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Old 11-29-2020, 05:09 AM   #1
mdp
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The right to own electronic copies of texts after buying printed copies

I read yesterday an article on the Atlantic,

The Monster Publishing Merger Is About Amazon - Penguin Random House purchasing Simon & Schuster is not the gravest danger to the publishing business. The deal is transpiring in a larger context—and that context is Amazon.

According to it,

Quote:
[...] this merger is not the gravest danger to the publishing business. The deal is transpiring in a larger context—and that context is Amazon. The rise of Amazon accelerated the demise of Borders and the diminishment of Barnes & Noble. If it’s correct to worry about a merged company that publishes perhaps 33 percent of new books, then surely it’s correct to worry more about the fact that Amazon now sells 49 percent of them.
Now, this "49% of books is sold on Amazon" is quite a remarkable piece of data. Part of that hefty size may also be an effect of the need for acquiring electronic versions.

My humble (brief) but happy (revealing things I did not expect) philological enquiry in a former thread showed that language distinguishes at least something you "manufacture" (transform to receive encoded information) ('book', 'libr-', 'paper') and something you "weave" ("elaborate") ('text'), thus that formula "a book is a container of text". But terms themselves are not important here and may vary - in fact I will for the rest of the post distinguish 'support' and 'text' for the sake of clarity. Now, in this context, the question is "what are you paying for" - because on the one hand the producer of the text may often demand a compensation, and on the other hand the producer of its support will have to.

If one paid for the text, they should be able to access it in any reasonable form (support). But the cost of the support is hardly ever trivial in commerce -, so both the paper construct and the electronic distributing service must be funded. But there may be an imbalance in the cheapness of providing a simple "download service (upon proof of ownership)".

I would develop on the idea that the irrelevance of the medium is facilitated - maybe that the publisher equips itself with the electronic distribution facilities.

The goal and main idea in fact would be, that property of the text shall allow for the legitimacy of obtaining its file format. Meaning more clearly, that when one buys a paper-based book in a bookstore, they can later also download the electronic version.

This way, one can go browse for material in a traditional bookstore, enjoy all its advantages, contribute to the preservation of something important, and then also use the benefits of the electronic version (from customizable formatting to quick dictionary to study through abridgement). In a way, I would state that they already have such right: I believe that with the encoded-text-endowed-book you bought the text.

One publisher that provides such service is, for example, the Pixel series from publisher Egea (Bocconi University) in Italy: each printed item contains a unique code covered by silver paint to be scratched, and that code can be used to anonymously download the electronic version from the publisher's website.

[I hope this post's text is in good condition - I will only be able to check it and edit it later.]

Last edited by mdp; 11-29-2020 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:05 AM   #2
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Sorry, but you are not entitled to the eBook if you buy the pBook. Sure you already have the text, but you are not entitled to the eBook container.

You are also not entitled to the electronic version of the LP you just bought. Just like you are not entitled to the DVD version if you buy the VHS.
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Old 11-29-2020, 08:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Sorry, but you are not entitled to the eBook if you buy the pBook. Sure you already have the text, but you are not entitled to the eBook container.

You are also not entitled to the electronic version of the LP you just bought. Just like you are not entitled to the DVD version if you buy the VHS.
My point is that it would be a good idea if you would.

You are not entitled to a DVD version only because you purchased the VHS, because the manufactured medium has an important cost. But given that the cost of producing a file is in a way negligible (`copy` / `cp` / `cat`...), in another marginal (the electronic version is part of the preproduction of the printed material, one download server/service shared by all customers may have a dwarfed cost with respect to the production of physical media), it may make sense that with the purchase of a physical copy you also get rights for a digital one.

This would have collateral good effects:
-- preserving the role of shops offering direct access to the physical media;
-- expanding freedom in the options of purchase;
-- solving the alternative "something I want on the shelves or something I can more easily study" - as it is for some of us;
-- granting more anonymity - which to some of us is inalienable from dignity - with the ability to pay also for your electronic version through cash - anonymous credit cars are harder to obtain;
and surely more.

Last edited by mdp; 11-29-2020 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp View Post
My point is that it would be a good idea if you would.

You are not entitled to a DVD version only because you purchased the VHS, because the manufactured medium has an important cost. But given that the cost of producing a file is in a way negligible (`copy` / `cp` / `cat`...), in another marginal (the electronic version is part of the preproduction of the printed material, one download server/service shared by all customers may have a dwarfed cost with respect to the production of physical media), it may make sense that with the purchase of a physical copy you also get rights for a digital one.
The literal definition of copyright is the right to copy. Sure it would be nice if publishers bundled ebooks with hard copies of the books, some publishers do. I know some who think that if you pay for a book, then you have the right to convert it to whatever format you want. Legally you don't, but if you want to scan it for your own use, it's very, very unlikely anyone is going to try to stop you, just like you can likely print any ebook that you might own. Technically, it violates copyright, but as long as it's for your personal use, no one is coming after you besides it's likely cheaper to buy the book used.

