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Old 09-16-2019, 09:35 PM   #46
SteveEisenberg
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Your taxes equate to fractions of a cent per ebooks you borrow.
Hmm.

Let's say -- $110.00 per eBook. Since there are more than 11,000 people in my county, and the Overdrive collection is county-wide, you are correct. But, then, if you divide the number of people by the number of titles, it's a lot more than fractions.

I pay $50 a year to the Brooklyn Library, and I'm sure a lot more than that, in local taxes, to my county and township libraries. A bit of state taxes also go to libraries, although our state's support of libraries has declined. I also pay federal taxes for library services, most of which I can't take advantage of, but some of which I can. (I have a son-in-law in the reserves, and that's enough of a nexus to give us legitimate access to one collection.)

Before eBooks, I directly paid the local library almost what I now pay Brooklyn -- in fines. No fine revenue must be one of the rarely-mentioned disadvantages, to libraries, of eBooks.

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Publishers are running a business. Businesses are out to make a profit, they do not exist to serve the public.
I agree with most of your post so of course I'll pick out this one sentence I don't agree on

First, a lot of publishers are non-profit. University publishers are the obvious example.

Second, the idea that the only stakeholder a business should, or does, care about is the stockholders is both controversial and probably a minority view. I question whether most people who went into publishing did so because it was the most lucrative job they could possibly get -- although, admittedly, some did.

Of course, if the publishers don't care at all about financials, they won't be able to release lots of good books.

Some newspaper publishers are going non-profit due to the very bad financial conditions in their industry. Despite everything you read here, book publishers are the part of the publishing industry that has weathered the digital transition the best from a financial standpoint (I think that's a fact) and from an artistic standpoint (which I know is an opinion).
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Old 09-16-2019, 09:44 PM   #47
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What evidence is there that people will buy the book rather than wait? Seems to me that all the embargo will do is make people wait longer.

And why is there now apparently a special set of rules for e-books? Wouldn't the same logic apply to hardcover books? Why isn't Macmillan telling libraries they can have only one copy of a hardcover for the first eight weeks?

While I'm not all up in arms about this, I don't see how it's going to help increase sales; I think it's only going to inconvenience readers somewhat. As you noted, most of us have other books to read while we wait for a book, so why would be buy it instead?
Because people do like reading the next book from a favorite author or in a favorite series -now-, rather than later. This forum is ridiculously guilty of forgetting that they represent a microcosm of the world.

Why are ebooks special...

1) there is zero wear and tear on an ebook
2) they are never returned 'late', regardless of what the borrower does the manipulate their reader into allowing them to read longer, the library gets to lend the book out again right at the exact time the lend expires.
3) they take zero space up in a library and are always exactly where they should be/were placed by the system
4) You don't actually have to go to the library to get them, you don't even need to be awake when they become lendable to snag yours as long as you were on a wait list

If publishers wanted to impose the same limit on physical books I'd be fine with that as well, though I think some of the above differences do that to a certain degree.

Will this get Macmillian what they hope? I don't know, I would wager that the vast majority if not the entirety of this forum lacks the access that would be required to accurately answer this question with a degree of certainty. All they can do is say they'll continue only borrowing from the library (which is what a large number here have said) and fail to realize the publishers have already counted them out as potential buyers since nothing would change their stance.

This forum, not you in particular, also seems to suffer under the impression that the publishers owe them. This can be seen in any thread where ebook pricing gets discussed, you'll see this 'they set the prices too high!', concept. Always forgetting that prices are what the market will bear especially for luxury items like books.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:07 PM   #48
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Hmm.

Let's say -- $110.00 per eBook. Since there are more than 11,000 people in my county, and the Overdrive collection is county-wide, you are correct. But, then, if you divide the number of people by the number of titles, it's a lot more than fractions.

I pay $50 a year to the Brooklyn Library, and I'm sure a lot more than that, in local taxes, to my county and township libraries. A bit of state taxes also go to libraries, although our state's support of libraries has declined. I also pay federal taxes for library services, most of which I can't take advantage of, but some of which I can. (I have a son-in-law in the reserves, and that's enough of a nexus to give us legitimate access to one collection.)

