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Originally published July 13 2004

Are book publishers going to make it illegal to buy used books and outlaw public libraries?

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Book publishers can't stand the fact that people can buy and sell used books online at places like In fact, they're downright frustrated with it, because sales of old books are starting to cut into their new book sales. So they've started comparing used book sales to Napster and the illegal sharing of music files.

Huh? Yep, that's right: they're trying to brand the purchasing of used books an "immoral" activity. As if it's somehow bad that you're picking up a book at a garage sale price.

I don't like book publishers. Never have. They're as greedy as the rest of corporate America, and they're only interested in profits, not the sharing of knowledge. A true publisher would be celebrating the availability of used books -- it makes reading affordable to those at lower income levels, and God knows we need more books available at the lower income levels. But book publishers hate that. They don't want cheap versions of their books floating around, regardless of the social benefit of sharing knowledge at lower prices.

What the book publishers really want to do is ban the sales of used books, but they can't figure out a way to do it, since nobody is breaking any laws. What's next? Are they going to outlaw public libraries, too? After all, people are sharing books all the time at libraries, and the library only buys one copy.

Come to think of it, that's not such a radical idea. The RIAA would support it, no doubt. They'd like to criminalize anyone who shares any form of intellectual property, whether they have a library card or not.

I once wrote a book publisher, asking if I could scan the book I purchased so that I could read it on my laptop computer. They actually wrote me back and denied me the right to scan my own book! They said it would amount to "copyright infringement." Go figure...

We're not too far away from a day where merely reading a book will result in copyright infringement. That's right: the act of reading copies the book into your brain, and that's not specifically allowed by book publishers. Every person who reads a book should be in prison, if you believe the book publishers, because they're walking libraries of intellectual property violations.

So next time you read a book, just remember you're a dangerous criminal in the eyes of the book publishing industry. And, God forbid, if you actually try to sell that book to someone else at a discount from the retail price, you're a double criminal. People like you should be locked up. All the books should obviously be burned if we are going to have a crime-free society, don't you think? We cannot allow this criminal reading activity to continue...

For the record, I give you the right to read this article, copy it into your brain, print it, email it, or crumple it up and play office basketball with it. It's your choice. That's because I believe in the freedom of information and the simple philosophy that knowledge should be shared, not coveted. That's why all the books I write are available FREE OF CHARGE to everyone.

The analogy may not be far-fetched, some observers of the used-book industry say.

Publishers, particularly textbook publishers, have long countered used-book sales by churning out new editions every couple of years.

But the Web, particularly sites like Amazon and eBay, has given millions of consumers an easy way to find used books cheaply - often for less than $1 - without paying royalty fees to publishers or authors.

.Mass-market publishers are not certain the used-book phenomenon is a problem worth addressing, but others in the industry have made up their minds.

.Amazon has listed used books alongside new books since late 2000.

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