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Old 07-31-2009, 04:36 AM   #1
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ebook survey


I created a survey to get an idea of people's opinions on a few issues that came up in some recent convoluted threads:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?s...B4prUs4w_3d_3d

The questions mostly relate to DRM and purchasing/ebook usage habits.

I'd be interested in the results if people would be kind enough to answer the 10 multiple choice questions.

I apologise in advance if any of the questions don't make sense or leave out a possible answer - i just did this in a bored 5 minutes at work
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Old 07-31-2009, 04:42 AM   #2
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You must publish the results For how long will you let it run?
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:21 AM   #3
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Interesting.. one note. The question regarding sharing copies might be expanded a bit. I think there's a big difference in sharing in a universal sense (uploading to a torrent site, for instance) and giving your girlfriend a copy to read (just like you would a real book).

But yes, I'm interested in the results as well.
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Old 07-31-2009, 05:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Interesting.. one note. The question regarding sharing copies might be expanded a bit. I think there's a big difference in sharing in a universal sense (uploading to a torrent site, for instance) and giving your girlfriend a copy to read (just like you would a real book).

But yes, I'm interested in the results as well.
I read that question as uploading it for the entire world to download.
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Old 07-31-2009, 06:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Interesting.. one note. The question regarding sharing copies might be expanded a bit. I think there's a big difference in sharing in a universal sense (uploading to a torrent site, for instance) and giving your girlfriend a copy to read (just like you would a real book).

But yes, I'm interested in the results as well.
Good point. I'll leave it as it simply because it would be unfair to change the question halfway through.

I already thought of a few extra questions, so maybe I'll do another one. A good question would be something along the lines of 'What degree of sharing of a digital file is acceptable to you?' - sharing with your household, uploading to the whole world, sharing among friends, etc.
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:09 AM   #6
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You have likely already considered it, but this:

> Have you ever breached copyright by downloading a copy of a
> book or any other digital media from a website distributing the
> media without the consent of the copyright holder?

Would result in silly high proportion of "pirates". How many of us have really -never- downloaded copyrighted material? It would be interesting to compare this number with something like:

Q: Out of last 50 (non public domain) e-books you've read, how many did you actually buy?

It would be more difficult to word this the other way around - "how many obtained illegally" would include DRM-removal on your purchases and bypassing geo-restrictions as "piracy".
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Old 07-31-2009, 08:29 AM   #7
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I'd also be interested in seeing the results -- after you've had a reasonable number or replies.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:03 PM   #8
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Question number 10 should also include exclusivity of eBooks like the Kindle or FW who one exclusive rights to eBooks.

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Old 08-01-2009, 03:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anappo View Post
You have likely already considered it, but this:

> Have you ever breached copyright by downloading a copy of a
> book or any other digital media from a website distributing the
> media without the consent of the copyright holder?

Would result in silly high proportion of "pirates". How many of us have really -never- downloaded copyrighted material? It would be interesting to compare this number with something like:

Q: Out of last 50 (non public domain) e-books you've read, how many did you actually buy?

It would be more difficult to word this the other way around - "how many obtained illegally" would include DRM-removal on your purchases and bypassing geo-restrictions as "piracy".
I think the question as it stands is useful, and I also think the slightly different question you propose is worthwhile too.

I also forgot to ask 'Is it OK to download a bootleg copy of a book for which you already own a paper copy?'.
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Old 08-01-2009, 04:20 AM   #10
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RESULTS from 60 responses:
1. Do you believe all electronic books should be available without DRM?
88.1% Yes, 11.9% No (1 didn't answer)

2. Do you believe all ebooks should have a standardised format (i.e. all ebooks would work on all devices)?
93.3% Yes

3. What do you think is a reasonable price for an electronic book (assuming it is copyrighted)?

Same as paper book - 16.7%
Slightly cheaper than paper book - 36.7
Considerably cheaper than paper book - 46.7
Free - 0%

4. Do you consider copying of copyrighted media for the purpose of transferring copies to other people against the wishes of the copyright holder to be immoral?
72.9% Yes
27.1% No

5. Given a choice would you buy ebooks supported by advertisements if they were considerably cheaper than current prices?
28.3% Yes
71.7% No

6. Have you ever breached copyright by downloading a copy of a book or any other digital media from a website distributing the media without the consent of the copyright holder?
66.1% Yes
33.9% No

7. Which of the following reasons do you feel are justify breaching copyright by downloading digital media?
The media is not available without DRM - 27.6%
The media is not available in electronic format - 53.4%
The price charged for electronic formats is too high - 25.9%
Copyright law is immoral - 6.9%
I need my money for other things - 5.2%
A digital copy doesn't negatively affect the copyright holder - e.g. the original is not destroyed - 5.2%
Other (enter below)* - 25.9%
None of the above - 24.1%

*too many to list, but mostly format shifting (either from DRMed files or from paper copies) and geographical/language type restrictions. Low quality and one answer of 'no justification but I do it anyway' ).

