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Old 09-10-2007, 02:20 PM   #16
slayda
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Whether it is Government supported or not, it would be another that the Government (and others) could/would gather statistics on us & use them to (try to) control our activities & knowledge.

Also who would have the right to determine which books to ban in the "Universal Library". In some "Theocracy" type governments, this would be a real issue. Even in a democratically governed country it would be an issue.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:18 PM   #17
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Better for a non-profit organization with some international govt oversight to do it. As well-intentioned as Google may be, for example, if someday a new CEO comes in and redefines what is "too evil", and they go over to the Dark Side, we are stuck with an evil organization holding a monopoly over the world's books, and no outside control over them.
I'd rather have the US government do it if there is to be government subsidy at all (which again I do not particularly like or want, but may be inevitable to close the gap between revenue and cost); with all its faults here there are many safeguards that other countries including EU just do not have; and I do not want to enter into the subject of UN, corruption and the like
How many books are banned by the US government (hint: 1st amendment), and how many by the wonderful democracies of Italy (hint: famous woman writer), Germany (no hint necessary), France and so on...
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:35 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
I'd rather have the US government do it if there is to be government subsidy at all (which again I do not particularly like or want, but may be inevitable to close the gap between revenue and cost); with all its faults here there are many safeguards that other countries including EU just do not have; and I do not want to enter into the subject of UN, corruption and the like
Are you suggesting that the U.S. government is incorruptible?

But seriously, any government could be susceptible to undue influence... including our own. That's why an independent non-profit organization is best: Compared to governments and businesses, they are least likely to be so influenced from within or without.

And the "subsidy" is really still a payment to the organization, placing the government as middleman to hand them your money (collected through taxes) in one lump sum. Think of it like the "donation" boxes you might check for a direct donation to a political party or an environmental fund: The money specified goes straight to the fund without being "tapped" by the tax system. The Universal Library tax would be like that: Everybody pays X added dollars with their tax assessment, and that X dollars goes straight to the UL fund, no more, no less. So it might "technically" be a subsidy, but in reality it's X dollars-times-number of citizens, going straight to the UL in one big check. Again, one check versus billions is easier to handle by any organization.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:42 AM   #19
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Given the current US Government, I'd expect more restrictive DRM then we have now.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:16 AM   #20
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Govt?

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Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
It all depends on the details; what content is out there, how can I access it and how much it costs.

I do not see such a program viable without government (or a foundation) paying at least partly for it, since I do not see it viable at more than 15$ per user a month, maybe 20$ at a stretch, and that most likely will not generate enough revenue
I truly hope the govt. doesn't get involved in something like this. A friend of mine is an academic researcher, and his institution has many Ph. D.'s who receive govt. (mainly NIH) grants. The institution is now under federal oversight because a number of those researchers (my friend was not one of them) were throwing big parties with grant money and using it to pay for limousine rides to and from work. That translates to these bozos living high off my tax dollar, and I don't like it, and involving the govt. in a scheme like this is just asking for corruption and scandal. Maybe a tax credit, nothing more for a program like this.

Few people (I am one of them <G>, and probably so are many active members of this site) spend anywhere near 2K per year on books. Students at University might be an exception, and e-books could save lots of money there, but the textbook publishers are entrenched and making good money- will take something like a revolution to change that market.

Boycotts seem to have worked in other markets- selective boycotts might work here to get the message to publishers that e-book readers don't like overpriced goods. Ridiculous when I see ebooks priced several dollars more than the same newly published paper books at bookstores.

Anyways, my idea for gently introducing publishers to the ebook market is use of backlists. Publishers have tens of thousands of good books on their backlists that are not in print and hence generating no income- start publishing these as ebooks at reasonable prices ($4 or $5). Genre markets like SF might do very well. So might books that were good but not very big sellers. The reason that ebooks have not "taken off" is publisher greed and lack of vision.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:27 AM   #21
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Anyways, my idea for gently introducing publishers to the ebook market is use of backlists. Publishers have tens of thousands of good books on their backlists that are not in print and hence generating no income- start publishing these as ebooks at reasonable prices ($4 or $5). Genre markets like SF might do very well. So might books that were good but not very big sellers. The reason that ebooks have not "taken off" is publisher greed and lack of vision.

That's a great idea, though there is one problem that applies to many books; who owns the digital rights? All the recent contracts go into this in great detail, but this was not case 10, 20, 30 years ago, so I think that's a big hurdle for publishers; when the stake is high they will go for it (see Disney's battle about Winnie the Pooh's subsidiary rights with the estate of the author), but for marginal books and for so many of them, they do not have the incentive, manpower..
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:59 AM   #22
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every book in the world, sounds like the new york public library down the street
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:29 AM   #23
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every book in the world, sounds like the new york public library down the street
Indeed it does. I've only recently started exploring their digital offerings. It's limited, so far, but it's kind of cool that they're doing it at all.
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Old 09-17-2007, 04:43 PM   #24
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You have something like that.

