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Old 12-25-2011, 03:55 AM   #1
DonaldL.
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Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War

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Amazon announced on Dec. 15 that it had sold one million of its Kindles in each of the three previous weeks.

But we can also guess that the number of visitors to the e-book sections of public libraries’ Web sites is about to set a record, too.

And that is a source of great worry for publishers. In their eyes, borrowing an e-book from a library has been too easy. Worried that people will click to borrow an e-book from a library rather than click to buy it, almost all major publishers in the United States now block libraries’ access to the e-book form of either all of their titles or their most recently published ones.
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Old 12-25-2011, 04:34 AM   #2
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That's where I am headed with my T1.

Granted, thats where I read my dtb's too. I simply don't have $15+ to drop on the latest and greatest.

Just how worried are the publishers? Worried enough to remove DRM and make the price a bit more accessible? Didn't think so.

Thus, the original reason I chose T1 as my reader remains. WiFi lending of library books and all the public domain books I desire. (In fact, the T1 was used to reserve 2 books the very day I registered it.)

Last edited by spindlegirl; 12-25-2011 at 04:43 AM.
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:22 AM   #3
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It is entertaining how their logic is schizoid.

Having books in bookshops is good - people can look at them for free and find new ones they might like - sales go up.

Having our books in libraries is bad - people will find our books and then never ever buy them, because they can look at them for free.

Oh, and we'll raise prices, too. That'll show those people that want to buy stuff. They'll have to buy not our books instead.

So, lose all library sales, lose a bunch people finding stuff and liking it and then buying it sales. Lost a bunch of readers [hence cash] forever as they decide to not read, or read other stuff. Lost some of people's money as they look at other sources.

Almost hilarious, really.

Last edited by Blue Tyson; 12-25-2011 at 08:42 AM. Reason: irish cream
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:28 AM   #4
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This is just another example of how publishers are being short sighted with their e-book policy. One of the reasons I brought a Nook and then a Sony was because I would be able to borrow from the library. I understand that publishers worry that library e-books can be easily pirated but I seriously doubt the majority of borrowers even have that as a thought. Additionally, before most of the major publishers pulled e-books from libraries, Overdrive already had draconian terms governing how the books could be lent. E-books were treated like print books (only a set number of copy could be loaned at a time, libraries had to buy licenses for each copy, etc.). Additionally, e-books often cost more for libraries than print books. The publishers were already being greedy!

The publishers are fighting a losing battle. This isn't going to make more people buy their books. It's only going to make more people look at cheap alternatives like $0.99 e-books on Amazon or free alternatives in terms of the dark net. It will also make libraries look to cheaper and available alternatives as well.

Publishers need to face reality. The digital revolution has finally reached books. They should either get down or lay down and stop trying to save a dying sales model that worked well in the print work but will kill them in the digital world.

Last edited by faithbw; 12-25-2011 at 08:33 AM.
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Old 12-25-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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Ultimate in stupidity.

Providing books for the public is the only reason copyright exists at all.
In abrogating the writers end of the social contract, there is every reason to belive that the ultimate result for the publishers on this will be society deciding copyright is an outdated concept.

I will state that outright, and I'm a guy who never used napster or torrents.
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:26 AM   #6
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My entire DTB collection is founded upon previous library loans. It is how I personally become acquainted with books that are my favorites.

Books I decided that, after repeated loans, that borrowing them is simply not good enough, and next disposable income (I get cash gifts from relatives for birthdays and Christmas) I will get it! Yes it provides people who have a low budget to also read good literature too, but it's also a way to advertise and "try before you buy", and many people, myself included do actually buy when we know we are going to love what we are buying.

The publishers' restrictive lending licenses are simply a joke. I have been using the same library for 17 years and have borrowed the same exact physical DTB copy repeatedly over the years of a favorite. I can tell by the physical wear and tear characteristics. (Dog ears, smudge stains etc). So even their comparison of e-books to DTB is completely and utterly flawed.

Thankfully, most of my favorites (classics) are already available to me legally and freely via project gutenberg and mobileread. Newer materials by authors I've never heard of are available free or cheap, drm-free, on Smashwords. It's clear there are some businesses left, who do want to establish a popular base of people who prefer freedom in what they read, and unlimited personal use in what they buy.

And yes, I will view any of the expensive books via the library, and if I love a book, and it's priced to entice me personally to buy it and is DRM-free, I'll definitely blow my entertainment budget on it. Until then, publishing companies clearly don't want me as a paying customer.
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Old 12-25-2011, 09:45 AM   #7
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As seems to be the usual case when an old media industry is dragged into the digital age (see music, movies and videogames), producers have no hard facts but a lot of bad analogies they can apply. Does the hard data say easy lending is eating into book sales? No, but that doesn't stop publishers from having a lot of ill-informed opinions on the matter and making business decisions based on those.