8. What devices do you / do you intend to read ebooks on?

Dedicated reader (e.g. Kindle) - 93.3%
Desktop computer - 16.7%
Laptop/notebook/netbook computer - 26.7%
Phone (e.g. Windows Mobile, iPhone) - 23.3%
PDA (other than Windows Mobile Professional phones) - 20.0%
Other devices (enter below) - 6.7%

others: MP3 players, UMPCs, WinCE devices

9. How would your ebook spending habits change if all ebooks were sold without DRM?
My ebook spending habits would not change. - 21.7%
I would buy fewer ebooks. - 0%
I would buy more ebooks - 78.3%

10. Which of the following issues do you feel affect your ability to buy the ebooks you want?
Geographical restrictions - 60%
Digital rights management - 73.3%
Proprietary file formats - 75%
Computer/ebook reader/software compatibility issues - 35%
Other (enter below) - 20%
other reasons: exclusive formats, titles not available, price
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djgreedo View Post
2. Do you believe all ebooks should have a standardised format (i.e. all ebooks would work on all devices)?
93.3% Yes
I'm baffled that this did not get 100% Yes.

On question #9, I answered that my spending habits would not change. This is because I remove DRM from every DRMed ebook I buy. If they came up with a DRM that was impossible to remove, I would buy drastically fewer DRMed books.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:00 AM   #12
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I'm baffled that this did not get 100% Yes.
Standardized format doesn't mean the best reading experience. To make full use of some features of a reader, a modified book may be necessary.

Also, you must consider the real world. In a perfect world a standard format might work (I am not so sure about that, but let's assume it would for the sake of discussion), but we must deal with real-world situation. Including abilities and inabilities of various readers to render certain formats in a certain way. If all books were to be available only in EPUB format, for example, my reading experience would be drastically lowered because Sony's renderer is sub-par as far as I am concerned.

The problem is that this question is actually two questions - whether all e-books should have a standardized format, and whether they all should work on all devices.

Last edited by pepak; 08-01-2009 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:18 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Interesting.. one note. The question regarding sharing copies might be expanded a bit. I think there's a big difference in sharing in a universal sense (uploading to a torrent site, for instance) and giving your girlfriend a copy to read (just like you would a real book).

But yes, I'm interested in the results as well.
i hesitated also for that question ; in the end i answered no (it's not immoral) thinking of sharing a copy with friends / family. i hadn't read all the replies to this thread before answering and i wasn't sure what the intention was of the question (large-scale vs. small-scale) and i see no reason i shouldn't continue to share books with friends (once they get reading devices... ) just as i do with paper books. also i wonder how many people make a distinction between recent books (copyright holder still alive and active) and books which are still in copyright but whose author has been dead 50 or so years (dorothy sayers or agatha christie come to mind).

Quote:
Originally Posted by djgreedo View Post
Good point. I'll leave it as it simply because it would be unfair to change the question halfway through.

I already thought of a few extra questions, so maybe I'll do another one. A good question would be something along the lines of 'What degree of sharing of a digital file is acceptable to you?' - sharing with your household, uploading to the whole world, sharing among friends, etc.
another (expanded) survey could be interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lemon lime View Post
I'm baffled that this did not get 100% Yes.
me too.

Quote:
On question #9, I answered that my spending habits would not change. This is because I remove DRM from every DRMed ebook I buy. If they came up with a DRM that was impossible to remove, I would buy drastically fewer DRMed books.
me too. however until recently i might have answered differently, because i did not buy any epub books until the drm had been cracked, whereas now i do. so possibly my spending habits changed somewhat after that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pepak View Post
Standardized format doesn't mean the best reading experience. To make full use of some features of a reader, a modified book may be necessary.

Also, you must consider the real world. In a perfect world a standard format might work (I am not so sure about that, but let's assume it would for the sake of discussion), but we must deal with real-world situation. Including abilities and inabilities of various readers to render certain formats in a certain way. If all books were to be available only in EPUB format, for example, my reading experience would be drastically lowered because Sony's renderer is sub-par as far as I am concerned.

