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    © 2013, Joseph B. Wikert
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« Moving from industry brand to household brand name | Main | Automated ebook summaries »

March 11, 2013

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PeterTurner

Doesn't this assume that the reader who adds value/content for resale can sell more than one copy? I agree that publishers, if they got into eBook retailing, could partner with authors to promote value-added editions of eBooks, share proceeds with authors--if that's what you're envisioning here.

Joe Wikert

Peter, I'm tossing a couple of options out here for consideration. The first is the traditional one that comes to mind where a reader buys one copy and can resell that one copy. What I'm saying is that there could be another model where the reader adds some great value and the publisher creates a platform where that reader can now resell to multiple other consumers. Assuming the publisher gets a cut that's similar (or maybe even identical) to what they make when they sell the original version, why should they care? So in this model, maybe the ebook was originally $9.99. If the reader creates a summary version and bundles it with their original version they might sell the two together for $14.99, for example. Where it really gets interesting though is when the publisher lets that summary writer sell multiple bundles of their work. The first one might have one set of terms but the second and anything thereafter would pay the publisher the $9.99 while the summary writer keeps some portion (or all) of the other $5 for the bundle.

Marilynn Byerly

All these ideas are predicated on the belief that copyright will allow this. It won't. According the US Copyright Office, "First Sale Doctrine" doesn't apply to digital goods.

Unless the copyright laws are rewritten or the court makes a really bad decision in the ReDigi case, no one will be able to sell/license a "used" ebook.

As to customer-added value, if this happens, does this mean those of us who write fiction have to look forward to readers "improving" our books by inserting porn or rape or nonsense into our stories? Oh joy.

Joe Wikert

Marilynn, yes, there are legal obstacles in the way of all of this right now. I'd like to think we can bring copyright and licensing legalities into the digital era, so I'm optimistic we'll figure that out. I just hope it happens in my lifetime.

Regarding your concerns about porn and other unwanted content into your work, if the publisher owns the platform they should plan on curating that community content, not just leaving it open-ended for anything to appear.

PeterTurner

Thanks, Joe. I get it. Very interesting and a great conversation to have right now, as eBook platform lock-in and DRM is really weaking publishers already weak position with both eCommerce sites and self-published authors.

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