Looks like they’re going to try:
[A] U.S. patent that Amazon Technologies in Reno, Nev., received last week indicates that the mega-retailer has its sights on digital resale, including used e-books and audio downloads. According to the abstract, Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.
Marcus Wohlsen notes that “every digital copy is a perfect copy” and that a “customer given the choice between a ‘new’ e-book and a less expensive ‘used’ e-book will buy the used copy every time” because “extra expense of ‘new’ won’t get you anything better”:
[Bill Rosenblatt, a consultant and expert witness in digital content patent cases] believes that a digital resale marketplace wouldn’t ultimately make Amazon a lot more money on books or music, at least not at first. But he thinks it would move much more of Amazon’s digital content business beyond the interference of publishers, just as publishers can’t dictate the terms of, for example, the sale of used physical books on Amazon. Just as with physical books, publishers would only have a say — or get a cut — the first time a customer buys a copy of an e-book. The second, third and fourth sales of that “same” e-book would be purely under Amazon’s control.