The problem is that this question is actually two questions - whether all e-books should have a standardized format, and whether they all should work on all devices.
interesting point. but i think if we're supposing a situation where there is a standardized format (this is hypothetical) we can also suppose a significantly improved renderer for that format (without the flaws / shortcomings of sony's renderer, for instance). this is for the moment hypthetical but less so ; the epub renderer on the new bookeen opus, for instance, can display justified text (currently sony's can't, and many people hate this), and also if memory serves does not display the page numbers in the margin, which many people also hate. these are two significant improvements if we think of the most common complaints about the epub format. i think we can hope to see epub renderers very soon which can handle very advanced page layout (assuming the screen is large enough to properly display it) which could even be suitable for magazines, scientific articles (with equations), etc. so i answered this question with the idea that we are talking about an ideal situation on that level as well.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:46 AM   #14
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i hesitated also for that question ; in the end i answered no (it's not immoral) thinking of sharing a copy with friends / family. i hadn't read all the replies to this thread before answering and i wasn't sure what the intention was of the question (large-scale vs. small-scale) and i see no reason i shouldn't continue to share books with friends (once they get reading devices... ) just as i do with paper books.
The problem with "sharing with friends" is that sharing ebooks is different from sharing a physical book. A physical book has but a single copy, and travels 'linearly' through friends (and if it travels very far, will eventually wear out, thus self-limiting the amount of sharing). Surely you've heard of "six degrees of difference", or the Kevin Bacon game (where EVERY person on the planet can be connected with ANY other person on the planet in no more than SIX steps)? I have my circle of friends. Each of them has their own circle of friends, and so on. If I share a book with MY friends, and they share it with THEIR friends... well, I'm sure you see where I'm going. If you don't want DRM (I don't either), then the social standard HAS to be NO sharing of ebooks, period. But, if the price is lowered to something reasonable, then it becomes far less of an issue. There is NO reason (other than publisher greed) why an ebook should cost more than $2-3, which would cover the author royalties and a profit for the 'publisher'. Most folks wouldn't hesitate to spend $3 for a book. Piracy explodes when the price is perceived as being ridiculously high. Lower the price to a reasonable level and piracy becomes a minor issue.

Most of this has been well covered in several other threads regarding DRM and piracy, so I'm not trying to restart the discussion here. Merely pointing out that the "sharing with friends should be okay" argument has a big fallacy built into it.
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Old 08-01-2009, 10:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The problem with "sharing with friends" is that sharing ebooks is different from sharing a physical book. A physical book has but a single copy, and travels 'linearly' through friends (and if it travels very far, will eventually wear out, thus self-limiting the amount of sharing). Surely you've heard of "six degrees of difference", or the Kevin Bacon game (where EVERY person on the planet can be connected with ANY other person on the planet in no more than SIX steps)? I have my circle of friends. Each of them has their own circle of friends, and so on. If I share a book with MY friends, and they share it with THEIR friends... well, I'm sure you see where I'm going. If you don't want DRM (I don't either), then the social standard HAS to be NO sharing of ebooks, period. But, if the price is lowered to something reasonable, then it becomes far less of an issue. There is NO reason (other than publisher greed) why an ebook should cost more than $2-3, which would cover the author royalties and a profit for the 'publisher'. Most folks wouldn't hesitate to spend $3 for a book. Piracy explodes when the price is perceived as being ridiculously high. Lower the price to a reasonable level and piracy becomes a minor issue.

Most of this has been well covered in several other threads regarding DRM and piracy, so I'm not trying to restart the discussion here. Merely pointing out that the "sharing with friends should be okay" argument has a big fallacy built into it.
hm, i suppose theoretically that could be true, but i really doubt that on a practical level it would turn out that way, if only because of varying taste ; i share books with a couple of friend, however we don't share *all* books because we don't like exactly the same things. some books i buy don't interest my friends, some books they buy don't interest me. i really don't see lending a copy of an ebook to one friend making the tour of the world.

also, i think it's important to keep in mind that sharing books and culture is a fundamental part of the human experience ; not only do i think it's not *practical* to think that should change completely, i also think we would *all* be significantly poorer (on a cultural level) if it did. there have been many books i wasn't sure i would like (or even was pretty sure i *wouldn't* like), and even on the recommendation of a friend i wouldn't have bought them (even for 2-3$). but if someone *lent* me the book, it's a no-risk situation for me ; i can try it out, and if i dislike it, i just give it back, i don't even have to read the whole thing. but sometimes it turns out that i *do* like it, to my surprise. then the author has gained a reader who will buy more books from them in future, which probably would not have happened otherwise.

there's also the case of people who simply can't spare even 2-3$ (especially since it's not just 2-3$, it's 2-3$ x n number of books ; nobody ever reads just *one* book) ; when i was a student there were plenty of things i couldn't afford to buy, including lots of books (i had to buy too many already for my classes) and thank god for the library and for friends, or i don't know what i would have done. however i discovered a lot of authors at that time that i still love today and now that i have the means to buy their books, i do.
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