"Online Battle of Low-Cost Books", an article in yesterday's New York Times, covers the publishing industry's case against used books.
Publishing industry insiders and Authors Guild spokespeople do their best to paint the used book industry as unethical:
"Used books are to consumer books as Napster was to the music industry," she 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."
For better or for worse, the right of first sale (the American legal principle that allows the owner of an object to resell it to others) is an enshrined part of the way America (and the rest of the world) works.
Your contractor can't stop you from reselling your home. Ford can't stop you from reselling your car. Apple can't stop you from reselling your computer. And the Authors Guild can't stop you from reselling your books.
Comparing used books to illegal Napster downloads and suggesting that the used book industry is operating based on some legal loophole seems to be part of the larger assault on basic consumer rights that the copyright industries (e.g. movies, music) have been engaging in for the past decade or so.
Posted by Anirvan