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Old 03-16-2008, 09:20 PM   #1
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Piracy vs Bookstores

Ok, this is possibly a bit of a touchy subject, but one I have a bit of an interest in discussing.

If it isn't easy to buy books online, if I'm hit with DRM that causes me annoyances, or if the quality of the product (i.e. the formatting etc) is poor... then I'll probably go and get it pirate.

I'm not saying I won't "do" DRM. If it causes me little or no issues then I'm fine with it. I'd prefer if it wasn't there, but no big deal.

As far as games for the PC, I'll download it pirate, and if I delete it after the first load I won't buy it. If I don't delete it, I'll go buy it there and then. I'll download a demo instead if one is available.

It's a while since I bought any music, however I'll usually buy a CD since I'll know exactly what I'm after. Now that DRM is vanishing and bitrate is increasing I may buy it online. I have sometimes downloaded music "pirate" when I'm waiting on CDs to be delivered. Also if I cannot find music available to buy, I'd pirate it - and buy it later if I saw it available.

So what does that mean? It means that I'll do what I feel is right, rather than what others believe is right. In other words, as long as I'm happy that I'm keeping to my own standards I'm fine.

If it became impossible to download games "pirate", then I'd probably buy less games. Before I buy it I'll need to know it's worthwhile. So things like Civilization I'll buy because well, they've not released one yet that I grudged paying for. If I don't already expect it to be good, and there's no demo then there's no sale.

As far as the music is concerned, I'm buying all I can there, so I'm happy with that.

However when it comes to books there's a new dimension. When my Cybook arrives and I want to read a book on it, if it's only available on paper, do I pirate it, and tell myself I'll buy it later.. but perhaps it'll never appear later. I've not yet decided what's "right" there.

I do realise pirated stuff tends to be of lower quality. I'd imagine for books that may mean missing or repeated pages, wrong words or letters, or incomplete. If I read a book a week then the 5 quid or whatever it costs is going to have almost zero impact on me financially, so I have no problems paying for it. I'm happier to pay for something than to steal it. However if it means I get a horribly formatted book that I can't change then I'm going to be annoyed. Thankfully I hear that DRM can be stripped from ebooks, which I would expect means that I can fix the formatting if required. Also if I'm buying the thing then I have the ability to go back and say "Erm, scuse me but where's chapter 12!".

What does all that mean for retailers, who want to sell me books?

It means that they'll have to make sure I don't feel like I'm jumping through hoops just to buy something. I believe that this has already happened to MP3s, retailers now sell a product that is much easier to work with, and has much fewer downsides, so that piracy becomes less attractive.

Am I alone in thinking this way, or, as I suspect, it's pretty much the way everybody thinks?
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Old 03-16-2008, 09:59 PM   #2
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Interesting, I've actually been battling with this myself over the past few weeks of owning my cybook.

I did download a load of pirated stuff and I've bought a grand total of...one e-book

I did actually mention in another thread somewhere about how great it would be if we could get a discount on an electronic version of books we already own.

I have discovered that I am having to go through the books I have downloaded and format them all correctly - so that the lines flow rather
than ending
up
with something that looks like this!

I'm beginning to wonder with the £ - $ exchange rate whether it's worth it and should I just buy the damn things anyway!

I think what I'm gonna end up doing is deleting all the e-books I've downloaded (mainly because my laptop is screaming about the amount of space it doesn't have anymore), to give the laptop some space, to hope that buying them means they'll be formatted properly and the way I shall pay for them is by selling their hardcopy versions to my friend!
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:10 PM   #3
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As far as a discount/free ebooks for paperbooks... some online store should come up with the idea of having a "book exchange" where you take in paperbooks, and they give you a code or something along the lines which you can use to get the paperbook for free or a hefty discount. The advantage for them is that you then have to go and register and setup etc on their store, so it's much easier for you to buy more from them in the future. They'd have to arrange with the authors and so on, which I imagine would be the barrier.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:22 PM   #4
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Hey, that's not a bad idea, there's a secondhand bookstore near us and he charges around £2.50 (US$5) for a pbook.