Before eBooks, I directly paid the local library almost what I now pay Brooklyn -- in fines. No fine revenue must be one of the rarely-mentioned disadvantages, to libraries, of eBooks.


I agree with most of your post so of course I'll pick out this one sentence I don't agree on

First, a lot of publishers are non-profit. University publishers are the obvious example.

Second, the idea that the only stakeholder a business should, or does, care about is the stockholders is both controversial and probably a minority view. I question whether most people who went into publishing did so because it was the most lucrative job they could possibly get -- although, admittedly, some did.

Of course, if the publishers don't care at all about financials, they won't be able to release lots of good books.

Some newspaper publishers are going non-profit due to the very bad financial conditions in their industry. Despite everything you read here, book publishers are the part of the publishing industry that has weathered the digital transition the best from a financial standpoint (I think that's a fact) and from an artistic standpoint (which I know is an opinion).
You voluntarily pay 50 to the BPL outside of taxes, which is great, however taxes were what was being discussed. You most certainly do pay more than 50 in taxes in state and federal dollars, however if you do the research you'll find libraries are not the major beneficiaries of taxes people seem to think they are, instead they're more dependent on local money such as your 50$ which I presume is part of their member drive, and grants the money from which is generally exclusively for whatever the grant covers.

Now lets be generous and say 100 of your tax dollars actually go to the library, we'll add the 50 you give them. Further I'll even assume that the full 150 is only going for ebooks. Further lets assume the library only pays $9.99 per license (I'm 100% sure this isn't the case and that it's higher). Lets round that to a flat 10 just to make the math easier and the numbers prettier. 150/10 = 15, so once you've borrowed 15 books you're now on other peoples dime.

Yes I'm pulling numbers, but since we don't know how much of our taxes actually goes to the libraries and unless someone here works in the department for a library which deals with acquiring licenses we wont know those figures. Which is why I was generous to both in the above example.

Circling back to your example of 110 per ebook license, with 1,000 per a county which is a rather small county which would lead me to believe their library is going to be somewhat limited in the ebooks they get.

To continue using you as an example though BPL is a shared resource between Brooklyn and Queens as a base, however any NYS resident can get a BPL and NYPL card, and borrow ebooks using those cards. Which rather drastically raises the number of users of a system not all of whom are paying taxes which go into those libraries.

I'm even reasonably sure without checking that out of state people can get a NYPL or BPL card, though they may need to pay a fee and pay that fee again upon renewal of their card(s).

Now I'm sure the number of NYS and out of state residents who take advantage of this program are the minority, however I'm equally sure any NYC resident who is aware has merged their BPL and NYPL cards. All you need to do is visit a branch in Brooklyn/Queens to merge an existing NYPL card to a BPL account, or Manhattan, Bronx, or Staten Island with a BPL card to merge it to an NPL account. Rather trivial tasks.

So you now have a pool of millions drawing on the library resources. Lets also not forget that not all of those millions are paying taxes, we'll steer clear of those criminally not doing so and stick with kids/unemployed, etc. This is not to shame them, merely to remind everyone that they exist and are utilizing those resources, the library doesn't discriminate against them. But this means the dollars those tax payers do contribute to the library are stretched that much farther.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:12 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post

While I'm not all up in arms about this, I don't see how it's going to help increase sales;
It won't.
This is just a followup to Agency price hikes, which they thought would make readers buy print instead of digital.
Instead, it drove them to other vendors and libraries. (If we believe their claims.)
So now they block libraries, thinking *that* will drive readers to buy print.

When that fails, and it will, they'll drop ebooks altogether.
And that too will fail.

As Salon implies, it's not libraries or ebooks that's degrading their sales. It's their books. They're just not sticking on the wall.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:01 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
...

And why is there now apparently a special set of rules for e-books? Wouldn't the same logic apply to hardcover books? Why isn't Macmillan telling libraries they can have only one copy of a hardcover for the first eight weeks?

...
In case the above isn't rhetorical...

