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Old 02-15-2013, 05:15 PM   #31
QuantumIguana
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I'm wondering how many 11 year olds have the skills to write a novel?? While there is something to be said for life skills, and not ALL students are suited for college/university, I would think any sane person would want children to be educated past the 5th grade...
It reminds me of Grandpa Simpson... perhaps they should all apprentice as bootblacks at 11. Most people aren't sure what they are going to do for a living when they are 11.

He also says "The car industry would collapse if we went to car libraries for free use of Porsches". Well, no, it wouldn't. If we decided to provide Porsches to the public without charge, the government would still have to BUY the Porsches. If people didn't want to have to wait for a car to become available, or they wanted a new car or they didn't want want to share a car with someone else (there's enough junk in my own car) they could buy their own. Either way, cars would still need to be purchased. He keeps saying free, free, free, but his usage is highly misleading. There is no charge to the reader, but the books are paid for. Should we ban the sales of used cars?

If he thinks libraries are so bad, then perhaps his books should be pulled out of the libraries. Would that generate more sales for his books? Probably not. It would very likely result in less children knowing his books existed, which would probably result in less sales.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:46 PM   #32
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Without libraries, children would not be aware of his books and thus ask their parents to buy said books for them.

I know I've spent thousands on books for my daughter over the years, many of which she first discovered in the school library. I know my parents could never have afforded my reading habit when I was young. I used to go to the public library after I got home from school and get out six books at a time (all my parents allowed me to have). I'd usually finish at least two if not three by the time I went to bed, and two or three days later I'd be back to the library.

As for his thesis: over 150 years of coexistence proves libraries are not responsible for the decline in book sales.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:05 PM   #33
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What puzzles me is his listing of "parenting skills" as a useful skill which kiddo should aquire before leaving school at 11. No further comment.
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:36 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
It always seems that artists are the only people that want and even expect to profit for a lifetime from any work done. A writer writes one book, a singer writes one song, and so on. These can be sold millions of times, and the authors reap rewards their entire lives if the products stay popular.
If the work contiues to sell, somebody will make money from it. Why should the publishers get to keep it all?

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I for one, who writes computer software (which is also creating / writing stuff), has to keep working and working, as in a matter of 1-3 years, nobody will want the current program, or current website system anymore. Maybe it won't even work on a new system. It will need to be updated or even replaced.
I hate to tell you this, but most creative works have a shelf life measured in weeks, or months at most, not years like your software. (Plus, you're doing work for hire, where most artists don't. That is a choice you make, that most artists don't. As is creating something that really can't last more than a few years in the market, rather than something that can, in theory, still have some appeal centuries from now.)

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Work once, profit many times over. Only artists expect this, and they always whine when it doesn't work out that way. My father, who was a construction worker, never received any royalties for each time someone walks on a path he laid down or walks trhough a door he placed.
A new door or path isn't created each time someone walks down or through one.

There are qualitative differences between artistic work and the manufacture of goods.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:05 PM   #35
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Public libraries aren't free any more than public schools are free. They're paid for by taxpayers. Some of that money go to the publishers, a bit of which hopefully ends up in his pocket. If he feels he does not get enough, he should take it up with his publisher.

I think there's even an argument to be made for compensating authors every time a book is loaned out. This is already the case in some countries. With ebooks and automation, this is more technically feasible than ever. But he seems to want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

From his rants, I suspect that this is more about philosophy than money. I'm curious what kind of stories he writes. Atlas Shrugged for kindergarteners?

---

Btw, I do think that artists are entitled to royalty. Creative output is hard and not easily repeatable. Harper Lee only wrote one book. Maybe she only has one book in her. Paul McCartney is not still cranking out one classic song after another. I don't think it's because rich and lazy: he just does not have it any more. If he were poor and starving, he'd be waiting tables and doing night clubs, not making great albums. It's a rare genius who can keep putting out great works throughout their life. So I think they should be able to coast, rest on their laurel a bit, depending on the quality/popularity of their work. Not life+70 years, but a bit.

