Ebooks are pretty fantastic. Granted, there's nothing better than reading an actual, physical book, but being able to squeeze a handful of books on an reader or tablet is a good deal. However, the problem with ebooks is the same problem with digital gaming distribution services, where you can sell your copy once you're done with it. However, Amazon filed for a patent that hints at the possibility that the online retailer may start up a used ebook marketplace.
The patent in question here covers a technology that's used to power an “electronic marketplace for used digital objects." Essentially, it would take Amazon's Kindle marketplace to the next level, and would cater towards those looking for second-hand goods, even though they're digital copies. Basically, it could change the way how we buy ebooks.
At the moment, users simply can't just buy an ebook and own it outright, doing whatever they want with it, and we doubt that Amazon would give that up, so the patent basically means that Amazon could still own the rights to the ebook, but they would let users resell the ebook in a controlled marketplace specifically for used ebooks.
The concept at first sounds pretty silly, and the thought of selling a digital object for less than what you bought it for may sound weird, especially since there's nothing that would depreciate the price, but we could see users easily take a slight loss just to get their ebooks out of their hands and onto another reader. Of course, we're keeping the salt nearby since a lot of patents usually never see the light of day, but it's a concept at least worth thinking about.