View Full Version : The $15 Boycott: Will you be participating?


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Alisa
02-03-2010, 10:49 PM
So with MacMillan and probably HarperCollins moving to the agency model and forcing a higher retail price, a lot of folks are saying they won't buy. I suppose people's choices may change if all the big publishers go this route, but as it stands today, what are your plans?

mollybo
02-03-2010, 11:12 PM
I can wait until prices drop to a level I'm comfortable with. If I lose interest before an acceptable price, well, it's a lost sale then, isn't it? Too bad!

If we don't buy at an "acceptable" level, the publishers will never figure out at what price the consumer is willing to pay.

scottjl
02-04-2010, 12:09 AM
like anything else, i'll pay a price i'm happy with. if i feel it's too much, i don't buy it, if i feel it's a good deal, then i'm quite happy with my purchase. there's always the option to check it out of my local library (virtually or in the *gasp* real world). and i am not chained to my ebook reader, if i happen to find the physical book for a price i'm willing to pay, i'll pay it. don't understand why so many ebook users feel they have to give up actual physical books.

ficbot
02-04-2010, 12:16 AM
I will buy it if it is a book I really want and Fictionwise has it on 100% micropay rebate. Otherwise, nope. I have plenty else to read and can wait.

GA Russell
02-04-2010, 12:25 AM
There are so many public domain books I want to read, it's going to be a long time before I get around to consider buying an eBook for what I can buy the hardback for.

HansTWN
02-04-2010, 12:29 AM
I can't imagine a "must-have-it-right-now-at-all-cost" book. I would wait for a reasonable price on principle, even though I could afford to pay a few dollars more. But I don't want such nefarious price raising schemes to succeed. There are plenty of alternatives to tie me over, including free classics.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 12:31 AM
I can wait until prices drop to a level I'm comfortable with. If I lose interest before an acceptable price, well, it's a lost sale then, isn't it? Too bad!

If we don't buy at an "acceptable" level, the publishers will never figure out at what price the consumer is willing to pay.


I think one thing they're not getting is that a lot of folks who used to buy paperbacks are willing to spend $10 but not $15. Like you say, they're going to lose sales they would've gotten when the book was being actively marketed on release. People will move on or forget about it. They'd do a lot better getting $10 out of us than $7 or nothing at all.

If Amazon had started with $15 new releases, I would've likely paid it with less thought than I'm giving it now. I would have taken it as a decision based purely on how much I wanted to read the book. Now I have a desire to actively vote with my dollar.

Guns4Hire
02-04-2010, 12:32 AM
I voted this:
I won't buy from them at all and I will get their stuff from the darknets but....

I will send a check directly to the author (haven't done this but think I'm going to start). I have no issues with the author's. Though some have been a bit whiny but thats somewhat understandable.

I'm not even an Amazon customer at least regarding eBooks. Hmmm go figure.

Donnageddon
02-04-2010, 12:45 AM
I chose 'I'll buy books I'm eagerly anticipating at the higher price but wait for other stuff."

For a newly released book $15 is still a lot less than the price of a hardback that I was not going to get anyway. The $9.99 price was a loss leader for Amazon, and others have tried to match it... but I never saw that as a situation that would last.

The $15 price is not something that will stop me from getting a new book I really want... unbreakable DRM is what kills a deal for me. I will NOT "buy" a book that has DRM I cannot easily remove. Period.

delphidb96
02-04-2010, 01:13 AM
So with MacMillan and probably HarperCollins moving to the agency model and forcing a higher retail price, a lot of folks are saying they won't buy. I suppose people's choices may change if all the big publishers go this route, but as it stands today, what are your plans?

Whenever possible, I will find other sources so the authors get paid. But if there are no legal sources for the ebooks other than these greedy ones, I'm going darknet.

Derek

6charlong
02-04-2010, 01:13 AM
I don’t think there is a discrete answer to this question so I picked ‘Other.’ I’m always willing to pay a fair price for eBooks but I don’t know what that is, and the publishing industry has done nothing to explain. For example, a series of books I like cost between $8 and $16.50 in paper and from $13.50 to $17 in eBook form. It doesn’t seem to make sense especially since the eBook version is poorly formatted and only half the series is available as eBooks. Is this an oversight by the publisher or what?

Some books I want are back listed and unavailable from anywhere except the library (Amazon can sometimes sell me a used copy). Having run out of shelf space I have to throw out a paper book for every new one I buy, so I hate doing it. Nevertheless I'm willing to pay the hard cover price for an eBook version of something I want that’s out of print, except of course, the publishers don’t permit back listed eBooks to be sold. Why is that?

If there is a reason publishers need to charge the same price for the eBook as for the hard back of a book I want, I will pay the price but at present eBook pricing is irrational. If there are reasons for eBook prices I have yet to hear what they are. The publishers are sinking their resources into a power struggle with Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, etc., and forgetting that readers are a third stake holder and maybe the most important one.

I think the test for prices of anything is reasonable fairness. Right now I could weigh in on most of the choices in this poll depending on the situation. If I could only hear a rational explanation why I should pay more for the eBook of something I want, I’ll gladly pay it.

Barcey
02-04-2010, 01:48 AM
For me it's not about the price is. I reject Macmillan setting the price that the retailers can sell the books for and when the price drops. I've just decided to stop feeding them.

rixte
02-04-2010, 02:35 AM
I won't buy them at that price at all. I would consider it when the price drops but the odds are also good that I will have lost interest/forgot about/moved on by the time the book does drop...I am not going to keep checking back prices. So unless they make a big promotion when an individual book's price drops, I'll probably not know, and therefore not see and not buy.

That's happened to me already on authors I used to read in paperback that went to hardback - if they weren't exceptional, the excitement was gone by the time it hit paper and it was 50-50 if I bought the book. It'll be much less with ebooks.

Seli
02-04-2010, 02:45 AM
The same as I have been doing with paper books, or with computer games come to think of it. Buy at high price if I really want to read something close to publication, wait until a lower priced option for work I'd like to read. And use the utterly cheap (2-nd hand or remaindered equivalent) to expand my horizons.

bminata
02-04-2010, 02:45 AM
For me it's not about the price is. I reject Macmillan setting the price that the retailers can sell the books for and when the price drops. I've just decided to stop feeding them.


My feeling exactly.. I don't mind paying more than $9.99, but let the retailers set the price to whatever they want. Publishers still get the same amount of money - it's the retailer (in this case Amazon) who pays the difference.

Sweetpea
02-04-2010, 02:46 AM
When I want something I don't look at the price.

$15 about the price we pay for normal paperbacks...


Edit: I just checked a book I'd like to buy.

€9,99 for the pocket edition = (about $14).
$10,57 for the Kindle edition.

kacir
02-04-2010, 03:59 AM
I was a voracious reader long before I started to read on electronic gadgets. I would never be able to satisfy my reading appetite by buying books. Not that I did not buy any, but purchased ones were always only small fraction of what I read. So I used the Library. In certain periods of my life I was actively using 5 or even 7 different libraries at a time.
When get your reading material at the library you very quickly learn to be an opportunist. You do not go to the library with the resolution "today I am going to borrow the newest Stephen King novel and nothing else". You go to the library and see what is available. You bring home 7 books that "looked good" at the first glance and it might happen that you return two of those unread and another one unfinished.

You go to the library and the first place where you look is the pile of the most recently returned books waiting to be returned to the shelves, then you look at the shelves where library keeps the newest stuff. You rifle through at least 50 books to select those 7 you are going to bring home. And you make a reservation for that Stephen King book, but you quickly learn not to hold your breath.

The situation with e-books is very, very similar.
There are lots and lots of really good stuff that I can get for free (I am talking about legal ones) there are lots of stuff you can very cheap. There are so many decent books that you can read that on "deals and freebies" subforum here.
So it is not like I won't have anything to read unless I purchase the newest NYT bestseller, or the newest Oprah recommended one.

pdurrant
02-04-2010, 04:07 AM
There are a very few authors I will buy as soon as the book is available. But very few.

My average ebook cost is under $3.50. So $9.99 seems a lot to me, let alone $15.

But I have bought some $15 ebooks - a couple from Baen, so I could read the book months before the paper copy became available!

But with hundreds of good books in my TBR folder, I feel little need of any currently high priced book - I'm more than willing to wait for it to drop in price.

sianon
02-04-2010, 04:32 AM
I will pay the higher price for a new release from a favourite author such as Dianna Gabaldon, Traci Harding, Sarah Donati and the like just as I would purchase them in paper copy if there was no alternative in e-book form. Here in Austrlaia, new release of popular authors are priced at over $30 AU, although some can be found discoiutned to around $22 AU so paying 15US still works out cheaper. Having said that, I have a significnat backlog of books to read and noe of my favourite authors have books with iminent release dates. I also have discovered many authors on sites such as smashwords and BeWrite books. I am hanging out just as actively for the new relase from Liza Granville (which will cost about $1.70 AU) published by BeWrite books in April as I was for the third the Steig Larson trilogy which I rushed out and paid $33.00 AU for a brick of a book as I could not get in it e-form.

KarenH
02-04-2010, 04:55 AM
My first choice is always the library, but if I'm looking for a specific book and it's not available there, I will occasionally pay as much as $15 for an ebook, but it's very rare. For about 99% of the books I buy, I will wait either for a really good sale or for the price to drop permanently. About the only time I will pay more than $6-7 for an ebook is if it's the selection for a reading circle that I belong to, and I've exhausted all other legal options for getting it cheaper. If there's a large price difference I'll buy paper, but I will actually pay slightly more for an ebook than a pbook, for two reasons: 1) I prefer reading on my reader to reading a pbook, and 2) my space is very limited and it's worth an extra dollar or so to me not to have to find storage space for the pbook.

Bremen Cole
02-04-2010, 06:37 AM
Had to click "other"

I have been reading ebooks for about 10 years. I have never paid over $10 for an ebook. I will continue to buy books that are prices $10 or less. Those over $10 that I want, I will get from the darknets.

Musicman
02-04-2010, 07:55 AM
My first choice is always the library, but if I'm looking for a specific book and it's not available there, I will occasionally pay as much as $15 for an ebook, but it's very rare. For about 99% of the books I buy, I will wait either for a really good sale or for the price to drop permanently.

I agree - I wait for a sale but I also check out the Library first for any e-book.

I think higher prices will result in less sales and profits for the publishers.

Connallmac
02-04-2010, 08:06 AM
I won't buy Macmillan books at any price until they give up on this losing strategy. I'm sure I will miss out on a few books that I may have wanted to read, and in those cases I will write a letter to the author to let them know that I didn't purchase their book because of Macmillan. I will also encourage them to self publish or look for a way to sell directly to me so that we can cut dinosaurs like John Sargent and Macmillan out of the loop!

ghostyjack
02-04-2010, 08:09 AM
Being a UK resident, we are already forced to pay these level of prices for the latest ebooks. If I really want the book, I'll pay the price, but for the most part, I'll wait untill it starts to drop in price.

charleski
02-04-2010, 08:36 AM
I think one thing they're not getting is that a lot of folks who used to buy paperbacks are willing to spend $10 but not $15. Like you say, they're going to lose sales they would've gotten when the book was being actively marketed on release.So these people who used to buy paperbacks a year after the original release still bought those paperbacks even though they weren't accompanied by a big marketing campaign? How have things changed?

For me it's not about the price is. I reject Macmillan setting the price that the retailers can sell the books for and when the price drops.So presumably you reject the idea that publishers should decide when to release a mass-market paperback as well? How dare they!

Consistency doesn't seem to be the strong suit here...

Agency-pricing is not a good thing, but it's Amazon's fault for trying to act the bully. And with the market in the state that it is, agency-pricing just happens to benefit them immensely, strange isn't it?

In the old days:
Book comes out in hardback, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the paperback.
Now:
Book comes out at full-price, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the discount version.
What's changed? Nothing

John F
02-04-2010, 08:44 AM
I picked "I won't buy at the higher price but I will wait some months for the price drop".

Practicaly, it will have to be a "must read" for me to purchase at the first price drop, and I will probably wait for the second price drop. I have quiet a list of current/purchased stuff to read, I have another long list of "to purchase", and there is so much older stuff/PD I want to read, that if the price is to high for an "impulse" buy, I probably won't get it.

MacMillan/Apple, good luck with your pricing strategy and your future endeavours.

HansTWN
02-04-2010, 09:19 AM
Maybe it is time to try the "1-star" review tactics?

TallMomof2
02-04-2010, 09:32 AM
I'm completely boycotting MacMillan both for not allowing retailers to set prices but also because they do not allow their ebooks in libraries. I have too many excellent ebooks to read so maybe when I finish my backlog MacMillan will have changed (Ha!).

I used to occasionally purchase an ebook over $10-$12 but no more. Even with rebates and discounts (at Fictionwise) I will no longer purchase anything that costs over $10.00 _before_ rebates and discounts.

Where will I get the books I won't purchase? First off, I'll put them on my wishlist and check prices periodically. Secondly, I'll see if I can check them out from the ebook library. Thirdly, I would find the book on the darknet and send the author a check.

JoeD
02-04-2010, 09:42 AM
I won't buy at the higher price but I will wait some months for the price drop.

I went with that. However chances are whilst waiting for the price to drop I'll find other books to read and may or may not go back to the book I originally planned to buy. Plus, the price drop better not just be to paperback parity, it has to be lower whilst ever there's fewer rights such as to lend/resell the ebook version.

rixte
02-04-2010, 09:51 AM
So these people who used to buy paperbacks a year after the original release still bought those paperbacks even though they weren't accompanied by a big marketing campaign? How have things changed?

So presumably you reject the idea that publishers should decide when to release a mass-market paperback as well? How dare they!

Consistency doesn't seem to be the strong suit here...

Agency-pricing is not a good thing, but it's Amazon's fault for trying to act the bully. And with the market in the state that it is, agency-pricing just happens to benefit them immensely, strange isn't it?

In the old days:
Book comes out in hardback, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the paperback.
Now:
Book comes out at full-price, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the discount version.
What's changed? Nothing

Your 'consistency' argument is missing crucial elements.

First, the in-store factor - new paperback release tables. The physical memory jog of seeing a book that was mentioned.

Right now for ebooks, there's usually fanfare when something new is released (I get email from ebook vendors ranging from Amazon to BoB and Fictionwise) but there's not follow-up 1-2 years later.

Publishers can release the paperback whenever they want and they can set whatever prices they want. But I reserve the right to think they're idiotic if they release the first paperback 10 years after the hardback or if they price the book at a price I think is ridiculous high. And I reserve the right to not buy them.

But I also think that mandated selling prices and 'no sales price allowed situations' are annoying - it annoys me for physical hardware when Sony does it, it annoys me when Apple does it and it annoys me even more that Macmillan is planning on doing it for non-physical mediums.

Barcey
02-04-2010, 09:55 AM
...
So presumably you reject the idea that publishers should decide when to release a mass-market paperback as well? How dare they!

Consistency doesn't seem to be the strong suit here...

Agency-pricing is not a good thing, but it's Amazon's fault for trying to act the bully. And with the market in the state that it is, agency-pricing just happens to benefit them immensely, strange isn't it?

In the old days:
Book comes out in hardback, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the paperback.
Now:
Book comes out at full-price, but you don't think it's worth the cost, so you wait a year and get the discount version.
What's changed? Nothing

I don't have a problem with publishers setting the list price for the book and telling the retailer they pay 30% of that to the publisher. The retailers can then fight it out for what they actually sell it for.

I reject the publishers setting a fixed retail price and telling the retailers they can't sell below it. This gives all the disadvantages of competition (multiple format incompatibilities, exclusive deals etc...) and none of the benefits.

I personally think that the windowed pricing is an artifact of physical books sales and is not necessary when selling electronic copies. It made sense to drop the price to get rid of your physical inventory and then introduce cheaper physical copies after you'd recovered costs (in the gravy zone). I don't have a problem with the windowed pricing but I do think it's stupid and will only drive more people to alternatives.

Croptop
02-04-2010, 10:57 AM
My vote was for "I won't buy at the higher price but I will wait some months for the price drop."

I wholly support a publisher/author's right to charge what they see fit for their book. But I will never pay more for an electronic version than I would have to pay for a paperback. If that means I have to wait longer before the electronic version is priced reasonably (to me) then so be it.

There are plenty of great (and even just "good") books out there at reasonable prices that I haven't read yet. I don't have to have the latest and most heavily hyped book. I can -- and do -- wait.

bgalbrecht
02-04-2010, 11:06 AM
I probably won't buy many MacMillan books anyway because the ones I want never get released as ebooks. I've never understood why most of the MacMillan/Tor SF & Fantasy is still not available as ebooks, since the readers of those genres tend to be early adopters of tech gadgets.

I normally will not buy ebooks with list price over $10, unless Fictionwise has some sale going on that brings the price down to the $4-6 range I consider acceptable. In general, if it costs more than the MMPB, I won't buy it. Even though I think it sends the wrong message to the publishers, I will buy an ebook I want that's over $20 if I can get it with a 100% micropay rebate at Fictionwise. In some ways, that's my biggest gripe about the Fictionwise sales, is that I suspect it doesn't send the publishers the message that they are overpricing some ebooks.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 02:11 PM
So these people who used to buy paperbacks a year after the original release still bought those paperbacks even though they weren't accompanied by a big marketing campaign? How have things changed?


What's changed is that out off all the books we tell ourselves we'll get when they come out in paperback, we forget a good deal of them. Or we get them from a friend or the library. More and more libraries have ebooks. The new releases have a waiting list but I'll just put myself on the list at this point. I'll likely get the book before the price drops. We find them used. They could pick up a lot of sales at $10 that they likely would have lost with people waiting for $7. They'd get more money sooner. It maximizes their marketing, too.

Pardoz
02-04-2010, 02:15 PM
I went with 'other'. You can't boycott a product that isn't available for sale, and of the books I'm interested in buying that Macmillan has the publication rights to, none are available as commercial e-books. Price only matters for products that you actually sell, after all.

If Macmillan ever decide they're interested in actually publishing books I shall have to examine the situation as it stands then. I suspect I'll end up downloading a copy from the darknet and buying a copy of a different book by the same author from another publisher, ideally one that sells to the reader at more reasonable prices and pays better royalties to the author.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 02:15 PM
Maybe it is time to try the "1-star" review tactics?

Unfortunately, that also hurts the authors. Of course a lot of what we're talking about here ultimately hurts them.

Pardoz
02-04-2010, 02:16 PM
More and more libraries have ebooks.

Not, it should be noted, from Macmillan. Because John Sargent knows how evil libraries are.

mcl
02-04-2010, 02:22 PM
Not, it should be noted, from Macmillan. Because John Sargent knows how evil libraries are.

You laugh, but sadly a lot of publishers actually /do/ think libraries are evil incarnate, because they cannibalize book sales.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 02:26 PM
I'm completely boycotting MacMillan both for not allowing retailers to set prices but also because they do not allow their ebooks in libraries. I have too many excellent ebooks to read so maybe when I finish my backlog MacMillan will have changed (Ha!).

