Barnes & Noble charges users for free public-domain eBooks, too

By on December 1, 2010 at 3:00 PM.

Barnes & Noble charges users for free public-domain eBooks, too

Following a report on Tuesday questioning the ethics surrounding free public-domain eBooks that were reformatted and made available for sale in Amazon’s Kindle store, BGR has learned that a similar scenario exists in Barnes & Noble’s NOOKbook store. In a thread entitled Scammers and Bottom Feeders: NOOKBooks Open for Business on Barnes & Noble’s public forums, users share a variety of complaints surrounding public-domain eBooks that are available for sale in the NOOKbook store. Beyond the ethical questions surrounding this practice, some users also raise concerns surrounding the inevitable clutter that results when “bottom feeders” post multiple copies of the same book for sale. One forum member lists 10 separate copies of the Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities for sale that have been uploaded to the NOOKbook store by various third-parties. The famous Dickens novel is a public-domain work that is available for free through numerous outlets.

Whether or not Amazon and Barnes & Noble plan to put measures in place to prevent the sale of free public-domain eBooks remains to be seen — though it is important to note again that while this practice is certainly unethical, it is not illegal.

Thanks, Bic More →

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Amazon charges Kindle users for free public-domain eBooks

By on November 30, 2010 at 10:57 AM.

Amazon charges Kindle users for free public-domain eBooks

A report in Tuesday’s Washington Post reveals that Amazon is apparently selling free public-domain eBooks that have had their license information stripped. The eBooks in question originate from Project Gutenberg and are available there for free in a variety of formats including ePub, HTML and Kindle. Project Gutenberg — not to be confused with 80s legend Steve Guttenberg — was founded by eBook inventor Michael Hart and is known as the first generally available collection of free eBooks. It is also maintained by volunteers who are not paid for their services. Amazon’s alleged practice of selling rebranded Gutenberg eBooks is not illegal — in fact it doesn’t even violate Project Gutenberg’s license terms. It is, however, unethical at best and very disturbing at worst. In response to inquiries, an Amazon spokeswoman told the Post, “These books were uploaded by a third party using our self-service platform. I’ve sent your note to the appropriate team internally.” Amazon did not state that the Gutenberg eBooks would be removed from its Kindle store, nor did it condemn the practice of selling reformatted versions of free public-domain eBook files. More →

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