Last edited by Barty; 02-15-2013 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:12 PM   #36
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Oh no, he writes Horrible Histories. My kid loves those books - which we discovered through our local public library. Ah well, we'll make sure to not buy any more of them, just borrow.
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Old 02-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #37
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I disagree with his conclusions, although some of his facts are probably correct: bookstores lose *some* money from libraries, and authors lose *some* money due to libraries. And I'm pretty sure that bestselling authors lose the most money: if my library hadn't bought 300 copies of the last Harry Potter book, I'm pretty sure everyone who checked the book out would have bought it instead.

And of course libraries aren't a natural phenomenon: they are created and paid for by tax money, which means that the government, more or less, is harming booksellers and authors by paying for libraries.

Having said that, though, I don't think it matters - taxes harm some people more than others; the decision to build roads in place A instead of place B harms some more than others...but we do those things anyway because we've decided that the tradeoff is worth it. And this is what we've done with libraries as well. I understand why he doesn't like the choices we've made, and of course it's helpful to sometimes be reminded that libraries aren't 100% beneficial. But since I believe that the upsides *far* outweigh the downsides, I think we should continue to fund them.


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Originally Posted by taustin View Post

Nobody is entitled to make a living doing something nobody is willing to pay them to do.

Maybe he should take up buggy whip making instead.
You have his argument backwards, I think. And you're being unfair to actual points he's making because you don't like his conclusions. *He* is making money hand over fist. His books are very popular and people want them. He's not objecting to the fact that people might not be buying his books; he's objecting to the fact that the government has set up a scheme to give away for free the books the books that he wrote and sells to support himself.

As I said above, I think he's wrong, but I don't have a problem with him pointing out the downsides: while I don't particularly disagree with the concept of taxation, I would still rather keep more money for myself, all things being equal.

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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
It always seems that artists are the only people that want and even expect to profit for a lifetime from any work done. A writer writes one book, a singer writes one song, and so on. These can be sold millions of times, and the authors reap rewards their entire lives if the products stay popular.

I for one, who writes computer software (which is also creating / writing stuff), has to keep working and working, as in a matter of 1-3 years, nobody will want the current program, or current website system anymore. Maybe it won't even work on a new system. It will need to be updated or even replaced.

Work once, profit many times over. Only artists expect this, and they always whine when it doesn't work out that way. My father, who was a construction worker, never received any royalties for each time someone walks on a path he laid down or walks trhough a door he placed.
This is just the difference between property and labor; it's hardly limited to artists. If you own stock, or rental property, or a business, or even just have money in an interest-bearing account, you can continue to reap profit from your property long after you did whatever work was necessary to acquire it: you can even pass the property down to your heirs, who may continue to reap profits from it. If your father built a rental house, he could continue to make money every month that someone occupied it.

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Oh no, he writes Horrible Histories. My kid loves those books - which we discovered through our local public library. Ah well, we'll make sure to not buy any more of them, just borrow.
It may well be the case for *him* that whatever money he would lose through not being discovered at a library (if any) would be offset through people buying his books rather than checking them out. He is so well-known that he's likely to be discovered through other means anyway. But this is not the case for less popular authors: for those individuals, libraries are probably much more beneficial.

Regardless, though, although I do think he points out some perhaps uncomfortable truths, the overall benefits of libraries are, I think, much greater than the downsides he points out: I have no problem acknowledging that he makes some good points, but continuing to support libraries.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:11 PM   #38
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I disagree with his conclusions, although some of his facts are probably correct: bookstores lose *some* money from libraries, and authors lose *some* money due to libraries. And I'm pretty sure that bestselling authors lose the most money: if my library hadn't bought 300 copies of the last Harry Potter book, I'm pretty sure everyone who checked the book out would have bought it instead.

And of course libraries aren't a natural phenomenon: they are created and paid for by tax money, which means that the government, more or less, is harming booksellers and authors by paying for libraries.
Yes, but most governments also provide incredibly generous copyright protection that make the publishing business possible, allowing the author (and others often well after his or her lifetime) to be compensated for their product. This is hardly natural either, and is created in large part for the public benefit. You can quibble with the details of either arrangement, but not the basic usefulness of one arrangement without undermining the other.