I hadn't noticed that but I just popped over to my library website and, sure enough, no MacMillan. Another reason to dislike them. I have gotten a lot of HarperCollins titles there, though. Sadly a couple of our favorite authors are on Tor. I wish we could convince them to jump ship and go to Baen. My husband is in the middle of a series. He gladly paid $9.99 for the first two. He says he doesn't even know if he'll bother with third. He figures if he's waiting for it to come out and then has to wait another 6 months or so for the price drop, he'll likely have lost interest. He's a lot more thrifty with books than I am, probably because he goes through them more quickly. I only read a book a week on average. He reads at least two.

theducks
02-04-2010, 02:27 PM
Authors. You lose. I will not even consider buying and reading your fiction work if it is:

Sold as dead tree HC or Trade PB only.
Any e-book with proprietary DRM or tied to a device brand.
RETAIL Priced above a Mass market PB (no rebates, no point credits) if no DRM (when I am done, I can give my copy away, just like my dead tree book).
With price over half the Retail of a MM PB version if infested with DRM.

Pardoz
02-04-2010, 02:29 PM
You laugh, but sadly a lot of publishers actually /do/ think libraries are evil incarnate, because they cannibalize book sales.

Oh, I wasn't laughing, believe me. That wasn't *quite* a direct quote, but it was pretty close. From a discussion on publishing, in which somebody asked Sargent why no Macmillan e-books are (or ever will be) available from libraries.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 02:41 PM
I don't buy ebooks of paperbacks for $15, if the book's in paperback for $8 and I can't get an ebook for about that price I won't buy the ebook. I have bought ebooks of hardcovers for $15, and the current mess isn't going to make me change my buying habits.

Macmillan generally charges too much for their ebooks, and so I normally avoid buying ebooks of Macmillan titles. If they do bring ebooks down to paperback level prices for books currently in paperback I may end up buying more ebooks from them.

If not, I won't.

I am still likely to buy books I really want for $15 because I'll already do it for E-arcs so it's no different.

Luckily I don't own a Kindle, so I don't have to give Amazon money if I am going to buy DRM'd bestsellers.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 02:44 PM
Authors. You lose. I will not even consider buying and reading your fiction work if it is:

Sold as dead tree HC or Trade PB only.
Any e-book with proprietary DRM or tied to a device brand.
RETAIL Priced above a Mass market PB (no rebates, no point credits) if no DRM (when I am done, I can give my copy away, just like my dead tree book).
With price over half the Retail of a MM PB version if infested with DRM.

So you won't buy anything if the creators get a fair shake.

Gotcha.

llreader
02-04-2010, 02:50 PM
I can wait until prices drop to a level I'm comfortable with. If I lose interest before an acceptable price, well, it's a lost sale then, isn't it? Too bad!

If we don't buy at an "acceptable" level, the publishers will never figure out at what price the consumer is willing to pay.

My feelings exactly (in the first post!). I will wait, and I often forget about things in the mean time (there are a ton of movies I was waiting for on DVD (largely because they dub them here) and I just never watched).

They may not care about me, it depends on how many people will buy when the items are "hot", and how high they can rev the hype machine. But the hype machine eats money, so publishers are going to have to think things through carefully.

Elfwreck
02-04-2010, 03:01 PM
But I also think that mandated selling prices and 'no sales price allowed situations' are annoying - it annoys me for physical hardware when Sony does it, it annoys me when Apple does it and it annoys me even more that Macmillan is planning on doing it for non-physical mediums.

Me too. (Although I'm a bystander in this debate; I don't buy DRM'd ebooks.)

I would expect Amazon to retaliate by holding occasional "site wide ebook sale!!--except for Macmillan books" promotions. 10% off all kindlebooks (with Amazon eating the loss from their cut) for a holiday weekend--and a text-tag on every Macmillan kindlebook, in the spot where the sale price would be, saying that Macm's contract does not allow Amazon to offer sales of Macm's ebooks.

Sydney's Mom
02-04-2010, 03:08 PM
I chose get it from the darknet, but I realize that is not what I intend to do. I don't like the windowing, and those books I try and get from the darknet. If the cost is $15, I will probably wait for the library. They usually get the most popular books in ebook format, and that is what I read. If it isn't at the library, I will wait for the price to drop. I don't think getting the book from the darknet is appropriate because of price. I know, stealing is stealing, but the windowing is punishing me for preferring ebooks, and I intend to send a message by illegally downloading.

charleski
02-04-2010, 03:12 PM
Your 'consistency' argument is missing crucial elements.

First, the in-store factor - new paperback release tables. The physical memory jog of seeing a book that was mentioned.

Right now for ebooks, there's usually fanfare when something new is released (I get email from ebook vendors ranging from Amazon to BoB and Fictionwise) but there's not follow-up 1-2 years later.
No, it's not missing any elements at all.

Stores are perfectly free to improve on their marketing techniques, and once windowing is set in place will probably set up a 'new discount releases' section just as you describe. There's no reason to do so now simply because there is no windowing.

But I also think that mandated selling prices and 'no sales price allowed situations' are annoying - it annoys me for physical hardware when Sony does it, it annoys me when Apple does it and it annoys me even more that Macmillan is planning on doing it for non-physical mediums.
I think agency pricing is bad for the industry as well. It's happening because Amazon got too greedy and attempted to take over. I can only hope that in the future Amazon manages to amend its ways and restore the element of trust necessary for the wholesale/retail mechanism.


I personally think that the windowed pricing is an artifact of physical books sales and is not necessary when selling electronic copies. It made sense to drop the price to get rid of your physical inventory and then introduce cheaper physical copies after you'd recovered costs (in the gravy zone). I don't have a problem with the windowed pricing but I do think it's stupid and will only drive more people to alternatives.Windowed pricing was never an artifact, it's a crucial sales tool used in many industries. Some people will pay more to get something quickly and others are willing to trade-off a cheaper price for a wait. This has worked for decades. It's got absolutely nothing to do with inventory.

On the contrary, it would be stupid to price the product at the same level throughout its life. Those who were willing to pay more end up paying less and those who wanted to pay less end up having to pay more.

There are no 'alternatives', unless you don't really care about books much and don't mind if authors stop writing.

What's changed is that out off all the books we tell ourselves we'll get when they come out in paperback, we forget a good deal of them. Or we get them from a friend or the library. More and more libraries have ebooks. The new releases have a waiting list but I'll just put myself on the list at this point. I'll likely get the book before the price drops. We find them used. They could pick up a lot of sales at $10 that they likely would have lost with people waiting for $7. They'd get more money sooner. It maximizes their marketing, too.Maybe there's scope for a middle segmentation-point at the $10 mark, though I suspect the ebook market is simply too small right now to accommodate it. Once it grows I'm sure the publishers are more than willing to play around with different prices and windows to find the best match.

A flat-price model is just stupid though and leads to complaints as seen here (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71369&). Publishers lose money from those who would have been willing to pay more to get the book as soon as possible and end up charging more to those who can't pay as much - that's insane.

Baen sells ebooks at a $15 window, and what's worse, these ARCs are unproofed and full of errors - will you be organising a boycott of them as well?

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 03:17 PM
I chose get it from the darknet, but I realize that is not what I intend to do. I don't like the windowing, and those books I try and get from the darknet. If the cost is $15, I will probably wait for the library. They usually get the most popular books in ebook format, and that is what I read. If it isn't at the library, I will wait for the price to drop. I don't think getting the book from the darknet is appropriate because of price. I know, stealing is stealing, but the windowing is punishing me for preferring ebooks, and I intend to send a message by illegally downloading.

Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?

mcl
02-04-2010, 03:19 PM
Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?


So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.

phenomshel
02-04-2010, 03:21 PM
I've got a combination of things going on here. When I got my reader last year, it wasn't a Kindle. And this was, of course, before Kindle for PC or the B&N ebook store. Last February, I paid $23.00 for the ebook of the (then) new Dana Stabenow title. I was just glad to be able to get it in ebook!
So I'll be happy to pay $15.00 for an ebook of a hardback release. $15.00 for an ebook release of a paperback would be different, but I've seen very few instances of this, even at the higher priced ebookstores. There's been a few in that range for what was released in Trade Paperback.

I did notice yesterday (it almost made me late for work), that all but two of the authors I had on my Amazon wishlist that were exclusive to Amazon, are now available at B&N. I moved everything that wasn't exclusive to Amazon off that wishlist and onto ones at Books on Board or B&N. The ones that ARE exclusive to Amazon, I'll grab as soon as they show up again.

I guess I'm pessimistic. I never expected the $9.99 price point for new releases/bestsellers to be sustainable in the first place, so the fact that it seems to be coming to an end doesn't bother me much. Yeah, I'll miss saving the money, and I may end up waiting on some titles that I wouldn't have had to wait for before, but ... I was used to doing that in the physical book world.

dmaul1114
02-04-2010, 03:22 PM
$10 is the most I'll pay for an e-book--or a paper back for that matter--of a novel for leisure reading.

So not really a boycott as I've just had that limit for years. Not worth more than $10 for something I'll read once. For that price or less I'm game as it's just paying for the experience just like paying $10 for a movie ticket.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 03:24 PM
Baen sells ebooks at a $15 window, and what's worse, these ARCs are unproofed and full of errors - will you be organising a boycott of them as well?

I'm not organizing any boycott. That's quite an assumption. I just made a poll because so many were talking about it. I thought it would be interesting to see what people's opinions are. As you can see, most people are not going to actually boycott but they are going to steer clear of the $15 ebooks. Personally, my answer to the poll was that I would only buy a book at $15 if was eagerly awaiting it. So, as for Baen books, it would depend on how much I wanted it and my other options for getting it legally. I would likely give them bonus points for being DRM-free but poor quality books annoy me.

tompe
02-04-2010, 03:33 PM
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


I would. I have even not bought the hardback but would have paid the same amount of money for the paperback. My bookshelves are optimized for paperback books. I do not want to have a special shelf for hardback and would prefer to pay more for a paperback if I got it at the same time as the hardback.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 03:36 PM
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.

Part of the reason hardcovers cost more than paperbacks is because they are released first.

I buy books for the content, not the container. If the paperback was released day and date with the hardcover at standard paperback prices it would cannibalize hardcover sales because people could get the same content for less.

The $15 price for ebooks is based on the idea that getting the content before the mass market paperback is released is worth a premium over the price of a mass market paperback.

It's more than I am often willing to pay - but it's $10 less than the standard price of a new hardcover, and $7 more than mass market. At the very least it sounds like a possible place to start, even if it doesn't work out.

A lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."

As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.

In the meantime, I have a book I need to be ghostwriting, so I will try to bow out, but I doubt I'll be able to.

Sydney's Mom
02-04-2010, 03:38 PM
Windowing is not new: It's why paperbacks are released after hardcover sales start falling off. This isn't punishing you for preferring ebooks, it's rewarding those who are willing to pay more with earlier access.

So many arguments seem to come back to "I buy ebooks so I'm special and shouldn't have to pay as much as everyone else." Why is it ok that people who prefer paper have to wait for the lower prices (when the paperback comes out) but not ok for people who prefer ebooks to have to wait for lower prices?

I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.

pdurrant
02-04-2010, 03:38 PM
So, as for Baen books, it would depend on how much I wanted it and my other options for getting it legally. I would likely give them bonus points for being DRM-free but poor quality books annoy me.

Well, Baen's eARCs have a good excuse for having typos and poor editing. They haven't been proofed or properly edited yet. And that's because they're available MONTHS before the final copy gets sent to the printers for the paper books.

They're also refreshingly honest about it. Here's a quote from an advertising email from Jun 2005:

SPECIAL OFFER from Baen WebScriptions

$15. NO WAITING!

You can do better ($6.00) by waiting, but if you are a true Ringo addict we want to take advantage of you. Order Ghost, the first book in the new Ringo Techno-thriller Kildar series now instead of when it debuts as a WebScription title

(emphasis added)

llreader
02-04-2010, 03:39 PM
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.

Well, I can't really see myself paying hardback prices, full stop. Of course, there are exceptions ( I think I have a hardback copy of Jerry Mander's "In The Absence of the Sacred"). For the same price, I would buy a paperback, because hardbacks are too heavy and awkward. I would buy an ebook before either, even for the same price (as long as it was a price I was willing to pay). The only disadvantages for me are that you can't get it signed and it is harder to lend. Ebooks have a ton of advantages (I'm reading Moby Dick now, along with some articles, and I doubt I would ever lug that sucker around on the bus).

Opportunity pricing is real. The hard/paper format shift has some value that some people appreciate, but it certainly doesn't justify the price delta.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 03:44 PM
I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.

This is what Macmillan is aiming for. They were only going to window new releases if Amazon wasn't willing to go along with that model.

Alisa
02-04-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm not adverse to paying more for early release; what I object to is the inability to buy at all. Set the hardcover and ebook price the same on release date - then I have a choice. A lower price point for ebooks had absolutely no part in my decision to buy a kindle. As a matter of fact, I went from getting books at the library, to buying books. But with windowing, I don't have a choice. And it isn't the same as the hardback/paperback. That is the same format. I hope we end up with the same pricing structure as pbooks- early release of the ebook at one price, becoming lower over time.

I also don't object to paying more to have it sooner but I don't think many people will find it fair to pay the same as they do for a hardcover, especially if the ebook has DRM. While the suggested retail on hardcovers is usually more than $15, they are frequently sold for $15 at retail because shops are allowed to discount them. I think windowing is a sound marketing practice but I'm betting the price differences are going to have to flatten a bit on the digital side if they want ebooks to be at all successful.

Of course I sometimes doubt the publishers really do want that, at least not at the current time. When I see stuff like this, it makes me wonder if one of the goals of publishers like MacMillan is to make ebook reading less attractive until they can figure out how to work that market better and get their business in line with new ways of doing things. I'm sure they realize that ebooks are the way things are going but it's a rough transition for them and I wouldn't be at all surprised if they're aiming to slow it down a little.

mcl
02-04-2010, 03:48 PM
Part of the reason hardcovers cost more than paperbacks is because they are released first.

I buy books for the content, not the container. If the paperback was released day and date with the hardcover at standard paperback prices it would cannibalize hardcover sales because people could get the same content for less.


That's not what I asked. I asked if you would pay the same HC price for a MMPB. And you wouldn't. Because it's not the same thing. Just as we're unwilling to pay HC price for an ebook. Because it's not the same thing.


The $15 price for ebooks is based on the idea that getting the content before the mass market paperback is released is worth a premium over the price of a mass market paperback.


And yet it's roughly the same price as the HC at any store that hasn't buckled under the pressure and become a publisher's agent.


A lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."


And yet a lot of these complaints over ebooks from the publishers are starting to sound really petty to /me/. Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and all that.


As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.


As someone who's purchased novels, I find that gross inflation of the price of ebooks just to make a quick buck very disheartening.


I'm sorry, but there are 4 perspectives here:

1) The writer, who's looking after his paycheck
2) The publisher, who's looking to increase his profits
3) The retailer, who's looking to gain market share, and
4) The customer, who's looking after his paycheck.


The problem here is that the authors are up in arms against the retailer and the consumer, because how dare we take issue with an entire publisher and harm all those innocent authors! We the customers must spend money to support the authors! (See Scalzi's blog for a particularly abhorrent, yet almost verbatim reiteration of this position).

Meanwhile, the publishers are up in arms against the retailer and the consumer, because they're afraid the retailer will unilaterally lower the wholesale price, and they think the evil ebook consumer is devaluing the hardcover prices.

The retailer's being screwed in several ways:
1) by selling ebooks at a loss
2) by losing all revenue for a publisher's works over the period they remain off the shelves,
and ultimately, 3) being forced into an agency model, while
4) losing the goodwill of the ebook customers, the reader base as a whole, and the author base

And with all of this, we have the authors demanding the customers spend more money (to support the poor, suffering authors, don't'chaknow!), the publishers demanding the customers spend more money (by raising ebook prices), and the customers being railed against publicly for daring to suggest that we might just be tired of being viewed as nothing but money vending machines.

You can feel indignant all you want as an author. But as a customer, I'll continue to feel used and, currently, abused by the publishers and, to a lesser extent, the authors. Particularly when you've got people like Scalzi insisting that Amazon is evil for making a stark point about refusing to become a publisher's agent, and insisting that consumers somehow OWE you people a living, just because you produce content.

calvin-c
02-04-2010, 03:52 PM
like anything else, i'll pay a price i'm happy with. if i feel it's too much, i don't buy it, if i feel it's a good deal, then i'm quite happy with my purchase. there's always the option to check it out of my local library (virtually or in the *gasp* real world). and i am not chained to my ebook reader, if i happen to find the physical book for a price i'm willing to pay, i'll pay it. don't understand why so many ebook users feel they have to give up actual physical books.

It's very likely that I will never buy an ebook for $15. But then I virtually never buy a pbook at that price either. I won't rule it out, but to me, few books are worth that price.

The biggest problem, IMO, is that the price will kill the ebook market. The only way I see the market to survive (other than the publishers lowering the price) is if they publishers manage to kill the used pbook market. I know they're trying to do that, but doubt if they can succeed.

Assuming the (new) pbook prices match the ebook prices ($15) then it's quite likely that I will simply stop buying new pbooks. But I won't commit to that. A limitation of the used pbook market is the difficulty of finding exactly what you want. I rarely leave the used book store without buying something-but I often leave without buying the book I went there to look for.

So I'm not going to commit myself to a boycott, but it seems likely that the effect of my buying habits will be similar.

Sydney's Mom
02-04-2010, 03:54 PM
This is what Macmillan is aiming for. They were only going to window new releases if Amazon wasn't willing to go along with that model.

Don't get me started on Macmillan. No library books? So if I can't afford a pbook, I'm just out of luck? I thought that is why we had libraries!

As someone who did not buy her first book until college (and no one else in the family bought books either) I find their version of class warfare abhorent. Obviously, Macmillan books were simply not available.

mcl
02-04-2010, 03:57 PM
The more I see the particularly poor attitude coming from authors, the more I'm tempted to go with the second option, and/or used books.

And don't try to feed me some line about how, if I do that, ultimately all published works will disappear. You know it's not true, and so do I.

But I'm getting mighty tired of seeing authors time and again parrot what seems to be the party line: "Macmillan's looking out for our best interests! Buy our books, or we'll immediately and spontaneously starve/freeze/explode/be eaten by opossum!"

Authors chose to become authors. If you can't make a living doing it, don't quit your day job. Or learn to negotiate better terms.

Connallmac
02-04-2010, 04:05 PM
PA lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."

As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.

In the meantime, I have a book I need to be ghostwriting, so I will try to bow out, but I doubt I'll be able to.

