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Old 09-04-2013, 05:37 AM   #31
Fourl29
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The answer is self-evident. The library is paying more because they are buying more rights. When you buy an ebook, you are buying it for personal use only; the library is buying a multi-user licence.

It's no different to buying a single-user licence or a multi-user licence for a piece of software. Do you think that that's wrong, too?
With all due respect Harry, if libraries are going to lending the one "copy" of the ebook they bought to many customers the publishers may reasonably demand that they pay for more than one "copy". But if said "copy" is only lend to one person at a time, then they can't be demanding multi user license fees, because at any one point, one person is using/reading the book.

I don't think your software analogy is apt, since you pay for multi-user licence for software if more than one user are concurrently using them. You don't pay multi user software licenses if you set the software on one computer and have other people use it too. I am not going to pay for a multi user license for my copy of excel if my computer is used by myself, my wife and my kid. It's installed on one computer and I can lend to however I see fit to use whatever I have on it.

Otherwise, next thing you know, we 'll have some software company sending us seize and desist emails, because apparently they figured out that instead of myself using their software it was actually my cat stepping on the keyboard, hence another user.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:41 AM   #32
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With all due respect Harry, if libraries are going to lending the one "copy" of the ebook they bought to many customers the publishers may reasonably demand that they pay for more than one "copy". But if said "copy" is only lend to one person at a time, then they can't be demanding multi user license fees, because at any one point, one person is using/reading the book.
But different people. If you read the licence agreement at any ebook store you'll see that the book is licensed to you personally, not to anyone else. You can't (under the terms of the licence) buy an ebook and let your friend read it. A library is purchasing the right to let multiple people read the book.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:09 AM   #33
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How does that compare to a physical book. Do libraries have to pay more for them because they are lending them and not buying for personal use? How many times on average does a physical book get borrowed before libraries have to invest in a new copy?
This.



Just because it's electronic it should not be treated differently. It's just the fuggin publishers trying to preserve their dinosaur ways.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:14 AM   #34
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Precisely because digital media don't degrade. The publisher has decided that because an ebook is "eternal", and hence a library would otherwise only ever buy one copy of the book, compared to a paper book, which degrades with each loan, that they will either charge a premium price, or else limit the number of loans. I'm not saying that I think this is right, but from a commercial viewpoint it is entirely understandable.

To use your analogy, the car rental company is paying a premium for cars which are eternally brand new.
Irrelevant. Things change, media is different. There is no 'premium' for CDs over Vinyl or for Audio over print or ....

It's just more bs from the publishers.

The sooner we can get rid of the dinosaurs and move into Monkey's brave new world the better.


P.S. I don't often agree with Cory as I think he's something of a blowhard and rabble rouser in many cases, but in this I'm in agreement with him and with the ALA.

Last edited by kennyc; 09-04-2013 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:05 AM   #35
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The problem is that the current copyright laws have broken the free market system, it doesn't work when one side can make all the rules. The publishers have demonstrated that they won't negotiate a fair deal with the libraries. The governments need to step in and mandate what the publishers will be paid via the library system.
I don't think you understand what a free market system is supposed to do, and because of that you believe it is broken when, in fact, it is working exactly the way it is supposed to.

In a free market, the seller gets to decide what product to produce, and what price to put on it. The buyer gets to look at the offered products and decide whether or not to part with the cash the seller asks for, or to forgo the purchase altogether. It is not a market failure when I don't buy a Ferrari because I believe it costs too much. Nor is it a market failure when Saab disappears as a continuing interest after they have proven unable to make a product that people want at the price they needed to charge to make a profit.

If there were no eBooks at the library, then we could say the deal is not fair. But libraries continue to purchase eBooks, even with these rules in place, and as long as that continues, there is no reason for the publishers to change the way they act.

If the eBook situation is really as horrible as you believe, then a grass-roots campaign to inform citizens to stop borrowing eBooks from the library and to demand that libraries stop purchasing them would be an effective remedy. If an informed public stopped borrowing eBooks, the libraries would stop buying them, and the publishers would either change their ways or cease to exist. That's how the free market works, should work, and must work.