I have a Kobo and make good use of being able to download library books, but I also buy way more books than I ever did before getting it.

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Ultimate in stupidity.

Providing books for the public is the only reason copyright exists at all.
In abrogating the writers end of the social contract, there is every reason to belive that the ultimate result for the publishers on this will be society deciding copyright is an outdated concept.

I will state that outright, and I'm a guy who never used napster or torrents.
This, a thousand times this. The sense of entitlement of publishers is astounding
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:21 AM   #8
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Publishers' Presumption #1: Downloading library e-books vs borrowing p-books from the library is a matter of convenience.

If I could borrow p-books from the local library I would. However, the local library is pathetic. Shelves half full - terrible selection - tremendous number are just simply missing. They recently stopped using Interlibrary Loan.

This is the reason that I purchased my Sony. I got it on eBay for just under $50, including shipping. On-line library e-books in other areas have given me reading choices I not available at my local library.

Publishers' Presumption #2: That library e-book lending equals lost e-book sales.

I cannot afford the purchase of books - whether p-book or e-book. I am not their e-book customer. Many, many others are in the same situation as I.

I have never used a torrent - yet - but just keep pushing me. . . .
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Old 12-25-2011, 10:50 AM   #9
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It's a joke. Baen has a good diatribe on the whole mess and Eric Flint wrote it several years ago! It's more valid today than it ever has been. And no, the publishers aren't in the right at all.

I'm wondering when the authors will rise up. This will hurt and limit sales. Shouldn't they get consideration if the publisher is deliberately reducing their ability to access a market? I would think so.
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Old 12-25-2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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The only logical argument the publishers have on this is the chance of pirating these books to distribute them for free. The problem is that is already happening and simply making them available through our local library isn't going to change that.

Today I was looking at a book at Amazon that interested me and immediately lost interest when I saw it was available new in paperback for $5.60 and for the Kindle $9.99. I know this issue has been hashed and re-hashed but until you allow me to give away or sell my ebooks to someone else don't charge me more for the ebook.

What is interesting to me is that prior to ebooks I never gave any thought to book publishers just like the recording industry and MP3s. Now both are held in general disregard by the consumer.
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Old 12-25-2011, 12:16 PM   #11
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Ugh. Publishers are really losing their minds here.
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Old 12-25-2011, 02:06 PM   #12
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Did you guys read the article all the way to the end? I know that you guys all want to hammer on the publishers and all, but if you read the entire arctic,le, it made clear that:
1. Two major publishers were holding back from library lending.
2. Those publishers are holding back because they want to wok out an industry wide agreement.
3. The other majors participate in library lending, with one imposing restrictions on the number of times a copy could be lent.
4. Most smaller publishers are completely on board with library lending.

Put like that, you can see that this isn't a big deal. This is link bait more than anything else.
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Old 12-25-2011, 05:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
I have a Kobo and make good use of being able to download library books, but I also buy way more books than I ever did before getting it.
My eReader is not a Kobo, but otherwise you are speaking for me, here!

Publishers please take note: As I did with paper books, I often borrow/discover titles and authors from the library before buying from a store. Please work out an agreement that allows those of us who love to read the best chance to encounter your books. Believe me, if they are any good we will want to own them!
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:25 PM   #14
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I think it's readers that have the entitlement complex, not publishers.

Firstly, that problem with physical book selection is exactly what publishers are worried about - real books wear out, get lost, get eaten by canines, etc. E-book don't. One e-book sold to a library can last forever, while a physical book's lifetime basically depends on how many times its read.

Secondly, no one is entitled to entertainment for "free". Other than a few dozen authors like Stephen King or JK Rowling or Clive Cussler, the vast majority of authors are not well to do, most are struggling. Many work second (or first) jobs just to stay afloat, or do editing or work they don't really want to (like novelizations or licensed stuff) simply because they need the money.

Why should they be doing all this work with no benefit? Providing you with entertainment with no compensation in return? That's the real reason for copyright - to encourage creation (granted, it's been taken too far these days, but that's another argument).

Yes, to a degree giving away free stuff works for Baen (though they haven't been putting out many cds in the last year or so), but the authors choose to opt into the program, and Baen's audience tends to be those that don't believe in "entitlements".

And if you really want free entertainment, there's a lifetime supply of books by long dead authors.
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Old 12-25-2011, 06:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
I think it's readers that have the entitlement complex, not publishers.

Why should they be doing all this work with no benefit? Providing you with entertainment with no compensation in return? That's the real reason for copyright - to encourage creation (granted, it's been taken too far these days, but that's another argument).
Err...no. Their actions are reducing their income. That is the point of the commentary. Keep doing that long enough and they are then ex-companies.
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