Why the Resale of e-books Isn’t Evil

Recently there have been a number of alarmist posts made on the interwebs about companies (Amazon being one of the them, but Amazon is ALWAYS one of them…) planning to allow users to sell their second-hand e-books.

People have been really throwing their toys out of their prams over the issue. Or non-issue as I like to think of it. I know that some of you are you wondering what I’m on about here so I’ll do a quick recap on the issue:

  • All creators have the right of first sale, it’s part of copyright in that when their product is sold (for the first time) they get their cut.
  • Until recently there wasn’t the technology to allow the resale, or second hand market, for electronic goods.
  • It’s apparently a back-door for pirated copies (and we all know that piracy funds terrorism (!)).
  • The main argument, especially where DRM is used, is that the first purchaser is an “end-user” and so they are only licensing the product for their personal use, so resale is VERBOTTEN!!!!!! (yes I went over the top with the exclamation marks there, but it was for comedic effect).

Now I’m not going to go into any of those points because frankly, each of them is a choice for the individual copyright holder/publisher to decide on. Personally, I’m not going to put DRM on my future works (unless required by certain outlets…. Amazon) because I think it’s limiting and frustrating for the reader. “Surely you’re worried about piracy?” I hear you gasp. Well…. no. Not as much as I am about alienating readers in the first place.

So why am I not bothered about the re-sale of e-books? Or more specifically, why am I not worried about the re-sale of MY e-books? There are two reasons:

  1. I’ll have earned what I consider to be my entitlement via the ‘right of first sale’. I think it’s fairly obnoxious to expect to be paid when someone sells that book on. 
  2. I actually see the option to re-sell e-books as another revenue opportunity.

Wait! What? You heard me! Now put your brain in gear. As an reader, how many copies of an e-book do you legally own? That’s right, as many as you legally paid for. Now, as an author, how many copies of your e-book do you legally own?……. Okay, let me help you with that one. It’s somewhere between infinity and whatever comes after that.

See where I’m going with this yet?  These re-selling services operate by allowing you to sell any copies you legally own. With e-books (as long as you haven’t stupidly sold your publishing rights), as an author you own an infinite amount of them. You can create them at will, which means that you can also sell them at will. So why should a canny author be bothered about these services when he/she can use them as another revenue stream.  Log on, see how much your book is going for in the second-hand market, put a load of copies up for sale at a competitive price. A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing. Simples.

I’d love to read your thoughts on the issue.

Don’t forget, ‘Lament for the Living’ is out on May 10th – get a sneak peek at the first chapter for FREE!

Currently it’s .prc (DRM free for Kindle) or .pdf only.
Kindle/.prc – Download Here
PDF – Download Here

Download, read, enjoy. Let me know what you think.

While you’re waiting for ‘Lament for the Living’ to be released the following titles are also available:
Hannibal House by David Nicol   The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol
For more information and purchasing links please visit:
www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography

Nook – I R Disappoint

My wife has a Kindle. When I wrote my first stories I formatted them for the .mobi scheme used by Kindle. But I was keen to branch out so at Christmas Santa brought me a Nook (from the Barnes&Noble stable) and my mother had a Kobo from …. erm, not sure where they come from but they’re kind of affiliated with WHSmith here in the UK.

Anyhoo, Kindle = .mobi. Kobo, Nook and pretty much everything else is .epub. They’re fairly similar, but the .epub format needs extra tags and things that at the time were too much work for me to get my head around.

Now, on the brink of releasing ‘Lament for the Living’ I had intended to publish it to Kindle, and also to the Nook via pubit/nookpress. That was until I discovered that I can’t.

Why? WHY!? Why can’t I publish to these other services? Because I’m not American, or rather, because I don’t live in the USA.

I contacted Nook UK customer support asking them when/if they would be allowing UK authors to use their service but the speedy (but unhelpful) reply was to contact B&N directly. So I emailed them…. no reply so far.

So it looks like Amazon are cornering the market in more ways than one, and for UK authors they seem to be the only real option (except for publishing through Smashwords and having them propagate through to B&N and others – but why should we?!).

On a side note, so far I have bought zero books for the Nook. Yes, that nada, nil, not a sausage, and while they continue to exploit and ignore the UK market I’ll not be buying any for it either.

Should have bought a Kindle 😦