It´s called

public library

and works not that bad. The second option would be illegal ... anyway it exists
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:48 PM   #25
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Well, my public library offers ebooks BUT the software only runs on Windows. Not all that useful to me (and, yes, I have complained).

As far as I can tell, the content is not downloadable, either, so you can't read on an ereader device, only on your computer.

I'd say the technology has a ways to go yet - to be polite about it.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:19 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liviu_5 View Post
That's a great idea, though there is one problem that applies to many books; who owns the digital rights? All the recent contracts go into this in great detail, but this was not case 10, 20, 30 years ago, so I think that's a big hurdle for publishers; when the stake is high they will go for it (see Disney's battle about Winnie the Pooh's subsidiary rights with the estate of the author), but for marginal books and for so many of them, they do not have the incentive, manpower..
I think publishers so-inclined could easily present the case to each author: "Here's an additional value to your older books, by releasing them as e-books, at this percentage from us... versus doing nothing and getting nothing at all." Assuming they're not completely condescending and greedy about it, I think most authors would say, "Okay, let's do it." And there's even room for negotiation.

The problem is, getting the publishers so inclined. However, if older agreements and contracts did not cover digital rights, the authors may be free to pursue e-book release with other publishers. Authors so inclined could find themselves moving to independent publishers, once existing contracts expire, and authors refusing to renew old contracts without an e-book clause could make the big publishers sit up and take notice.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:56 PM   #27
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I think publishers so-inclined could easily present the case to each author: "Here's an additional value to your older books, by releasing them as e-books, at this percentage from us... versus doing nothing and getting nothing at all." Assuming they're not completely condescending and greedy about it, I think most authors would say, "Okay, let's do it." And there's even room for negotiation.

The problem is, getting the publishers so inclined. However, if older agreements and contracts did not cover digital rights, the authors may be free to pursue e-book release with other publishers. Authors so inclined could find themselves moving to independent publishers, once existing contracts expire, and authors refusing to renew old contracts without an e-book clause could make the big publishers sit up and take notice.
Dealing with thousands of authors or possibly their estates is very time consuming, so no publisher will do it unless they see real upside in it (Eric Flint who is or at least used to be also a major editor of older work for Baen talked a lot about that) . The rights for older books are very cheap usually even for print, more so for e, but the hassle is the major problem.

Some authors are taking the issue in their hands, releasing cc e-books or trying to get deals through e-publishers, the problem is that there are very few "established" e-publishers out there... Maybe if Amazon does something with their trolling message and gets big time in e-books, more authors will go that route...
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:07 PM   #28
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Of course, we are talking about e-books... they're not that difficult to produce and sell online. If authors could convince publishers to release their rights to produce and sell their own e-books, the authors set up the sites and sell their e-books independently of the publishers.

Possibly offering the publisher a "percentage," essentially for past promotion or somesuch, would be enough incentive for the publisher to release the rights. That way the publisher continues to make profit on old books, without having to do any additional work.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:20 AM   #29
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I think you'll both be right. When POD first becoming commonplace, there was a quick surge in out-of-print books being brought back. Some was done by authors whose rights had reverted and some was done by small POD houses. I suspect e-book editions will go the same way.

Liviu_5 has it right as far as the hassle of securing e-rights, though. That's severely going to limit what major publishers do with their back catalog, whether the titles are in or out of print. If the author is still with them for current books, or if the author is with another house, but selling well, it would be worth it to them. Mid-list authors, as usual, will likely be out of luck.

That, however, opens a really nice market niche. A small specialty house, just like some POD houses do currently, can focus on bringing back out-of-print titles by appealing to authors directly.

As to free CC books, keep in mind that it's really an interim marketing method, unless an author is willing to try donationware. Right now, most free e-books are put out with the idea that it helps sell p-books, which it does. As e-books become more accepted, and more readers start choosing e- over p-, that's likely to change. Initial releases would be pay-for e-books, and older titles would be free (or maybe just cheaper).
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:45 AM   #30
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As to free CC books, keep in mind that it's really an interim marketing method, unless an author is willing to try donationware. Right now, most free e-books are put out with the idea that it helps sell p-books, which it does. As e-books become more accepted, and more readers start choosing e- over p-, that's likely to change. Initial releases would be pay-for e-books, and older titles would be free (or maybe just cheaper).
Also a free cc book promotes the author, makes him/her known; even if his/her cc book does not sell that much, the next book may sell; also if there are long series, attracting new readers can be difficult (do I want to buy 10 more books?, do I want to read book 11 without reading books 1-10 ?), so offering some books from the series for free is very useful.
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