Welcome to the real world pal. I'd like to get paid more too, but there is a concept called supply and demand. When you raise the price of something 50% oddly enough the demand goes down. Imagine what that will mean for suppliers long term financial health? Do you think McDonald's would sell as many Big Macs if they raised the price by 50% over night? No increase in size, quality or availability, just an increase in price. Why do content producers think that they are immune from the basic rules of economics???

tompe
02-04-2010, 04:07 PM
Don't get me started on Macmillan. No library books? So if I can't afford a pbook, I'm just out of luck? I thought that is why we had libraries!


Don't they have Macmillan paper books at the library? That seems very strange since any library can buy the paper book and lend it out.

dmikov
02-04-2010, 04:10 PM
I have to confess I didn't know about library unavailability for books from certain publishers. I thought it's not only immoral, but also illegal in US to discriminate who can buy products once they are on sale. Can somebody point me to relevant info on MacMillan?

Alisa
02-04-2010, 04:18 PM
I'd happily pay $15 for an ebook if $5 went to the author. I think part of people's outrage over the price is that we know that the authors are still getting screwed.

MovieBird
02-04-2010, 04:53 PM
I'm perfectly willing to pay $15 for an eBook the day it is released.

However, $10 is too much for me to pay for an eBook that has been out for over 12 months. However, it seems most people feel that $10 is a fair price for eternity.

So, the question for the publishers, are they going to make more money with a higher margin on the few books sold initially, or with a lower flat rate and more sales over the life of the server?

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 04:55 PM
Don't get me started on Macmillan. No library books? So if I can't afford a pbook, I'm just out of luck? I thought that is why we had libraries!

As someone who did not buy her first book until college (and no one else in the family bought books either) I find their version of class warfare abhorent. Obviously, Macmillan books were simply not available.

If you go to your local library you will find plenty of Macmillan books in the library. What you won't find are their ebooks, which are not currently available in the library.

This is just more FUD.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 05:09 PM
Welcome to the real world pal. I'd like to get paid more too, but there is a concept called supply and demand. When you raise the price of something 50% oddly enough the demand goes down. Imagine what that will mean for suppliers long term financial health? Do you think McDonald's would sell as many Big Macs if they raised the price by 50% over night? No increase in size, quality or availability, just an increase in price. Why do content producers think that they are immune from the basic rules of economics???

The problem here is not that content producers think that they are immune to the laws of economics - it's that they know that they are NOT immune to the laws of economics. Amazon has been holding bestseller prices artificially low in order to increase Kindle adoption and grab market share.

As ebook market share increases, Amazon will reach the point where they can no longer sell them at a loss and so they are playing hardball so that when that time comes, publishers will have to reduce wholesale prices rather than Amazon having to increase retail prices. Publishing runs on a narrow margin and having to take a 50% cut in revenue from the ebook versions of their most profitable books would kill them - especially as ebook sales start to rise.

This is simple self-defense.

tompe
02-04-2010, 05:44 PM
The problem here is not that content producers think that they are immune to the laws of economics - it's that they know that they are NOT immune to the laws of economics. Amazon has been holding bestseller prices artificially low in order to increase Kindle adoption and grab market share.

As ebook market share increases, Amazon will reach the point where they can no longer sell them at a loss and so they are playing hardball so that when that time comes, publishers will have to reduce wholesale prices rather than Amazon having to increase retail prices. Publishing runs on a narrow margin and having to take a 50% cut in revenue from the ebook versions of their most profitable books would kill them - especially as ebook sales start to rise.

This is simple self-defense.

Exactly. I do not understand why people here think Amazon is the good guy here.

mcl
02-04-2010, 05:45 PM
Exactly. I do not understand why people here think Amazon is the good guy here.

Because Amazon is the one entity involved here that's not trying to take 50% more money out of our pockets.

tompe
02-04-2010, 05:50 PM
Because Amazon is the one entity involved here that's not trying to take 50% more money out of our pockets.

But they are in the long run and in the process they will destroy publishing and cause less good books to be published.

I also find it very strange when people here complains about $15. That is what I have to pay for English paper backs when postage is included or when buying locally. And since English paper backs is what I mostly read that is my standard price.

MovieBird
02-04-2010, 05:52 PM
The problem here is not that content producers think that they are immune to the laws of economics - it's that they know that they are NOT immune to the laws of economics. Amazon has been holding bestseller prices artificially low in order to increase Kindle adoption and grab market share.

As ebook market share increases, Amazon will reach the point where they can no longer sell them at a loss and so they are playing hardball so that when that time comes, publishers will have to reduce wholesale prices rather than Amazon having to increase retail prices. Publishing runs on a narrow margin and having to take a 50% cut in revenue from the ebook versions of their most profitable books would kill them - especially as ebook sales start to rise.

This is simple self-defense.

Boo friggin Hoo.

As technology improves, stuff gets cheaper for the same quality item. This happens because of *gasp* competition in the marketplace and the need for innovation.

You cannot take the cost of producing a widget today, and say those costs will hold constant tomorrow. They won't.

Instead of clinging to an outdated model, Macmillian should be investing in infrastructure to reduce production costs. That would enable them to undercut their competitors, and yet make a larger profit. Hey, competition at work instead of bellyaching about how they can't adapt to the new-fangled whatchamacallit dagnabbit KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!

mcl
02-04-2010, 05:54 PM
But they are in the long run and in the process they will destroy publishing and cause less good books to be published.

I also find it very strange when people here complains about $15. That is what I have to pay for English paper backs when postage is included or when buying locally. And since English paper backs is what I mostly read that is my standard price.

Sorry, but one does not get to give authors and publishers a pass for only thinking of the short-term gains, and then insist that consumers must focus on the long-term.

/Right now/, Amazon is the only one not trying to take more money out of our pockets. Just like /right now/, Macmillan is raising prices, and /right now/, several outspoken authors are all but demanding we go out and buy books to help feed them and others.

There're many double standards at play here: people let publishers and authors have short-term views, but expect consumers to operate only on the long view. Publishers and authors get to be concerned about money in their pocket, but consumers are evil if they dare speak up about extra money coming out of their pocket. Publishers are allowed to set their own prices, but Amazon is the Devil incarnate when they do it. And so on.

Seli
02-04-2010, 05:55 PM
Because Amazon is the one entity involved here that's not trying to take 50% more money out of our pockets.

Of course they are trying to do this. You might end up with slightly more stuff to show for it but Amazon is definitely trying to get as much of your money as they can get, even if this means they will in the long run destroy their suppliers (compare Walmart, or any big supermarket chain)

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 05:56 PM
Boo friggin Hoo.

As technology improves, stuff gets cheaper for the same quality item. This happens because of *gasp* competition in the marketplace and the need for innovation.

You cannot take the cost of producing a widget today, and say those costs will hold constant tomorrow. They won't.

Instead of clinging to an outdated model, Macmillian should be investing in infrastructure to reduce production costs. That would enable them to undercut their competitors, and yet make a larger profit. Hey, competition at work instead of bellyaching about how they can't adapt to the new-fangled whatchamacallit dagnabbit KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!

Since most of the costs involved are labor costs - reducing them means paying people less.

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 05:58 PM
Sorry, but one does not get to give authors and publishers a pass for only thinking of the short-term gains, and then insist that consumers must focus on the long-term.

/Right now/, Amazon is the only one not trying to take more money out of our pockets. Just like /right now/, Macmillan is raising prices, and /right now/, several outspoken authors are all but demanding we go out and buy books to help feed them and others.

There're many double standards at play here: people let publishers and authors have short-term views, but expect consumers to operate only on the long view. Publishers and authors get to be concerned about money in their pocket, but consumers are evil if they dare speak up about extra money coming out of their pocket. Publishers are allowed to set their own prices, but Amazon is the Devil incarnate when they do it. And so on.

Consumers are more than willing to vote with their wallets and not buy things they believe cost too much.

I don't buy Macmillan ebooks because they cost more than I am normally willing to pay.

That doesn't make Amazon the good guys in this. What people seem to be missing is just because someone wants you to pay more money for something does not make them automatically evil.

mcl
02-04-2010, 05:59 PM
Since most of the costs involved are labor costs - reducing them means paying people less.

Authors are already being paid less, thanks to Macmillan's 5% payout reduction last year.

Authors will be paid less on the agency model, because 20% of 50% of HB list is typically higher than 20% of 70% of $12.99-$14.99.

And if publishers have to shed some bloat in their offices (non-author), so be it. I'm sure the assistant assistant editor doesn't really NEED the dedicated assistant to go get his coffee and dry-cleaning every morning.

mcl
02-04-2010, 06:01 PM
Consumers are more than willing to vote with their wallets and not buy things they believe cost too much.

I don't buy Macmillan ebooks because they cost more than I am normally willing to pay.

That doesn't make Amazon the good guys in this. What people seem to be missing is just because someone wants you to pay more money for something does not make them automatically evil.

And what you're missing is that we /all/ care about the bottom line: authors, publishers, retailers, and consumers.

But what many tend to forget is that, without consumers, the rest of them don't /have/ a bottom line.

The only entity behaving in anyway that even remotely resembles a nodding acquaintence with this fact is Amazon. Regardless of the reality of the situation, the /perception/ is that Amazon is taking a consumer-friendly stance.

And frankly, perception is reality. If you think otherwise, ask a politician.

MovieBird
02-04-2010, 06:02 PM
Since most of the costs involved are labor costs - reducing them means paying people less.

So be it. If those getting a smaller paycheck don't like it, they can get a second job, or a different job.

Why should Publishers and Authors be immune from the same economic forces that affect everybody else?

I seriously doubt that there is very little to improve upon with automation or efficiency in the process, however. They just need to look harder at their own processes and cut the fat.

EDIT: I should add that those people performing "labor" could benefit from increases in efficiency as well. If they can accomplish more in less time, they will get paid more. Efficient technologies such as decent text-to-speech, or an improved OCR algorithm, come to mind as exponentially useful technologies.

You only have to look as far as the music scene to see this. It used to be you couldn't even hope to produce your own media for distribution. Now, for a nominal amount of money, you can set up a recording studio in your garage and produce something sonically superior to previous decades recordings.

montealan
02-04-2010, 06:08 PM
One item I have not seen mentioned in all this hullabaloo about pricing is BOMC2 (previously Zooba). This is an online book subscription service offered by Book of the Month Club. They offer most of their books at a flat rate of $9.95. This includes the price of the book, shipping, handling, taxes etc. They offer brand new, just published books for $9.95 in book club editions. So when publishers say they can't afford to offer ebooks for the same price, my feeling is that they are being a bit disingenuous. I would be very interested to hear how they could explain away this situation.

If I can get a newly published hardcover book for less than $10.00 why can't I get the same ebook for that price?

Lemurion
02-04-2010, 06:16 PM
And if publishers have to shed some bloat in their offices (non-author), so be it. I'm sure the assistant assistant editor doesn't really NEED the dedicated assistant to go get his coffee and dry-cleaning every morning.

Ummmmmm, you really don't know the industry do you? You're adding several more layers than actually exist.

mcl
02-04-2010, 06:20 PM
Ummmmmm, you really don't know the industry do you? You're adding several more layers than actually exist.

And you're apparently unacquainted with humorous hyperbole.

GA Russell
02-04-2010, 06:22 PM
montealan, I looked at zooba when it first started, and thought that their selection was way too limited for me to get involved with.

If Macmillan offered for $9.99 (or even $7.99) eBooks of only those titles available from zooba, I don't think that it would diminish the outcry here.

MrBlueSky
02-04-2010, 06:45 PM
Part of the reason hardcovers cost more than paperbacks is because they are released first.

I buy books for the content, not the container. If the paperback was released day and date with the hardcover at standard paperback prices it would cannibalize hardcover sales because people could get the same content for less.

The $15 price for ebooks is based on the idea that getting the content before the mass market paperback is released is worth a premium over the price of a mass market paperback.

It's more than I am often willing to pay - but it's $10 less than the standard price of a new hardcover, and $7 more than mass market. At the very least it sounds like a possible place to start, even if it doesn't work out.

A lot of the these complaints over price are beginning to sound really petty to me. It's like people are saying "Ebooks have no production costs so all we should pay for is the content and that's not worth very much either, so they need to be very cheap."

As someone who's written novels, I find that cheapening of the value of my time, effort, and creativity very disheartening.

In the meantime, I have a book I need to be ghostwriting, so I will try to bow out, but I doubt I'll be able to.


Just as you find the cheapening of the value of your time, effort and creativity very disheartening, I also find the money grubbing monopoly hoarders exploitation of MY time, MY effort and My bank balance absolutely disgusting.

Part of the experience of buying/reading a book is knowing the pleasure one of my friends is going to get from from the same book when I pass it on to them. To think that any DRM riddled, badly formatted and device crippled e-book is worth a even a quarter of a hardback priced physical edition simply because its a ‘first read release’ is sheer lunacy when the only thing you can do is trash it after finishing reading.

And of course, a part of deciding to buy a book does involve some consideration of the container its wrapped in — not just the content therein.

Arkham House luxury prints of H P Lovecraft for example, are beautiful objects in their own right, yet the contents are word for word exactly the same as their downmarket counterparts. The Library of Congress prints of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are super-bound on acid-free paper while the contents are no different to the 1940-1950’s pulps. Which versions represent better value is entirely in the eye of the purchaser — so persuade me again, what value does buying into DRM offer me?

fugazied
02-04-2010, 07:01 PM
A ridiculous move by MacMillan and the majority of the hardcore e-book readers who follow the industry will reject them.

If Apple tries to sell ebooks at far beyond $9.99 I will be skipping them as well. In a free market if you push consumers around and price gouge like this, they move to other publishers/stores.

calvin-c
02-04-2010, 07:12 PM
Just as you find the cheapening of the value of your time, effort and creativity very disheartening, I also find the money grubbing monopoly hoarders exploitation of MY time, MY effort and My bank balance absolutely disgusting.

Part of the experience of buying/reading a book is knowing the pleasure one of my friends is going to get from from the same book when I pass it on to them. To think that any DRM riddled, badly formatted and device crippled e-book is worth a even a quarter of a hardback priced physical edition simply because its a ‘first read release’ is sheer lunacy when the only thing you can do is trash it after finishing reading.

And of course, a part of deciding to buy a book does involve some consideration of the container its wrapped in — not just the content therein.

Arkham House luxury prints of H P Lovecraft for example, are beautiful objects in their own right, yet the contents are word for word exactly the same as their downmarket counterparts. The Library of Congress prints of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler are super-bound on acid-free paper while the contents are no different to the 1940-1950’s pulps. Which versions represent better value is entirely in the eye of the purchaser — so persuade me again, what value does buying into DRM offer me?

Haven't had time to read the *entire* thread, but don't believe this was about DRM at all. I agree with you about DRM-but it strikes me that this was about the pricing of *all* ebooks, not whether DRM-chained ebooks should be cheaper than non-DRM ebooks. FWIW I think that chaining an ebook via DRM is an attempt to ensure that it will be re-bought rather than being re-sold. (Actually more as, assuming the original buyer wants to keep it then DRM is an attempt to make him/her re-buy it when they change readers, even if it only forces this by locking the book into a specific format. Maybe when all readers support all formats this won't be true of some forms of DRM, but right now to the best of my knowledge, it's true of all DRM. Assuming stripping DRM is as illegal as the publishers claim, that is. A questionable assumption but one that we need to accept to justify DRM at all.)

So, back to my argument-if DRM is an attempt to ensure a book will be re-bought rather than re-sold, then the average number of re-buys should equal the average number of times a book is re-sold. I don't have any figures on this, but let's say it's three times. In that case, to be equitable, the price of a DRM-chained ebook should be one-third the price of a DRM-free ebook.

So we can agree that DRM-chained ebooks aren't worth $15. What about DRM-free ebooks? Those don't seem to represent the "exploitation of MY time, MY effort and My bank balance" by "money grubbing monopoly hoarders"-so are those worth $15? Or is your point that you don't think *any* ebook should sell for $15?

bwaldron
02-04-2010, 07:19 PM
For me it's not about the price is. I reject Macmillan setting the price that the retailers can sell the books for and when the price drops. I've just decided to stop feeding them.

Exactly the same here. I have purchased some ebooks at a price higher than $10, because the value for money was there for me. But the agency model -- dictating to Amazon and other retailers what the price must be -- is inconsistent with my principles. I won't support Macmillan nor any publisher that gets on board with them.

Sydney's Mom
02-04-2010, 07:29 PM
Don't get me started on Macmillan. No library books? So if I can't afford a pbook, I'm just out of luck? I thought that is why we had libraries!

As someone who did not buy her first book until college (and no one else in the family bought books either) I find their version of class warfare abhorent. Obviously, Macmillan books were simply not available.

Well, this was just a stupid statement. I missed the qualifier - Macmillan doesn't sell EBOOKS to libraries. Not much class discrimination, unless people who can buy $300 ereaders are a protected class.

:o:o:o:o:o

Yoshi 1080
02-04-2010, 07:36 PM
I think a good book is well worth the 15$. I'll continue buying what I want.

TallMomof2
02-04-2010, 07:53 PM
Well, this was just a stupid statement. I missed the qualifier - Macmillan doesn't sell EBOOKS to libraries. Not much class discrimination, unless people who can buy $300 ereaders are a protected class.

:o:o:o:o:o

Please don't forget that the vast majority of people who read ebooks do so on a computer. One doesn't need a dedicated device to read ebooks from the library.

ficbot
02-04-2010, 08:13 PM
I guess my problem is, I don't trust MacMillan to actually lower it later, since they have not ever done that yet. There are ebooks on sale at Fictionwise for $17 which have been in mass market paperback for over a decade. So they say 'we will lower it over time, sure' and it seems like they won't. As Dr. Phil would say, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour :)

I remember emailing an author about a series where book 2 onward was available as an ebook and book 1 was not, and the author was very nice about it. She even said that I was not the first person to email her about this problem. And I thought this was completely ridiculous, there is a product people want to buy and they are refusing ti sell it. I feel like publishers don't even have a basic grasp of how to do business.

And---this might be an unpopular opinion, but anyway---I don't even mind hurting the authors a little right now. I love books and I love literature and I love authors, but imho they have been FAR too passive about this whole thing. If I can do something like a one-star Amazon review which might spur them into putting pressures on the Powers That be to help us finally fix this miss---for everyone's mutual benefit---then I say Power to the People, and I devoutly hope that any author who doesn't like it will run screaming to their agent or their editor or to whomever and get the problem fixed, because we readers have been struggling for years and it's clearly not getting us anywhere. Maybe if they fought as hard as we are rather than just saying 'I have no control' or 'that's not my job' we might make some progress here.

SensualPoet
02-04-2010, 08:25 PM
I think one thing they're not getting is that a lot of folks who used to buy paperbacks are willing to spend $10 but not $15.