The government-controlled market is where the government comes in and tells the producer how they must create their product, bundle their product, and price their product. Historically, this has led to many more companies ceasing to exist as government bureaucrats typically lack the business sense to make a company profitable. And companies without profits typically don't last long.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:27 AM   #36
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But different people. If you read the licence agreement at any ebook store you'll see that the book is licensed to you personally, not to anyone else. You can't (under the terms of the licence) buy an ebook and let your friend read it. A library is purchasing the right to let multiple people read the book.

Different people used to read the same copy of a print book, that's the point of libraries since time immemorial. I might be wrong but I was under the impression that the libraries' one copy of a print book was shared out to anyone who required it at no additional licensing cost per book loan.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:41 AM   #37
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Different people used to read the same copy of a print book, that's the point of libraries since time immemorial. I might be wrong but I was under the impression that the libraries' one copy of a print book was shared out to anyone who required it at no additional licensing cost per book loan.
But as we've said, an ebook is NOT a paper book, and treating as though it is one is a business model that simply doesn't work. eBooks don't degrade with repeated use, and it's not economically viable for publishers to sell "books that remain brand new forever" to libraries at the same price as they sell them to individuals. A portion of the library price of a paper book is mandated by the fact that it wears out and has to be replaced.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:59 AM   #38
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But as we've said, an ebook is NOT a paper book, and treating as though it is one is a business model that simply doesn't work. eBooks don't degrade with repeated use, and it's not economically viable for publishers to sell "books that remain brand new forever" to libraries at the same price as they sell them to individuals. A portion of the library price of a paper book is mandated by the fact that it wears out and has to be replaced.
To be honest Harry I 've never seen a book degrade to the point of being unusable before the library actually decides to sell it second hand. And if someone actually damages a book to the extent that it is unusable the library have them replace it.

I find it offensive that publishers think they can just push data out of a server (and for that matter data that is a dwarfs size compared to serving music, let alone video) to a library and then to users and demand multiple licences per book, on a book read each time by one person.

But I respect your opinion and I could quite possibly be wrong with my take here.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:04 AM   #39
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That's because the licensing terms are different. When you buy an ebook licence, you're buying a licence for your personal use only. When a library buys an ebook licence, they're buying an licence to lend it to multiple people.



It's not "crazy" at all. The library is simply purchasing a licence for 26 loans.
Actually, the concept of license verse sale can be fairly fuzzy, especially when it involves the end consumers rather than a contract between an artist and a publisher. Publishers have been asserting that they don't sale with regards to digital content, they license since the 80's starting with computer software. The court decisions have been mixed and seem to depend more on archaic legal hair splitting rather than any obvious dividing line.

For the most part, when a consumer buys an ebook, it's not just a license, but rather a sale, so they can't restrict the number of times you can read the ebook, or any such thing limitation that would be valid if it was a license. The question of the use of DRM to restrict the reading to a specific reading technology is a different issue.

My guess is that this particular situation is a license verse a sale won't be determined unless someone takes them to court (i.e. expensive) and even then it will be very dependent on how the judge involved in the case views it rather than any hard and fast legal doctrine.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:53 AM   #40
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But as we've said, an ebook is NOT a paper book, and treating as though it is one is a business model that simply doesn't work. eBooks don't degrade with repeated use, and it's not economically viable for publishers to sell "books that remain brand new forever" to libraries at the same price as they sell them to individuals. A portion of the library price of a paper book is mandated by the fact that it wears out and has to be replaced.
Yeap, books wear down and get lost while ebooks don't. My question is: is that really an issue for libraries.

Books seem to fall into different categories. High circulation titles tend to be bought in high volumes. If a copy is damaged beyond repair or is lost, the library probably won't repurchase the damaged or lost copy. That is particularly true for the recent releases, which have a short shelf life anyhow.

At the other extreme are low circulation titles. If a copy is damaged beyond repair or lost, the library probably won't repurchase the damaged or lost copy.

On top of that, there is no guarantee that a library can replace a book that is damaged beyond repair or lost since a limited number of copies are printed in the first place.

Notice how I said damaged beyond repair in both cases. The library certainly has the option to repair damaged books. This ranges from taping torn pages to rebinding the book.

Another option that libraries seem to take is buying books in an appropriate binding. A lot of popular recent releases seem to be purchased as mass-market paperbacks. These certainly wear out rapidly, and are highly susceptible to damage. Genre books that are purchased in low volume, and a small allotment of those popular titles are bought as more durable bindings. I highly doubt that these leave circulation after 26 "reads".

