kindle (and don't get another one), you don't have access to the books."

UNLESS you have an iPhone or Ipod Touch. You can download the free Kindle app and all the books you purchased from Amazon are available for you to read on either of those devices.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2009 1:31:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2009 1:38:07 PM PDT
Brent says:
Thanks, all, for explaining my point better than I probably could have!

As a side note, Kyle Topp wrote, "Your rationale makes me wonder what your agenda is. Are you a publisher/author or just a blog troll?" It's easy to find out. Google my name; I'm not shy about what I've accomplished.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2009 2:22:43 PM PDT
Esse says:
I don't necessarily think Kindle books should be resellable, but I'd appreciate them being shareable to a certain degree. I know iTunes has a function where you can authorize multiple computers to play one customer's purchased music and I don't think iTunes requires access to the other person's account the way Amazon does. I can see Amazon not being happy with giving books away for free, but what if they received a portion of the sale price for shared books? If I read Book A and like it I could authorize a friend with a Kindle to access a sharing copy, which would be a sizeable portion of the total text (a third or a half, because sometimes a sample just isn't enough). If s/he liked Book A, s/he could then purchase a copy for a percentage of the title's cost (25% or 50% discount). It's not a perfect solution, but my point is that there are options between no sharing at all and sharing gone wild. I'd like to see Amazon investigate some of those options.

Posted on Mar 11, 2009 6:29:32 AM PDT
Brent says:
Esse: While I appreciate the desire on your part, I don't see why the publishers would agree to it. What's the benefit to them?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2009 4:02:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2009 1:33:28 PM PDT
Your Kindle books are shareable. If they are in public domain they are infinitely shareable. If they are not they are shareable on up to 6 Kindles. This is pretty much the equivalent of Apple letting you share songs from Itunes on up to 5 computers.

I am not sure why it would be in the publisher or authors interest to allow you to a reader to decide when to discount.
It in effect just cuts their price. The majority of authors make next to nothing and most books don't make a profit.

Why shouldn't your friend pay full price for a book? Are you proposing some limit or once you give your friend a discount can they then give their friends a discount and so on ad infinitum? Is there any reasonable business justification here from the author or pusblisher's perspective? In effect it creates a system where only the first person to read a book pays full price and everyone else gets it for a discount and its the customers and not author, publisher, or book seller who decide the price.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 19, 2009 8:21:34 AM PDT
In response to Satellite Girl:

I am not sure how you can share your Kindle books in public domain or on Kindle.

Posted on Mar 19, 2009 1:09:06 PM PDT
Books can be shared on up to 6 Kindles, provided they are all on the same Amazon account. For example, my wife and I can share books, because we both use my Amazon account.
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Discussion in:  Kindle forum
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Initial post:  Mar 6, 2009
Latest post:  5 days ago

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