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Barnes & Noble letting users sell free books on the Nook?

Now, I’m not completely hip on all the copyright issues that come along with book publishing, but I know that there are certain books that are available in the public domain. This means that you are free to download, read, and distribute them at will. The key word in there is “free,” but that’s not stopping some people from taking advantage of NOOKBooks.

The Barnes & Noble eBookstore works in much the same way as the Kindle Store from Amazon. Independent authors can go ahead and publish their book through these marketplaces, making a little money when each copy is sold. However, it seems that a good number of people are going ahead and making money from out-of-copyright works, selling them at a price that is naturally higher than zero.

AkilahR brought this up in the B&N forums, finding that someone was selling the fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, for example. These books can be freely downloaded at Gutenburg.org. I can’t remember for certain, but I think I remember seeing a similar phenomenon going on in the larger Amazon Kindle marketplace too.

While AkilahR says that he already knows “where to get free out of copyright books,” I don’t think that’s true of the general population. These “scammers” are capitalizing on an opportunity and, as far as I can tell, it’s completely legal to do so. What do you think?


About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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