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Libraries should only lend ebooks '26 times'

Libraries should only lend ebooks '26 times'

Books are replaced on average after 26 loans, claims HarperCollins.

UK publisher HarperCollins has hit out at libraries in the US in an attempt to stop ebooks being lent more than 26 times.

Clearly concerned about revenues from replacement books, HarperCollins claims that the average library book is replaced after 26 loans. After this time, the library replaces the book, providing a revenue stream for publishers that's as old as libraries themselves.

With the advent of ebooks, this revenue stream is under threat - there's simply no need to replace an ebook. Ever. However, according to an article in The Guardian, HarperCollins' sales president, Josh Marwell, believes that's only fair: 26, he claims, is the average number of loans a print book would survive before having to be replaced.

However, the article also mentions a statement by Philip Bradley, vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. He says: 'Clearly, printed books last a lot longer than 26 loans.' US librarians have also hit back, posting videos on YouTube of a mint condition book that has been borrowed 48 times, and another that's still in perfectly serviceable condition after 120 loans.

Should publishers such as HarperCollins be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, should they be allowed to limit the number of loans for ebooks in libraries? Let us know in the forums.

69 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
outlawaol 7th March 2011, 11:07 Quote
I think to keep revenue up a compromise of 60 loans should be set. its a fair number and will keep the bozo's in business longer (even though their field will change in the next 10-20 years)
Instagib 7th March 2011, 11:16 Quote
The sooner publisher go under the better. They stifle creativity and prevent some genuine talent from being published...

On the flip-side, they do prevent far more rubbish from being published.
Amsalpedalb 7th March 2011, 11:29 Quote
Given it would cost effectively nothing to 'replace' an ebook (and no printing or distribution costs in the first place), I have to wonder why they feel they're entitled to the same revenue.
SpaceBaby 7th March 2011, 11:29 Quote
how do you loan an ebook?

is it down to the customer to delete it when the time runs out or something? what's to stop them from keeping it?
theevilelephant 7th March 2011, 11:32 Quote
Don't most libraries sell their old books when they are no longer good enough quality to loan? I know mine did. If so will they be allowed to sell ebooks after their limited number of loans?
mjm25 7th March 2011, 11:42 Quote
Fair point, If you want publishers to keep going then they've gotta get their moolah from somewhere... it's more likely to go down the route of a library renting the books from the publisher in the end.
Picarro 7th March 2011, 11:46 Quote
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.
Xyllian 7th March 2011, 11:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

This.
sofalover 7th March 2011, 12:03 Quote
So begins the death rattle of the publishing industry....

Thought they would have seen it coming years ago, and now we have ridiculous suggestions like this one coming from an industry in panic.
How about we all just pay Josh Marwell sales president of HarperCollins to flick off.
SMIFFYDUDE 7th March 2011, 12:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

I'll let you trawl through the absolute dross that will be submitted so you can recommend to the rest of us the 1 or 2 out of every 1000 that are worth reading.
thom804 7th March 2011, 12:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

Which would then lead to you having to sift through the crap to get to anything half decent apart from the 'most popular' section, just like the Appstore... Sounds like great fun.
Omega Point 7th March 2011, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

Amazon already have a self-publishing system for their Kindle Store. The problem with removing publishers is that they provide other services such as promotion and more importantly proof-reading and editing.
Paradigm Shifter 7th March 2011, 12:14 Quote
Absolute nonsense. Before my local library went through 'refurbishment' and tossed out every book they had that was older than about 1990 (or it seemed like it) they had a number of books published in the 40's, 50's and 60's... all yellowed with age, but all still perfectly readable, with spines in good condition and no pages missing. I have no idea how many times they were released on loan, but I would suspect that it was far more than just 26 times, given the fact that the loanstamp insert gets replaced when it's full, and can easily have upwards of 40 datestamps on it if they're put on neatly.

This smells of horseapples because they're frightened that digital copies means that they'll be obsolete.
greypilgers 7th March 2011, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyllian
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

This.

I shall publish a book stating the earth is flat, women cannot drive, men with a monobrow are werewolves, and all african americans have rhythm. As it is published, so shall it be true...

;o)
Bede 7th March 2011, 12:14 Quote
Unfortunately the 'App store for books' would be drenched in fan fiction, probably 18-rated, in about 30 seconds :D Publishers do a reasonable job of ensuring mostly only good stuff gets to market - it's a system that seems to work. Most of the people who use libraries are of an older generation than us, less comfortable with the internet; making them trawl through 'Hermione Granger and the Centaurs' filth is a little harsh :P
SMIFFYDUDE 7th March 2011, 12:16 Quote
lol
adidan 7th March 2011, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.
Lol, nice idea but even the very best writers need others to read over it and say what should be kept/discarded and/or changed.