This is important -- at least, it reflects how I feel. $10 for an e-book is already the top end. It's certainly out of bounds for a mass paperback -- which is the category I put e-books into. There is nothing of the "finer things" in an e-book like advanced formatting, presentation, "thingness" à la coffee table books ... it's about the content, stupid. :) For this (alone), $10 is a lot. Less current material, it's too much.

I can say categorically if "recent best sellers" were typically more than $10, I would not have even considered buying a Kindle 2 in the first place. That's an important "barrier" / watershed to even entering the category. But maybe destroying the whole platform is what Macmillan has in mind. It is a very short-sighted view.

Pardoz
02-04-2010, 08:29 PM
Well, this was just a stupid statement. I missed the qualifier - Macmillan doesn't sell EBOOKS to libraries.

This still hits users at libraries that allow users to check out e-book readers, but that's a pretty small group, at least at present.

Not much class discrimination, unless people who can buy $300 ereaders are a protected class.

I don't think you're into the 'protected' category until you can afford to drop $300,000 on a device.

SensualPoet
02-04-2010, 08:29 PM
Please don't forget that the vast majority of people who read ebooks do so on a computer. One doesn't need a dedicated device to read ebooks from the library.

This is the same argument, with respect, that says people prefer to watch TV on a laptop. Yes, a LOT of video is "consumed" on the Internet on a laptop ... but people do it because that's the only (easy) choice ... most prefer to consume "long-form" video on a lean-back TV in the living room.

E-books, the same. I've been fully aware of Project Gutenberg since its inception; I've never actually read anything till I bought a Kindle in Nov (when they deigned to sell to Canadians). Many people may read War and Peace on their computer; but many others (most?), if given a choice, would do so in a more relaxed environment.

I read tons of stuff on a computer -- interactive stuff. But not e-books.

ShadowAuthor
02-04-2010, 09:55 PM
I said 'other' myself. Nearly all of the books I want to read are classics that are available for free or a few dollars at most. So much great (and now free) literature has existed in the more than 2,000 years prior to my birth that there is no end to what I can :book2: when I get the time. This isn't about the money. I don't mind spending more on a book if I truly want it, but I really don't read popular novels at all. I prefer classics and writing my own work.

Sad thing is, nobody comes out looking good in this one:

- Macmillan ends up looking like jerks for attempting to fix book prices (regardless if they are truly trying to make things better in the long run - I won't hold my breath).

- Amazon looks like somewhat of a champion of the consumer, even if deep down they're only trying to grab more money and market for themselves.

- Apple (particularly Jobs) looks like a :smack: for debuting a non-e-reader, e-reader that kinda started this whole avalanche rolling. I'm not even going to get into how much of a big 'ol bag of hurt (from every angle) the iPad is in this thread.

- The authors look weak, whiny, and greedy. Those that need the money the most are powerless to do anything about it, and those who have the most power to do something about it don't really need the money.

At the end of the day, all this will serve to do is further push pirating of ebooks. As mcl said earlier in the thread, "perception is reality." I couldn't agree more.

BeccaAnn
02-04-2010, 10:45 PM
There are very few authors that would be willing to spend $15 for an ebook right away. I don't mind waiting for the price to drop (IF it ever does and more than $2) when the pback comes out. If I don't want to pay the high price, I go to library and get the hback to read right away.

GlenBarrington
02-04-2010, 10:57 PM
Like every other purchase in my life, price is connected to percieved value. Will the proposed purchase return a value I consider equal to the cost?

I can be sold a book at higher prices, but they will need to convince me it is worth it.

Sydney's Mom
02-05-2010, 12:29 AM
I don't think you're into the 'protected' category until you can afford to drop $300,000 on a device.

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl:

scveteran
02-05-2010, 02:12 AM
Whenever possible, I will find other sources so the authors get paid. But if there are no legal sources for the ebooks other than these greedy ones, I'm going darknet.

Derek

So you are saying that $15 dollar price is enough to turn you into a thief. Wow.

I was completely floored after seeing that more than one fifth of the people here would steal because of a few dollars.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 02:13 AM
There are 3 publishers now...at what point does this become price-fixing?

delphidb96
02-05-2010, 03:28 AM
So you are saying that $15 dollar price is enough to turn you into a thief. Wow.

I was completely floored after seeing that more than one fifth of the people here would steal because of a few dollars.

Really? Why? It's not as if the big publishers cannot handle $9.99 ebook prices, just that they prefer to saddle ebook prices with print book legacy costs. And how is that anything but thievery on the part of the big publishers?

IOW, would you consider it all right for publishers to steal from you? Because every time you buy an ebook loaded with DRM that has had it's price jacked is condoning theft - out of YOUR wallet.

I say let the 'big boys' lose all the ebook sales they can - until they figure out that the customer is always right. :D :D :D

Derek

Guns4Hire
02-05-2010, 04:44 AM
Really? Why? It's not as if the big publishers cannot handle $9.99 ebook prices, just that they prefer to saddle ebook prices with print book legacy costs. And how is that anything but thievery on the part of the big publishers?

IOW, would you consider it all right for publishers to steal from you? Because every time you buy an ebook loaded with DRM that has had it's price jacked is condoning theft - out of YOUR wallet.

I say let the 'big boys' lose all the ebook sales they can - until they figure out that the customer is always right. :D :D :D

Derek


There is going to be plenty of companies, people, posters, authors and blog this and blog that out there that are going to try to tell you (us) that eBooks cost quite a bit more than we perceive. Besides the very first eBook the cost is miniscule. So watch as they (you know who they is) switch gears (its already started) into trying to convince the public of this.

The Hooded Claw
02-05-2010, 06:15 AM
I'm one of those who has always refused to pay more than $9.99, and I'll continue that policy. And of course there are always free classics, and there's always reasonably-priced science fiction at Baen Books website. (In case it isn't clear, I voted "other").

tompe
02-05-2010, 06:29 AM
I guess my problem is, I don't trust MacMillan to actually lower it later, since they have not ever done that yet. There are ebooks on sale at Fictionwise for $17 which have been in mass market paperback for over a decade. So they say 'we will lower it over time, sure' and it seems like they won't. As Dr. Phil would say, the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour :)

I do not think it is a good predictor in this case. There will be people watching and companies watching them. My take is that this new scheme finally shows that they will take ebooks seriously and that will lead to better quality of the ebooks and a working pricing scheme.

llreader
02-05-2010, 06:35 AM
I'm one of those who has always refused to pay more than $9.99, and I'll continue that policy. And of course there are always free classics, and there's always reasonably-priced science fiction at Baen Books website. (In case it isn't clear, I voted "other").

The "classics option" is a very good one. If a person can only read an average of 1000 books in a lifetime (varies by person, of course), then there are certainly some classics out there than should be on the list (I'm reading Moby Dick right now, and want to read some Virginia Woolf).

I am in favor of the strategy of "sit this one out" until the prices are more reasonable.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 07:53 AM
Just came across this from Kobo regarding pricing:

http://blog.kobobooks.com/2010/02/04/when-publishers-set-prices-with-pictures/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Shortcovers+%28Shortcovers%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

llreader
02-05-2010, 08:11 AM
Just came across this from Kobo regarding pricing:

http://blog.kobobooks.com/2010/02/04/when-publishers-set-prices-with-pictures/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Shortcovers+%28Shortcovers%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Thanks! That was very interesting. I forwarded it to a friend who is in the middle of marketing his book.

Barcey
02-05-2010, 08:19 AM
Just came across this from Kobo regarding pricing:

http://blog.kobobooks.com/2010/02/04/when-publishers-set-prices-with-pictures/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Shortcovers+%28Shortcovers%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Excellent post! It's great to see some real retail data on it and it's what I suspected. Amazon is not on the customer's side of this fight. They are on the side of making the most money possible. That happens to be by selling the books at the price most customers are willing to pay.

bwaldron
02-05-2010, 09:43 AM
Excellent post! It's great to see some real retail data on it and it's what I suspected. Amazon is not on the customer's side of this fight. They are on the side of making the most money possible. That happens to be by selling the books at the price most customers are willing to pay.

Well, I do consider that being on my side as a customer, even though I don't attribute any altruistic motives to them, nor would I expect to do so for any corporation. I want them to make the most money possible, if they do so by providing me with good prices and excellent service.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 11:12 AM
So you are saying that $15 dollar price is enough to turn you into a thief. Wow.

I was completely floored after seeing that more than one fifth of the people here would steal because of a few dollars.

Ho hum, repeat after me until it sinks in...

File-coping is not stealing. Period.

It follows therefore, that one cannot turn into a thief for doing so. Simple.


Only one-fifth? That seems an incredibly low percentage. The majority of people must be clicking on the wrong button(s) by mistake :)


Seriously, you are attempting to pin the label of ‘criminal’ on people who are only taking advantage of the monopoly hoarders crass stupidity and unbridled greed.

By their own public actions, the monopoly hoarders are telling us that they are more than willing to forgo their own opportunity cost of making a transaction sale to potential customers — so we might as well just indulge them in their fantasies by taking to the free-way.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 11:17 AM
Ho hum, repeat after me until it sinks in...

File-coping is not stealing. Period.
..


Ho Hum. Yes it is!

Period!

jmaloney
02-05-2010, 11:31 AM
So, would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released day-and-date with the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.

Would you pay hardback prices for a mass-market paperback released a few months after the hardback?

No, you wouldn't.


What we object to is using the hardback price as the basis for pricing ebooks. They're not the same thing. No more than a MMPB is the same thing.

Last I checked, Macmillan's plan would price ebooks at about 50% of the hardcover price on the day of release. I fail to see how the scenarios you outline have any relation to that situation.

bwaldron
02-05-2010, 11:40 AM
Ho hum, repeat after me until it sinks in...

File-coping is not stealing. Period.

It follows therefore, that one cannot turn into a thief for doing so. Simple.


File copying is not stealing, except where the file contents are copyright-protected.

And yeah, I know that the owner didn't "lose" anything tangible, and that "information wants to be free," and so on.

Ho, hum.

I do understand why people do it. I also understand anger at the clueless publishers. I also know that much/most piracy doesn't represent lost sales (and in some cases may even be good for the author). And I believe that current copyright law is a bit ridiculous, and likely to get worse (not to mention the DMCA and its ilk).

All well and good. It's still taking something of value, for which I would prefer to see the creator compensated.

llreader
02-05-2010, 11:41 AM
Ho Hum. Yes it is!

Period!

Dum dee dum. No, it is not.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 11:49 AM
Ho hum, repeat after me until it sinks in...

File-coping is not stealing. Period.

It follows therefore, that one cannot turn into a thief for doing so. Simple.

It's truly pitiful to see how people who grew up with the internet paradigm of file sharing have become so amoral about theft. This post from MrBlueSky is a perfect example of the attitude so many younger, internet-oriented people take: if it's not a tangible object, then it must not really be stealing. When there is no inner sense of right and wrong taught by parents who actually give a crap about their kids' moral development, the attitude of MrBlueSky is basically what you get as a result: "if I can't get caught, it must not be wrong." Or the old standby: "Everyone else is doing it, so it must be ok."

If MrBlueSky had spent a couple of years or more writing his own book only to see it linked around on various illegal torrent or Usenet groups, I'll bet he'd have a bit of a different attitude...

jmaloney
02-05-2010, 11:56 AM
The problem here is that the authors are up in arms against the retailer and the consumer, because how dare we take issue with an entire publisher and harm all those innocent authors! We the customers must spend money to support the authors! (See Scalzi's blog for a particularly abhorrent, yet almost verbatim reiteration of this position).

I know you're not a fan of Scalzi at the moment, but that's a pretty big freakin' misrepresentation of what he posted. Here's an exact quote from Scalzi (emphasis added):

So rather than focus on what should happen to Amazon or Macmillan, here’s an idea, and here’s my point: let’s us focus on the writers, who are getting kinda screwed here. None of this is their fault, it has nothing to do with them, and they don’t deserve to lose sales and their livelihood while this thing goes down. If you want to make a statement here, don’t make it against a corporation, who isn’t listening anyway. Make it for someone, and someone who will appreciate the support.

It's incredibly clear that he's not saying, "You must go buy author's books!" He saying that if you want to show some support, the best way to do it is to buy their books from someone who is actually willing to sell them. There's no "must" in there, just "if you want to".

I also don't see any place where he rails against the consumer. It's apparent to anyone actually reading his posts that he's pissed at one entity: Amazon. That's it.

llreader
02-05-2010, 12:07 PM
It's truly pitiful to see how people who grew up with the internet paradigm of file sharing have become so amoral about theft. This post from MrBlueSky is a perfect example of the attitude so many younger, internet-oriented people take: if it's not a tangible object, then it must not really be stealing. When there is no inner sense of right and wrong taught by parents who actually give a crap about their kids' moral development, the attitude of MrBlueSky is basically what you get as a result: "if I can't get caught, it must not be wrong." Or the old standby: "Everyone else is doing it, so it must be ok."

If MrBlueSky had spent a couple of years or more writing his own book only to see it linked around on various illegal torrent or Usenet groups, I'll bet he'd have a bit of a different attitude...

Those "amoral kids" are almost as bad as the hyperbolic folks who want to make a civil offense into a criminal act. I am not going to speak for Mr. Blue Sky, but if we want to have a rational discussion we need to not blow so much smoke right out of the gate. A number of people on these forums are trying to make some reasonable points about the the repercussions of different types of unauthorized copying, and shrill cries of "Thieves! Thieves!" is not particularly useful.

This is a complex subject for a reason; there are a number of issues to be balanced when deciding how to deal with copying, on both the legal and ethical level. It would be helpful if posters (on *both* sides) were willing to bring a bit more to the table and discuss this in a reasonable way.

TallMomof2
02-05-2010, 12:10 PM
Why should I believe that MacMillan will actually lower prices. I've been looking at backlist ebooks and comparing prices of the ebook at Fictionwise to the cheapest new pbook I can order from Amazon. In Science Fiction why should I pay $26.95 for A Paradigm of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey at Fictionwise when I can purchase a pbook version from a 3rd party seller at Amazon for $3.95? In mystery I can pay $27.95 for Someone to Kill by Kurt Corriher at Fictionwise or $1.98 from Amazon (3rd party).

I have no reason to believe that MacMillan or any publisher will lower ebook prices over time especially on backlist titles. The reasoning (or excuse) will be that it costs $$$ to produce the ebook title.

MacMillan and the rest of the publishers will most likely set prices for ebooks but savvy consumers will either stop buying overpriced ebooks, buy paper versions or go to the darknet.

Maybe the publishers will be better dropping ebook prices on new releases when the paperback is released but based on my experience it won't happen.

llreader
02-05-2010, 12:18 PM
... why should I pay $26.95 for A Paradigm of Earth by Candas Jane Dorsey?

Because she is totally, totally awesome? :D

This is a good point, and a terrible shame. Ebooks would be great for her. I corresponded with her briefly a few years ago, and she saved a lot of paper copies of her books to sell because she knew they would go out of print quickly. An ebook at a reasonable price would be just the thing so that more people can discover her work and she can make a little money even after the pbooks are only for sale second-hand.

BTW, I have no idea what her personal opinions on ebooks and pricing are - the above is just my take on the situation.

tompe
02-05-2010, 12:22 PM
It's truly pitiful to see how people who grew up with the internet paradigm of file sharing have become so amoral about theft. This post from MrBlueSky is a perfect example of the attitude so many younger, internet-oriented people take: if it's not a tangible object, then it must not really be stealing. When there is no inner sense of right and wrong taught by parents who actually give a crap about their kids' moral development, the attitude of MrBlueSky is basically what you get as a result: "if I can't get caught, it must not be wrong." Or the old standby: "Everyone else is doing it, so it must be ok."

If MrBlueSky had spent a couple of years or more writing his own book only to see it linked around on various illegal torrent or Usenet groups, I'll bet he'd have a bit of a different attitude...

The text you quoted does not say that copyright infringement is morally right. I do not get why people do not seem to be able to reason correctly here. Nobody here implies that the fact that copyright infringement is not theft means that copyright infringement is morally OK.

tom95521
02-05-2010, 12:22 PM
I will pay $15 when I have the right to pass my DRM license on to another person or donate to a library. Not sure why respected authors with positive feedback can't self publish for $5. Who needs publishers if they don't print and distribute?

Tom

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 12:23 PM
I want to second JMaloney and also make something very clear.

The issue the authors have is not so much whether ebooks of bestselling hardcovers should be sold for $10 or $15.

What has got authors like John Scalzi angry at Amazon is the removal of buy buttons from Macmillan's dead tree books. Books which are not involved in this dispute. Most books sell in the first 90 days of release; if an author does not get enough sales in that time the publisher may not buy their next book. Two weeks without a buy button could cost them a quarter of their possible sales on a given title. If they are lucky they may come back under a pseudonym (I can think of at least a couple of authors who have had to do that). If not, they could have to break in all over again.

By removing the buy buttons, Amazon is disproportionately punishing authors. They are saying, we're going to punish you because we have a dispute with someone else over something else: so we're going to attack your livelihood and possibly your career. Most authors would not be anywhere near as angry if Amazon had just removed Macmillan books from Kindle.

It's the paper book issue that has them up in arms.

Whether an author agrees with Macmillan's proposal or not, authors are rallying against Amazon because Amazon has effectively kicked them in the nuts and in most cases it's NOT because of ebooks and ebook pricing.

Amazon treated authors like the enemy. Amazon treated everyone who buys paper books like the enemy. That's why people like John Scalzi are angry with them.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 12:27 PM
Those "amoral kids" are almost as bad as the hyperbolic folks who want to make a civil offense into a criminal act. I am not going to speak for Mr. Blue Sky, but if we want to have a rational discussion we need to not blow so much smoke right out of the gate. A number of people on these forums are trying to make some reasonable points about the the repercussions of different types of unauthorized copying, and shrill cries of "Thieves! Thieves!" is not particularly useful.

This is a complex subject for a reason; there are a number of issues to be balanced when deciding how to deal with copying, on both the legal and ethical level. It would be helpful if posters (on *both* sides) were willing to bring a bit more to the table and discuss this in a reasonable way.

People who want to do something are going to rationalize it any way they can so they can tell themselves they're not doing anything wrong, that law doesn't really apply to me because my situation here is somehow different. Once people have rationalized that, they'll stick to that argument, however ridiculous, because to admit otherwise is to admit a violation of morality, which no one likes to do.

A civil offense is a criminal act. You may want to hang a label on it that sounds nicer, but a criminal is someone who violates the law. When you exceed the speed limit, you are technically a criminal at that point.

Violating copyright law is a crime. You may try to rationalize it by saying your situation is different, yadda, yadda: just the meaningless noise of someone trying to justify themselves. No, you haven't killed anyone, yes, it may help sales for the author, yes, the publishing houses charge too much, yes, the law ought to be changed, etc., etc. I've heard it all over in the music file sharing community. Talk to the hand. It's all just rationalization. It's still violating the law, so it's still a criminal act.

