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Customer Discussions > Textbook Buyback forum

Buy back e-books

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Showing 26-50 of 54 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 26, 2012 3:50:55 AM PDT
Um, Amazon wouldn't be making money in that scenario, they'd be losing money. They sold you the file at full price. Buying it back would mean giving you some of your money back, costing them money, for no purpose whatsoever. They would lose out on the deal, while you gain. That'll be a pretty tough sell. Seriously, I have yet to see anyone give a valid motivation for there to be any kind of buy-back program for e-books other than that it'd be nice, they'd like it, and they'd like paying a discounted price. That's not really how business works. There needs to be give and take in any contract. Normally, you buy something, and you get the product in exchange for x amount of money. Now, some people are apparently wanting y amount of their money back through an e-book buy-back program in exchange for...nothing. You're missing a key element to make the contract be something you could sell the idea of. What would Amazon have to gain in such an arrangement, even if they were allowed to do so? I COULD see it being a potential new loss leader to draw in customers, if Amazon were really willing to take that much of a loss now they're established (it was different before) to gain more customers that'll just cost them more money in similar deals. But, they wouldn't be allowed even if they wanted to.

Don't forget, Amazon needs to pay for the rights to sell these e-books. They're not free for them. The deal you mention implies that Amazon could buy the book back for less than you paid and still make money. Either you think the cost to Amazon is far lower than it really is, or you don't understand how the process works. Either way, even if publishers would allow it (fat chance of that), I think you may be unpleasantly surprised at just how little Amazon would need to buy the books back for in order to make any money on their end. It's the definition of a horrible business deal, and certainly wouldn't be enough to draw in anyone that wasn't already buying e-books anyway. And, if you're buying it either way, there's no reason for Amazon to engage in such a deal.

But, it's a moot point. If such a loophole were allowed, Amazon would have taken advantage of it during that big war with the publishers, back when they were selling the e-books for less than they paid for the digital rights, in order to draw people in. This is the idea I referenced above. The other side of the coin, the last one I mentioned, would be buying them back for a tiny fraction of the cost, letting Amazon keep a tiny fraction of their original tiny fraction. That also wouldn't be allowed, even if it would make anyone here happy at all, which I doubt.

Logic is a b*tch sometimes. The idea sounds so great in theory, doesn't it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 5:56:53 PM PDT
As a Devils Advocate, here's my example:

Price with forever rights: $100
Price with 15 week rights: Pay $120 initially, get $80 back if you return it within 15 weeks, get $0 back if you keep it.

If you think you won't keep it, you'll pick the 15 week option. So why should the seller even offer the 15 week option? Because some people are scared off by a high price on something they might not even want to keep so they might not buy it for $100. But if these same people were willing to risk $40 on a book they might not like and would gladly pay $120 for a book they actually like, then the 15 week option can make a new sale. It's especially good for a seller that has books people want to keep that they don't know they will want to keep.

I don't expect these offers to appear because the potential for misunderstanding that depletes goodwill can outweigh the additional sales.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 11:03:17 PM PDT
Sarah says:
I have an I-pad. Is there any place I can store my books once I have read it? and save it for reading another time?
Like put it on my lap top? I would want to be able to read my books again, and save them for years down the road.

I have a basement full of books. The whole reason for going electronic was to free up space in my house because I read a lot.

I don't like having this Kindle jammed up with books I have read, and I don't want to Delete them.

Any helpful suggestions for me please on how to store read books that are an I-pad Kindle? Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 9:59:34 AM PDT
I have a Kindle DX, which is about the same size as an Ipad. When I remove an amazon purchase all it does is remove it from the device, I can download the purchase again for free from amazon whenever I want through the Kindle DX by going to "Archived Items" at the bottom of the last page of Home. The Kindle DX also now allows you to sort your items into folders so you con go straight to right folder and the Kindle DX stores quite a lot of books.

If the item removed is a pdf that I didn't purchase from amazon then it warns me that it will be deleted so I should back it up on my computer first. And I if I want to back it up I can remove the items by hand with the usb connection on the Kindle DX.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 12:42:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2012 12:47:20 AM PDT
Again though, even if such a pricing system proved to be effective without a loss financially (unlikely), it would require the approval of the publishers, which won't happen as long as they're on their power trip. In reality, unless enough of the $120 copies in your example sold permanently to make up the difference, it would cost Amazon (or whichever company you're going through) a LOT of money. If the standard digital price on a book is $100, then the digital rights to sell that book for e-readers cost FAR more than $40. The mark-up simply isn't nearly that much. Amazon would be required to eat the difference, if the permanent sales on the more expensive copies didn't cover it. Thus, it's a completely unfair pricing scheme. It COULD work, but let's face it, most people shelling out the extra money are going to already be pretty damn sure they'll be returning the book, such as digital textbooks and such. Realistically speaking, only a small portion would be at all likely to change their mind in light of a guaranteed payout value. Even if they determined they wanted to keep the book, it'd still often make more sense financially for them to trade it back in and buy a used print copy, causing even more to opt not to keep the digital version. Thus, your idea has a lot of hurdles to overcome.

