Tom Kabinet can keep selling 2nd hand e-books

The Dutch website “tom kabinet” is permitted to continue to offer services to resell “second hand” ebooks. The “NUV” (Nederlandse Uitgevers Verbond) had requested that the site would effectively stop.


This is a first lawsuit; it is unlikely the NUV will stop given what is potentially at steak.

“tom kabinet” appears quite bonafide. It does not have the technical means to verify that the original owner is the one offering the book and that he “destroys” his own copy after sale. It does require sellers to sign up to a statement that they own and will destroy it however. It does verify that the same owner only sells an item once. It has also offered to collaborate with the publishers to collaborate from the day of its creation to provide better technical provisions. The most important step is that they should verify the original ownership of the books that get offered.

It is interesting to understand how copyright law is interpreted in this case of physical media going electronic. It is clear “old habits” are problematic in the electronic world where copying and shipping are by definition infinitely more easy. It is also interesting to understand if DRM protected book rights would need to permit reassignment. The “Oracle arrest” did conclude software could be resold. But a recent German lawsuit was in favor of the publishers.

The news is quite fresh and is not reported in the Dutch press yet. Below an article (in Dutch) reporting on the prelude to the court’s verdict.

Kort geding NUV vs. Tom Kabinet dient vanmiddag (+ 1 reactie) – BOEKBLAD – Vaktijdschrift voor boekhandel, uitgeverij, auteurs en bibliotheek.

Tom Kabinet’s own news page (where their news is published/referred).

The official verdict (in Dutch)