I believe it is some sort of legal distinction. The libraries can't legally "tell" a library they can only have one copy of a pbooks since they are buying a physical item, and fair use comes into play. Whereas for ebooks, they are buying a license, and the license agreement has the restrictions of only one copy, expiration, ...
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:06 AM   #51
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And why is there now apparently a special set of rules for e-books? Wouldn't the same logic apply to hardcover books? Why isn't Macmillan telling libraries they can have only one copy of a hardcover for the first eight weeks?
I'm sure if they could, they would.
But with pBooks, a library can just buy the books it wants from any distributor, the same as a bookstore can.
With eBooks, they can't do that, so the publisher has the ability to block purchases.

My take:
a) For any given book, having it available at libraries will (probably, but unprovably) reduce sales for that book, and reduce author and publisher profits.
b) That is true regardless of whether it is a pBook or an eBook.
c) That has always been considered an acceptable trade-off for the public good that libraries provide.
d) Publishers and some authors may disagree with that
e) Publishers now have the ability to block sales to libraries, which didn't exist before.
f) Some/many countries have systems in place to directly pay authors whenever their books are borrowed from libraries, which can provide a small but long-tail income which goes directly to the author. For some authors this may more than offset the lost sales.
g) Whether the availability of books in general at libraries is positive for long-term author and publisher profits, by encouraging more readers, is probably impossible to prove one way or the other.

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Old 09-17-2019, 06:09 AM   #52
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The libraries can't legally "tell" a library they can only have one copy of a pbooks since they are buying a physical item, and fair use comes into play.
Nitpick, it is first sale doctrine, not fail use.
Copyright simply doesn't come into play with pBook lending.

Cite: 17 U.S. Code § 109 (a)
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Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

Last edited by murraypaul; 09-17-2019 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 09-17-2019, 06:49 AM   #53
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Because that is what public libraries do, they lend books. And I pay tax dollars to support my local library system.

No one is talking about freebies here.
It's a freebie as far as the author is concerned.
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Old 09-17-2019, 07:21 AM   #54
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Nitpick, it is first sale doctrine, not fail use.
Copyright simply doesn't come into play with pBook lending.

Cite: 17 U.S. Code § 109 (a)
Nothing wrong with picking nits. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:20 AM   #55
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Hmm.

...

Second, the idea that the only stakeholder a business should, or does, care about is the stockholders is both controversial and probably a minority view. I question whether most people who went into publishing did so because it was the most lucrative job they could possibly get -- although, admittedly, some did.

Of course, if the publishers don't care at all about financials, they won't be able to release lots of good books.
...
It's a bit more than that, it's the law in the US. It's part of the fiduciary responsibility owed stockholders by corporate officers under federal law. I was a bit surprised when I saw that mentioned in an article I read about the corporate social justice movement. Wish I could find the article again since it cited the Federal law in question that was passed sometime in the mid 70's. I had thought that corporate officers were required to act in the corporation's best interest, not just the stockholders, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:55 AM   #56
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It's a bit more than that, it's the law in the US. It's part of the fiduciary responsibility owed stockholders by corporate officers under federal law. I was a bit surprised when I saw that mentioned in an article I read about the corporate social justice movement. Wish I could find the article again since it cited the Federal law in question that was passed sometime in the mid 70's. I had thought that corporate officers were required to act in the corporation's best interest, not just the stockholders, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
Well, technically, if the corporate officers act against the best interest of the corporation they are also acting against the best interests of the stockholders, since doing so will eventually lead to the closing of the company.

Shari
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:17 AM   #57
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Is it wrong for someone to drive on the road even though they paid a miniscule amount to pave the spot their car is on? Is it wrong for a kid to go to school even though their parents only paid a fraction in taxes for the cost of the education? Of course, the answer is no; that's how services work. You spread the cost over many and allow equal access to the service. Libraries work the same way as any other service. You can fiddle the costs to make things look bad for some, but it doesn't tell the whole story.
Nobody is saying "using the library is wrong". We are saying "the amount you pay in taxes....YOU pay....doesn't cover the cost of the books YOU read". You know...unless perhaps you only check out one or two books a year.

It's not bad. It's not wrong. But in the context of "how much of a hardship is it for the publishers to put a time window on when books are available for libraries"...the answer really is "it's a big nothing burger".
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:25 AM   #58
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What evidence is there that people will buy the book rather than wait? Seems to me that all the embargo will do is make people wait longer.
Great question. How about "paperback books sell" for evidence. Why would anyone pay $20 for a book that can be bought for $8? Ok...so a few people might like the bigger hard back format.

