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Old 10-14-2010, 10:12 AM   #1
fjtorres
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Massive wave of ebook piracy?

From the telegraph:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technol...+on+the+Web%29

Out of curiosity, I tried the google search he suggested and found some surprisingly slick-looking sites. Nothing I'd want to sign up to (TINSTAAFL!) but I could see a lot of mainstream folks upset at georestrictions, price fixing and other annoyances taking a flyer on these kinds of sites that monetize piracy.

The article is hardly saying anything new in pointing out that ebook readers are becoming both cheap and plentiful and ebook reading apps competent and ubiquitous. And that if reasonable legal content isn't available, consumers *will* turn to "other" sources. But since the publishers seem blind to the self-destructive nature of their recent policies, somebody needs to hammer it in, I guess. They *are* running out of time to avert a wave of ebook Napsterization.

Not sure that the impact will ever be as big as he makes it out to be but I do think that if the old turn-of-the-century Napster mindset gets fully entrenched in the mainstream, as it did in the music business, publishing is going to see some *really* dangerous times. In that respect, I think the BPHs, in particular, need to rethink their approach to ebooks and start thinking of ways to make it *easy* and desirable to buy ebooks rather than making them as pricey and inconvenient as the market will bear, as their current strategy seems to be.

I'm not holding my breath, but who knows? Maybe it *will* take a wave of Napsterization to get their attention...
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:22 AM   #2
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Their way of looking at it is why should they adapt to market forces when they can go against the market and use the government as their private enforcer?
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Old 10-14-2010, 10:38 AM   #3
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Their way of looking at it is why should they adapt to market forces when they can go against the market and use the government as their private enforcer?
True.
But not all countries are as protectionist as Western Europe or the current US administration.
Plus, there is a big difference between what the law says and the culture does. No bigger example than the Napster years of digital music. The law and the governments were all on the side of the studios; the teenagers were are on the Napster side.
We all saw how that ended up, no?

If the BPHs want to follow the example of the studios...
(shrug)

They *have* been warned, over and over...

"Casual" Piracy is no longer a "hobby"; there's people making money off it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:03 AM   #4
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I actually agree with what he says. Personally, I have explored such sites a bit when I first got ebooks, and found most of them not up to par. I would rather have the 'proper' version. But most people aren't as picky as I am and many people I know do not re-read books (I do). So someone like my mom who will only read it once may view a download as the same as going to the library and chalk up the odd error to those old library books you would get with the coffee spills on them from previous borrowers.

The issue is that people expect to do the same behaviours with ebooks as they do with print books. So for example if I could go to my mother's house and borrow a paper book from her, why is it wrong to share an ebook? It is the same net result. Overlooking the legal aspects and going just on a reasonable person's common sense, it is the same thing.

What they need to do is either decide they are selling a single-use rental and price it accordingly, or continue selling ebooks as a sale but bring the prices more in line with what readers are willing to pay. If I am paying full hardback price, I expect to keep my privileges. But if I only had to pay $3-4 and the book expired after 30 days, I would be fine with that.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #5
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Their way of looking at it is why should they adapt to market forces when they can go against the market and use the government as their private enforcer?
Which shows they fundamentally ignored the lessons from the Music Industry's war against piracy in the 90s and first half of this decade. Even when they convince the government to be the enforcer, its like trying to enforce the speed limit; you can only really catch the most egregious violators, and ultimately for downloading, that is only a drop in the bucket.

--
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:08 AM   #6
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Yeah, the tipping point where piracy makes an impression on the minds of the big publishers is just months away, IMO. I don't know how long it'll take them to realize that the best defense is easily available ebooks at reasonable prices, concurrent with the printed version.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:15 AM   #7
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...But if I only had to pay $3-4 and the book expired after 30 days, I would be fine with that.
I sure as heck wouldn't. If I pay ANYTHING for a book, I expect full privileges, permanently. Otherwise, I'll just hit my friendly, neighborhood used bookstore, buy the book there, chop off the spine and scan it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:58 AM   #8
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I sure as heck wouldn't. If I pay ANYTHING for a book, I expect full privileges, permanently. Otherwise, I'll just hit my friendly, neighborhood used bookstore, buy the book there, chop off the spine and scan it.
I concurr. If I'm paying for them, I will not allow my books/movies/music to be taken away from me at anyone's leisure but mine.
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Old 10-14-2010, 12:51 PM   #9
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But if I only had to pay $3-4 and the book expired after 30 days, I would be fine with that.
In theory, I can agree with that.
I have no problem paying for HD movie rentals and I'm looking forward to the availability of ZUNE Pass on XBOX next month. Cable TV and Movie tickets are just as ephemeral as a rental and I have no problem with either.