Everybody thinks they could be a writer but what they think is fantastic is often dross. I don't fancy ploughing my way through a myriad of crap TBH.

If there was a direct route for all authors then there would be far more competiion and so the need for advertising would increase dramatically, this is what a lot of the publishers costs go on and is no different for an ebook or a regular book.
Unknownsock 7th March 2011, 12:36 Quote
I'm surprised you can 'lend' e-books at all.

Although i don't use them to I wouldn't know.
digitaldave 7th March 2011, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE


I'll let you trawl through the absolute dross that will be submitted so you can recommend to the rest of us the 1 or 2 out of every 1000 that are worth reading.

this is exactly how beatport is now, anyone can sell their music and the net result is 99.99% of new music is very very poor and sounds the same.
[PUNK] crompers 7th March 2011, 12:40 Quote
this is foolish, if they're going to charge it should be like a rental system to the library and thats fair enough, but putting a number of loans on the figure is stupid. it should be you have the licence to this ebook for 3 months, for so much money, foolish man.
Picarro 7th March 2011, 12:47 Quote
Couldn't they make some kind of eBook membership requirement for the library's? Something like 9.95$ a month for free rental of eBooks?
mclean007 7th March 2011, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.
Hmm... the quality would go massively downhill without the publishers' proofing and editing process, and if everyone could publish the marketplace would be flooded with rubbish. It would be very difficult to filter the wheat from the chaff, and without the publishers' promotion efforts you'd miss some good stuff. Yes there'd be an Amazon style recommendations engine but chances are you'd end up sticking with authors you already know. My point is that I think there's still room for publishers to add value in a more distributed market, but their role has to change. Perhaps more of a hybrid agent / editor role.

There is also, and will for some time to come (if not always) be, a market for hard copy books, and self-publishing in hard copy isn't really a viable option for most authors. I can see their role becoming more of an agency printer type role in this regard.

As for eBooks, to be honest I don't really see there being a long term market in lending them. More likely in my view is the market will stabilise and prices will fall to the point where it's not seen as unreasonable to pay (say) £1 for an e-book (of which author takes maybe 70%, with 10% each for agent, publisher and distributor), which you can then read to your heart's content. Want to recommend it to your friend? Ok, your e-book reader might let you do that directly, and your friend then gets to read the first chapter free (can already do this with many titles on Kindle) and if they like it they pay £1 themselves for the full title.

Free libraries don't really have anywhere to fit in with that model. They're something of an anachronism in the 21st century e-book world. Nobody expects to get other forms of entertainment free - want to watch a movie? Either buy it, pay to stream it, or hand over a couple of quid to rent it. The idea of freely "lending" some ones and zeros to someone is very odd.

The alternative to libraries that I can foresee, which would be great for serious readers, is some form of subscription package, which would be to the current e-book buying model like Napster's paid streaming service is to iTunes / Amazon MP3 - an all-you-can-eat package for a fixed monthly fee.
javaman 7th March 2011, 13:06 Quote
TBH why would you even go to a library to download an ebook? Isn't that what the interenet is for?
Personally I wouldn't mind paying a small fee (ie. less than 50p) for each loan provided it was for a suitable length of time. After all, whats to stop you taking out a book hundreds of times and never actually paying for it? very few libraries replace books that often anyway, Heck there's books in queens older than me still being loaned on a daily basis!
Guinevere 7th March 2011, 13:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

You can already do that through Amazon, and it's being for ages via systems like Lulu. The reason self published books don't sell is there is no easy way to find the good among the dross, and people buy books they've heard of.

With the iOS appstore, you've got quality control before you submit. IE if it's buggy it won't get in the store, if it doesn't do what it should, it won't get in.

With books, who judges the quality? The copyright infringement? Legal and defamation issues? If the answer is "no-one" then any book in the top 25 and making money would be very quickly swamped by dozens of rubbish clones.

So in such an "open" system, you'd still have publishers promoting titles to get them heard about and bumped up with SEO, means it wouldn't be much easier for a fully independent to get seen than it is currently.
veland 7th March 2011, 13:15 Quote
A bit off-topic, but a Discworld quote is always good:

It was a puzzle why things were always dragged kicking and screaming. No one ever seemed to want to, for example, lead them gently by the hand. -- (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
Guinevere 7th March 2011, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
The idea of freely "lending" some ones and zeros to someone is very odd.

But libraries are an easy way to gain knowledge and entertainment. Not everyone has the internet, and for those that don't due to the cost or complexity of it, a library is a real life line to entertainment and reference.

