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Old 09-04-2013, 03:30 PM   #61
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That sounds similar to pricing for Adobe Content Server. It costs $10,000 for first year, $1500 for subsequent years, $0.22 for permanent licenses, and $0.08 for expiring licenses.
Right. That's how OverDrive serves the books for libraries. They don't eat those costs, they get passed on to libraries (and retailers) with other various fees.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #62
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If a library is to be limited to 26 lends by the license, shouldn't authors be limited to, say, 1,000 documents by the license on their word processor?
Some software licenses do, albeit in different ways. Some licenses are based upon time (e.g. monthly or annual subscriptions). Some licenses are based upon the number of users (Windows NT used to be licensed this way, and I think Windows Server still is). Some licenses stipulate permitted uses (e.g. non-commercial use only for the home version of Office).
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:11 PM   #63
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Using the ebooks-are-licensed-like-software argument, shouldn't we also accept limits on how many documents we can create with a word processor? If a library is to be limited to 26 lends by the license, shouldn't authors be limited to, say, 1,000 documents by the license on their word processor? After all, you only need to buy the program once and you can use it forever, depriving the vendor of the income it's entitled to.
Except software is changing. The newest releases of Adobe's software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc) are only available on a subscription basis as part of their Creative Cloud and the apps have to validate online every 30 days for month-to-month members or every 99 days for annual members. Pretty sure Adobe isn't the first to have done this either.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:14 PM   #64
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I believe that Microsoft also offer subscription licensing for some versions of Office now.
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Old 09-04-2013, 04:36 PM   #65
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The point I was trying to make with that ridiculous scenario is that equating book licensing to software licensing makes a poor argument.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:03 PM   #66
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The point I was trying to make with that ridiculous scenario is that equating book licensing to software licensing makes a poor argument.
It's actually quite an apt analogy. As stated, there are indeed many software licenses which impose quite strict restrictions on what can be done with the software. Eg as someone else has pointed out, the "Home" edition of Microsoft Office prohibits its use for any commercial purpose. Comparing that to an ebook licence which only allows the book to be lent 26 times is quite appropriate.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #67
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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.
And what would be wrong with that?
A virtual library serving the entire world sounds terrific.
If I understand correctly the problem you bring up is that you wouldn't need to replace the book.
I think it boils down to the fact that if an author is going to release a book as an ebook, they are going to take a profit cut per book as opposed to paper. No one is forced to release ebook versions of their work, but if they want the wider audience made available by ebooks, they should understand the drawbacks. Seems like publishers want to have their cake and eat it too, with ebooks.
Your point about DRM is a good one. As opposed as I am to DRM that limits you to one device or one account or one person, some form of DRM that simply limits the ability to copy a work would not be a bad idea. Then a book could be loaned out, sent around, etc., but not copied to everyone else's hard drive.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:07 PM   #68
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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.
I have bought some audio books that contain wording "Not for sale to libraries". When I went to donate my copy to the public library, the librarian pointed out that she couldn't add it to the circulating collection -- they could only offer it in the annual book sale.
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #69
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I have bought some audio books that contain wording "Not for sale to libraries". When I went to donate my copy to the public library, the librarian pointed out that she couldn't add it to the circulating collection -- they could only offer it in the annual book sale.
Yes, that's another good example. Audiobooks often have separate (more expensive) library editions.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:44 PM   #70
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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.
They're actually less expensive. Libraries tend not to pay retail price for p-books. This is one of the many reasons why libraries are not pleased about the prices they pay for e-books.

As for a model that could be used, I think academic presses and libraries provide a good model. Usually academic libraries buy a license for journals and e-books and then those journals and e-books can be accessed by unlimited patrons for a certain amount of time (i.e. a year). Since public libraries are paying 5-6 times more for a single license than an individual customer, I fail to see why they can't loan out a book on a single license an unlimited number of times for a limited time with an offer to renew the license at the end of the time period.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:10 PM   #71
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Since public libraries are paying 5-6 times more for a single license than an individual customer, I fail to see why they can't loan out a book on a single license an unlimited number of times for a limited time with an offer to renew the license at the end of the time period.
If I understand correctly, you want to let libraries loan popular new books without a reserve wait.

Going on the assumption I did understand: I like the collection-building mission of the library. This goes against it. If this was adopted, I think sales to individuals would plummet. While libraries have a mission to make books available to the public, they also have a mission to support creation of great books, and I think no-wait library borrowing goes against that.

