The right to resell ebooks has broad support from activists, the Dutch courts, and German regulators, but publishers aren’t so happy.
Boersenverein, the German book industry trade group, has officially responded to the news that earlier this week that a German consumer protection ministry wants consumers to have the right to resell ebooks they buy.
Alexander Skipis , CEO of Boersenverein, told Actualitte:
It would be a blow to all cultural and creative industries if allowed by law to sell or move to other digital content ‘used’. Digital books can be almost infinitely reproduced and distributed without ever wear. The primary market for e-books and audio books would be completely destroyed if there were a legal market opportunity. For publishers and distributors would be impossible to continue working together on sustainable downloading models and customer-friendly. This would mostly cultural offer and therefore consumers will suffer.
Apparently the CEO of Boersenverein thinks that the ebooks have no long-term value to readers, and that the readers will immediately sell an ebook once they finish reading it.
Or perhaps I am misinterpreting the translated text; maybe Skipis thinks that readers will pirate their ebooks and sell multiple copies. While that is possible, I would remind you that ebook piracy already exists and it has not yet killed off the ebook market.
Also, the used paper book market has been around for, what, a few centuries now? Do you know if it has killed off the publishing industry yet?
Frankly, the objections are absurd, and in a way that is good news. If this doom-and-gloom is the best argument that publishers can come up with then there is no good reason that consumers should not have the right to resell their ebooks.
image by J. Tegnerud