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Old 02-10-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
TadW
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Could lack of piracy be the e-book's demise?

What sounds like some sort of paradox is a challenging editorial by Bobbie Johnson on the Guardian's Tech blog. Bobbie believes that the Kindle will never be some kind of iPod of books, because:

Quote:
To put it less glibly, the publishing industry isn't being forced to confront a radical shift in consumer behaviour caused by technology, because that scenario just is not happening. Customers aren't forcing the issue by choosing to abandon books and read pirated text instead. And this means the problem isn't there to be confronted.
You may counter that it took many MP3 players to come out before the iPod finally changed the market. Does that analogy work for e-book readers? Bobbie thinks not.

Quote:
But unlike the music business - who saw those lost customers head straight to Napster, Kazaa or Gnutella - the average book reader isn't turning to legally dubious sources for their novels, or meeting up with book dealers on street corners to pick up copies of the latest bestseller. If they want to share files, they can get somebody to lend them a copy, or go to a place for sharing this information that's wholly supported by the industry (you might know them as libraries).
Personally I believe the biggest problem with his argument is that, if analysts and CEO Jeff Bezos are to be believed, Kindle readers already sell very well -- and that despite the fact that it may be more difficult or impossible to fill an e-book reader with pirated content.

And since we're already talking about the Guardian, check out this earlier article in which they gave extra mentioning to the Kindle 2 image leak.
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:45 PM   #2
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what?

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Old 02-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #3
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Just a quick look around will indicate there are literally thousands of eBooks (non fiction and fiction) available online via bittorrent or Rapidshare.

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Old 02-10-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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Maybe (and this is just a thought) people actually like their authors and want to see them get paid. Musicians who are popular are obscenely wealthy so no one pities them. Not a lot of authors actually make that much money. I would never pirate books for that reason.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:44 PM   #5
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That is particularly true.

Take Michael McCollum for example. He has self published via his website for many years now after leaving his mainstream publisher due to dissatisfaction with the publishing industry as a whole.

He is not a prolific or as popular an SF author such as David Weber or John Ringo and writes in his spare time. His published works are inexpensive and multiformat.

I would hate to see authors such as him hurt by piracy.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilac_jive View Post
Maybe (and this is just a thought) people actually like their authors and want to see them get paid. Musicians who are popular are obscenely wealthy so no one pities them. Not a lot of authors actually make that much money. I would never pirate books for that reason.
that is a good point, but there are some obscenely wealthy writers as well (JK Rowling, anyone ?), and just like in writing there are plenty of struggling musicians. i imagine there is a class of very successful writers who are the equivalent of the obscenely rich rock star (not just Rowling). i agree with you that it's important to support authors by buying their works however more and more of them seem to be embracing p2p as a way of gaining readers and exposure ; a form of free, viral advertising of a sort. many of them argue that it's actually beneficial to them (including via increased sales) to have their work distributed for free in those networks because otherwise a lot of people probably would never even know who they are.

i think that ebook sharing is probably relatively low-profile for the moment, partly because it's a different demographic that is interested, but i wonder if there won't be some sort of oroubos-style phenomenon wherein the increased popularity and awareness of liseuses will lead to more ebook sharing which will in turn lead to more interest in ebooks in general and potentially more sales of liseuses, which will lead to more interest in ebooks and potentially more sharing...

it would be quite ironic if the deciding factor to reach the tipping point were precisely the phenomenon which the industries claim to be so frightened of, but it does seem to be a compelling argument...

i'm curious about just how widespread the phenomenon of "pirated" ebooks is though. outside of the obvious sources i don't know where they are hiding, but people seem to think they are everywhere... maybe i should do some research. in the name of science, obviously.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i'm curious about just how widespread the phenomenon of "pirated" ebooks is though. outside of the obvious sources i don't know where they are hiding, but people seem to think they are everywhere... maybe i should do some research. in the name of science, obviously.
IRC is where they are at, new content and new proofs uploaded daily, hundreds of thousands of books, it puts most ebook stores to shame.

but since its IRC, and not bitorrent for example, its not wide spread, ED2k is a souce but IRC is where the community is.

Piracy pushes the world forward, its already forced most TV networks to put their shows online for free streaming.

Movies are still way behind in catching up to piracy.
and Ebooks just dont have the exposure.

Last edited by Andybaby; 02-10-2009 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:53 PM   #8
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I'm on a livejournal community that shares ebooks and while I don't download all of them (because seriously who has the time?) I'm exposed a much wider variety of books than I am visiting my local library. Though if I'm looking for something specific I'll go to to IRC but for testing out new authors LJ is where I go.