If you could take your book back and exchange it for an ebook, straight swap, you'd be more inclined to shop there in the future for new books too!

Wish I had the money to set that up
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:29 PM   #5
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I find the pirate ebooks are often just slightly mis-formatted but otherwise ok. My approach is to buy when I can, hassle authors when I can't, and rip the ones I already own. The rest... if the author doesn't want my money, I'll accept that.
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:37 PM   #6
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Mobileread offer books that we don't have to pay, is that consider piracy books?
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Old 03-16-2008, 10:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebook lover View Post
Mobileread offer books that we don't have to pay, is that consider piracy books?
Not quite sure what you mean. If you're meaning that the books are free of copyright, and they give them away then no, that isn't piracy. Even if someone else is charging for the same content.
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Old 03-16-2008, 11:29 PM   #8
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I haven't got my Cybook yet, but so far I've downloaded a lot of free books (mostly classics), bought 5 at BoB(most of which were cheap) and pirated a few that I already own in pback (that aren't available at ebook stores).

I prefer not to pirate anything I don't own, although maybe there will be exceptions. With music I've always been pretty good about going and buying the real thing if I like what I download, so maybe that's what I'll end up doing with ebooks if I find a lot of the material I want isn't legally available.

The main page of the Baen Free Library actually has a really good article that touches on book piracy issues. Worth a read for anyone who hasn't check it out yet.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:11 AM   #9
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Some may argue that they want to have the full version first and assess whether this is a worthy book, so they pirate first and purchase later.
That's probably a reason why Amazon decided to give samples of the first chapter out for you to assess, so that those who don't pirate will not be converted to one.

I know for sure I will purchase books (in fact, i have a bookshelf of $2000+ worth of books), but in all honesty, I will also pirate books. This is just the reality.

Last edited by spirits; 03-17-2008 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:20 AM   #10
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I'm practical, cheap, and somewhat greedy so I'll pirate anything before I have to pay for it, especially if I know I'm not going to get caught. I'd be more inclined to buy books if I had more money and the Sony online bookstore (I have a 505) had better selection, especially if what I'm buying is well-formatted, includes plenty of images, a table of contents, etc. As it stands, Sony's book offerings vary from somewhat lame to incredibly lame (except for the $2 classics, which are in the public domain anyway), and I feel sorry for Sony Reader users who are trying to keep things legit since they are forced to severely limit the variety of material that they can read. It's a tough situation for those who are trying to play by the rules, and if I weren't a pirate I would probably be able to put up with looking at the Kindle every day just for the increased selected.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:29 AM   #11
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Mobileread offer books that we don't have to pay, is that consider piracy books?
No, because our books are either public domain, released under a Creative Commons licence or with the copyright holder's permission.

Pirated books are released without the relevant permissions, so violate copyright.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:36 AM   #12
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Mobileread offer books that we don't have to pay, is that consider piracy books?
That's considered either Public Domain, Creative Commons, or Author Permission.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:52 AM   #13
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Now I have an interesting question...

It seems that publishers do stupid things these days like put out the latest book in a series as an eBook but forget about the book(s) that come before. if you find this to be true with something you want to read, would you download the book(s) that come before and purchase the new one or would you just read the pBook editions and then the latest one as an eBook?
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:29 AM   #14
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The one (so far) book that I have bought was the latest Pern book by Todd McCaffrey.

Between them, Anne & her son Todd McCaffrey have written around 30 stories about Pern, not all of them are available - I have looked for them.

I actually wasn't aware that there was a new release until I started looking for their books - when I discovered this latest one, I bought it
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:35 AM   #15
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I am very disappointed to read this thread. People must make these decisions for themselves, of course, but personally I would hope that anyone who wishes to make eBooks a success would indicate that fact by going out and buying them from those publishers who are producing them.

Illegally downloading them sends all the wrong signals to publishers and only confirms the frequently-encountered view that DRM is required because there are so many people who break the law.

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