Amazon’s patent for a technology that would let customers sell their previously read eBooks, audiobooks, music and movies the same way that consumers can now sell print books, DVDs and CDs, has been approved.
A seller could put their previously owned Kindle title up for sale and another user could purchase the title, which would then remove the title from the seller’s library. Here is an excerpt from the patent:
When the user no longer desires to retain the right to access the now-used digital content, the user may move the used digital content to another user’s personalized data store when permissible and the used digital content is deleted from the originating user’s personalized data store. When a digital object exceeds a threshold number of moves or downloads, the ability to move may be deemed impermissible and suspended or terminated. Additionally or alternatively, a collection of objects may be assembled from individual digital objects stored in the personalized data stores of different users, and moved to a user’s personalized data store.
A company called Lexink tried to make this happen a few years ago, but it never took off because of licensing issues with publishers. The way that it worked was that consumers could buy and sell their old eBooks in exchange for a credit to purchase other titles. Once the “used eBook” sold, it would disappear from the seller’s computer. Publishers were said to take a commission through Unloder.