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.