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Old 08-05-2008, 01:54 AM   #1
charlieperry
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How can the publishing industry combat ebook piracy?

http://bookbook.com.au/2008/08/05/ho...ee-click-rule/

Following on from my previous post on the rise of ebook piracy I thought I’d throw in my two cents on how I think the publishing industry can combat ebook piracy. My solution: the three click rule.

The strategy I’d suggest is similar to the one being adopted by the music industry now. Instead of looking to heavily control distribution with rights management the industry needs to focus on two things: availability and ease.

Firstly, ALL books must be available in ebook format. It is simply unforgiveable for a publisher not to have their entire catalogue available. The old argument that the market isn’t big enough to support a print run just doesn’t exist in the ebook world. The low cost of digitising books now means that even if only 20 people want to read a text then it’s worth making it available. If it isn’t available then people will do exactly what they’ve been doing for centuries now. They will try secondhand bookshops. They will try borrowing from friends. They will try libraries. And now in this digital age they will try the internet. The publishing industry now has a unique opportunity to reclaim the revenue it has historically lost to secondhand buying, borrowing and lending. All they need to do is make the books available.

The next thing the industry needs to do is make it easier to buy books legally than to steal them. No one should ever be more than THREE CLICKS AWAY FROM OWNING ANY PARTICULAR EBOOK. How would this work? Well at the moment if I search for “Atonement ebook” one of the top results is for an illegal BitTorrent site. I’ve just tried it and from the search results on the Google homepage it takes 4 clicks to download the book. Now the publishing industry has an opportunity here to beat the pirates by getting the book to users in less than 4 clicks. This is eminently achievable. After you’ve done the search just click through to the publisher's/retailer's site (1 click), click the Buy Now button (2 clicks), confirm your purchase (3 clicks). They need to eliminate all the signing up, entering credit card details and agreeing to be contacted about future offers. It should just be a raw commercial exchange like going to a market and paying $2 cash for a tatty old paperback. No names, no addresses, no receipt; just cash in return for a book.

Until the publishing industry does these two things, makes ALL books available as ebooks and makes it ridiculously easy to buy them, then they are always going to be fighting a losing battle against piracy.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:44 AM   #2
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I can't argue with any of your points, although the 4 click thing is not a major problem, but is just good business practice.

I would boil it down to this:

* Make all books available;

* In all formats, or preferably a universal format

* Preferably non-DRM'd or allowing all formats to be downloaded at anytime in the future for a confirmed purchaser

* A reasonable price.

The publishing industry needs to learn what the music industry is hopefully learning: Most people are honest, and it is only with unavailability of what they want that they turn to black markets.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:18 AM   #3
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Absolutely agree with the above. I think it so odd that SF publishers(not all of course) will fight against e books. Ironic no?
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:42 AM   #4
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I forgot to say that the Kindle has gone a long way to addressing these issues from what I understand. Now it's time to take the Kindle model and make it device neutral.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:50 AM   #5
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The Kindle model is OK from a user's point of view, but it's pretty bad from the publisher's end.

The retailer (Amazon) gets to keep 65% of the purchase price.

Imagine the uproar if Apple got to keep 65% of the price of things at the iTunes store - instead the music publisher gets 70% of the price.

Paul

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieperry View Post
I forgot to say that the Kindle has gone a long way to addressing these issues from what I understand. Now it's time to take the Kindle model and make it device neutral.
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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illegal

Hi

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlieperry View Post
http://bookbook.com.au/2008/08/05/ho...ee-click-rule/

It should just be a raw commercial exchange like going to a market and paying $2 cash for a tatty old paperback. No names, no addresses, no receipt; just cash in return for a book.
it's illegal in many country make money exchange via internet (credit cards and so on) without registration and the like.
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:25 AM   #7
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There is a choice. View those who share books with each other electronically as thieves and "pirates", or as book fans. People share. It's human nature. When people share books (and music) with me, I value their opinion and enthusiasm far more than I do any advertising. I will borrow a friend's book, read it, and then go out and buy more of that author's work.

Why criminalize free advertising and exposure? If you want to end e-book "piracy", stop calling it "piracy".
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Old 08-05-2008, 10:51 AM   #8
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There is a new teleread post, the ultimate anti-piracy weapon, which makes the related point that legal ebooks, when available, are already much easier to find than pirated ones. Jerry Pournelle has often said: "what's important to me is that if someone seeks an electronic copy of a copyrighted work, the first hit from the search engines ought to be a legitimate copy offered for sale, not a pirate edition for free". This currently seems to be the case, when there is a legal ebook.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:17 AM   #9
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Yes, that's right. Most people are oblivious, I've found. You wouldn't think so, but I've watched too many people use the internet, and marvel...I believe that when the average person searches for a book, finds a link, and clicks it, they have no conscious thought that they've stolen something. It's just a link! It's on the net! What do you mean it's pirated? Huh?