I'm not saying it doesn't SOUND good. I'm saying that you haven't completely thought it out in such a way as to guarantee Amazon would not be left holding the bag in that scenario.

If I were running a business, I think you'd be hard-pressed to convince me to go with one pricing scheme that MAY make me more sales, but could easily cost me a fortune, as opposed to going with the set digital pricing for which I am guaranteed x% profit on each copy sold, even if it did maybe mean less sales. There may or may not be companies willing to take that big of a risk. There's no way to know, and I doubt we'd ever be allowed to even find out. But, surely you can see how it IS in fact a risk?

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 12:56:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2012 1:00:50 AM PDT
I will say, I DO believe (unless there's some legal oddities I'm not aware of) Amazon would have the rights and ability to do something like that with their Kindle Direct Publishing books (or whatever they're called) if they wished and if they covered the difference to the author, but most of those are pretty inexpensive already, so it's kind of a moot point. But, I figured I'd throw that out there anyway. If it ever WERE to be considered, that's where you'd most likely see it happen first (and likely last).

ETA: About digital rights, I willingly admit I don't know the exact percentages, but I do remember that the whole war with the publishers started because Amazon was selling the e-books for less than what the digital rights cost them to acquire, and making up the difference themselves. Thus, it can be inferred that the digital rights comprise a majority, not a minority, of any e-book price, given the prices at the time and the adjusted prices afterwards now that the publisher names the price for most e-books.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 1:52:27 PM PDT
They can tell if you read the e-Book so if you purchase it and then read it, it is going to be hard to claim that you "accidently" purchased it.

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 5:10:48 PM PDT
John G says:
Let's face the facts: ebooks are turning the publishing industry into places they have not gone before. On the one hand, you have 100's of years of history breaking out costs, such as the materials, editing fees, author fees etc. AND new distrbution channels. Look what iTunes did to music and you can see why publishers are afraid.

The reality is that we will eventually have a real market based system. What you are buying in an ebook, is the limited right to read the book. No more or less. Sure would be nice to lend, sell or resell, that right, but that's not what you bought.

We, as readers, can influence the publishers. Only buy what you think is fair price.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012 2:09:59 PM PDT
Yes, which is exactly why I was talking about actual accidental purchases. They do happen sometimes, when the e-books are bought with just a single mouse click. Why you'd think I was referring to anything else, I'm not really sure.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012 9:03:27 PM PDT
Grindle says:
Please tell me no one is in danger of choosing you as an example to follow
on the path to becoming human or encouraging young minds to ask for information, even though afraid of appearing stupid. Please say no.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 8:46:08 AM PDT
Wow it looks like a simple question has really blown up. I had the same question, which is how I found this post. I am a student - an older student - and I can't carry the massive load of books around campus. I also travel alot with my books. That is why I bought my kindle. Some of my required books, well most of them are not actual textbooks, but I still need them for class. That doesn't mean that I really want them or want to keep them forever. It would be nice to recoup some of my expense in some way. Can someone tell me more about trading ebooks? I hadn't heard anything of the sort. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 9:06:12 AM PDT
Jools says:
I don't think you can sell them back if you could it would b gr8

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 10:19:41 PM PDT
There is no (legal) trading of e-books. Some people are very confused. You CAN lend certain titles to another person, one time, for a certain short period of time, IF the publisher chooses to allow it. That's not the same thing though, and is extremely unlikely to even be an option with digital textbooks. Those are worth way too much to them on the sale. It may be an option with some of the non-textbook books, but that still wouldn't help you to recoup any of your expense. So, a rolling bag maybe? Or, you'll just have to decide whether the digital price with no resale or trading option are worth it for the convenience, or if text copies you can do something with later are the better option for your circumstances.

Posted on Aug 30, 2012 3:25:34 PM PDT
S. Chamney says:
If Amazon does not "reuse" or "resell" ebooks, can someone tell me why, when I purchase a new ebook, it already has passages highlighted by someone else?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 5:31:30 AM PST
Maria says:
If you delete them, be aware that a ghost cover will remain on your screen. It is an aggravating thing. I have that problem myself and basically just had to buy the ebook back again. Seemed pointless to have a cover showing a book that I no longer had. And there was no way to get rid of the cover. I've tried everything.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 8:29:23 PM PST
Cejo says:
An intention to buy an item / book means there is some result is expected with effect of purchase. If the result is not accomplished by laziness of the seller means why customer get its burden. (Now the seller as well as the intermediary never knows did it was dispatched or where it is delivered or did the right person got it or not.) In this case better to keep goodwill of Amazon pay the cost and loss incurred because of non availability and not the part of money it cost.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 8:31:18 PM PST
Cejo says:
I lost full money. I want to study the content of the book. That also not yet done by expecting delivery from Amazon. (Exam also over for that subject)