TallMomof2
02-05-2010, 12:34 PM
I want to second JMaloney and also make something very clear.

The issue the authors have is not so much whether ebooks of bestselling hardcovers should be sold for $10 or $15.

What has got authors like John Scalzi angry at Amazon is the removal of buy buttons from Macmillan's dead tree books. Books which are not involved in this dispute. Most books sell in the first 90 days of release; if an author does not get enough sales in that time the publisher may not buy their next book. Two weeks without a buy button could cost them a quarter of their possible sales on a given title. If they are lucky they may come back under a pseudonym (I can think of at least a couple of authors who have had to do that). If not, they could have to break in all over again.

By removing the buy buttons, Amazon is disproportionately punishing authors. They are saying, we're going to punish you because we have a dispute with someone else over something else: so we're going to attack your livelihood and possibly your career. Most authors would not be anywhere near as angry if Amazon had just removed Macmillan books from Kindle.

It's the paper book issue that has them up in arms.

Whether an author agrees with Macmillan's proposal or not, authors are rallying against Amazon because Amazon has effectively kicked them in the nuts and in most cases it's NOT because of ebooks and ebook pricing.

Amazon treated authors like the enemy. Amazon treated everyone who buys paper books like the enemy. That's why people like John Scalzi are angry with them.

In almost every case you can still buy the dead tree books at Amazon through 3rd party sellers. Brand new books and used, too. You just can't buy the book directly from Amazon.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 12:44 PM
My boycott now extends to the three publishers who've signed on. And includes their pbooks as well.

llreader
02-05-2010, 01:10 PM
People who want to do something are going to rationalize it any way they can so they can tell themselves they're not doing anything wrong, that law doesn't really apply to me because my situation here is somehow different. Once people have rationalized that, they'll stick to that argument, however ridiculous, because to admit otherwise is to admit a violation of morality, which no one likes to do.


Thank you for pre-judging the motives of anyone who does not agree with you. It is an excellent way to engage in discourse.

You apparently don't understand the difference between civil and criminal (http://www.diffen.com/difference/Civil_Law_vs_Criminal_Law) law. Copyright infringement not for monetary gain has been classified as criminal in the US only since 1976, and it is not considered such in most other places.

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 01:18 PM
My boycott now extends to the three publishers who've signed on. And includes their pbooks as well.

And another signs up to punish the victims.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 01:24 PM
What victims? The authors? They've chosen to participate in the current system and signed their own contracts. As long as their in league with the publishing houses that I disagree with, why would I support them? Do they get a raw deal? Yep - but that was by their own consent. I choose not to consent.

There are other options for them, and it's a shame they didn't pursue them.

By signing their contracts with the devil, they've chosen to stand by the devil (as I see the publishing industry across the entire realm of media).

Harsh? Sure. Do some get stuck in the cracks? Sure. But we live in a reality, not an ideal-ity.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 01:25 PM
And just like your tag line "If you want non-DRM content vote with your dollars and buy it. No one will offer it if there's no market."...if you want fair book prices, vote with your dollars and don't support industry players who don't offer fair book prices..."

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 01:42 PM
And just like your tag line "If you want non-DRM content vote with your dollars and buy it. No one will offer it if there's no market."...if you want fair book prices, vote with your dollars and don't support industry players who don't offer fair book prices..."

I don't, I haven't bought a Macmillan ebook since they were in Webscriptions. That's not the point here. The point here is that of the two parties in the dispute (Amazon and Macmillan), Amazon is the one who is deliberately hurting people who are not directly involved in the dispute, purely for negotiating points.

I say let Macmillan offer $15 ebooks - if they are too expensive no one will buy them and the price will have to drop as ebook market share grows. At least in that case the price will be determined by market forces, not Amazon's tactics.

HarryT
02-05-2010, 01:45 PM
I say let Macmillan offer $15 ebooks - if they are too expensive no one will buy them and the price will have to drop as ebook market share grows. At least in that case the price will be determined by market forces, not Amazon's tactics.

$15 seems an eminently reasonable price to me for a new release - it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the price of UK hardbacks, and only a little more expensive than paperbacks (standard UK price for a paperback is about $11-13). Of course, the price should drop once the paperback is released, but I'd have no issue with paying $15 for a new release that I wanted to read. If you think of the number of hours a book takes to read, it's an extremely cheap form of entertainment whether it costs $10 or $15.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 01:50 PM
I agree that Amazon is NOT making all the right choices as well. Even though it's virtual though, the higher prices may be something Amazon doesn't want clogging up their virtual store-front (and stats they use to sell the kindle, and as some say, grow the ebook market). They have that right too.

A few years ago, in Vancouver, a major Pro shop stopped selling <major camera manufactuer> cameras completely. They did this in response to poor and, according the them, negligent behavior from the <major camera manufactuer>'s service department in Western Canada. Did it frustrate some buyers? For sure...but it also got them more respect from the consumers who considered the reasons behind their decision. They also put a stop to having enraged customers who blamed them for <major camera manufactuer> service's actions. It's been 5+ years and they still, at least on their website, have a single mention of <major camera manufactuer>. I respect their conviction, even if it hasn't produced a required change, as they see

Please note: The <major camera manufactuer> is one of the big 2, and is readily available at other camera shops throughout town.

delphidb96
02-05-2010, 02:07 PM
$15 seems an eminently reasonable price to me for a new release - it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the price of UK hardbacks, and only a little more expensive than paperbacks (standard UK price for a paperback is about $11-13). Of course, the price should drop once the paperback is released, but I'd have no issue with paying $15 for a new release that I wanted to read. If you think of the number of hours a book takes to read, it's an extremely cheap form of entertainment whether it costs $10 or $15.

Ummm... Have you seen the sheer number of NEW titles released this last week? Most of which are being released as $6.99-$7.99-$8.99 dead-tree paperbacks? Now tell me again that a $14.99 e-book price point is 'eminently reasonable'. Please, do!

And yes, I sometimes get so much of an itch for an upcoming title that I reach out to Baen and buy their 'barely-edited' E-ARC version for $15! (Far more than many may be willing to believe. :D )

Derek

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 02:20 PM
Ummm... Have you seen the sheer number of NEW titles released this last week? Most of which are being released as $6.99-$7.99-$8.99 dead-tree paperbacks? Now tell me again that a $14.99 e-book price point is 'eminently reasonable'. Please, do!

And yes, I sometimes get so much of an itch for an upcoming title that I reach out to Baen and buy their 'barely-edited' E-ARC version for $15! (Far more than many may be willing to believe. :D )

Derek

I think Harry's point is that $14.99 is an eminently reasonable price for the ebook of a new-release hardcover: not a mass market paperback.

Let me quote from John Sargent's first official statement on the matter (emphasis mine).

"At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition."

Macmillan is not saying that the ebook releases of new release paperbacks will be $14.99; they aren't even saying that the ebooks of all new release hardcovers will be $14.99.

So it's completely premature to castigate Macmillan because their new plan will price the ebook editions of new release paperbacks at $15, or even all new releases at $15, when that's not what they are on record of saying.

tlrowley
02-05-2010, 02:20 PM
I agree that Amazon is NOT making all the right choices as well. Even though it's virtual though, the higher prices may be something Amazon doesn't want clogging up their virtual store-front (and stats they use to sell the kindle, and as some say, grow the ebook market). They have that right too.

A few years ago, in Vancouver, a major Pro shop stopped selling Nikon cameras completely. They did this in response to poor and, according the them, negligent behavior from the <major camera manufactuer>'s service department in Western Canada. Did it frustrate some buyers? For sure...but it also got them more respect from the consumers who considered the reasons behind their decision. They also put a stop to having enraged customers who blamed them for <major camera manufactuer> service's actions. It's been 5+ years and they still, at least on their website, have a single mention of <major camera manufactuer>. I respect their conviction, even if it hasn't produced a required change, as they see

Please note: The <major camera manufactuer> is one of the big 2, and is readily available at other camera shops throughout town.

Ummmm, if you're trying not to plainly state the camera manufacture's name, you should make sure you've caught all the references :D:D

Unless the store stopped selling Nikon since Canon had poor service :blink::blink: :D

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 02:26 PM
Copyright infringement not for monetary gain has been classified as criminal in the US only since 1976, and it is not considered such in most other places.

Oh, well, if it's only been since 1976, that's completely different. I suppose a law needs to be on the books for a solid hundred years or so before it really matters, right? :smack:

kennyc
02-05-2010, 02:27 PM
It's truly pitiful to see how people who grew up with the internet paradigm of file sharing have become so amoral about theft. ....

Yes. To those reading, please note the word "amoral" :D

:thanks:

Crusader
02-05-2010, 02:28 PM
Since I don't have a huge budget for books I view myself as a bargain bin shopper. If I can get a book for a good price I'll buy it. So I can't see any problem with waiting a couple of months for a new release to reach a price point I'm comfortable with.

I think it's early days yet to judge and condemn the publishers for their agency model. $15 for a new release seems reasonable provided that they follow through and discount their books as time goes by to match paperback prices or the $5.99 price they seem to promise.

bwaldron
02-05-2010, 02:49 PM
I think Harry's point is that $14.99 is an eminently reasonable price for the ebook of a new-release hardcover: not a mass market paperback.

And I somewhat disagree, especially when I can go to Costco and get the hardback for that price.

But disagreement is fine; if we were to have a truly functioning market for ebooks, proper pricing would follow.

I also think that the idea that all books (real or electronic) should be sold at the same price is somewhat strange; again, let a functioning market set the price. There are some books/authors I would pay more for, some less.

tompe
02-05-2010, 02:51 PM
I also think that the idea that all books (real or electronic) should be sold at the same price is somewhat strange; again, let a functioning market set the price. There are some books/authors I would pay more for, some less.

But the price will not be the same and it will be adjusted according to the market. Why is that no a functioning market?

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 02:55 PM
In almost every case you can still buy the dead tree books at Amazon through 3rd party sellers. Brand new books and used, too. You just can't buy the book directly from Amazon.

Most of those books are either used or remaindered. Authors don't get paid for them, and they don't count toward the sales numbers that determine whether they get to publish the next book.

They still get hurt.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 02:58 PM
Why? They sold them once already.

Authors can't demand anybody sell their work.

I'm more peeved that Amazon backed down - but since they see the writing on the wall and realize that their stand would cost them 3+ major publishing houses, of course they backed down.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 02:59 PM
Up here in Canada, we've put up, for years, with CDN/US prices on our books - which haven't remotely reflected exchange rates etc. Those prices aren't following a free-market, they're setting an artificial price point that provides consumers with virtually no choice.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 03:04 PM
Up here in Canada, we've put up, for years, with CDN/US prices on our books - which haven't remotely reflected exchange rates etc. Those prices aren't following a free-market, they're setting an artificial price point that provides consumers with virtually no choice.

Consumers always have a choice: if the price is not to your liking, why buy it? If the books are priced too high in Canada, why are people still buying them? Evidently they're not priced too high. It sounds to me like it's not that you're "putting up" with high prices, you're accepting them by buying the books. It's not like the publishing companies are putting a gun to your head and forcing you to buy the book; it's not even like books are a necessary staple (like food or water). If the majority of folks voted with their wallets, the prices would change in about a week.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 03:09 PM
IHe saying that if you want to show some support, the best way to do it is to buy their books from someone who is actually willing to sell them.

Quite. Which is why I don't buy books from Macmillan.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 03:11 PM
You're right. We don't have to buy them.

Unless we want to read, expand our minds, our perspectives, and be entertained. If there was an alternative choice for similar entertainment, then the issue would be moot. But while not food - one's mind needs stimulation to grow and develop.

If we had a choice, we'd take it.

Alas, while shipping from the US to Canada is low via USPS...most sellers in the US seek to make a profit on the shipping itself. Seeing quoted rates of $8-15 on a $2 pocket book isn't unusual. Considering it costs under $3 to ship (I've had some private sellers send it without profiting), we still lack much choice.

I'd say that one factor in the decline of the book market is cost. So people are reducing their purchases. The industry increases cost to make up for those loses, and surprise...the units sold again decrease.

Was it a coincidence that each time the price of a pocket book from a major manufacturer went up by $1.00 or so, the others followed suit...simultaneously?

bwaldron
02-05-2010, 03:13 PM
But the price will not be the same and it will be adjusted according to the market. Why is that no a functioning market?

Because there are artificial price floors built in, for one thing. The thought that $10 might actually be the optimal price for many new ebooks apparently scares some publishers quite a bit, and they won't allow Amazon (or other retailers) any freedom to experiment with such price points.

Also, the publishers have no real experience dealing directly with market pricing and quickly matching prices to customer demand.

delphidb96
02-05-2010, 03:16 PM
Most of those books are either used or remaindered. Authors don't get paid for them, and they don't count toward the sales numbers that determine whether they get to publish the next book.

They still get hurt.

Buy Amazon; MacMillan, Harper-Collins and Hachette are the bullies.

Now *IF* this were an expanding economy, I'd probably just cough up the extra dough. But it's NOT!

So MacM, H-C and mini-tomahawk are complaining that Amazon's pricing doesn't 'give them enough money'. So sad, too bad! *I* ain't getting enough money (I'm on a fixed income, but that's not that relevant.) and MY budget is supposed to take a hit for a higher revenue share for a 'discrectionary' expense???

Yeah. MacM, H-C, Mini-Tom, y'all can go stand in the corner, you ain't getting *MY* money!

Derek

bwaldron
02-05-2010, 03:18 PM
You're right. We don't have to buy them.

Unless we want to read, expand our minds, our perspectives, and be entertained.

If I had to, I could happily do that for my (hopefully many!) remaining years solely with the versions of public domain works available here at Mobileread (in better crafted editions that most ebooks from major publishers) and elsewhere, along with material from publishers that get it (like Baen) and from self-published authors.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 03:20 PM
Why should I believe that MacMillan will actually lower prices. I've been looking at backlist ebooks and comparing prices of the ebook at Fictionwise to the cheapest new pbook I can order from Amazon.

Sue Grafton's L is for Lawless is going to be pretty hard to beat here. E-book: $30. New hardcover, direct from the publisher: $27. New paperback: $6.99. Cheapest pbook you can find on Amazon: $.01.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 03:20 PM
It's truly pitiful to see how people who grew up with the internet paradigm of file sharing have become so amoral about theft. This post from MrBlueSky is a perfect example of the attitude so many younger, internet-oriented people take: if it's not a tangible object, then it must not really be stealing. When there is no inner sense of right and wrong taught by parents who actually give a crap about their kids' moral development, the attitude of MrBlueSky is basically what you get as a result: "if I can't get caught, it must not be wrong." Or the old standby: "Everyone else is doing it, so it must be ok."

If MrBlueSky had spent a couple of years or more writing his own book only to see it linked around on various illegal torrent or Usenet groups, I'll bet he'd have a bit of a different attitude...

Y'know, I’ve dipped in and out of these forums for a couple of months now, because of the variety of views that get expressed here on the topic of books, book-reading, e-readers — yes, and book writing, publishing and marketing too.

Most of the debates are interesting, some are stimulating and the technical forums tend to be of excellent and knowledgeable quality. Having said that, this latest brouhaha between Macmillan et. al. and Amazon appears to have brought out an element of intellectual dishonesty in some quarters.

On a forum such as this, in which the subject matter implicitly encompasses the manipulation of the written word and how it is manifest in the expression of ideas, accuracy of thought projection should have a greater emphasis, more so than in many other forums. I would have expected that WHICH descriptive words are used, HOW they are contextualised and in having due regard to their literal MEANING when deployed would carry more weight than is currently being evidenced here. Apparently not.

I have been careful not to use antagonistic language myself (mostly?), nor to disparage others expressing well-entrenched beliefs. But I cant’t let it pass unchallenged when such words such as ’thief, theft, steal and stolen’ are (seemingly) used in an innocuous fashion when it is apparent that they must quite categorically be seen as being used as an element of propaganda. I know too, that the free opinion of a bar-room lawyers is worth exactly what you pay for it, but really folks, if you don’t know even the basics of how copyright legislation works in real life, your really should not attempt to write you own book before you find out. You’ll save yourself a world of heartache and anguish.

If I had been told on more than one occasion, by more than one person, in more than one thread, that the word(s) I had been using were being used in the wrong context for the subject under discussion, I would always try to educate myself as to the correct terminology before continuing. Simply shifting a legal narrative into a moral setting while arguing the same legal point of view is being rather disingenuous to say the least. There again, If I'm presuming too much intelligence, I do apologise for suspecting a hidden agenda.

And btw, while the monopoly hoarders are trying to bring the whole weight of the LAW down on my sorry little head for my minor infringements, I don’t particularly want then trying to save my SOUL at the same time, thank you very much :)

Haven’t we always been at war with Eastasia?


Oh, and cmdahler, you presume far too much. Most people ARE taught right from wrong at an early age. Most children, as the develop ARE taught the ethics and morality of the culture they are brought up in. But sooner or later, each and every person uses the greatest gift they are born with for themselves — their brains. Once you learn to think for yourself, your whole world knows no boundaries.

I don’t give a damn what everybody else may or may not be doing. I plough my own furrow.

My ‘attitude’ therefore, is not based on the ASSUMPTION that I can’t get caught, but rather that my actions are solidly grounded in the indisputable FACT that if I do, I cannot be prosecuted for THEFT. That, I am sure you will find if you look hard enough, is the salient point.

Thank you for for expressing your concern anyway, but I assure you that there is nothing wrong with my morals or my ethics at all; if you really must criticise me for something — try my values instead.

jmaloney
02-05-2010, 03:25 PM
Sue Grafton's L is for Lawless is going to be pretty hard to beat here. E-book: $30. New hardcover, direct from the publisher: $27. New paperback: $6.99. Cheapest pbook you can find on Amazon: $.01.

The $30 price seems to be incorrect there. Every other place (including Macmillan!) has the "List Price" as $14.00. Fictionwise itself even has it listed in another format at $14.00. The $30.00 price seems to be a listing error on Fictionwise's end.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 03:26 PM
So it's completely premature to castigate Macmillan because their new plan will price the ebook editions of new release paperbacks at $15, or even all new releases at $15, when that's not what they are on record of saying.

...just what they're on the record as doing. I agree, a proven track record is a far less useful predictor of future behaviour than a press release.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 03:26 PM
Ho Hum. Yes it is!

Period!

Ha, Ha, +1 Mod. Funny.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 03:29 PM
Y'know, ...

I don’t give a damn what everybody else may or may not be doing. I plough my own furrow.
...
.... there is nothing wrong with my morals or my ethics at all; if you really must criticise me for something — try my values instead.

See this is the issue. You should give a damn. You are part of society, you are consuming the products of society, you should be part of that society, you should help it to be better. As far as morals and ethics, they are defined only within the context of a society and if your morals and ethics don't match then by the perspective of that society your morals are wrong. :eek:

This is the fundamental conflict in being human - individual needs, wants, behavior verses social needs, wants, behavior because we are both individuals and members of our society and species.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 03:30 PM
MrBlueSky (not to be abreviated to Mr.B.S. ;))...