Not saying you were going here (your road analogy says you aren't going here), but just thought I'd point out the obvious counter to anyone that might. Also, I don't think this was this author's argument, as he seems to think the public benefit of libraries is now smaller than the benefit of his (and others) being more richly compensated (if I read him correctly). We've all been having a fairly easy time refuting that notion, and having a good time working up our righteous indignation.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:30 PM   #39
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He's not objecting to the fact that people might not be buying his books; he's objecting to the fact that the government has set up a scheme to give away for free the books the books that he wrote and sells to support himself.
Has he forgotten that the government also set up a scheme that gives him or his publisher exclusive rights to the distribution of the book for a period of time (apart from lending in those libraries)? I haven't read his blog, but if he left that point out, then I think he hasn't considered the whole picture.
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Old 02-16-2013, 01:48 PM   #40
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Has he forgotten that the government also set up a scheme that gives him or his publisher exclusive rights to the distribution of the book for a period of time (apart from lending in those libraries)? I haven't read his blog, but if he left that point out, then I think he hasn't considered the whole picture.
He also seems to forget that that same government allows him to have freedom of speech so he can write what he wants to write without fear of censor. As long as he isn't libeling others or such that is.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:00 PM   #41
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No doubt a tirade about used books stores is next on his list.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:03 PM   #42
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if my library hadn't bought 300 copies of the last Harry Potter book, I'm pretty sure everyone who checked the book out would have bought it instead.

And of course libraries aren't a natural phenomenon: they are created and paid for by tax money, which means that the government, more or less, is harming booksellers and authors by paying for libraries.
These two points are very debatable though. First of all, while some of those people may have bought the Harry Potter books if they weren't able to borrow them from the library, there's no way they would all have done so.

And as for harming booksellers and authors, there is some truth to that but at the same time you can argue that libraries help encourage people to read. I know if I hadn't had libraries available to me when I was young I probably would never have got interested in reading as we certainly couldn't have afforded to buy many books.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:01 PM   #43
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If bookstores are closing, it's not because of libraries. Libraries and bookstores have coexisted happily for ages. He thinks that compulsory education removes the need for libraries. Libraries and schools have never been an either-or proposition, but are complement each other. If taxpayers don't want to fund libraries, they can vote to shut them down. He says "I'm not attacking libraries, I'm attacking the concept behind libraries, which is no longer relevant." How can he do that without attacking libraries?

The books aren't "free", the library paid for them. The books wear out, and the library buys some more. If I have a print copy of a book, I can loan it out until it falls apart. A library can do the same. He's not likely to sway many people to his position.
I don't agree with him that libraries are no longer relevant. My local library is busy most of the time. I myself used it quite a bit as a child both for school and as a place to go when my home life became chaotic( it was within walking distance).

What about people who are struggling financially? There are plenty in our society. They should be deprived of reading because some author thinks he needs more money? Boo hoo. What a jerk.

I would not want to live in a society that think libraries aren't important or needed. Authors are a dime a dozen.
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:09 PM   #44
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Yes, but most governments also provide incredibly generous copyright protection that make the publishing business possible, allowing the author (and others often well after his or her lifetime) to be compensated for their product. This is hardly natural either, and is created in large part for the public benefit. You can quibble with the details of either arrangement, but not the basic usefulness of one arrangement without undermining the other.
Governments do make many thing possible, but copyright laws are no more or less natural than other property laws - there's nothing "natural" about owning a particular piece of land, for example. Copyright is a newer law, of course, and there's less consensus on what the rules should be. (Although the rights to own real estate aren't too much older than copyright law - in England until 1300, you weren't allowed to sell the land you occupied (it technically belonged to the king), and it wasn't until the 1500's that you were allowed to leave land to someone else in a will.)
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:11 PM   #45
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I'm wondering how many 11 year olds have the skills to write a novel?? While there is something to be said for life skills, and not ALL students are suited for college/university, I would think any sane person would want children to be educated past the 5th grade...
I think it's because he wants it to go back to the way it was in the early Industrial Age..if you were from the "lower classes" once your kid hit a certain age, off to the factories they went. Education and reading were for those who could afford it.

I'm getting a sense from this guy that he has a worship of the dollar sign more than anything else. He also comes off in his statements as an enormous D-Bag.
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