Books, however, I'd have to think about rentals.
I'm something of a packrat when it comes to books and my buying habits are that I'll buy the books when they catch my eye but I don't necessarily read them soon after. Rarely, in fact.
My TBR list is probably a couple decades long.
(I haven't checked out library books this century, for example.)

Book rentals would also depend on the material; at $3-5 I'd be more likely to rent current affairs and other non-fiction than SF which I can usually buy for $3.50-6.00 anyway.

Different folks have different thresholds in the buy-lease debate but while rentals are a valid business model, the publishers aren't going to adopt it until they've been bloodied to a pulp by piracy, just as the studios fought tooth and nail against subscription music until they realized they'd ceded control of the digital music business to Apple and even today they are still fighting internet radio.

The best I can say in the defense of the BPHs is that it is always hard to accept that your business model is obsolete and your product deprecated. But hard to swallow or not, the day is coming and a lot sooner than even their worst nightmares.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:19 PM   #10
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I'd consider illegally obtaining an eBook (Kindle) if it was not available for purchase in my region, such as "Under The Dome" by Stephen King. The publisher/author had a chance to get my money, but obviously didn't want it.
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Old 10-14-2010, 01:34 PM   #11
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I sure as heck wouldn't. If I pay ANYTHING for a book, I expect full privileges, permanently. Otherwise, I'll just hit my friendly, neighborhood used bookstore, buy the book there, chop off the spine and scan it.
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I concurr. If I'm paying for them, I will not allow my books/movies/music to be taken away from me at anyone's leisure but mine.
I would say that most people feel that way. Unless they clearly label it as a rent, with a limited life and according price (which should be lower than $3-4 I think), they aren't going to convince most of us that we didn't purchase the right to do what we damn well please with our digital copy. Names are important. When you buy something, you expect some things that you don't when you rent, no matter the price.

I have said a few times that I would be willing to accept DRM if the price of the book was low enough, but I'm not really sure that's true, because when I buy an e-book, I feel I am entitled to the rights of an owner, even if it was cheap. I may accept it theoretically, but I would still feel cheated if I had to buy another version of that book I want to re-read, just because I changed readers in the meantime.
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:15 PM   #12
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So for example if I could go to my mother's house and borrow a paper book from her, why is it wrong to share an ebook? It is the same net result.
But you can. All you have to do is go over to your mother's house and borrow her ereader (loaded with the book you want). When you're done, you return it; just like a DTB.
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Old 10-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #13
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The issue is that people expect to do the same behaviours with ebooks as they do with print books. So for example if I could go to my mother's house and borrow a paper book from her, why is it wrong to share an ebook? It is the same net result.
Well, with a digital book, if you send/share the file with your mom, you have two readable copies and have only paid for one.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:19 PM   #14
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Unless you delete your copy while your mom has hers. Then, when she is done, you can transfer your file back.
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Old 10-14-2010, 06:50 PM   #15
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But you can. All you have to do is go over to your mother's house and borrow her ereader (loaded with the book you want). When you're done, you return it; just like a DTB.
But if she doesn't have her ereader, what will she use? Or are you assuming that everybody should have multiple ereaders? And what about children? When I was young I read the books that my brothers also read. Even if I had a book that was "mine" since I got it for my birthday, it wouldn't mean that I was the only one who got to read it. Are parents supposed to buy one copy of the book for each child, or just have only one child?
I've had friends stay over and read some of my books. Should I think about having an ereader for guests in the near future?
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