ebook marginalia, ebook lending, and used ebook lending

Three features we'd want in an Amazon used ebooks marketplace

Joel Mathis makes these three great points in: “Three features we’d want in an Amazon used ebooks marketplace
1) All ebooks should retain their marginalia
2) Unlimited lending/giving
3) Let a real used marketplace develop

Please consider reading his points in detail on his blog post. Here’s my commentary on each point:

1) All ebooks should retain their marginalia

I’ve heard that if a publisher updates their ebook, that when it updates on the reader, all the user’s notes are deleted. Yipes!

I would so love for my marginalia to stay in tact when I share a book. In fact, I can’t even imagine sharing a book with someone without my marginalia.

Sharing notes and comments has such huge potential in ebooks. I would love to be able to read everyone’s notes right in the ebook. As you know, Amazon highlights the most popular highlighted passages in the book. That gets me excited for the potential to be able to see everyone’s notes. Imagine the conversations that could happen around passages in books.

2) Unlimited lending/giving

One of the keys to lending eBooks would be the marginalia. I would be ten times more likely to read a book from someone if they wrote in the margins. Ok, so this really fits more under the first point. But it’s just kinda obvious that when you loan a book to someone, that you wouldn’t put a 14-day limit on it. Amazon is just stupid here.

3) Let a real used marketplace develop

Joel brings up a great point that in Amazon’s early days they got a huge boost in traffic when they added more used booksellers to their offerings.

It’s always a bit sad to see when companies abandon their original roots with a community. Twitter grew thanks to developers using twitter’s open API. Now Twitter has disabled much of the functionality of their API. Instagram was a community for cool people to share their photos. Now Instagram claims eternal rights to everyone’s photos, even after a user deletes their images.

Amazon not allowing a used marketplace for ebooks is like Amazon turning their backs on the people who love used books.

(hat-tip to Kevin Eagan for linking to aforementioned article in his blog post, “Friday reads: ‘losing the book as a symbol’ and ‘literary machine’“)

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4 thoughts on “ebook marginalia, ebook lending, and used ebook lending”

  1. Thanks for mentioning the link1

    You’re right: we need unlimited lending and better controls. I’m interested in how some of these issues related to copyright will be resolved. I know the courts are starting to address digital copyright issues in smart ways…let’s hope that leads to reform because Congress sure as hell doesn’t get it.

    1. Kevin, I’m curious if you would like to see a shorter copyright life for works. Even though I’m a content creator, I would like to see the time span be shorter, so people can use more of the existing work. However long it is now (something like 1926) is way too old.

      1. Something that is adaptable might be better. For example, there could be a period where the author could choose to release his/her materials free of copyright (like if a book goes out of print, or if a contract with a publisher is up). Basically, I’d like to see authors have complete control of how/when they release their work. A shorter copyright might be the answer. Part of the reason why we have such long copyright periods is because of media corporations (Disney!) and their intellectual property. Not sure that applies to authors as much. :/

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