I agree with you.

Argue morality (completely subjective) or legality. The two are not the same thing. And how one values each varies from person to person. Both change with time and both influence each other.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 03:35 PM
...as far as morals and ethics, they are defined only within the context of a society and if your morals and ethics don't match then by the perspective of that society your morals are wrong.

Or by the perspective of that MrBlueSky, society's morals are wrong. Society doesn't always have it right kennyc as what is considered 'moral' changes and is varied across time, location, and culture. Hmm...that's not a good use of the word "right" as it too implies correctness in a moral way.

If morality was something measurable then it would be something that had greater validity in arguments. It represents an ideal (of an individual or group at a certain time or place). What was right and wrong when you were a child (It's not fair that I don't get to stay up late like adults) can be very different when viewed from a different context (being that adult who sees the world differently).

delphidb96
02-05-2010, 03:42 PM
See this is the issue. You should give a damn. You are part of society, you are consuming the products of society, you should be part of that society, you should help it to be better. As far as morals and ethics, they are defined only within the context of a society and if your morals and ethics don't match then by the perspective of that society your morals are wrong. :eek:


No they're not. We are NOT a society. We are individuals who happen to live next to each other! My morals are my own - *I* own them!


This is the fundamental conflict in being human - individual needs, wants, behavior verses social needs, wants, behavior because we are both individuals and members of our society and species.

Yeah, and there's always someone who wants to upset the apple-cart by putting the needy-needs of the many over the rights and needs of the individual. We call them 'socialists'. :D

Derek

kennyc
02-05-2010, 03:43 PM
Or by the perspective of that MrBlueSky, society's morals are wrong. ....


No, morals cannot be defined by an individual. Morals do not exist outside of the society that holds them.

Please refer to: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moral

:)

TallMomof2
02-05-2010, 03:52 PM
$15 seems an eminently reasonable price to me for a new release - it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the price of UK hardbacks, and only a little more expensive than paperbacks (standard UK price for a paperback is about $11-13). Of course, the price should drop once the paperback is released, but I'd have no issue with paying $15 for a new release that I wanted to read. If you think of the number of hours a book takes to read, it's an extremely cheap form of entertainment whether it costs $10 or $15.

From your perspective $15 is reasonable but I can walk into Costco and purchase many new releases at $15 and a little change for a hardback book. Wal-Mart and their warehouse store, Sam's Club, is the same. Target also steeply discounts new releases. Here in the US $15 for ebook versions of the hardback is not a deal.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 03:53 PM
mor⋅al
  /ˈmɔrəl, ˈmɒr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [mawr-uhl, mor-] Show IPA
–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work; moralizing: a moral novel.
3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral ): a moral man.
6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
7. of, pertaining to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
8. resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
–noun
9. the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
10. the embodiment or type of something.
11. morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.

I must be blind. I'm missing the part of the definition (again arbitrary based on context, since definitions and word usage changes) about them being defined by society.

Who had the measurably correct morals: New World Cultures in the 1500s or Old World Cultures? What about during the times of slavery in the US (and no, my morals do not even rometley condone slavery) where that majority of society condoned such actions...were those who were slaves or fought slavery immoral because they fought against greater society's laws?

Elfwreck
02-05-2010, 03:53 PM
A civil offense is a criminal act. You may want to hang a label on it that sounds nicer, but a criminal is someone who violates the law. When you exceed the speed limit, you are technically a criminal at that point.

The speed limit is not civil law; it's part of criminal law.

The difference:

The STATE prosecutes criminal law. If you break it, you are assumed to have harmed society-in-general, and the court cases are in the form of [government entity] vs [defendantname].

INDIVIDUALS prosecute civil law. If you break civil law, you have only harmed someone if they care about it, and the court cases are in the form of [plaintiffname] vs [defendantname].

Violation of civil law is considered to be not a problem unless the damaged party cares to bring it up. For example, if I contractually hire you to paint my roof on Saturday, and you don't show up on Saturday because it was raining, I could sue you. Or I could say, meh, Sunday is fine for me too, and not sue you. If I pick Option 1, you may owe me for the cost of getting a replacement painter *and* the stress of not having my house painted in time for my Sunday brunch with my boss, *and* the cost of filing the case--but in neither case are you a "criminal" for breaking the contract.

Violating copyright law is a crime.

Only in some, very limited, situations. (The RIAA would *love* for copyright infringement to be a crime; they could stop spending money on lawyers & demand that the government prosecute those cases.)

You may try to rationalize it by saying your situation is different, yadda, yadda: just the meaningless noise of someone trying to justify themselves.

There's a difference between "people should use accurate terminology to discuss this topic" and "this civil violation is acceptable behavior." Admittedly, both are being argued by some people--but not all. Plenty of people despise copyright infringement, but don't try to confuse the issue by calling it "theft."

Plenty of people hate graffiti, and some people think it's "urban art." Calling it "theft" or "rape of buildings" would be ridiculous, and wouldn't help stop it.

Call it by what it is, legally, and argue what's wrong with that; don't waste time trying to convince people it's some entirely different act that we all agree is wrong to begin with.

And drop the "morals" debates. I'm supposed to believe that three months ago, it was immoral to share Raymond Chandler ebooks in Canada, but now it's become moral? What morality is tied to the calendar like that?

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 03:54 PM
And if we want to stick to your dictionary definition, I can pull out a few aspects from that page that support the changing nature of morality...

Here's one for example:
Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.

TallMomof2
02-05-2010, 03:56 PM
Most of those books are either used or remaindered. Authors don't get paid for them, and they don't count toward the sales numbers that determine whether they get to publish the next book.

They still get hurt.

No, new books. Used are even more of a bargain but I only looked at new books so that it would be a fairer comparison.

tompe
02-05-2010, 04:04 PM
From your perspective $15 is reasonable but I can walk into Costco and purchase many new releases at $15 and a little change for a hardback book.

I thought you had to drive to everything in the US. It ought to cost time and money to get to the shops.

delphidb96
02-05-2010, 04:06 PM
I thought you had to drive to everything in the US. It ought to cost time and money to get to the shops.

That's true! So true! :D However, there's always Amazon and UPS delivery! Oh wait! That's right, MacM is trying to kill Amazon! :D

Derek

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 04:16 PM
Whether an author agrees with Macmillan's proposal or not, authors are rallying against Amazon

Well, yes, both John Scalzi and Charles Stross are authors, and they're passing the hand-cream back and forth as they rally against the Evil Amazon Empire, so 'authors' are rallying.

For a change in perspective, Lynn Abbey (who's been playing this game for a lot longer) has a rather different take on the latest Macmillan PR piece here (http://lynnabbey.com/blog/?p=137).

Interesting read.

llreader
02-05-2010, 04:16 PM
Oh, well, if it's only been since 1976, that's completely different. I suppose a law needs to be on the books for a solid hundred years or so before it really matters, right? :smack:

Leaving aside the fact that most of the planet is not in the US (Mobile Read isn't), laws must stand the test of time and constitutionality in the US. I am sure you are aware of the case of Dowling v. United States (1985), because you seem so knowledgeable about copyright law, nine years after this law was passed, in which the Supreme Court had some very specific things to say about copyright, theft, and the law:

interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The Copyright Act even employs a separate term of art to define one who misappropriates a copyright: ... 'an infringer of the copyright.' ...

The infringer invades a statutorily defined province guaranteed to the copyright holder alone. But he does not assume physical control over the copyright; nor does he wholly deprive its owner of its use. While one may colloquially link infringement with some general notion of wrongful appropriation, infringement plainly implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.
—Dowling v. United States , 473 U.S. 207, pp. 217–218


I hope, since you are so obsessed with US law, that you will make an effort to understand what they were trying to say the next time you are tempted to call copying theft. I am sure you will realize the error of your ways.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 04:25 PM
My ‘attitude’ therefore, is not based on the ASSUMPTION that I can’t get caught, but rather that my actions are solidly grounded in the indisputable FACT that if I do, I cannot be prosecuted for THEFT. That, I am sure you will find if you look hard enough, is the salient point.

Semantics. If you get caught, you can get prosecuted period, because you are engaged in illegal activity. That is the salient fact. Call it what you will, there is no fundamental, philosophical difference between walking into B&N and shoplifting out a book and downloading a torrent. Arguing anything else is just rationalizing an attempt to circumvent the rules of society for your own convenience (i.e., you [in general, not you in particular] are a cheap bastard and just want a free book).

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 04:27 PM
Semantics. If you get caught, you can get prosecuted period, because you are engaged in illegal activity. That is the salient fact. Call it what you will, there is no fundamental, philosophical difference between walking into B&N and shoplifting out a book and downloading a torrent. Arguing anything else is just rationalizing an attempt to circumvent the rules of society for your own convenience (i.e., you [in general, not you in particular] are a cheap bastard and just want a free book).

The courts (in most countries) respectfully disagree.

TallMomof2
02-05-2010, 04:28 PM
I thought you had to drive to everything in the US. It ought to cost time and money to get to the shops.

:) We don't have to drive everywhere but I generally plan my trips so that the cost of driving is only a small cost. Costco is a twice a month trip for me of 8 miles roundtrip. Personally, I rarely make special trips just for one item.

I can walk up to the local supermarket and purchase many new release hardcovers for about $16.

There are plenty of places online that one can purchase new hardbacks for close to the same as a $14.99 ebook. Of course if I really want to save money I can wait for the book through the library or even buy used.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 04:31 PM
Only in some, very limited, situations. (The RIAA would *love* for copyright infringement to be a crime; they could stop spending money on lawyers & demand that the government prosecute those cases.)

NET Act of 1997 makes copyright infringement, even with no monetary gain, a crime. The RIAA didn't pursue criminal cases because the standard of proof is so much higher in criminal court - civil court standards are far lower.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 04:32 PM
Even here in the frozen north (Canada), I've switched to ordering books via Indigo.ca or Amazon.ca. I just wait until I have $35 (I think that's the amount) worth of orders and shipping becomes free. And for that $35 I get more value than I do at local book stores (and pay lower taxes). There are two independent bookstores in town, Bolen Books and Munroe's. I've found that the staff there, while friendly, and their selection more diverse than the local big-box Chapters, rarely know about the books I'm after and usually have to order them anyway - at a higher price than I get via the two website stores mentioned above. Plus, I have to pay for parking downtown at one, and deal with a mall environment for the other.

The online retailers better meet my needs for convenience and price.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 04:33 PM
Leaving aside the fact that most of the planet is not in the US (Mobile Read isn't), laws must stand the test of time and constitutionality in the US. I am sure you are aware of the case of Dowling v. United States (1985), because you seem so knowledgeable about copyright law, nine years after this law was passed, in which the Supreme Court had some very specific things to say about copyright, theft, and the law:

And then there was the NET Act of 1997...

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 04:35 PM
NET Act of 1997 makes copyright infringement, even with no monetary gain, a crime. The RIAA didn't pursue criminal cases because the standard of proof is so much higher in criminal court - civil court standards are far lower.

Have you noticed how they keep trying to buy out/off individuals who's court cases aren't/don't go the way they hope, all in the effort to prevent precedent setting cases from being established. Case in point, the latest $millions judgment reduced to $54000 on appeal, that is again being appealed because they found the initial judgment unconstitutional? Last I heard they were telling her they'd settle for $25000 or so, IF she'd settle it all out of court. They are afraid of any of these cases making it to the supremes - because what they are doing essentially comes down as extortion. We'll do this unless you pay us.

llreader
02-05-2010, 04:54 PM
And then there was the NET Act of 1997...

Ok, if it makes you feel better, you are right, copyright infringement has been considered a crime in the US only, since 1976, although the SC has stated clearly that unauthorized copying is not theft. I know of no other place where copyright infringement for personal use is punishable under criminal law.

So, you are free to say that residents of the US who make unauthorized copies are committing a crime, but they are not committing theft, no matter where they live, and saying so is incorrect.

I don't live in the US, nor do many people on this forum.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 05:06 PM
And if we want to stick to your dictionary definition, I can pull out a few aspects from that page that support the changing nature of morality...

Here's one for example:
Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.

Or we could discuss the price of eggs in China. :smack:

You continue to try and move off topic, I'm not playing.

I'm not here to argue or prove anything to you.

If you take something of mine without my permission, you are a thief.

I think all of society can agree on that. Therefore your morals are corrupt.

:)

KenFisher
02-05-2010, 05:07 PM
I have already had a top price that I would pay for a book, whether it was an ebook or paper. That price is usually different based on the author and my interest in the book. I have several books on my wish list at Fictionwise that I will only purchase after it gets to the price I have set. I will refuse to pay more than a mass-market paperback for any ebook.

If I have to wait for an ebook I will either wait or not buy it at all. I have enough ebooks on my reading list already that will allow me to wait for the prices to drop into my price range.

Ken

kennyc
02-05-2010, 05:13 PM
Well, yes, both John Scalzi and Charles Stross are authors, and they're passing the hand-cream back and forth as they rally against the Evil Amazon Empire, so 'authors' are rallying.

For a change in perspective, Lynn Abbey (who's been playing this game for a lot longer) has a rather different take on the latest Macmillan PR piece here (http://lynnabbey.com/blog/?p=137).

Interesting read.


Thank you for that.

I got an email earlier today from the SFWA secretary vigorously defending MacMillan.....amazing!

Harmon
02-05-2010, 05:14 PM
So with MacMillan and probably HarperCollins moving to the agency model and forcing a higher retail price, a lot of folks are saying they won't buy. I suppose people's choices may change if all the big publishers go this route, but as it stands today, what are your plans?

I rarely am willing to pay more than $30 for a book. I have to really want the book to pay that much for it. However, I will usually spend $10 or less on the chance that I might like it. I suppose this works out to the proposition that I'm willing to spend $30 to get a good book to read, and I figure that if I have to spend all 30 on one book, I'd better be darn sure I'll read it. This calls for deliberation. OTOH, my experience is that I'm willing to spend that same 30 on three books, figuring that I'll like one of them for sure, and might not finish the other two. I am more likely to buy these books on impulse.

So my plans aren't changing, just my opportunities. If the publishers were to go to $30 ebooks, I'd buy fewer - mainly ones I'm confident I'd finish. If they went to $10 ebooks, I'd buy more - but I wouldn't necessarily finish them all.

I'm not entirely sure how I'll deal with $15 books. I won't exactly boycott them, but I think they fall on the deliberation side for me, rather than the impulse side. So for the time being, I'm pretty sure to buy fewer books at what seems to be the emerging price structure.

But I remember some things. I remember when paperback books crossed the $3 barrier, and then the $5 barrier, and how I felt like I'd stop buying them at those prices. But eventually, I didn't.

With the emergence of the iPad, I suspect that I'll be paying more attention to the opportunity to share books with my family. I'll be more likely to buy at $15 if I know that someone else in my family would be interested in reading the book.

This is because there are six of us, and at least three of us will have Pads, five of us have iPhones, and all six of us have Macs. Plus one has a Kindle. eBook sharing will drive the effective prices down, for us, which is why sharing will become more important in my calculations.

jmaloney
02-05-2010, 05:19 PM
Well, yes, both John Scalzi and Charles Stross are authors, and they're passing the hand-cream back and forth as they rally against the Evil Amazon Empire, so 'authors' are rallying.

For a change in perspective, Lynn Abbey (who's been playing this game for a lot longer) has a rather different take on the latest Macmillan PR piece here (http://lynnabbey.com/blog/?p=137).

Interesting read.

Well, yes, Lynn Abbey is an author, and she's against what Macmillan's doing, but, if you read her posts, you'll see she's ALSO against what Amazon's doing. That's exactly what Lemurion was saying: they may or may not support Macmillan, but I haven't seen a single author who supported Amazon. Some, like Lynn, are against both.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 05:30 PM
And then there was the NET Act of 1997...

Yes, and a fine piece of legislation it is too.

It certainly does have a certain deterrent effect in that backwater called the USA for people who live there and want to UPLOAD copyright encumbered material in that country — but it does not make one iota of difference to the people who continue to DOWNLOAD it. It's carry on regardless for them.

The rest of the world continues to spin on its axis. Move along people — nothing to see here.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 05:34 PM
Oh I think there's plenty to see. Clearly 13 pages in this thread alone. Hee-Hee.

Elfwreck
02-05-2010, 05:48 PM
Semantics. If you get caught, you can get prosecuted period, because you are engaged in illegal activity.

But you can't be prosecuted for theft.

That is the salient fact. Call it what you will, there is no fundamental, philosophical difference between walking into B&N and shoplifting out a book and downloading a torrent.

The *philosophical* difference is that, when you take a book off the shelves, nobody else has it. When it's distributed by torrents, nobody's lost their chance to read it. That's the core difference between the acts.

Theft takes something away from someone else. Copying doesn't. Copying can still cause harm... just like punching someone can cause harm, and "steal" his ability to work, but it's not prosecuted as theft.

CyGuy
02-05-2010, 05:53 PM
I can see people having an issue with a flat rate for all eBooks, a tiered pricing structure makes sense. Charging $10 as the flat rate is way too much anyway. I personally don't have a problem with a tiered pricing structure. In fact, here is a suggestion:
All eBooks should be priced a flat 10% of the paper book price. If a paper book costs $20, the eBook should be $2.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 05:57 PM
Semantics. If you get caught, you can get prosecuted period, because you are engaged in illegal activity. That is the salient fact. Call it what you will, there is no fundamental, philosophical difference between walking into B&N and shoplifting out a book and downloading a torrent. Arguing anything else is just rationalizing an attempt to circumvent the rules of society for your own convenience (i.e., you [in general, not you in particular] are a cheap bastard and just want a free book).

No, I'm afraid it's not just a matter of semantics. I never said that I couldn't get prosecuted if I were to be caught, I said that I couldn't get prosecuted for THEFT.

Even under your NET Act of 1997, you would still be being prosecuted for COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, albeit under criminal jurisprudence not civil, but not prosecuted for theft. And that is because there IS a fundamental difference between the two. The act specifically distinguishes between infringement, counterfeiting and trafficking.

I realise you may not like it, but copyright infringement is not theft. End of story.


[In general] I may or may not be a cheap bastard :) but thats a whole different story.

Harmon
02-05-2010, 05:59 PM
Violating copyright law is a crime. You may try to rationalize it by saying your situation is different, yadda, yadda: just the meaningless noise of someone trying to justify themselves. No, you haven't killed anyone, yes, it may help sales for the author, yes, the publishing houses charge too much, yes, the law ought to be changed, etc., etc. I've heard it all over in the music file sharing community. Talk to the hand. It's all just rationalization. It's still violating the law, so it's still a criminal act.

My sense of it is that consumers are not violating copyright, so much as they are (1) circumventing DRM and (2) space-shifting books from the paper world to the digital world.