But most obviously, people buy they expensive hardback version (by the millions) because it's the only version on sale at the release of the book. The new release window of the book is where the most sales of the book that are going to happen, happen.

No? Why are the NYT's best sellers new books?

This is why the publishers went to war with Amazon. This is ALSO why Amazon chose to accept agency pricing over time windowing. That's right, Amazon COULD have maintained pricing control if Amazon were willing to not have access to sell ebooks during the "just released" time window.

Libraries want the books during the new release window too...EVEN THOUGH....most of their patrons won't get to read the book. The libraries get to HAVE the books when their patrons come to check it out....and get on a waiting list.

If libraries became known to "never have the new books you want to read"....people would become less likely to think of the library for getting books to read.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:46 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
It's a bit more than that, it's the law in the US. It's part of the fiduciary responsibility owed stockholders by corporate officers under federal law. I was a bit surprised when I saw that mentioned in an article I read about the corporate social justice movement. Wish I could find the article again since it cited the Federal law in question that was passed sometime in the mid 70's. I had thought that corporate officers were required to act in the corporation's best interest, not just the stockholders, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Well, technically, if the corporate officers act against the best interest of the corporation they are also acting against the best interests of the stockholders, since doing so will eventually lead to the closing of the company.

Shari

As reported last month in the New York Times:

Quote:
Nearly 200 chief executives, including the leaders of Apple, Pepsi and Walmart, tried on Monday to redefine the role of business in society — and how companies are perceived by an increasingly skeptical public.

Breaking with decades of long-held corporate orthodoxy, the Business Roundtable issued a statement on “the purpose of a corporation,” arguing that companies should no longer advance only the interests of shareholders. Instead, the group said, they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers.
Full NYT article here.

Business Roundtable statement here.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:23 AM   #60
Catlady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MGlitch View Post
To continue using you as an example though BPL is a shared resource between Brooklyn and Queens as a base, however any NYS resident can get a BPL and NYPL card, and borrow ebooks using those cards. Which rather drastically raises the number of users of a system not all of whom are paying taxes which go into those libraries.
Not quite. NYC has three library systems: NYPL, BPL, and Queens. A Queens card is separate and does not have reciprocity at NYPL and BPL (it did at one point, but not now); NYPL and BPL do have reciprocity with each other for residents, though you can get separate cards. I have a Queens card for Queens, and use a Brooklyn card for BPL and NYPL.

Quote:
I'm even reasonably sure without checking that out of state people can get a NYPL or BPL card, though they may need to pay a fee and pay that fee again upon renewal of their card(s).
No again. A nonresident BPL card is valid only at BPL; it cannot be used for NYPL, and NYPL does not offer a nonresident card for remote borrowing.

Quote:
Now I'm sure the number of NYS and out of state residents who take advantage of this program are the minority, however I'm equally sure any NYC resident who is aware has merged their BPL and NYPL cards. All you need to do is visit a branch in Brooklyn/Queens to merge an existing NYPL card to a BPL account, or Manhattan, Bronx, or Staten Island with a BPL card to merge it to an NPL account. Rather trivial tasks.
Again, Queens doesn't play nicely with the other systems. But as to the broader point, true enough, one needs only to go to a library in the two other systems to get the additional card(s).

Quote:
So you now have a pool of millions drawing on the library resources. Lets also not forget that not all of those millions are paying taxes, we'll steer clear of those criminally not doing so and stick with kids/unemployed, etc. This is not to shame them, merely to remind everyone that they exist and are utilizing those resources, the library doesn't discriminate against them. But this means the dollars those tax payers do contribute to the library are stretched that much farther.
The three NYC library systems are free for all NYS residents; this is not true of all other library systems the state, which either don't offer cards or charge a fee for NYS residents who don't live or work in their designated areas.

These are all technicalities, but NYC and particularly the great resource that is the NYPL are not typical. As a city resident, with a greater tax burden than other areas of the state, I guess I'm subsidizing borrowers from the suburbs and upstate, who can use my libraries while I can't use theirs. But so what?

Anyway, I'm not sure how any of this relates back to Macmillan's silly plan.
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