If any book industry people contemplating new models for library sales are lurking, here's my idea. Charge a low price for a large library system's first eBook copy of any bestseller. Charge double that for the second copy. Triple for the third. Etc. This will cause libraries to buy fewer bestsellers and more from the rest of your list. Sale of bestsellers will be helped because many of us will buy the eBook rather than go on an extremely long wait list. Sales of midlist and below titles, now meagre, will be helped by increased sales to libraries.
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Old 09-05-2013, 06:47 AM   #72
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If someone can come up with a business model that's better than Overdrive's, then they are free to have a go.
Or, if you're 3M, you already tried: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...ebook-lending/
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Old 09-05-2013, 07:02 AM   #73
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A virtual library serving the entire world sounds terrific.
If I understand correctly the problem you bring up is that you wouldn't need to replace the book.
I think it boils down to the fact that if an author is going to release a book as an ebook, they are going to take a profit cut per book as opposed to paper.
Okay, let's look at this from an author's perspective. Hypothetically, I write a book, call it "SoulScope" and release it as an eBook for $2.99. Hypothetically, I get about $2 in royalties for each copy sold. The first week, the members of this virtual library purchase 5 copies of my book. I get $10. Yea! The second week, those 5 copies of my book are available to borrow on the virtual library page, and I sell 1 additional copy to my biological parents. And that's it. Let's say the virtual library has 1-week loans, and my books are always being loaned out. Over 5 years, my book is read 1300 times through the virtual library, and my sales are still at 6. Now I'm not saying that my book would sell 1300 times, but even if only 1/10 of those readers would have purchased the book, I'd be looking at getting $260 instead of $10.

Now, as an author, I'd be thrilled that so many people read my book. But I'd also look at the 4 years of my life I put into writing that thing and find the rewards totally inadequate to the task. So I'd stop writing. And the next four books I could have written never exist to begin with. Or I refuse to release an eBook at all, and make everybody pay $12.99 for a paper copy, even though I still only get $2/sale. (Hypothetically.)

In any system, you have to balance the needs of the producer with the wants of the consumer. As a producer, you want to charge the highest price possible to as many people as possible. As a consumer, you want the most product for the lowest possible price. Where those conflicting desires meet is called "price" and it isn't arbitrary. Because if the consumer is the only one who gets what they want, the producers cease to exist.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:55 AM   #74
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Okay, let's look at this from an author's perspective. Hypothetically, I write a book, call it "SoulScope" and release it as an eBook for $2.99. Hypothetically, I get about $2 in royalties for each copy sold. The first week, the members of this virtual library purchase 5 copies of my book. I get $10. Yea! The second week, those 5 copies of my book are available to borrow on the virtual library page, and I sell 1 additional copy to my biological parents. And that's it. Let's say the virtual library has 1-week loans, and my books are always being loaned out. Over 5 years, my book is read 1300 times through the virtual library, and my sales are still at 6. Now I'm not saying that my book would sell 1300 times, but even if only 1/10 of those readers would have purchased the book, I'd be looking at getting $260 instead of $10.

Now, as an author, I'd be thrilled that so many people read my book. But I'd also look at the 4 years of my life I put into writing that thing and find the rewards totally inadequate to the task. So I'd stop writing. And the next four books I could have written never exist to begin with. Or I refuse to release an eBook at all, and make everybody pay $12.99 for a paper copy, even though I still only get $2/sale. (Hypothetically.)

In any system, you have to balance the needs of the producer with the wants of the consumer. As a producer, you want to charge the highest price possible to as many people as possible. As a consumer, you want the most product for the lowest possible price. Where those conflicting desires meet is called "price" and it isn't arbitrary. Because if the consumer is the only one who gets what they want, the producers cease to exist.
You raise some good points. I'd hate to put four years into something that I expected to make a good profit on and find that I can't after all.
Again, I think maybe it just boils down to not being able to have your cake and eat it too- if you get your book published in print, you will make more money on it than if you publish it digitally. It's the nature of the medium.
Of course I don't really know much about publishers either; maybe they really scalp an author's royalties. It's a pity some sensible solution hasn't been worked out...
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:03 AM   #75
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You raise some good points. I'd hate to put four years into something that I expected to make a good profit on and find that I can't after all.
Again, I think maybe it just boils down to not being able to have your cake and eat it too- if you get your book published in print, you will make more money on it than if you publish it digitally. It's the nature of the medium.
No it's the nature of the worldwide virtual library that's being proposed. There are lots of way that ebooks can be distributed that don't necessarily lead to a drastic drop in author revenues.

You may think the virtual library is a great idea but for it to work you would need to get the buy-in of authors and publishers. If they raise the objection that it severely cuts into their potential profits and you merely shrug your shoulders and say "it's the nature of the medium" I don't think the idea's going to get much traction.
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