Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Is This the End of Books? (Digital, Too)

From Paul's Cluttered Desk...

Amazon and Apple -- you may have heard of them -- are working on technology that would let you re-sell your ebooks.

Publishers and authors are having heart attacks.

David Streitfeld's New York Times piece, "Imagining a Swap Meet for E-Books and Music," has the details.

See, right now, you don't really buy that ebook or iTunes song.  You basically are licensing it for your use only -- unless you lend your hardware to a pal.  But now...

"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."

Publishers and authors see what happened several years ago when Amazon opened a second-hand marketplace on-line with many books being re-sold for a penny plus shipping.  The publishers and authors get zilch.

"Scott Turow, the best-selling novelist and president of the Authors Guild, sees immediate peril in the prospect of a secondhand digital thrift shop. 'The resale of e-books would send the price of new books crashing,' he said. 'Who would want to be the sucker who buys the book at full price when a week later everyone else can buy it for a penny?'” 

As an author with 17 books sold exclusively by Amazon Kindle, I'm siding with Scott Turow on this one.  What about you?


To the 56,410 people who downloaded "To Speak for the Dead" last Sunday and Monday.


Have you been following the Jodi Arias first-degree murder trial?  She's the young woman who confessed to stabbing her boyfriend 27 times, shooting him twice in the face and slitting his throat so deeply it nearly decapitated him.  Open and shut, yes?  No, she claims self-defense.  In my informal poll, 230 million Americans think she'll be found guilty and zero say not guilty.

That's my son Mike Levine in the orange shirt broadcasting Sunday's University of Miami/Duke baseball game along with Joe Zagacki on WQAM Miami.

Paul Levine


  1. I hadn't been following the Arias case but kept seeing her name everywhere. Why? Then a couple of men friends told me they thought she was intoxicating and very sexy. Huh?

    Bad news about Amazon. Maybe all of us will be writing for them one day.

  2. From Jacqueline, still Anonymous.

    Anything that links BOOKS with the word PERIL is enough to strike fear into one's heart. But the thing is, trying to fight this is like taking on the mantle of King Canute and trying to order the tide to turn. 'Tis the way of the world, but selling e-books back to Amazon? How the heck will anyone make enough money to survive, let alone write books? And that's a fine looking boy you've got there, Paulie - chip off the old block?

    And OK, OK, OK, I can take a hint - I'll download that book of yours, and sorry I hadn't done so before. is Lassiter in it? I LOVED Lassiter - that likable rogue of a man - had a bit of a crush on him, actually.

  3. This is my third attempt at a comment. Now I'm too pissed off to leave one.

    Jim Born