Let's start with DRM. DRM is a conspiracy of large media companies against consumers. It is intended and has the effect of robbing consumers of their traditional rights of fair use under copyright law. In fact, I think it is fair to say that DRM itself, as a practical matter, allows the copyright owner to violate fair use, which is part of copyright, and that in the book world, publishers are using it to do exactly that. Therefore, it little bothers me when people get DRMed books off the darknet. It is publishers who are, in effect, breaking the law, not consumers.

As for space-shifting, I believe that a lot of people are simply acquiring books in digital format which they either already have in paper form, or which are not available in digital form through ordinary channels.

In the former case, the customer is entitled to have a fair use electronic copy of a book he already owns. No copyright law, or DRM law, makes it illegal to acquire such a copy. The situation would be the same, even if a digital version of the book were already available. (See the first sentence of this paragraph.)

In the latter case, things are a little dicier. But it seems to me that the publisher has the opportunity to make a digital edition available, and if he decides not to do so, it must be because there is no money in it for him. Therefore, I question whether the publisher is being hurt by the customer getting a digital copy off of the darknet. I would not feel this way if a digital copy were available for purchase.

The plain fact of the matter is that copyright law does not contemplate the digital environment, and our lawmakers have not seen fit to address the situation except by buying into DRM. And if you read the DMCA closely, it becomes clear that the law does not punish the ultimate consumer of the ebook if DRM is violated. It punishes everyone BUT the ultimate consumer. That is, the DMCA does not change copyright law. And as I understand copyright law, if you make a copy of a book and give it to me, you violate the law, but I don't.

So in my view, your premise, which seems to be that the acquisition by the consumer of a digital copy of an ebook from someone other than the owner of the copyright is a criminal act on the part of the consumer, is simply wrong.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 06:00 PM
....

I realise you may not like it, but copyright infringement is not theft. End of story.


....

semantics.

It's against the law, it's amoral, it's wrong.

End of story.

cmdahler
02-05-2010, 06:02 PM
The *philosophical* difference is that, when you take a book off the shelves, nobody else has it. When it's distributed by torrents, nobody's lost their chance to read it. That's the core difference between the acts.

Theft takes something away from someone else. Copying doesn't. Copying can still cause harm... just like punching someone can cause harm, and "steal" his ability to work, but it's not prosecuted as theft.

I suppose, in the selfishness that is increasingly the hallmark of thought in this day and age, you never stopped to consider in the midst of your rationalization that the author might perhaps care about the lost royalties from this "it doesn't hurt anyone" scheme. You are focusing on the reading public, as though they are the ones who even matter, as though, when an author spends months or years creating a work, that the public has some kind of God-given right to read it. That's complete and utter horse manure. If I write a book and you want to read it, you can pay me what I want for it or you can do without. I couldn't care less if you want to move along rather than paying the fee, but I would care very much if you replied that you had no intention of paying me for the privilege of reading my work and instead would just go illegally copy it from someone else. Sugarcoat it however you want in an attempt to justify it, but when you illegally copy or distribute a copyrighted work that you would have otherwise had to pay for, then you are indeed stealing from the author for your own convenience.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 06:11 PM
...

So in my view, your premise, which seems to be that the acquisition by the consumer of a digital copy of an ebook from someone other than the owner of the copyright is a criminal act on the part of the consumer, is simply wrong.


I believe everything you said above is correct in a legal sense. I also despise DRM and think it violates my right to backup and view the product in the manner I desire on the display device I prefer. But I also believe that authors should be compensated fairly for my purchase of the book. And I do purchase legally all the books I own and read.


Where this whole discussion gets me going is when someone knowingly acquires a book illegally (i.e. without purchasing it through the normal channels). They fully well know that it is not right, that the author owns the rights and makes a living from selling the books. They KNOW they are doing wrong, yet they make up reasons and excuses to support their behavior. To me this is clearly morally wrong. To take something from someone else without their permission is theft. They know they are wrong, yet they use every excuse in the book to justify it. What has the world come to?

Harmon
02-05-2010, 06:13 PM
I thought you had to drive to everything in the US. It ought to cost time and money to get to the shops.

Yep, that's right. Here in Texas (not to be confused with the rest of the country, spelt Taxes) my garage is so far away from my house that I have to drive to get to it.

Oh, wait, I do live in Taxes - aka Chicago. The bus stops three doors from my apartment. So why do I have a car? It must be in order to have an opportunity to spend time and money to get to the shops, because the bus sure is cheaper and faster. Well, cheaper, anyway.

Nope. I have a car because the bus doesn't get me to Hot Doug's fast enough. http://www.hotdougs.com/specials.htm

kennyc
02-05-2010, 06:15 PM
Yep, that's right. Here in Texas (not to be confused with the rest of the country, spelt Taxes) ...


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

fugazied
02-05-2010, 06:17 PM
The thing that annoys me most about this situation is that publishers with DRM seem to be heading in the direction that we lease books at the same cost that we previously bought paperbooks.

Do we ever really own Books with DRM, where the book seller or publisher can recall the work? Most of the time now we don't have the ability to lend ebooks or re-sell ebooks as we used to with print. For this massive reduction in the rights granted when buying a book they want to charge us the same price (and for an ephemeral object with is usually a few megabytes and can be stored/transmitted for about 4000-5000% less cost than a printed book).

The publishing industry needs a massive slap in the face, we won't pay the same for print media as we will for electronic, especially when we receive so much less.

llreader
02-05-2010, 06:21 PM
I believe everything you said above is correct in a legal sense. I also despise DRM and think it violates my right to backup and view the product in the manner I desire on the display device I prefer. But I also believe that authors should be compensated fairly for my purchase of the book. And I do purchase legally all the books I own and read.


On this we agree. On both counts, actually, I don't promote pirating books, I just think we need to keep things in perspective.

One interesting question is, if copying is violating copyright, and DRM (and the DMCA) are violating fair use, why is one declared a criminal offense and the subject of a massive PR campaign, while the other is enshrined into law?

That is just a rhetorical question - the reason is that there are powerful moneyed interests behind the control of content, and very few people standing up for the rights of regular people.

I think we all want to see a fair system of compensation for creative artists, but I also think we would like it to be done in such a way that those very same artists that we enjoy and admire don't become the pawns of powerful corporations that ultimately don't have their (or our) best interests in mind.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 06:23 PM
On this we agree. On both counts, actually, I don't promote pirating books, I just think we need to keep things in perspective.

One interesting question is, if copying is violating copyright, and DRM (and the DMCA) are violating fair use, why is one declared a criminal offense and the subject of a massive PR campaign, while the other is enshrined into law?

That is just a rhetorical question - the reason is that there are powerful moneyed interests behind the control of content, and very few people standing up for the rights of regular people.

I think we all want to see a fair system of compensation for creative artists, but I also think we would like it to be done in such a way that those very same artists that we enjoy and admire don't become the pawns of powerful corporations that ultimately don't have their (or our) best interests in mind.

Very good point(s).

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 06:55 PM
If I write a book and you want to read it, you can pay me what I want for it or you can do without.

Or I can borrow it from a friend. Or buy a used copy. Or even stand in the store and read it. And as much as that might piss you off, and as entitled as you may feel, you can live with it or...well, you can live with it. I guess you could join the Author's Guild's Sisyphean campaign against used book sales, but don't expect anything but laughter from the audience when the rock rolls over you again on its way downhill.

This has nothing in particular to do with file-sharing as such. Just pointing out that 'you can pay me what I want for it or you can do without' isn't a realistic position to start from. Well, unless you want to start pushing for legislation to criminalize used-book dealers.

llreader
02-05-2010, 06:56 PM
Very good point(s).

Thanks! :)

I wasn't trying to get on your case, and I know what you are trying to get at when you talk about "theft", but I think we need to be careful with words, because these kinds of terms have been used to try to stampede people into a situation that is unfair, with the reasoning that, if it is really theft, then you have to protect your property.

What is really going on is that there is a transaction in which all parties have certain rights, stipulated by law, contracts, and custom. In the current situation, the rights of one of the parties (the end consumer) are being squeezed out based on a misrepresentation of the transaction, in order to give an unfair advantage to another party (the middleman - record label, publisher, etc.) in the name of protecting the "intellectual property" of the people who originally created the works (and who always seem to get the shaft, no matter how many new powers the middlemen get).

In any case, the discussion has helped me understand much better what makes me uncomfortable about this situation. So, thanks again!

Harmon
02-05-2010, 06:59 PM
semantics.

It's against the law, it's amoral, it's wrong.

End of story.

Semantics is the study of meaning. Meaning is important. Apparently, you intend the statement "semantics" to mean exactly the opposite, namely, "mere quibbling."

In addressing copyright law, and deciding what's "against the law," semantics are of the essence.

First of all, under the law, mere copying of a book which is copyrighted is NOT a copyright violation if, for example, you own the original of the book, and keep the photocopy for your own use.

Secondly, copying of portions of a book for certain specified uses does not violate copyright, even if the copies are given to other people.

Thirdly, copyright infringement in and of itself is not a criminal violation, but rather, a civil violation.

Finally, whether copyright infringement is criminal depends on some very strict definitions, including what is done with the copy that is made, and who is doing the act.

I take it that you believe that copyright violation is "wrong" if it violates either the criminal or civil aspects of the copyright law. I would agree with you, except for this:

People who have not actually read and understood copyright law have an overdetermined idea of when a civil violation actually has occurred. They also tend to confuse civil violations with criminal violations.

So they confuse legitimate copying with infringement, and infringement with criminal violation, and we are off to the races.

I think that what you are really trying to argue is that certain acts are immoral even if NOT prohibited by the copyright act. The copyright act does not prohibit me from accepting a photocopy of a book from you. It does not punish me, nor can I be sued for infringement, for the simple reason that mere possession is not infringement. Note that this would be the same result if you gave me a digital file of the book. YOU could be in violation, but not me.

But I gather that you would say that my possession of the copy (digital or otherwise) is itself immoral.

Am I right about what your position would be? Can you defend it without relying on copyright, because if that's all you are relying on, you lose.

EDIT: I just read your post:

Where this whole discussion gets me going is when someone knowingly acquires a book illegally (i.e. without purchasing it through the normal channels). They fully well know that it is not right, that the author owns the rights and makes a living from selling the books. They KNOW they are doing wrong, yet they make up reasons and excuses to support their behavior. To me this is clearly morally wrong.

It's not illegal to acquire books without purchasing them through normal channels. It IS illegal to sell books without permission of the copyright owner. It may or may not be illegal to purchase books being sold without the permission of the copyright owner.

I think your fundamental argument - which is greater than a question of law - is embodied in the statement about the author's economic activities, for which he is entitled to be fairly compensated. That is a much deeper argument than an argument based on what copyright law says. It is an argument not about what copyright law is, but about what copyright law "should be."

Personally, and without regard for the practical accounting questions, I think that the European idea that the creator should get a slice of the pie for every sale and resale of the artistic creation, is the morally correct answer.

Ben Thornton
02-05-2010, 07:01 PM
Re the OP, I put "Other" because the recent spat over Macmillan is not what prevents me from buying eBooks. What irks me is (1) geographical differences in pricing and availability and (2) the relative price of a physical book.

So, I'd pay more than $15 if that was the going rate (i.e. the physical book was a bit more) and it wasn't falsely cheaper somewhere else (i.e. I wasn't paying a massively inflated rate due to geographical restrictions).

It's when I feel that I'm being ripped off that I won't buy the book (or, obviously, if I don't value it enough to pay the price in an absolute sense).

Re the main (off!)topic, I'm surprised at how vehemently some people seem to react against the idea of any illegal copying at all. As many have pointed out, whether something is wrong is a matter of social consensus Some people seem to think that there is a social consensus that illegal copying, for any reason, is wrong. That isn't my experience of people's attitudes at all. Most people that I know and have known wouldn't think anything wrong about having some cassette tapes of vinyl albums, keeping videos recorded off the telly, swapping some mp3 files etc. My point here is not that it is morally right or wrong, but rather that I don't think that the social consensus is that any illegal copying is bad. My experience is that the majority of people infringe copyright on a regular basis and think nothing of it.

FWIW, I don't feel that I've done anything wrong if I illegally obtain a copy of a book that I've got physically, or that I can't find electronically, or even from a major author that I want to try out. It's not that I don't want to pay for books - I've bought several ebooks and will continue to do so. But, as with music, although I've bought hundreds and hundreds of CDs, I'll occasionally copy some too.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 07:12 PM
One interesting question is, if copying is violating copyright, and DRM (and the DMCA) are violating fair use, why is one declared a criminal offense and the subject of a massive PR campaign, while the other is enshrined into law?

Also because US courts have ruled that 'fair use' doesn't actually include, y'know. Fair use. At least not as understood by mere humans. IANAL, but see Universal City Studios v. Corley, on DVDs:

We know of no authority for the proposition that fair use, as protected by the Copyright Act, much less the Constitution, guarantees copying by the optimum method or in the identical format of the original. Although the Appellants insisted at oral argument that they should not be relegated to a “horse and buggy” technique in making fair use of DVD movies, the DMCA does not impose even an arguable limitation on the opportunity to make a variety of traditional fair uses of DVD movies, such as commenting on their content, quoting excerpts from their screenplays, and even recording portions of the video images and sounds on film or tape by pointing a camera, a camcorder, or a microphone at a monitor as it displays the DVD movie. The fact that the resulting copy will not be as perfect or as manipulable as a digital copy obtained by having direct access to the DVD movie in its digital form, provides no basis for a claim of unconstitutional limitation of fair use.

See also United States. v. Elcom, which dealt specifically with e-books, in which the judge decided that:

...the DMCA does not eliminate fair use, although it might make it less convenient.

Also Atari vs. Nintendo:

since “to invoke the fair use exception, an individual must possess an authorized copy of a literary work,” the creator of the transformative work can simply look at that copy while creating his transformative work, which should not require circumvention in violation of Section 1201(a)(1).

Harmon
02-05-2010, 07:13 PM
FWIW, I don't feel that I've done anything wrong if I illegally obtain a copy of a book that I've got physically, or that I can't find electronically, or even from a major author that I want to try out. It's not that I don't want to pay for books - I've bought several ebooks and will continue to do so. But, as with music, although I've bought hundreds and hundreds of CDs, I'll occasionally copy some too.

If you persist in being honest you could kill the discussion.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 07:16 PM
It IS illegal to sell books without permission of the copyright owner.

Well, except when it isn't. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction in which selling a book second-hand is illegal.

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 07:26 PM
I suppose, in the selfishness that is increasingly the hallmark of thought in this day and age, you never stopped to consider in the midst of your rationalization that the author might perhaps care about the lost royalties from this "it doesn't hurt anyone" scheme. You are focusing on the reading public, as though they are the ones who even matter, as though, when an author spends months or years creating a work, that the public has some kind of God-given right to read it. That's complete and utter horse manure. If I write a book and you want to read it, you can pay me what I want for it or you can do without. I couldn't care less if you want to move along rather than paying the fee, but I would care very much if you replied that you had no intention of paying me for the privilege of reading my work and instead would just go illegally copy it from someone else. Sugarcoat it however you want in an attempt to justify it, but when you illegally copy or distribute a copyrighted work that you would have otherwise had to pay for, then you are indeed stealing from the author for your own convenience.

Theft vs. Infringement - why is it so hard to distinguish the difference?

Mr. Author creates a work. The moment it is fixed in a tangible format it automatically belongs to society (it is now firmly in the public domain). After all, as Mr. Author has has created his work in close co-operation with society it follows that naturally, Mr. Author cannot claim exclusive rights over his creation. He has utilised the education society has given him, made use of the conventions of the culture of the society he lives in and his creation is inseparable from the norms and values of others (past and present) who live in the same society. We thank Mr. Author for his gift.

Now, government in it’s wisdom (?) may have granted Mr. Author a limited time monopoly in which he can attempt to exploit his creation for monetary gain, but this license he has been allowed is not his guarantee of making any profit for himself. All it does is temporarily stop any other Tom, Dick or Harry from engaging in the very same exploitation that Mr. Author is attempting to practice.

Truly, for if society does not own the said creation, his government would not have the ability to take it away from society (the public domain) and licence it exclusively (for a limited time) to Mr. Author.

That is the basis for the difference between infringement and theft. Licence vs. ownership.

As a member of society — you cannot steal something that belongs to you in the first instance.

The monopoly hoarders with their stupid DRM keep telling you the same thing — you may have LICENSED this e-book, but you don’t OWN it!

Well Mr. Author, you may be attempting to exploiting whatever it is you have created under a licence given to you on MY behalf by the government — but you sure as hell don’t OWN it.


Oh and by the way, yes I have stopped and considered that Mr. Author might perhaps care about his lost royalties — but I have always been under the impression that authors produced their best and most notable works when they starving in a garrett somewhere. They tell me it’s inspirational or something :)

I’m only doing my bit to inspire you!

Grandma Aubbie
02-05-2010, 07:27 PM
On some polls I might not have been able to "figure out" what I'd do, but this one was easy, since I'm already doing it.

Kay Hooper's latest book is still $14.30 on Sony. It completes a long-awaited "trilogy." It is still sitting on my wishlist waiting for the price to drop.

However, I have recently purchased Dear John by Nicholas Sparks for $9.99 and The Murderer's Daughters by new author Randy Susan Myers for $9.99.

For normal books, under $10 makes it worth paying a little extra to get it sooner.

There have only been a small handful of fiction novels I was ever willing to pay hardcover price. I have normally waited for paperback, simply as a matter of policy. I will continue to do that when it comes to electronic books.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 07:27 PM
Semantics is the study of meaning. Meaning is important.....
In addressing copyright law, ....

....
But I gather that you would say that my possession of the copy (digital or otherwise) is itself immoral.
...




First and foremost I am not talking about law. I'm talking about morals and ethics and knowing what is right and wrong and still doing the wrong thing. I don't give a huff what the law says, I do care about people knowing and doing the right thing regardless of law. Exactly as I stated it.

Your possession of my property without my authorization is immoral yes, it's wrong, you have stolen something from me.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 07:28 PM
Well, except when it isn't. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction in which selling a book second-hand is illegal.


True.

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 07:29 PM
So kennyc, are you saying that morals are immutable (never changing)?

Or just that yours are the only correct ones?

Can you provide me with the list of the morals we must all follow, so that I can know which laws don't actually matter?

kennyc
02-05-2010, 07:32 PM
Theft vs. Infringement - why is it so hard to distinguish the difference?


It's not, neither is knowing that you have stolen something without paying a fair price for it.

Why is it so hard for you to comprehend it is wrong?

Lemurion
02-05-2010, 07:36 PM
It's producing a book for sale without permission of the copyright holder that is illegal; not simply selling a book.

