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Old 09-18-2013, 01:44 AM   #1
TonyToews
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Kobo selling classic books such as Mark Twain?

So I just downloaded the Kobo app onto my Android smartphone and I see under the recommended reads are many books that have long been out of copyright. Such as Jane Austin, Mark Twain and many others. So who gets the money?

For example The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/32325 http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebo...leberry-finn-3 Although that one is only $1.03 on the website and $6.02 on my Android device.

Are Kobo reselling books that have been scanned, cleaned up by volunteers and placed on the Project Gutenberg website?

So who gets the money? Kobo? The authors heirs? Hmm, might be an outfit called Petra Books which is mentioned on the Kobo page?
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:00 AM   #2
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If you do a search, there are a lot of versions of Huckleberry Finn at Kobo. There is one free version. Odds are all of these are prepared by someone else, not Kobo. They probably have added something to the editions to make them different. It might be illustrations (I don't know if the original was), a commentary ro different formatting. The money will go to publisher and then whoever made the changes.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:36 AM   #3
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A little off topic, but there are lots of Mark Twain ebooks in the MobileRead library, many done very well by grannyGrumpy. No one makes any money out of books in the MobileRead library.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:56 PM   #4
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That's the thing with books that are out of copyright... you can do anything with them. You can give them away for free, as the fine folks @ Gutenberg and the MobileRead Library do. You can also package them up any way you choose and sell them for a profit.

There was a huge stink in Canada when that happened just recently. Someone packaged up a new edition of Anne of Green Gables and sold it. The problem was that the cover showed a young, blond, modern-looking young woman. But hey, that's what happens sometimes...
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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This became a problem on Amazon when they first started allowing just about anyone to self-publish. Searching for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice yielded a crazy number of hits, many of which were little more than a copy/paste from Gutenberg.

Amazon generally has a free version of the classics. I'm not sure of the source, but I notice they normally don't have smart quotes or illustrations.
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:37 PM   #6
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Tony,

The way I understand it Project Gutenberg allows you to sell eBooks from their site as long as you pay them a royalty.

"...pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works..."
-from the user agreement at the end of "A Princess of Mars"

In theory you could set up your own eBook store and sell PG stuff as long as you pay them the royalty.

Larry
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:44 PM   #7
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The best place to get classics is Delphi Classics. Do a search on the Kobo (or Amazon for that matter) bookstore and you will find several or Google Delphi Classics for the source.

They publish "complete works" of out of copyright authors. The books are put together with a table of contents for the entire list of the authors works, and individual works have a second table of contents. The books cost between $1.99 and $2.99 USD (I don't remember what they cost in Euros).

It's amazing how many writings many famous authors created when you include all of their short stories, plays, essays and personal correspondence. What you pay for is the convenience of having the entire library collected for you, all of it indexed via multiple tables of content, images from the era relating to the aurhor's work, a brief biography of the author, etc.

If you only want a single book then something like the Mobileread library makes good sense, but if you want to go into depth with an author then these are well worth the 2 or 3 dollars.
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Old 09-18-2013, 05:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymohr View Post
Tony,

The way I understand it Project Gutenberg allows you to sell eBooks from their site as long as you pay them a royalty.

"...pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works..."
-from the user agreement at the end of "A Princess of Mars"

In theory you could set up your own eBook store and sell PG stuff as long as you pay them the royalty.

Larry
You only have to pay a royalty to Project Gutenberg if you leave their trademark in the file. Or otherwise use their trademarked name.

If you strip their boilerplate, you owe them nothing.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 6charlong View Post
The best place to get classics is Delphi Classics....
There are lots of these indie "publishers" now that it costs almost nothing to publish an ebook. I'm not a fan of combining lots of public domain books into a single volume. I'd rather have them separated. And these Delphi editions are not professionally edited, so expect typos.

If I was going to pay, I'd rather pay for an established professional publisher, like Harper or Penguin, and hope they were better edited.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:04 PM   #10
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If I was going to pay, I'd rather pay for an established professional publisher, like Harper or Penguin, and hope they were better edited.
I am afraid your hope would die a lonely death.

My experience is the the "Big" publishers are the worst offenders when it comes to older titles. They are simply OCRed and not edited at all.
I have over 30 of the Nancy Drew books in epub and they all have many typos in them. Most have errors every chapter, the worst had 27 typos on a single screen of my KOBO!

On the other hand, Feedbooks.com and Baenebooks.com have very clean eBooks. I always go to Feedbooks first for public domain because I get nicely formatted books there.

Larry
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by larrymohr View Post
I am afraid your hope would die a lonely death.

My experience is the the "Big" publishers are the worst offenders when it comes to older titles. They are simply OCRed and not edited at all.
I have over 30 of the Nancy Drew books in epub and they all have many typos in them. Most have errors every chapter, the worst had 27 typos on a single screen of my KOBO!

On the other hand, Feedbooks.com and Baenebooks.com have very clean eBooks. I always go to Feedbooks first for public domain because I get nicely formatted books there.

Larry
Feedbooks does have some nice formatting, but I wonder what source they use for public domain titles, and do they proof/edit them? Looking at a few titles, I see they do not have smart quotes, so I assume they started with Gutenberg text. Another similar source is http://www.epubbooks.com/. I wonder the same thing about that site, do they just scrape from Gutenberg?

I've actually read a few of the Nancy Drew ebooks, and I did see some OCR errors, which I agree was very disappointing, especially considering the price they charge for those titles. The publisher was Grosset & Dunlop, so I don't know how they compare to other publishers. A quick glance through some of my classic ebook titles from major publishers shows the following:

Signet Classics
Barnes & Noble Classics
Penguin Classics
HarperCollins

I can't say how they compare in terms of proofing/editing.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larrymohr View Post
My experience is the the "Big" publishers are the worst offenders when it comes to older titles. They are simply OCRed and not edited at all.
That's often true for backlist titles, although they seem to be getting better, but in my experience something like Penguin Classics actually put some effort into the PD classics they put out.
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