For a while, it was popular to bundle the blu-ray, the DVD and a code to stream a digital version of movies. I suspect the streaming service it was associate with went belly up.

My question to you is how much extra would you be willing to pay for a paper/ebook bundle?
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Old 11-29-2020, 09:35 AM   #5
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Personally, I don't want a paper copy and a digital copy. One of the great things about digital books is the ability to purge the stacks and stacks of paper books I've acquired over the years.

They take up a lot of space, must be dusted, stored, and boxed and carried if we move.

I still have paper books, but far fewer than what I had when I got my first Kindle in 2009. I'll always have some paper books, some hardback favorites, Bible study types, gifts, but little by little they are being thinned out. I do like seeing books, so most every room in my house have some.

We do have a lot of kids books in paper form, for when the grands visit.

Amazon has the Match-Book program, where you can sometimes by a digital copy at a reduced price if you buy the paper version from them. But most publishers didn't join the program, and only a few books I've bought over the years are offered.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
Personally, I don't want a paper copy and a digital copy. One of the great things about digital books is the ability to purge the stacks and stacks of paper books I've acquired over the years.

They take up a lot of space, must be dusted, stored, and boxed and carried if we move.

I still have paper books, but far fewer than what I had when I got my first Kindle in 2009.
This. I'm not in the least interested in both paper and digital versions. Either I want paper (books with large color pictures/photos) or I want digital (all books mostly consisting of text).

Last edited by Sirtel; 11-29-2020 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp View Post
My point is that it would be a good idea if you would.

You are not entitled to a DVD version only because you purchased the VHS, because the manufactured medium has an important cost. But given that the cost of producing a file is in a way negligible (`copy` / `cp` / `cat`...), in another marginal (the electronic version is part of the preproduction of the printed material, one download server/service shared by all customers may have a dwarfed cost with respect to the production of physical media), it may make sense that with the purchase of a physical copy you also get rights for a digital one.

This would have collateral good effects:
-- preserving the role of shops offering direct access to the physical media;
-- expanding freedom in the options of purchase;
-- solving the alternative "something I want on the shelves or something I can more easily study" - as it is for some of us;
-- granting more anonymity - which to some of us is inalienable from dignity - with the ability to pay also for your electronic version through cash - anonymous credit cars are harder to obtain;
and surely more.
The medium for eBooks also has a cost. It does cost to covert the electronic file or scan/OCR. It would also put a lot of eBook shops out of business.
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Old 11-29-2020, 11:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp View Post
You are not entitled to a DVD version only because you purchased the VHS, because the manufactured medium has an important cost. But given that the cost of producing a file is in a way negligible (`copy` / `cp` / `cat`...), in another marginal (the electronic version is part of the preproduction of the printed material, one download server/service shared by all customers may have a dwarfed cost with respect to the production of physical media), it may make sense that with the purchase of a physical copy you also get rights for a digital one.
Or a cassette because you bought the MP3 file.

So yes:
1) There is no moral right to free additional content in a different format / media.
2) There should be no penalty for a personal format changed copy for only personal use.
3) There are technical difficulties with a free ebook download. No publisher is obliged to do it even if the technical issues are solved. IMO the only workable solution is a scratch patch on the cover that's a unique one time code. The one time download code system works. The issue is distributing it. If a book is to be scrapped, then the cover is destroyed. Also a tampered scratch patch is obvious and technically easiest place for it is the cover. Maybe on inside to avoid accidental scratch. You scratch the code and you are obligated to pay.
Obviously Online paper sales, or a POS in a bookshop linked to publisher can provide the one time code.


Conclusion:
Why should publishers go to the bother as it's a small market that wants the ebook when they buy the paper? There is no inherent right to an eBook when you buy paper.

Personally we will do it, when we figure out how.

I've bought paperbacks online and the publisher gave a download code. Possibly books from Tickety Boo press.

Amazon will do it before any of the big four do. It is four now?
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Old 11-29-2020, 12:16 PM   #9
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As it happens, physical + digital is around for RPGs. If I buy a physical book from Leisure Games, I get a free PDF as as well. Suits me, it means I don't have to lug an enormous stack of supplements around - I just load them onto the Forma or the iPad when I need them.
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Old 11-29-2020, 02:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdp View Post
...

