Amazon has come up with a truly innovative idea of allowing readers to resell ebooks that they have already read in a virtual flea market. The development of this ingenious software will now allow to readers to dispose off the soft copies of books in online garage sales, just like they would dispose off their hard copies.
Amazon, with its heavy retail traffic, won the patent which it had filed in 2009, and got the permission to allow users to resell books on their own network.
Although ebooks do not undergo the process of aging and turning yellow, the new resell process allows users to transfer their individual book license to another person. This concept has already been given a tangible form, by allowing users to “lend” their Kindle books. The copy then disappears from the owners model, and is stored in the digital archive of the friend to whom it has been lent.
Another service, ReDigi, launched about a year ago, claims to be using very different techniques to implement the same concept. It says that the user copy of an ebook is first reloaded into the ReDigi server, before another user can download it. This way, only original copies are circulated. This differentiation is a little difficult to understand when compared to Amazon’s technique, as the retail giant has a software that removes the ebook from a user’s bookshelf, before allowing another user to gain access to it, thereby ensuring that only a single copy circulated at a given point of time.
Amazon’s success at winning the patent is an ill-foreboding for other online secondhand marketplace startups. The downright success means that Amazon has the rights to claim a preemptive declaration about its rights over the digital products it sells, as well as their afterlife.