February 7, 2013

Amazon isn’t the only place you should buy books from, despite their too-low-to-beat discount prices—if you ignore brick and mortar bookstores, they’ll soon be out of business and who would want to leave one’s consumption choices to a digital algorithm when you could ask some grumpy human being for help? But Amazon is ever devious in their ways to own the market, leading to this somewhat confusing article from Publishers Weekly which claims that the web giant is about to start selling used E-books, which are somehow different than new E-books. According to a filed patent, “Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.”

I don’t know how a used E-Book could vary from a new one, except by the very subtle alterations to be made in the text—for example, when I use my Kindle to highlight a sentence or look up a word—but those alterations are easily deletable. Apart from that, it’s sort of a genius move because it’ll give people an avenue to sell their files when they’re tired of using them and want to make some extra money (since saving physical space can’t possibly be a concern). Rather than just deleting the E-book, they’ll be able to sell the file on Amazon for a price… a small one, to be sure, but more than if it’d just been discarded into the digital ether. Which is a sign of the world we live in, I guess, where someone can be gifted a used book that doesn’t even have “From Mom, XOXO” or “I’ll never forget the summer of 1985″ inscribed on the inside. They won’t even smell funky! Why bother?

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