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Complaints About the Used Book Market - Again

The New York Times takes a look at the perennial complaints of book publishers that the first sale doctrine (aka 17 USC 109 aka used books) is harming their business because of the increased efficiencies of Amazon (Online Battle of Low-Cost Books): Is becoming the Napster of the book business?

The analogy may not be far off, say some observers of the used-book industry...."Used books are to consumer books as Napster was to the music industry," [Lorraine Shanley, a principal at Market Partners International, a publishing consultant,] said. "The question becomes, 'How does the book industry address its used-book problem?' There aren't any easy answers, especially as no one is breaking any laws here."

Did I say perennial? Yes. How about this quote from the New York Times in 2002 (Online Sales of Used Books Draw Protest): "We asked could we at least talk about when something could become available as a used book? Could we maybe wait three months after the book was published?" said Patricia Schroeder, president of the Association of American Publishers. "The biggest problem is that it is legal, I think. I wring my hands, pound my desk and say, `Aargh.' "I think the publishers should simply stop selling books to people who are going to turn around and sell them as soon as they are done. Perhaps shrinkwrap contracts or DRM would be in order. (Sarcasm)

via LawMeme Posted by Ernest at 4:41 PM