Friday, March 8, 2013

A Marketplace to Sell Second-Hand Digital Books and Music?

A front-page story in the Business section of today's New York Times tackles the issue of moves by Apple and Amazon to set up digital marketplaces where consumers can sell their digital copies of music and books.

The key paragraphs:
The retailer’s button might say “buy now,” but you are in effect only renting an e-book — or an iTunes song — and your rights are severely limited. That has been the bedrock distinction between physical and electronic works since digital goods became widely available a decade ago.

That distinction is now under attack, both in the courts and the marketplace, and it could shake up the already beleaguered book and music industries. Amazon and Apple, the two biggest forces in electronic goods, are once again at the center of the turmoil. 

In late January, Amazon received a patent to set up an exchange for all sorts of digital material. The retailer would presumably earn a commission on each transaction, and consumers would surely see lower prices. 

But a shudder went through publishers and media companies. Those who produce content might see their work devalued, just as they did when Amazon began selling secondhand books 13 years ago. The price on the Internet for many used books these days is a penny.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.