Also, I really do not like to buy DRM ebooks at all. I never like the formatting and with LRX there is nothing I can do to make my ebook look better and Mobi..well it's still work and technically illegal to crack the DRM there as well.

Also, I can't for the life of me find an affordable copy of any of Storm Constantine's ebooks...so just saying ebook stores have their work cut out for them to get someone like me to spend money there.

Baen is the only ebook store I visit and spend money at regularly.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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There are several important differences between ebook and music piracy.

How many people read? How many people listen to music? I know a handful of people who read regularly. I know several dozen who have an iPod.

How quickly is a song consumed versus a book? Music is consumed in minutes; a book might take weeks. Because of the time difference, the market for music sold (and pirated) is significantly larger than that of the book market.

Here is my point:
Ebook piracy could be as rampant as music piracy. But in absolute numbers it will appear to be tiny when compared to music piracy.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:40 PM   #10
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Stupid question. What is IRC?

Overview opinion on ebook piracy vs. music piracy. A book take much longer to enjoy than a piece of music. So downloading less books equals the same enjoyment of lots of music.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:44 PM   #11
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data Piracy never does anything but make an industry stronger.

I cant tell you how many thousands of dollar people around me have spent when i told them about this program, or that tv show, or that Artist. now its with books too, all around me, since i started reading, every one else has picked up books too. around every pirate there are people buying stuff based on what they say.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #12
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what?

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Old 02-10-2009, 09:45 PM   #13
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I think piracy will hardly be noticed.
eg: On bittorrent or P2P networks people generally don't download small (sub MP3 sized, or sub 2Mb)files.

Also the file extension isn't really known. If the books where published in pdf or doc format they would be downloaded more than eg LRX, LRF, or PRC/inf or other ebook formats.

I mean, that would be my opinion on it.
then there's the fact that childeren of my age (born in the seventies and eighties) generally where found behind the television instead of behind a book.
And those who went to libraries generally came out with comic books rather than regular books (that includes myself).

I bet the next generation of e-ink devices will bring a much greater difference!
The plastic logics reader able to display powerpoint presentations, and it's ability to show comic books in near to full comicbook paper size!
Also it's better PDF support.

Then there's the thought of color e-ink displays (White, Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, Black particles instead of B/W), or bringing a TFT layer over a white semi reflecting background instead of a backlit one.

I think these 'gadgets' when on the market will bring a large boost in the market too!

Then there's the economical crisis, which works both ways.
One way, people are working harder to keep their jobs, and keep their company from going under, and the other way are the people who just lost a job, searching for a job, and in their free time start searching for entertainment if no job was found, to get back into the market as soon as things stabilize a bit.

I think piracy has little to do with the ebook sales (it'll make 1, 2 or at most 5% difference I think).
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:50 PM   #14
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Some torrent trackers have a lot of ebooks.

Quote:
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How quickly is a song consumed versus a book? Music is consumed in minutes; a book might take weeks. Because of the time difference, the market for music sold (and pirated) is significantly larger than that of the book market.
Well consuming one music album takes me months. And in the time it takes me to consume one album I can probably read 10-30 books. I do not think the difference is because of the time it take to consume. The difference is probably more to do with the fact that more people are interested in listening to music than reading books.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:13 PM   #15
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Take Michael McCollum for example. He has self published via his website for many years now after leaving his mainstream publisher due to dissatisfaction with the publishing industry as a whole.

He is not a prolific or as popular an SF author such as David Weber or John Ringo and writes in his spare time. His published works are inexpensive and multiformat.

I would hate to see authors such as him hurt by piracy.
That is so right. There is also an English author, Richard Herley (http://www.richardherley.com/), who takes an even more radical approach: he offers his books for free download. You can pay by donation later if you liked the book. Well, it worked with me: I did donate. Try his book "Refuge", it is extremely well written.

Generally speaking, I am much more likely to donate to open source projects and the likes than to pay for commercial software, for example.

That is exactly the road that musicians, artists and authors should go. Get rid of these publishers and distributors who take such an huge cut, to the detriment of both the authors and the public. Gather into non profit cooperative societies, who would do the publishing and distribution work at cost. Imagine an Amazon.com or iTunes owed by the authors. Authors can get increased royalties and the public gets better prices, and less incentive to go the illegal route, plus the public knows that the money goes straight to the artists.
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