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Used eBook Marketplace Tom Kabinet is Seeking Investors

16650209910_4329c0b899_hBetween lawsuits, fights with publishers, and court-imposed restrictions, the Dutch used ebook site Tom Kabinet has had a turbulent 18 months since it opened in June 2014.

But it’s not giving up. Boekblad reports that Tom Kabinet is trying to raise a capital funding round. Tom Kabinet has listed itself on Symbid, a "crowd-funding" site where startups recruit slash strike deals with investors.

The site wants to raise 250,000 euros to fund the next stage of its development. Founder Marc Jellema told Boekblad that he plans to use the capital to promote and market the site with the goal of recruiting new customers.

Tom Kabinet only has around 5,100 users at the moment, making it more of a viable hobby than a viable business, and even if they do raise the capital the startup still has the odds stacked against it. It currently operates a bookstore with membership fees where the site can sell ebooks either licensed from the publisher or resell ebooks donated by members. That bookstore only carries 10,000 titles (few publishers will do business with the site), which could explain the limited customer base.

Tom Kabinet also planned to launch a subscription ebook service like Scribd or Kindle Unlimited, but that plan hasn’t come to fruition.

Tom Kabinet was listed on Symbid on 7 January, and after two weeks it has raised around $20,000. The campaign runs until 7 March 2016.


Reselling digital content was a hot topic in 2013 and 2014 as first ReDigi won a court battle to resell music in the US in 2013, and then Tom Kabinet won a similar lawsuit in the Netherlands in late 2014.

And then nothing happened. ReDigi hasn’t launched the ebook marketplace they planned. I had also half-expected Amazon would open a marketplace where you could resell Kindle ebooks, but that didn’t happen either.

At this point ebooks resales are one of those ideas that may happen one day, but it’s not going to be today.

Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that there is no real interest from consumers?

image by GotCredit


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Thomas January 21, 2016 um 6:20 pm

Would you sign up for a business you expected to get sued to death? Even if it is operating legally, publisher will keep looking for a way to shut it down unless they can find a way to get a piece of the action.

Nate Hoffelder January 21, 2016 um 11:42 pm

Would I depend on it? No. But I might sign up for it if I thought it useful.

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