Insight into Amazon’s Resell: Did We Do This?

So many questions have been posed about why Amazon has decided to look into reselling e-books. There have been great comments made, and some interesting comments sent to my email direct, and they weren’t all nice.  With so many strong opinions it is clear that there can be a potential war on the horizon.  Again, I state, I’m not asking people to take up arms and fight the machine.  Rather, I’m trying to educate the self-publishing masses as to something that can  happen, and I’m not saying it actually will.

Where did the idea for reselling e-books stem from? Perhaps the Amazon think tank of Amazonians.  Perhaps someone stumbled upon a yard sale and had an epiphany.  Or perhaps it was started by a reader posing a simple, harmless question on the Amazon forum on Feb 11, 2011 asking, “Can I sell back my e-books from Kindle? Once I read them it seems pointless to keep them on my Kindle so I was just wondering if they will buy them back for a part of the money it cost to download on there? (Scarpetta)” (view original post)

This question has sparked over 43 comments, but there are many other forums with similar discussions.  The vast majority of responses state that this isn’t something that Amazon could afford to do.  However, the majority of these comments came long before Amazon retained the patent to be able to resell e-books.

Was it the Amazon think tank? Was it a yard sale epiphany? Or was it started by one of our readers? Obviously the question was out there, and if asked by one then it is okay to assume it is thought by many.  Sufficed to say, readers are very interested in this buy back program, and will likely be interested in purchasing a “used” e-book.  And why not? The economical deficit is everywhere, and so many are looking for ways to save.  It only makes sense that readers would jump at the idea of reselling an e-book and then purchasing a used e-book.  This is a money driven market and Amazon took the reigns on this one.

If the resell program were to go into effect, then it would be up to the authors to educate readers and the public.  But, will our pleas fall dead beside an advertisement for “used” e-books at a discounted rate? What else could we do? Take the poll

Tania L Ramos, author of Be Still and Surviving the Writing Apocalypse



6 responses to “Insight into Amazon’s Resell: Did We Do This?

  1. Still a tricky decision. I don’t currently have a finished book to sell, but they are by far the largest marketplace and I would think carefully about what to do.

  2. On the one hand, I can understand why it would seem like dirty pool. But at the same time, a lot of traditional bookstores resell all the time (Powell’s Books in my hometown of Portland is very well known for having tons of used books). I guess I don’t understand why it’s such a terrible practice

    • I have heard the same arguement and understand. What I feel is that when you buy a used physical book you get an option at taking a worn book or buying it new. There are obvious differences which may sway yoyr decision in either direction. Howevevr, with selling a used digital book at lower than retail, then its a no brainer that readers would take the “used” at cheaper because the quality is still new. Not much in the way of pros and cons there. Maybe its perception, because i don’t feel as strongly about having a physical book resold. Somehow reselling a used digital file seems like dirty tactics.

      • It does to me as well. At least when traditional bookstores sell used books, they discount the price, and they let you know beforehand that you’re buying secondhand content. If Amazon plans on doing it the same way, I see nothing wrong with it. But if they turn around and sell the file as new without informing the buyer, then that’s a real problem.

  3. I don’t think Amazon will be able to actually make this work. I mean … self-published authors won’t be the only ones losing out. Traditional publishers will be losing re-sale money as well. So I get the feeling this program will never see the light of day — hopefully!

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