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Old 06-10-2013, 04:50 AM   #1
owly
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The Faustian bargain of E-books

An article from American libraries http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/...6#/7d9e3366/14
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:06 AM   #2
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Interesting read that summarizes nicely most of what is discussed here.

Some of the issues, passing on an ebook collection, are avoidable. You pass on the account password, you save the books to your hard drive and an external drive so that someone else can remove the DRM if need be, or you remove the DRM yourself and hope that you are not discovered.

The TTS thing is worked around by removing DRM.

Pricing is going to be an issue for a while. I am fine paying more then a paperback price but less then a hardback price for a new book. But that is me.

To me the biggest problem is figuring out which Indies are worth reading and which are not. It is not easy to do making it hard to figure out which new authors I want to try.

It is a new world and one that is going to take time to figure out but that will happen.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
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I downloaded the PDF which is much easier to read.

I thought the artcle was reasonably well written, and seems to be a collection of mostly negativeviews expressed vehemently on mobile read. I tend to agree and disagree to some extent with all of them.

Interesting read
Thanks

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Old 06-11-2013, 03:59 AM   #4
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Interesting... but he gaves a lot more word coverage to the negative aspects.

One of the major advantage of ebooks - the ability to change font size - gets barely a mention. The author obviously does not have a visual impairment. Not everything is published in large print, and the books that are tend to be geared towards the older person's market - where reading glasses etc are more usually to be found. It's a valid commercial decision. But think of the young person wanting to read the latest young adult fiction - hitherto, that's been really difficult, and audio was probably the best option. Now, a person with visual impairment can read the same edition as anyone else, and adjust the font for their own comfort. Not only a better selection of books, but also less feeling of being different.

One also wonders about his emphasis on heirloom books. Certainly I'd take care to pass on an illuminated manuscript and I'd be honoured to inherit one myself. However, do I feel the same way about my father-in-law's collection of David Gemmell paperbacks? I have to admit that I don't (and not only because I have my own e-copies). In this instance, he does seem to be rather living in the past. I would suspect that the contents of many people's libraries isn't passed down from generation to generation any more: it's taken to the local charity shop. It's the effect of books being available to the masses; they are not (or at least, mass-market paperbacks are not) treasured collectors' items any more.

But he does make excellent points about cultural heritage and libraries.
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:26 AM   #5
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Good article, thanks. The author makes some good points, even if, as ProfCrash indicated, they are nothing new to us Mobileread-ers who have discussed these issues to death.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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It should be made clear that the Faustian bargain is with the major book publishers and not with e-books as a format. The issues of ownership, lending, and price are controlled by the publishers. The format of the books has nothing to do with it. If people do not like the practices of certain publishers then they should boycott them.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by petrucci View Post
It should be made clear that the Faustian bargain is with the major book publishers and not with e-books as a format. The issues of ownership, lending, and price are controlled by the publishers.
Only trouble is, how much of the American populace really cares? This is a nation that values big businesses and profits more than at-cost public services.
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by teh603 View Post
Only trouble is, how much of the American populace really cares? This is a nation that values big businesses and profits more than at-cost public services.
What does that have to do with the subject? Are you saying that ebooks are a public service? I'm sorry, but that's the only interpretation that I can give to your statement, and it still doesn't really help me understand the relevance of it.

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Old 06-11-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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The concept of a "Faustian bargain" implies that there was another option, that they/we could've decided not to allow/have ebooks.

Ebooks started showing up in text format as soon as computers existed. Gutenberg started public domain texts in the 70's; bootleg ebooks (including both copies of popular/classic novels and subversive underground texts like the Anarchist's Cookbook) hit the newsgroups in the late 80s/early 90s. Once we had computers to store and move data, digital books were a given--the only things to decide were who was going to make money off them and how.

I wish more of the "ebooks are disrupting the publishing industry!!!" articles would acknowledge that "ebooks/no ebooks" was never a choice; it was "authorized ebooks/bootleg ebooks" ... and publishers let the second option get firmly established before considering the might want to participate in the new industry.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #10
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What does that have to do with the subject? Are you saying that ebooks are a public service? I'm sorry, but that's the only interpretation that I can give to your statement, and it still doesn't really help me understand the relevance of it.
I'm saying libraries are a public service.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:21 AM   #11
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The concept of a "Faustian bargain" implies that there was another option, that they/we could've decided not to allow/have ebooks.
Electromagnetic pulse. Wipe it all out. Let the steampunk utopia arise.

OK. Maybe it's not a good option.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:39 AM   #12
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I wish more of the "ebooks are disrupting the publishing industry!!!" articles would acknowledge that "ebooks/no ebooks" was never a choice; it was "authorized ebooks/bootleg ebooks" ... and publishers let the second option get firmly established before considering the might want to participate in the new industry.
Heh. Something similar happened when "Fake Books" came along in the music industry. Basically, these were huge collections of songs, based on official sheet music, but written using a sparse notation instead of being written out fully. A fake book song is not really read; it's interpreted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fake_book

Still, fake books started out as illegal derivative works.

It took decades for the sheet music publishers to realize that it would be better to just produce this type of sheet music themselves (as people clearly wanted it), than to try and stop the creation and spread of it.

Last edited by Katsunami; 06-12-2013 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 06-12-2013, 06:55 AM   #13
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The concept of a "Faustian bargain" implies that there was another option, that they/we could've decided not to allow/have ebooks.
I don't think you understand the concept of a Faustian bargain. When consumers choose to "purchase" an eBook rather than a physical one, they are making a Faustian bargain. While technology dazzles us with its promises on the one hand, something else gets taken away that we only come to realize later.

Whether we end up better off or not will probably remain unclear for quite some time. See Internet:Privacy.
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Old 06-12-2013, 07:42 AM   #14
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I don't think you understand the concept of a Faustian bargain. When consumers choose to "purchase" an eBook rather than a physical one, they are making a Faustian bargain. While technology dazzles us with its promises on the one hand, something else gets taken away that we only come to realize later.
Except that I'm fully aware of what I'm giving up ... now. It just so happens I don't value what I'm "losing" very much... if, in fact, I even consider them "losses" at all. I'm not being tricked.

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Old 06-12-2013, 08:32 AM   #15
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What am I giving up? I know what they want the Publishers and Amazon think I am giving up but I have made a choice to not give that up.
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