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Old 12-13-2010, 05:07 PM   #1
queentess
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Goodreads.com promoting ebook "sharing"?

I'm in a book club on Goodreads.com, and for this month's book there is someone in the discussion forums offering "If you'd like an ebook copy of the book (no profit to me) I'll share. Just send me a message."

I flagged this message for the mods, suggesting that it was not appropriate to promote this type of "sharing" on a site that (I thought) supports authors.

I've just received a message from the mods saying "We wanted to let you know that we decided not to delete the comment you flagged recently." [emp mine]

Without trying to start another piracy thread, how do people on mobileread feel about this type of ebook "sharing"? It's similar to lending a copy of a pbook to someone to read, but at the same time it's an EXACT copy, there's no wear and tear, it can be distributed an infinite number of times, and it can be read simultaneously by an infinite number of users.

Edits be here: Please try not to bring piracy into this. And by this I mean don't start a 30 page thread where the two sides of the issue froth at the mouth and one screams "theft" while the other screams "unfair". I feel this is a different issue, where one person is offering to distribute a book to a book club for reading and discussion. I think it changes the moral reasoning involved.

Last edited by queentess; 12-14-2010 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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I have been noticing this. I am not sure people understand sometimes. I have offered (before I knew better) to share ebooks on a group, and then I realized I couldn't anyway because of drm restrictions. I know somebody else that really believed it was legal to download ebooks because they didn't have DRM on them.

I have lent an ebook to somebody after I got more savvy, but I didn't do it to give them a free copy, I did it because I knew they would probably never buy it and I was dying for them to try the book. Then I got them hooked and they went and bought their own copies.

I have noticed in one group people are offering pdf's left, right, and center. and one girl is always talking about downloading books. I just ignore it. It is going to happen and eventually if they keep talking about it they will find themselves in trouble. It's not like I am entirely perfect, but I like to support the authors, especially if they are more indy. If somebody can't get the title at their library and they can't afford to buy it, maybe it would be ok to share for discussion purposes. At least with the Nook we can do this but unfortunately the restrictions suck (only ever loaned once and for 14 days).

Last edited by Care; 12-13-2010 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:56 PM   #3
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I think sharing an ebook with a reading group is stretching the boundaries of "fair play". I share print books with a few friends, so I think it's "fair" to share ebooks with those same few friends. But a reading group (especially online where you don't know how many people are participating) seems extreme to me.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:16 PM   #4
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Yeah, maybe I'm biased, but sounds to me like that's going over the line.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:13 AM   #5
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Ebook publishers & authors are going to have to figure out a way to allow this, because "share book with a friend" is deeply ingrained in literary culture. That it's currently quasi-legal at best (the fair use argument has to stretch pretty far to allow it), means it's mostly underground. Publishers & authors aren't able to get the benefit of new readers they way they always could from those who buy books at yard sales or get a friend's used copy. They have no way of knowing how far word-of-mouth support has gone, and no easy way of advertising to those people.

Publishers and ebook stores have worked very, very hard to convince people "it's just like a book! Except it's on your screen!" to get past the initial resistance people had; one of the consequences of "it's a book!" instead of "it's a digital file, like a bit of software, that you need our special text-reader program to run," is that people will try to treat it like a book. And books get shared.

I don't know what the solution is; there's no easy way to allow "sharing with up to 4 people." (Sharing every book with the same 4 people, all of whom use the same account, is not the same thing at all.) And sharing ebooks can cut into profits in ways that sharing pbooks generally doesn't.

But most people don't want to destroy their favorite author by removing all their profits; they don't want to distribute that book through 30 torrents to a thousand computers. They want to hand the book to their best friend when they're done reading it, just like they've always done for pbooks.

Attempting to make that a shameful immoral act will either (1) be ignored or (2) convince people that e-reading is obviously an entirely different action from "real reading."
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:30 AM   #6
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I see no reason why not to share?
They also created a poll to find out how many Nook users are out there to do it via Nook.

Whoever is fighting sharing ebooks, imposing DRM, improbable prices - will loose eventually. They must accept this fact. Regardless how they fight they will loose. It is only a matter of time. There is no way to stop file copying.
They have to find another way to promote buying ebooks. Charging DRM-infected books at hardback edition prices with no universal ebook format undermine any hopes of sell ebooks and making money out of it.
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:40 AM   #7
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I have this issue myself. My sister and mother are both avid readers and up until now we have shared our paperbacks with each other.

In fact, just the other day my mother mentioned that she had run out of books and I made a mercy dash over to her with some choice paperbacks in my library that I thought she would like.

And then there's my partner. I just can't imagine having that little sharing relationship blocked by DRM etc..

Before it all really comes to head I still have to wait until my mother and partner move towards ebooks in general - and then it's a matter of working out where I stand.

