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Old 08-28-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
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Ursula K. LeGuin on Libraries and ebooks

http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2012/08...es-and-ebooks/

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This is a legitimate, big problem, which affects authors just as much and as directly as it does libraries and publishers. It has no quick fix. To solve it will take a complete and painful rethinking and re-organisation of the whole publishing industry.

But many corporate publishers, without seeking a long-term strategy, consulting no interest or value but their own, have reacted with mere panic greed.



Some, exhibiting all the foresight, generosity, and public spirit of a Florida alligator, outright refuse to sell their ebooks to libraries. Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan are among them.

This policy can be summed up as: Libraries can go to hell.

Other publishers, perhaps hoping to keep some appearance of a certain degree of goodwill towards men, limit themselves to making it hard for the library to stock ebooks and inconvenient for you to get them from the library. They call it “inserting friction.” A kind of anti-Vaseline.

Currently various publishers are employing various forms of “friction:”
■“Embargo” (some publishers call it “Windowing”): the publisher refuses libraries access to recently published ebooks, especially best sellers. The library must wait as long as 18 months to get the book.
■Snatch-back: Instead of selling an ebook to the library, the publisher rents it for a certain length of time or a certain number of uses — after which the ebook vanishes, pouf! The library must pay for it all over again.Harper Collins sells an ebook to a library for 26 individual uses, then the book vanishes and the library is forced to purchase another.
■Selective price-gouging: The publisher charges libraries more than other customers for best-sellers.Random House announced in March that it was increasing the cost of ebooks to libraries, in some cases tripling it.
■Pay-on-Demand: Require the library to pay the publisher a sum each time the ebook is ordered.This is an ironic reversal of the system obtaining in Europe whereby the author is paid a small sum every time the book is taken out of a library. European libraries can do this because their evil nanny governments support them with money. No American public library could afford this kind of pay-on-demand either to the author or the publisher.

And the absurdest piece of meanness yet:
■Make the Old Lady Hobble Downtown: Every library that can afford to gives patrons access to music, audio books, databases, etc. via their home computer, but some publishers want libraries to allow access to ebooks only to patrons who actually, physically, come to the library. You have to be there in person and hold out your hand, see, so the librarian can put those valuable electrons in it.
Quite a bit more at the site.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:55 AM   #2
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Bottom line is that libraries are screwed and the public doesn't care.
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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The public doesn't care about libraries?
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:27 AM   #4
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we care, but what can we do? letter writing campaigns to publishers are just *so* effective...
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
The public doesn't care about libraries?
By and large, that seems to be the case right now.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
The public doesn't care about libraries?
That's right; they really don't care. If they did, they'd boycott ebooks until publishers stopped restricting sales to libraries.

They also don't care about the agency model, because they continue to buy these ebooks too.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
That's right; they really don't care. If they did, they'd boycott ebooks until publishers stopped restricting sales to libraries.

They also don't care about the agency model, because they continue to buy these ebooks too.
That doesn't make sense. First of all, a great many people are simply unaware of e-books at libraries or agency pricing, rather than not caring. And why is not boycotting e-books imply not caring about libraries?
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
That doesn't make sense. First of all, a great many people are simply unaware of e-books at libraries or agency pricing, rather than not caring.
Since this issue deals with ebook lending, those who don't read ebooks are irrelevant.

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And why is not boycotting e-books imply not caring about libraries?
Because buying ebooks from these publishers is tacit approval of their business model. As such, they'll continue with it as long as its profitable.
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:58 PM   #9
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At Book View Cafe we make our ebooks available to libraries AND, if we can supply them direct, we give them a 45% discount.

Currently we supply Douglas County Libraries and are about to add Califa to our list. A number of the larger libraries are now hosting their own lending platforms and buying their own ebooks rather than leasing them.

Our view is that if the major publishers are thinking of stepping back from supporting libraries, it's time for others to step forward. And as an author co-op we want to be in the forefront.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Since this issue deals with ebook lending, those who don't read ebooks are irrelevant.
No, when you said that people don't care about libraries, it became about whether or not people cared about libraries.

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Because buying ebooks from these publishers is tacit approval of their business model. As such, they'll continue with it as long as its profitable.
It may be the case that if people keep buying e-books under these terms that the publishers will continue these practices. This still doesn't imply that people don't care about libraries.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaixena View Post
At Book View Cafe we make our ebooks available to libraries AND, if we can supply them direct, we give them a 45% discount.

Currently we supply Douglas County Libraries and are about to add Califa to our list. A number of the larger libraries are now hosting their own lending platforms and buying their own ebooks rather than leasing them.

Our view is that if the major publishers are thinking of stepping back from supporting libraries, it's time for others to step forward. And as an author co-op we want to be in the forefront.
Bravo; and this is what should be supported
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
It may be the case that if people keep buying e-books under these terms that the publishers will continue these practices. This still doesn't imply that people don't care about libraries.
I get it ...I can care about the environment, but continue to buy from companies that aren't green.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:29 PM   #13
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I get it ...I can care about the environment, but continue to buy from companies that aren't green.
That sounds like how many flame wars go. "You claim to care about the environment, but you only do A, B and C? If you actually cared about the environment, you would do A, B, C and D!" The perfect is the enmey of the good phenomenon. Some people support funding for libraries and volunteer at libraries. Now, if these people buy e-books, why must we say they don't care about libraries?
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Some people support funding for libraries and volunteer at libraries. Now, if these people buy e-books, why must we say they don't care about libraries?
Then they have nothing to complain about when the publishers they buy from restrict or prohibit sales to libraries.
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Old 08-28-2012, 01:47 PM   #15
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Then they have nothing to complain about when the publishers they buy from restrict or prohibit sales to libraries.
The thought police have spoken.
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