On Thursday, the US Patents and Trademarks office published details about three patents filed by Apple in the last two years that patent an exclusive system to sell and loan used Digital content like books, music and movies owned by users. The whole proposed system by Apple is quite similar to a system Amazon has patented (applied in 2009) recently with the only difference being Amazon is planning for a central market place like its Music store and Movies store unlike Apple which is planning for a decentralised peer to peer exchange system.
The whole system is more about managing the digital access rights of various owners of the same content and transferring the digital access rights to new owners. There is high probability that Apple might be taking help of its iCloud service to maintain all the digital content on cloud and provide cloud service to access the digital content rather than the content residing on the owners device. That way managing owner right sand restricting access will be much easier for Apple.
The patents even talk about specific systems that help publishers. The publishers can set pre-conditions for the content like min amount of time the owners needs to use the content before it is sold or leased, min amount of price the owner needs to sell the content for and more. Apple is also exploring the options for making a device to device transfer of the content and the content rights without the need of a centralised marketplace.
Apple might very well make more revenue out of such store by charging a commission for providing such services. Apple currently charges 30% as commission on App store for selling apps on iOS and unknown amount of commission for other digital content that Apple sells.