Patron usage is also a factor here. Some patrons sign out books and never read them or simply make limited use of them. Some patrons read books at a slower pace, and may sign it out multiple times for a single read. Of course these factors will influence some types of books more than others. Does this constitute wear, or at least wear to the same degree that the circulation rate suggests?

In a sense, you're right. It is a bit unfair to publishers to sell once and have it used forever. In another sense, you're a bit off base: there are a multitude of factors the influence how long a book can remain in circulation, and there is a huge conflict of interest when it comes down to publishers making that determination.

Maybe libraries and publishers should be working on a multifaceted approach. Recent releases can be lent out, with a fee per circulation and perhaps a fee based upon the number of simultaneously circulating copies. Older books, and less popular titles, will be treated much like print books. Those books are of limited financial interest to publishers, and would have been of no financial interest to publishers after the first publication in the days of print anyhow. Or maybe there are other options. All that I know is that libraries and consumers should be able to reap the same benefits as booksellers and publishers. Technological advance should benefit all parties, not just the parties who have the greatest access to it.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:58 AM   #41
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You can't (under the terms of the licence) buy an ebook and let your friend read it.
Spoiler:
(with no antagonism to HarryT- he points this out well)


And THIS^ is why there needs to be a change. What a violation of what good books are all about!
Really, for all practical purposes, paper books will last just as long as real books- if you are careful with them. My paper books will easily last my lifetime as I value them. Really, if you're careless with your ebooks and misplace them, accidentally delete them, you name it, then you've lost them too.
Of course that analogy fails because if you've bought into any corporate "ecosystem" you can re-download them for free. What about removing that option and making you the owner of the ebook, free to do whatever you want with it- read it, loan it, lose it. Like a real book.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:27 AM   #42
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I was pretty sure that paper books were indeed more expensive when bought by a library. Maybe as a way to compensate for the lesser sells.
Only if they bought the special, sturdier edition. Nothing stops a library from going into the local Barnes & Noble and simply buying a book like any other customer.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:50 AM   #43
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That's because the licensing terms are different. When you buy an ebook licence, you're buying a licence for your personal use only. When a library buys an ebook licence, they're buying an licence to lend it to multiple people.
This argument might work except for the fact that libraries often purchase p-books for cheaper prices than retail. Why is it ok for libraries to purchase p-books below retail but pay above retail for e-books? Imagine paying $60 a pop for 10 licenses of Fifty Shades of Gray or Gone Girl. That's $600.00! Libraries certainly aren't paying that much for 10 (or more) physical copies of the same book!
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:37 AM   #44
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What about removing that option and making you the owner of the ebook, free to do whatever you want with it- read it, loan it, lose it. Like a real book.
There are some obvious problems with this idea. First, it would take some serious DRM improvements to make sure that if you loan the book to friend #1, you can't also loan it at the same time to friend #2 (or continue reading it yourself.)

But the real issue here is one I can perfectly understand. It wouldn't take long for somebody to set up a server to connect "friends" who want the same eBook, and instead of selling tens of thousands of copies, the same 100-200 copies would be "shared" with "friends" all over the world. You'd end up with a virtual library that would serve the entire world, and it wouldn't cost much to set up and run, and a few donations would keep it running. And since the eBooks would always be perfect and delivery would be cheap, there'd be no reason to buy more copies. Even people who must have the latest book the day it is released could find incentives to "donate" their eBook once they're done with it to the global library. With a physical book, the costs involved in locating other interested readers and shipping to them prevents this from being a viable option, though it staggers my mind how many books are available for $0.01 used on Amazon, plus shipping, which works out to $4/book.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:49 AM   #45
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Related: Lending of e-books not always easy for suburban libraries

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Anyone interested in reading author Dan Brown's latest best-seller, "Inferno," on a Kindle can download a copy for roughly $13.

But for many suburban libraries, downloading that same book so that it can be lent out to patrons costs $85.

That's a hefty difference in price, and it's one reason why public libraries have had difficulty keeping up with the demand for e-books in the suburbs.

"At $85 a copy for many popular titles, we just can't afford to buy that many," said Cathleen Blair, the readers' advisory librarian at the Mount Prospect Public Library. "We aren't able to provide patrons with something they clearly want." [...]

Aside from the price, there are often embargoes for certain works, and different limits on borrowing from publisher to publisher," Blair said. "It can get very confusing."
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