Dan Lewis, on what it means to ‘own’ something

This post talks about the difference between owning, possessing and accessing a book or anything tangible:

“If I buy (”own”) a book, I expect to be able to do things such as re-sell, loan, rent, gift it. If I rent or borrow (”posses”) a book, I don’t, but expect to be able to do things like take it with me on a trip. If I am in your house and flip through (”access”) a book, you being a mensch aside, I probably can’t just walk out the door with it.” (from What does it mean to ‘buy’ an e-book’)

There’s another very practical aspect of physical goods which goes unmentioned, but is implied. The existence of a used-goods aftermarket. I was having a discussion the other day with someone who was bemoaning the fact that video game consoles were going the way of app stores and downloadable games. One effect of this is on the video game (cartridge) aftermarket.

There are loads of people who cannot or will not pay the new price for video games but, participate very actively in the video game world strictly by buying aftermarket games.

Contrasting the new Barnes and Nobel ‘Nook‘ reader with the now famous Kindle: one of the big advantages cited for the Nook is that their model of ‘e-books’ includes a scheme to permit me to lend my e-book (the book not the device) to someone else. This is a start. But the one who takes that the next step and provides the ability to re-sell my ebook will have yet another leg up.

Kindle book prices: another genius move

Take a book that I was interested in, “The Lords of Finance”, by Liaquat Ahamed. This is a brand new book, very timely that I heard mentioned on TV.


I think this might again turn the publishing world upside down. Questions:

  1. Will it cause publishers and printers to loose a bunch of money because people who normally buy hardcovers will by Kindle books instead?
  2. Will it cause them to MAKE a bunch of money because people who never buy hardcovers now will buy Kindle books (as I am tempted to, with this particular book)
  3. What is Sony thinking? I think they are running a huge free marketing program for Kindle. They convince someone to read books on a device, and once they do they see the huge amount of money they can save by doing it on a kindle and go buy one.