Ben Thornton
02-05-2010, 07:46 PM
First and foremost I am not talking about law. I'm talking about morals and ethics and knowing what is right and wrong and still doing the wrong thing. I don't give a huff what the law says, I do care about people knowing and doing the right thing regardless of law. Exactly as I stated it.
I absolutely agree with this - i.e. that it's important to think about what is right and wrong, and to do the right thing. I'm interested in ethics (I even read books about it, most of which I didn't steal!). I'm not a "young person" with newfangled digital morals - I've got children and I want them to learn how to behave properly.

But despite all this, I get the impression from your posts (although I could of course be wrong) that various things that I would think are OK, you would class as criminal (i.e. very naughty even if legal).

In particular, would you think it morally repugnant to copy a book for which you own a physical copy? or one where the author was long dead (but in copyright) - say The House at Pooh Corner?

Surely, if we don't give a huff about the law, we should examine our moral compass in each case, and act accordingly, legal or not?

Nate the great
02-05-2010, 07:48 PM
First and foremost I am not talking about law. I'm talking about morals and ethics and knowing what is right and wrong and still doing the wrong thing. I don't give a huff what the law says, I do care about people knowing and doing the right thing regardless of law. Exactly as I stated it.

Your possession of my property without my authorization is immoral yes, it's wrong, you have stolen something from me.

There is only so much of this nonsense that I can stand.

As the copyright holder, you do not own the digital file that was copied. You own the copyright; that is not the same thing. Absent some legal chicanery to take the actual copyright away from you, you haven't had lost anything.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 07:59 PM
There is only so much of this nonsense that I can stand.

As the copyright holder, you do not own the digital file that was copied. You own the copyright; that is not the same thing. Absent some legal chicanery to take the actual copyright away from you, you haven't had lost anything.

Nonsense, is that what you call it when thieves are stealing property that belongs to someone else?

Far from nonsense actually. It a matter of understanding the differences in the format is all. Most clearly do not understand.

Nate the great
02-05-2010, 08:03 PM
Nonsense, is that what you call it when thieves are stealing property that belongs to someone else?

Far from nonsense actually. It a matter of understanding the differences in the format is all. Most clearly do not understand.

Again, so long as no one tries to take the actual copyright away from you, you have lost nothing.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 08:03 PM
I absolutely agree with this - i.e. that it's important to think about what is right and wrong, and to do the right thing. I'm interested in ethics (I even read books about it, most of which I didn't steal!). I'm not a "young person" with newfangled digital morals - I've got children and I want them to learn how to behave properly.

But despite all this, I get the impression from your posts (although I could of course be wrong) that various things that I would think are OK, you would class as criminal (i.e. very naughty even if legal).

In particular, would you think it morally repugnant to copy a book for which you own a physical copy? or one where the author was long dead (but in copyright) - say The House at Pooh Corner?

Surely, if we don't give a huff about the law, we should examine our moral compass in each case, and act accordingly, legal or not?

Yes but not individual moral compasses the moral compass of doing what is right within society, not as an individual, that is what the point of intellectual property law (and it's basis) is about.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 08:06 PM
Again, so long as no one tries to take the actual copyright away from you, you have lost nothing.


Wrong. I have not authorized you to have my property or do anything with it, I have lost my rights. You can't say I have not been harmed. It is not your right to posses my property without my permission.

DawnFalcon
02-05-2010, 08:07 PM
If it's too expensive or DRM-ridden, I'll keep on buying second hand. Wise up, publishers.

I'm certainly not going to condem a $15 price point per-se, I've paid more for technical manuals and I paid $15 for the eARC of Mission of Honor yesterday...

DawnFalcon
02-05-2010, 08:10 PM
Well, except when it isn't. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction in which selling a book second-hand is illegal.

Older kids books, America, under the CPSIA.

Nate the great
02-05-2010, 08:17 PM
Wrong. I have not authorized you to have my property or do anything with it, I have lost my rights. You can't say I have not been harmed. It is not your right to posses my property without my permission.

Again, the individual files do not belong to you. You own the copyright. So long as you still own the copyright, you have lost no property.

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 08:30 PM
Nonsense, is that what you call it when thieves are stealing property that belongs to someone else?

Buying a used book?

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 08:31 PM
Older kids books, America, under the CPSIA.

Cute corner case, I'll have to keep that one in mind :)

Ben Thornton
02-05-2010, 08:32 PM
Yes but not individual moral compasses the moral compass of doing what is right within society, not as an individual, that is what the point of intellectual property law (and it's basis) is about.
You said that you don't give a huff about the law, but care about what is right. But now, it seems that what is right is what is codified in law? Shome mistake, surely?

There is no single moral compass for society, even if there is a broad consensus on some issues such as murder being bad, for example. As I said, my view of the consensus on making copies for personal use is that it is not seen as a terrible thing - a bit naughty at worst. Theft, on the other hand, is seen in a completely different light.

Just look at the market for copying vinyl onto cassette. You could buy twin deck machines designed for copying on every high street - most hifi aimed at the mass market had twin cassettes as standard. Blank tapes were sold everywhere - often in blocks of 5 etc.

My point is that it was accepted as normal, even expected, that people would copy music and swap albums etc., and this was actively encouraged by making it easy to purchase the means to do so. So, I would claim that the social consensus was that such copying was not a terrible thing. This is completely different to the consensus on physical theft.

You can't have it all ways. Either it's a matter of the law, or it's a social consensus, or it's a personal issue. If it's "what is right within society", I'd contend that copying is largely socially acceptable.

Tattncat
02-05-2010, 08:36 PM
I can wait until prices drop to a level I'm comfortable with. If I lose interest before an acceptable price, well, it's a lost sale then, isn't it? Too bad!

If we don't buy at an "acceptable" level, the publishers will never figure out at what price the consumer is willing to pay.

Ditto

Elfwreck
02-05-2010, 08:52 PM
I suppose, in the selfishness that is increasingly the hallmark of thought in this day and age, you never stopped to consider in the midst of your rationalization that the author might perhaps care about the lost royalties from this "it doesn't hurt anyone" scheme.

1) I didn't say it "doesn't hurt anyone;" I said that an unauthorized copy doesn't remove an authorized one from anyone's possession. I didn't say "torrenting is okay;" I said it's not theft.

2) Authors don't get royalties for most of what I read in print, which tends heavily towards second-hand books. Are you claiming I'm immoral for having those?

You are focusing on the reading public, as though they are the ones who even matter, as though, when an author spends months or years creating a work, that the public has some kind of God-given right to read it. That's complete and utter horse manure.

Agreed.

However, the author has no Gods-given right to be paid for my reading, either. There are several legal ways to read that don't involve the possibility of royalties.

If I write a book and you want to read it, you can pay me what I want for it or you can do without.

Or I can borrow it from someone else. Or buy it at a yard sale. Or find it in a box of free books near my mailbox (my apartment complex often has freebies near the mailboxes). I don't have to pay *you* to read your book, unless I'm strongly inclined to read it in the first few weeks after it's published.

you had no intention of paying me for the privilege of reading my work and instead would just go illegally copy it from someone else.

How about if I legally borrow it from someone else? You're still out a royalty payment for my reading. Am I still stealing?

Tim32127
02-05-2010, 09:10 PM
I wonder what world some people live in.
If you think takeing a book without paying for it is ok then do it.
Saying you are doing it to hurt the big bad c.e.o. is the bigest pile of crap I've ever herd.
In the real world the c.e.o. is the last person in a company to lose their job when things get tough.
Tim..
p.s. I hope whatever you do for a living is the next industry to go through changes

Pardoz
02-05-2010, 09:14 PM
Or find it in a box of free books near my mailbox (my apartment complex often has freebies near the mailboxes).

...okay, I'm moving to (checks location tag) California, ASAP.

May take me time to find gainful employment, but to paraphrase the old saying, "Books will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no books."

raven312
02-05-2010, 09:24 PM
I don't even buy books at the $9.99 price point, as I have been fortunate enough to find most of what I want to read for $6.00 or less (and I love the classics.) I have over 60 books that I have yet to read. I read 2-3 books concurrently so I imagine that I'll chip away at this but not fast enough to justify spending $12-$15 for a new book. There are VERY FEW books that I've ever had to have upon first release, but there have been some. Those were usually heavily discounted, though. I can't recall ever spending face price for a hardcover. I can definitely wait.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 09:29 PM
Again, the individual files do not belong to you. You own the copyright. So long as you still own the copyright, you have lost no property.

You are simply wrong. You are attempting to justify theft with an incorrect definition of property that no longer fits the current digital media format.

ShadowAuthor
02-05-2010, 09:43 PM
Mr. Author creates a work. The moment it is fixed in a tangible format it automatically belongs to society (it is now firmly in the public domain). After all, as Mr. Author has has created his work in close co-operation with society it follows that naturally, Mr. Author cannot claim exclusive rights over his creation. He has utilised the education society has given him, made use of the conventions of the culture of the society he lives in and his creation is inseparable from the norms and values of others (past and present) who live in the same society. We thank Mr. Author for his gift.

Oh, the things people will tell themselves to justify their actions...

MrBlueSky
02-05-2010, 09:43 PM
It's not, neither is knowing that you have stolen something without paying a fair price for it.

Why is it so hard for you to comprehend it is wrong?

Leaving aside the emotive words 'stolen' and 'wrong' for the time being, what exactly would you consider to be a 'fair price'?

The true market price under real competition, the artificial price under monopoly conditions or, some morally ambiguous equivalent to the gratuity box as found in restaurants that would serve to salve some people's ethical considerations?

Do you agree that the fair price for a dead author is zero?

guyanonymous
02-05-2010, 09:46 PM
But think of the dead-author's great grandchildren....or the corporation that bought the rights!

kennyc
02-05-2010, 09:46 PM
How about $13, like 13 posts. :)

kennyc
02-05-2010, 09:47 PM
But think of the dead-author's great grandchildren....or the corporation that bought the rights!

and all those poor long-suffering pirates without a thing to read.

Nate the great
02-05-2010, 09:54 PM
You are simply wrong. You are attempting to justify theft with an incorrect definition of property that no longer fits the current digital media format.

No. I am not trying to justify anything. And I am using a definition of property that is based in reality.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 09:55 PM
No. I am not trying to justify anything. And I am using a definition of property that is based in reality.

A reality that has changed and law, morals and definitions have not kept up with.

Nate the great
02-05-2010, 10:02 PM
A reality that has changed and law, morals and definitions have not kept up with.

Nope.The definition of property does not change just because you wish it to. The copyright holder never could claim ownership over the individual paper copies; he can't claim ownership of the digital ones, either.

kennyc
02-05-2010, 10:09 PM
Nope.The definition of property does not change just because you wish it to. The copyright holder never could claim ownership over the individual paper copies; he can't claim ownership of the digital ones, either.


It will change, it's inevitable. It's already changing, you can see it right here.

:)

DawnFalcon
02-05-2010, 10:38 PM
It will change, it's inevitable. It's already changing, you can see it right here.

Yes, societal consensus is turning against IP.

Harmon
02-06-2010, 01:47 AM
Well, except when it isn't. I'm not aware of any jurisdiction in which selling a book second-hand is illegal.

Yeah, what I wrote applies to the first sale of the book, not second hand sales.

Harmon
02-06-2010, 02:01 AM
Yes, societal consensus is turning against IP.

The U of Chicago's free ebook for February was Piracy: the Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. One of the subjects concerns the concept of intellectual property as an invention of Western Europe, and another is the impact of the concept in other societies.

It really is a moving target, and while I'm not sure that societal consensus is turning against IP, it seems pretty clear that the consensus about what IP actually is, and how it can be "owned," is in flux - as it has been for two or three hundred years.

MrBlueSky
02-06-2010, 12:34 PM
Wrong. I have not authorized you to have my property or do anything with it, I have lost my rights. You can't say I have not been harmed. It is not your right to posses my property without my permission.

There are four inaccuracies in that statement :)

1. I, don’t require your permission.
2. No you haven’t.
3. Yes I can.
4. Information has rights too — it wants to be free.

Btw, having been granted a (temporary) monopoly does not mean that you have been awarded ownership rights too, Your so-called ‘property right’ (you really mean ownership) remains firmly in the public domain.


From a philosophical point of view, are you saying that every single monopoly holder in existence is now living under a constant barrage of actual mental harm caused by file-sharing? You can’t be referring to any physical or material harm — because I already don’t need your permission to read a library book, read a friends book or find a secondhand one.

No wonder authors tend to loose their marbles the more books they write :) The sheer pressure of not knowing with 100% certainty that their books are NOT being shared must indeed be a meddlesome burden to have to live under. Perhaps every monopoly licence should come with a health warning on the box!

On the other hand, If I don’t explicitly TELL you that I have indeed shared YOUR particular book, how does this imaginary ‘harm’ manifest itself in your mind? Your ‘right’, to your own knowledge, has not been disturbed. You remain, as it were, still living in a state of serene and blissful ignorance of my (real or imaginary) dastardly deed — so how has any ‘action at a distance’ on my part impinged on the mental map of your world?

guyanonymous
02-06-2010, 12:37 PM
The U of Chicago's free ebook for February was Piracy: the Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates.

But we're in Feb and it's no longer available :(

Sounds like a fascinating read. Too bad about their DRM. I could take that on a free book...not on a costly one, though I appreciate they have a wide range of drm options to choose from.

kennyc
02-06-2010, 01:19 PM
The U of Chicago's free ebook for February was Piracy: the Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. One of the subjects concerns the concept of intellectual property as an invention of Western Europe, and another is the impact of the concept in other societies.

It really is a moving target, and while I'm not sure that societal consensus is turning against IP, it seems pretty clear that the consensus about what IP actually is, and how it can be "owned," is in flux - as it has been for two or three hundred years.

Yeah, I wanted to download it, but it was/is in PDF only. I am waiting to hear from the authors about an epub version.

kennyc
02-06-2010, 01:19 PM
But we're in Feb and it's no longer available :(

Sounds like a fascinating read. Too bad about their DRM. I could take that on a free book...not on a costly one, though I appreciate they have a wide range of drm options to choose from.


I think it was only a one-day thing - Feb 1st.

Lemurion
02-06-2010, 05:00 PM
There are four inaccuracies in that statement :)

1. I, don’t require your permission.
2. No you haven’t.
3. Yes I can.
4. Information has rights too — it wants to be free.

Btw, having been granted a (temporary) monopoly does not mean that you have been awarded ownership rights too, Your so-called ‘property right’ (you really mean ownership) remains firmly in the public domain.


From a philosophical point of view, are you saying that every single monopoly holder in existence is now living under a constant barrage of actual mental harm caused by file-sharing? You can’t be referring to any physical or material harm — because I already don’t need your permission to read a library book, read a friends book or find a secondhand one.

No wonder authors tend to loose their marbles the more books they write :) The sheer pressure of not knowing with 100% certainty that their books are NOT being shared must indeed be a meddlesome burden to have to live under. Perhaps every monopoly licence should come with a health warning on the box!

On the other hand, If I don’t explicitly TELL you that I have indeed shared YOUR particular book, how does this imaginary ‘harm’ manifest itself in your mind? Your ‘right’, to your own knowledge, has not been disturbed. You remain, as it were, still living in a state of serene and blissful ignorance of my (real or imaginary) dastardly deed — so how has any ‘action at a distance’ on my part impinged on the mental map of your world?

Copyright is an artificial monopoly which exists to promote the creation of new creative works.

Copyright controls the legal right to create and distribute new copies of a creative work. Selling a used book does not infringe copyright because it does not constitute making a new copy. Xeroxing a book does, because that does constitute making a new copy.

This is why file-sharing is both copyright infringement and a real threat to many authors. It's copyright infringement because it involves creating new copies. It worries authors because regardless of the exact percentages involved, it would be very surprising to presume that no one who downloaded a work would have bought it if they could not have got it for free. That's as ludicrous as assuming every download is a lost sale.

Given that some fraction of downloads are lost sales, this has two effects. First, the author may not earn out their advance, which can have a material effect on the advance on their next book, and second they may not generate enough sales to be offered a contract for the next book-- and so readers may never get to read the sequel.

Ben Thornton
02-06-2010, 05:37 PM
It worries authors because regardless of the exact percentages involved, it would be very surprising to presume that no one who downloaded a work would have bought it if they could not have got it for free. That's as ludicrous as assuming every download is a lost sale.

Given that some fraction of downloads are lost sales, this has two effects. First, the author may not earn out their advance, which can have a material effect on the advance on their next book, and second they may not generate enough sales to be offered a contract for the next book-- and so readers may never get to read the sequel.
I'm not convinced by the idea that an author must sell fewer books if people copy them illegally. It may be that people are more likely to pay for their books if they discover them through an illegal copy. J A Konrath's blog seemed to suggest that he took that view.

Note that I'm not saying that authors will definitely sell more copies if their work is copied illegally - rather that I don't think that saying "some of the pirated copies would have been a sale" is the whole story, because some pirate copies lead to more sales. How it all balances out would require some stats which I don't have. With music, I've bought plenty of albums by artists that I discovered because somebody made me a tape.

Kolenka
02-06-2010, 05:44 PM
I think Lemurion hit the important issue here... but there are inaccuracies in your own statement.

There are four inaccuracies in that statement :)

1. I, don’t require your permission.
2. No you haven’t.
3. Yes I can.
4. Information has rights too — it wants to be free.


There are laws in place that handle certain sticky issues with copyright like the concept of First Sale, and so on... In that case, you are right that you don't require the author's permission to resell the copy. The fact that the author is offering a copy for sale to you is implicit authorization to have a copy of their work. There is nothing in copyright that says they MUST sell it to you or let you have a copy, so in fact you do need their permission. But under the law it is implicit, rather an explicit in most cases. This is a key distinction.

Producing copies outside of what implicit authorization is given to you via law is a copyright violation. A lot of the rationale behind this concept in law is that if 10,000 copies being made without permission can kill an individual's livelihood, than 1 copy is still harmful (just a fraction as much). If you start getting in the business of trying to set the bar for what is harmful and what isn't, you open loopholes to be gamed.

Personifying 'information' doesn't help an argument either way. Does information being freely accessible benefit society? The original concept behind copyright seems to agree that it does. That is what is important when it comes to the concept of the public domain. We can argue that the terms of copyright have been extended to harm the public domain, and I'd agree... but I don't think that makes the concept of a time limited monopoly as a carrot to give someone an incentive to turn education and entertainment into a career any less valid. It's a balancing act, and views at the extremes ignore the benefit they get from the other side. The time limited monopoly encourages people to actually make a full-time career out of things like research, book writing (educational, editorial, and entertaining), and so on. This provides more content for public domain than volunteers and part-timers could do alone. But without the expiration of copyrights, then the public domain is left in the same state as if you had no copyright in the first place.

kennyc
02-06-2010, 06:23 PM
Well said Lemurion and Kolenka.

Connallmac
02-06-2010, 06:34 PM
Remember kids Lars Ulrich says:
http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k3/ConnallMac/larsulrichisadick.png