Regards
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queentess View Post
Please try not to bring piracy into this. I feel this is a different issue, where one person is offering to distribute a book to a book club for reading and discussion.
I'm not sure you can avoid the piracy discussion. Isn't the problem that you share the book with me in the bookclub and then I share it with 32,000 of my closest Facebook friends? What about if the particular book club group has 1500 members rather than 5 members? If I lend you or share with you my pbook copy, either I have to buy you a copy or give you my purchased copy. If I share with you my ebook, then I have stripped the DRM to make it shareable (assuming it is a DRMed book) and I am pirating it because I do not have to give up my copy or buy you a copy.

So how do you avoid the piracy question? Isn't it integral to the act under discussion?
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Old 12-14-2010, 11:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caleb72 View Post
I have this issue myself. My sister and mother are both avid readers and up until now we have shared our paperbacks with each other.

In fact, just the other day my mother mentioned that she had run out of books and I made a mercy dash over to her with some choice paperbacks in my library that I thought she would like.

And then there's my partner. I just can't imagine having that little sharing relationship blocked by DRM etc..
I'm not sure this is the same situation. I share ebooks with my son. I am allowed to have 12 devices associated with my account and publishers let me share among several devices. I am the account owner and my son accesses my account. He doesn't have a separate account. To the extent that publishers and ebooktailers permit multiple devices to be registered on a single account, I think they are knowingly permitting sharing among those devices. I think the view of publishers is that people will only share the accounts with a limited number of very close friends/family, which is how pbooks have traditionally been shared, and this is acceptable.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:36 PM   #10
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Is it a book that isn't commercially available worldwide in ebook form?
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
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I'm not sure you can avoid the piracy discussion. Isn't the problem that you share the book with me in the bookclub and then I share it with 32,000 of my closest Facebook friends? What about if the particular book club group has 1500 members rather than 5 members? If I lend you or share with you my pbook copy, either I have to buy you a copy or give you my purchased copy. If I share with you my ebook, then I have stripped the DRM to make it shareable (assuming it is a DRMed book) and I am pirating it because I do not have to give up my copy or buy you a copy.

So how do you avoid the piracy question? Isn't it integral to the act under discussion?
I didn't want this to turn into another 30+ page discussion... that's what I was trying to avoid

I do think this is a different situation though. This isn't one person putting up a torrent and a multitude of people downloading it. Sharing books is a common practice among friends, and the whole point of book clubs is to share books you enjoy and generate discussion. Sharing pbooks is so common, that I think many people don't even realize that making a couple copies of ebooks to send to friends (or share with people who can't get the book in time for book discussion) is piracy. It's beyond knowingly pirating and into "common sense" practice, where the common person attempts to treat the "purchase" of an ebook the same way they treat the purchase of a pbook. How can the publishers even begin to combat something that is so ingrained in people?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
I'm not sure this is the same situation. I share ebooks with my son. I am allowed to have 12 devices associated with my account and publishers let me share among several devices. I am the account owner and my son accesses my account. He doesn't have a separate account. To the extent that publishers and ebooktailers permit multiple devices to be registered on a single account, I think they are knowingly permitting sharing among those devices. I think the view of publishers is that people will only share the accounts with a limited number of very close friends/family, which is how pbooks have traditionally been shared, and this is acceptable.
Yeah, no. I frequently shared pbooks with my brother and my dad, but there is absolutely no way I would share an Amazon account with them. It would screw up my recommendations, there's no way to turn off one-click buying, they would see ALL the books I buy, not just the ones I choose to share. Not to mention being able to see all my non-book purchases.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:00 PM   #12
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Is it a book that isn't commercially available worldwide in ebook form?
I'm not sure about world-wide availability, but it's $6.15 in the Amazon U.S. Kindle store. I don't see it available as ebook at Amazon U.K., so it is likely it has geo-restrictions.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:40 PM   #13
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It would be nice if we could share our ebooks like the Nook lending, but be able to lend it more than once. How many times have I lent out my physical copy of the first Wheel of Time book? Enough times that I have bought it three times because it keeps falling apart from myself and others reading it. Why would I only want to lend a book out once if I really love it?

Then there is the problem of formats. Will we ever be able to share books across the platforms? I doubt it. But it would be nice.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:11 PM   #14
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Piracy isn't about the number of people you share it with. Sharing it with one, when not legal, is piracy. I don't see how you can divorce this thread from the piracy concern. If I have a cousin with a hard drive of MP3's and I copy some of them for my personal use that is piracy. You seem to think the number of people you share it with makes a difference. It does, but only for the damages award in court, not the ethics.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:11 PM   #15
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Regarding this very specific example (instance), those could almost be considered "promotional" copies, no?
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