Posted on Feb 6, 2013 10:08:35 PM PST
dkpitt says:
I cannot believe people. When you buy an ebook you are paying the author for the hard work they did. And please don't whine about how much money writers make, because guess what, the majority of the writers can't even make a living off what they earn from their books. If you don't buy their books, they don't make money. If they don't make money they can't write, leaving us with writers who are independently wealthy and doing it as a hobby. I imagine the majority of those books would be pretty out of touch and boring.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013 2:21:25 PM PST
I think this is a valid question. If you pay x dollars for a digital book, then why can't you recoup all or part of your cost by re-selling the e-book? If you had bought the physical book, no one would question you re-selling it. Let's say you buy a given digital book from Amazon for $9.99 and then sell it to someone else for $5.99. What's wrong with that? I don't have all the answers to the many ramifications that this issue may bring up, but I think this issue requires more discussion.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2013 8:22:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2013 8:36:39 PM PST
The same laws that apply to print books and allow for their legal resale do NOT apply to digital books. For now, the idea you're suggesting is not only illegal, but cannot typically be done without going out of your way to work around the protections in place to prevent it, which should be a fairly big clue that one is doing something they aren't meant to be doing. People can "discuss" it all they want, but for now the issue isn't even really up for debate. When you buy an e-book, you don't own the book. You own a license to use the book for your personal use. It's a license that comes with no resale rights, and can technically be "rescinded" at any time. Similarly, public libraries can buy special licenses for e-books that allow them to be loaned to multiple people under specific terms, but again, they don't "own" the book itself the way that a physical print copy is owned.

I tend to agree with you. It SHOULD be allowed, provided ownership is fully transferred (rather than the book simply being copied for the second person), but of course that's just one of the reasons it's not currently allowed, as people aren't trusted to transfer ownership rather than copy files. The main problem though is that people overall tend to be lemmings of sorts, as the market has shown. They don't bother learning what the state of things is, and buy e-books like crazy. As people aren't largely demanding rights in regards to e-books prior to purchasing that come even remotely close to the rights they have with physical books, nobody has any motivation to change anything. It's a golden goose right now. Everyone that wants to read an e-book (and wants to obey the law) needs to pay full price for it, or borrow an authorized library copy, or perhaps manage to get it "loaned" to them for a short time by a friend IF the publisher allows it. Regardless, there does not exist the same "loss" in terms of resales and such that is inherent with print books. Thus, why I never buy e-books and still get them in print, after I did my homework on what exactly I would really be getting for my money. If people as a whole would show some intelligence, and recognize how they're being played, and then demand changes, to keep the e-book market going some changes at least would have to happen. But, the way things are playing out shows the vast majority can't be bothered, until the day comes they want to sell an e-book back or have their "license" to a book yanked, or something, by which point they've already paid big into the system as it is. It's amazing how many people still think they "own" the e-books they buy in the traditional sense, when that is far from the case.

ETA: A good example of the way the consumer market is right now is the sale of the Harry Potter e-books through Pottermore. J.K. Rowling actually created what is in many ways the most liberal for-profit mainstream distribution set-up of e-books to date from a major publisher and/or author. People should have been thrilled, and demanded at least that liberal of a distribution of other works (though, without the international purchase element). Instead, many people complain because it's more work to register for Pottermore, or whatever their gripe is. The fact that you could buy just ONE e-book copy for the first time, without needing to convert it via quasi-legal means, and put it on virtually every device on most any account you had went right over many people's heads. They didn't care. They cared it wasn't one-click purchasing. Until people as a whole start to care, there's no point even having the discussion, because nothing will change.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2013 8:54:56 PM PDT
HappyMamaw says:
Welcome to the capitalistic society. I have a ton of books that I have spent tons of money on and basically I'm stuck with them unless I permanently delete them? That's wrong on so many levels. And here I was thinking that I would be able to do something with all those Dr Seuss books other than let them collect static in my cloud. Someone PLEASE invent a better system.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2013 8:56:13 PM PDT
HappyMamaw says:
ps- I really like Theysend me an email every day of discounted and/or free books. Just an FYI

Posted on Aug 10, 2013 6:56:40 AM PDT
domino says:
Hey, I don't think asking that question makes anyone a jerk. I have lots of paperback books that get sold at yard sales to make room for others. Why is this not possible for e-books? It's certainly not something that Amazon thinks is stupid. They're in the process of obtaining a patent to allow them, and only them, to do just that. we all sit back and call each other names while Amazon capitalizes on an untapped option?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 12, 2013 6:11:23 AM PDT
Blinken says:
I think the best explanation for this I've seen on here is - you don't actually own them in the same way you own that physical paperback book. What you bought is a license through Amazon to view the eBook, so there are different terms & conditions associated with that transaction (that you've implicitly agreed to).

Posted on Aug 14, 2013 6:19:25 PM PDT
Sean says:
Not sure if trolling or..
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Discussion in:  Textbook Buyback forum
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Initial post:  Feb 12, 2011
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