So I agree wholeheartedly that the most effective way to combat "piracy" is to have a legal copy available for purchase, and highly indexed.

Then the average 'net surfer would search, click, buy.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:38 AM   #10
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I recently started reading a pBook - Area 51. It's part 1 of a series. However none of the bookstores in the Netherlands have this book in stock. So I decided to do quick search.
The publisher is kind to provide a full overview:
pBook Titles: 9
Audio-book versions: 6
eBook versions: 2 (Book 8 and Book 9) Price identical to the pBook version

I found PDF-versions in dark and obscure places on the internet for Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5, Book 6, Book 8.

Publishers just don't take me serious as consumer providing an (some) audio versions but not an e-version for all books from a series.
(for thos who wonder - I just ordered all pBook versions so the author can buy a sandwich - and I'll use the "illigal" versions on my e-book reader)

I totally agree with the initial poster: publishers get your act together and provide cheaper e-book versions for all ALL (e-) books (even those out of print) so I can purchase a legal version, and you might prevent the mess that the music and video industry is currently in.
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:39 PM   #11
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Charlieperry wrote (in part):
Quote:
The low cost of digitising books now means that even if only 20 people want to read a text then it’s worth making it available.
I suspect that the cost of digitizing books may be higher than you think, at least for cases where there is no pre-existing electronic copy. Simply scanning is cheap, but there's quite a lot of effort in getting clean, well formatted text that is free of Scan-os (i.e. OCR errors), has no missing pages, etc.

I suggest that the injection of some actual data might be useful here. I'll ask Arnold Bailey (the guy who runs Webscriptions.net for Baen) if he'll give us a ballpark estimate of the cost to digitize a book from the back catalog. My prediction: the market had better be much larger than 20 people. Much larger.

Xenophon
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Old 08-05-2008, 12:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
Charlieperry wrote (in part):
I suspect that the cost of digitizing books may be higher than you think, at least for cases where there is no pre-existing electronic copy. Simply scanning is cheap, but there's quite a lot of effort in getting clean, well formatted text that is free of Scan-os (i.e. OCR errors), has no missing pages, etc.
Isn't there some captcha system that serves up images of scanned books to have people OCR them? A pretty clever idea actually. Yes, here it is http://recaptcha.net/ .

BOb
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:59 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
Charlieperry wrote (in part):
I suspect that the cost of digitizing books may be higher than you think, at least for cases where there is no pre-existing electronic copy. Simply scanning is cheap, but there's quite a lot of effort in getting clean, well formatted text that is free of Scan-os (i.e. OCR errors), has no missing pages, etc.

I suggest that the injection of some actual data might be useful here. I'll ask Arnold Bailey (the guy who runs Webscriptions.net for Baen) if he'll give us a ballpark estimate of the cost to digitize a book from the back catalog. My prediction: the market had better be much larger than 20 people. Much larger.

Xenophon
I'm looking forward to seeing the response. As I said in another thread, (and got patted on the head for it) don't forget the amateurs scanners and OCR proofreaders. We're not all incompetent. (For a sample of my Scan/OCR results, see PG Austrailia e-book the Crystal Button, PD in US, Life +50 and Life + 70 countries.) Of course we want to be paid, (with free e-books...)
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donnageddon View Post
* Make all books available;

* In all formats, or preferably a universal format

* Preferably non-DRM'd or allowing all formats to be downloaded at anytime in the future for a confirmed purchaser

* A reasonable price.
Yay to all that.

Non-availability is a killer. I got to number 14 of Bernard Cornwell Sharpe books, only to discover that 15-23 weren't in ebook format, number 24 was. Where's the sense? The temptation to just get the rest in pirate copies is almost irresistable.

One thing I'd add is that the format should be readable and searchable from the desktop. I want to be able to search my whole library for a reference on the machine where I work. Limiting it to a search on the reader, as with the Kindle, doesn't cut it.
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
Charlieperry wrote (in part):
I suspect that the cost of digitizing books may be higher than you think, at least for cases where there is no pre-existing electronic copy. Simply scanning is cheap, but there's quite a lot of effort in getting clean, well formatted text that is free of Scan-os (i.e. OCR errors), has no missing pages, etc.

I suggest that the injection of some actual data might be useful here. I'll ask Arnold Bailey (the guy who runs Webscriptions.net for Baen) if he'll give us a ballpark estimate of the cost to digitize a book from the back catalog. My prediction: the market had better be much larger than 20 people. Much larger.

Xenophon
I have to admit that I picked the number 20 off the top of my head. The thing that's worth remembering is that even if only 20 people may want to read something now there's nothing to say that 100 won't want to read it in a year or a 1000 in five years. Until it's available it's hard to know demand.

On a separate but related point, I wonder what % of the books that have ever existed now exist in digital format. It's an almost impossible question to answer but I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of anyone in the publishing industry.
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