The goal and main idea in fact would be, that property of the text shall allow for the legitimacy of obtaining its file format. Meaning more clearly, that when one buys a paper-based book in a bookstore, they can later also download the electronic version.

...

One publisher that provides such service is, for example, the Pixel series from publisher Egea (Bocconi University) in Italy: each printed item contains a unique code covered by silver paint to be scratched, and that code can be used to anonymously download the electronic version from the publisher's website.

...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Sorry, but you are not entitled to the eBook if you buy the pBook. Sure you already have the text, but you are not entitled to the eBook container.

You are also not entitled to the electronic version of the LP you just bought. Just like you are not entitled to the DVD version if you buy the VHS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NadalwillneverbeGoat, post: 41648828, member: 144530

Are a combined 1-5 vs top 5.



The end is near and Federer is safe.
Matchbook allowed cheap Kindle editions to be offered with a print book purchase.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/amazons-k...ends-on-oct-31

c/p

"Amazon has decided to retire a very useful, if somewhat underused feature by book buyers with news that Kindle Matchbook will cease to be on Oct. 31. 2019.

As The Digital Reader reports, Kindle Matchbook existed to allow authors to offer a Kindle version of their work at a greatly reduced price (or even for free) for customers who purchase a print edition. The Kindle version could be offered to those customers for $2.99 or less, giving them a digital copy that couldn't be lost or damaged.

No reason has been given as to why Kindle Matchbook is being retired, but the suspicion is that customers simply weren't using it ..."

Last edited by Marinolino; 11-29-2020 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:47 PM   #11
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My question to you is how much extra would you be willing to pay for a paper/ebook bundle?
I would guess, one extra twentieth. A few calculations bring me in that order, as I try to estimate what could be the cost overhead for the publisher to also have an electronic distribution mechanism.
The IT requirements depend on the size of the item production, but I think they may scale linearly.
For a smallish publisher, I would say an expense around 200$/month may be enough for the development and maintenance of the infrastructure. For one million printed items (per year) you need a database not far from the order of a mere gigabyte, considering some real-world implementations.

Quote:
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The medium for eBooks also has a cost. It does cost to covert the electronic file or scan/OCR.
Electronic versions today would be produced anyway. Conversion is comparatively cheap. Scanning is hardly a requirement anymore nowadays - what had to be scanned was, the rest is past the age of manuscripts.

Quote:
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I know some who think that if you pay for a book, then you have the right to convert it to whatever format you want. Legally you don't
Writing as somebody who spent a huge amount of effort scanning texts decades ago because I felt it was much better to study them through a word processor, if somebody told me I had no legal right I would have briskly protested fullest fair use. But of course, in those times electronic copies for sale did not exist. In that academic context, my whole interest was for the text, not for its container.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
It would also put a lot of eBook shops out of business.
I do not see why. And I did not know we had so many. (Any sources? Does a "list" exist? Maybe here in this site? Real interest. Most references to books around are links to realms of Bezos', as if he shared the profits.)

And really, for cultural preservation I see warehouse-like stores as much more important than post-postal (the goods come to you, you do not go to the goods) resellers. Culture moves in places of exchange, places where visitors may meet. Samarkand, the market.

Last edited by mdp; 11-29-2020 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 03:55 PM   #12
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People weren't using it because they didn't know it existed.

Probably didn't help that there were approximately zero books that offered it.

EDIT: Regarding Kinde Matchbook I mean
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Deskisamess View Post
Personally, I don't want a paper copy and a digital copy.

[...] They take up a lot of space, must be dusted, stored, and boxed and carried if we move. [....] I'll always have some paper books, ... I do like seeing books, so most every room in my house have some
On the one hand those items are a burden, on the other they are simply relatively burdenous wealth - you yourself are noting the two sides. That wealth is, on one aspect, a burden, is a cultural acquisition since the times we had one cloak of fur and a knife.

More to the point, there is an asymmetry. Entitlement to the digital copy can hardly justify demands for also having the object. But if you buy a paper copy you may benefit from also getting a digital one. That is a gain, a plus - if unneeded, fine, but all expansions of options are "a blessing".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtel View Post
Either I want paper (books with large color pictures/photos) or I want digital (all books mostly consisting of text).
Well, that is a case limit. I instead see a lot of overlapping.
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:28 PM   #14
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Verso Books do this. You always get the ebook for free if you buy their pbook. The ebook is watermarked with your name and email.

I buy the physical editions of my most favorite books so I'm in full favor of this.

Last edited by tourneur; 11-29-2020 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 11-29-2020, 04:34 PM   #15
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I think a lot of smaller publshers do that (perhaps without the social Fair Use Circumvention Kit) if you buy through them
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