It genuinely saddens me that someone finds it difficult to see the benefit of a free resource of books to a society.

Oh, and I don't borrow books from a library myself by the way, but I wouldn't dream of calling for libraries to close.
Obsidianflame 7th March 2011, 13:37 Quote
Evolve or die.
Tech NoOb 7th March 2011, 14:00 Quote
Why can't they make e-book rental like film rental?

Where you can buy the book/ film for a higher price or rent the book/ film for a limited time for a lower price.

If the e-book is under copyright of the publisher then they would make a SMALL amount of money every time the book is rented out just like films.
perplekks45 7th March 2011, 14:10 Quote
Ehrm... what?! Bullsh**.
azazel1024 7th March 2011, 14:21 Quote
My local library loans out eReaders that you can load up eBooks on. I agree on a royalty system for libraries. However, I think it should be based on a much lower rate. Overhead for eBooks is nothing like printed books. Obviously, real novels are much higher volume than what I am used too with publishing, but with around 20,000 print runs for large pamphlets (around 80 pages each, stiched, high quality high weight paper, etc) is around $1 per. Of course that takes in to account the printer making some profit. However, I doubt many publishing companies print in house.

So for, call it, a 350 page book I assume the publisher is paying at least $1, probably more like $1.50-2.00 per book to print. Then distribution costs. So in the end, an $8 books there is probably anything from $2-3 of overhead. On an eBook there is a tiny overhead if sold through the publisher, and some through some place like Amazon.

If we call it $6 per book proft (of course of that some goes as a royalty to the writer and maybe a royalty to artists, though that was probably flat fee work).

Books last a hell of a lot longer than 26 loans. Speaking as someone who worked for a university library for a couple of years and I am close friends with a municipal librarian in my county, average is probably more like 60-100 loans for fiction, a little more for non-fiction and probably more like 40-50 for childrens books. Of course sometimes it is a lot less, sometimes a lot more. Most univeristy library books tended to be loaned well over 200-300 times and last a good 40+ years. Frankly I think the royalty should take the place of an initial purchase.

Call it purchase price minus overhead divided by 100 and call it a day. By my math that works out to about 6 cents per loan no more and no initial cost.

At least as it stands in the states, there are no laws that say eBooks can't be loaned and nothing about royalty fees having to be paid on loans...so unless laws changed or are dramatically reinterpreted, publishing companies are up crap creek without a paddle.
dicobalt 7th March 2011, 14:31 Quote
Publishers are middle men that don't need to exist in the world of ebooks.
liratheal 7th March 2011, 15:41 Quote
Ha. Hahahaha.

That's one of the points of ebooks. They don't wear out

Silly man.
will_123 7th March 2011, 16:09 Quote
There will always have to be library's not everyone has access to kindles or ebooks or even the internet. Until such a time as everyone is online with access to these. I think there will be a need for them or something will need to provide access to services that a library does..?
whisperwolf 7th March 2011, 16:22 Quote
See I've not yet worked out why Libraries want to get into ebook lending, I can't quite work out why I'd want to walk to a building to download data, when I should be able to do that at home. Perhaps Libraries are diversifying a bit too much and should stick to loaning hard and paper back copies till the market for ebooks is a bit more stable, broad and needed by a larger mass of people.
supermonkey 7th March 2011, 17:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknownsock
I'm surprised you can 'lend' e-books at all.
The Kindle allows you to "loan" an e-book to another Kindle. The file copies over to the other device for 2 weeks, during which time it is unavailable on the original device. I'm curious how the publishers feel about me loaning a book more than 26 times.

A number of people have asked why a person should have to walk to a library to check out an e-book. Have you all checked your local library's e-book check out policy? Our library is set up to allow you to download e-book directly to your home computer or mobile device.

Unfortunately, all of their e-books are DRM loaded Adobe epub files, so they don't support the Kindle at this time.
Fizzban 7th March 2011, 17:51 Quote
tank_rider 7th March 2011, 19:11 Quote
I think the publishers are missing a point here that if there is no real storage costs to keeping ebooks then libraries no matter how small will all be able to stock more ebooks than regular printed ones and therefore will be buying more anyway. It will also mean they can get all the most up to date titles very quickly. I can see this becoming a paid for service though much like renting cds and dvds are in british libraries.
Whirly 7th March 2011, 19:53 Quote
There's nothing like seeing history repeat itself, is there? And there's nothing more foolish than ignoring the lessons of very recent history. Yet here we go again, only this time with the written word.

First we had the invention of the MP3 and the industry fought it like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....now we have an entire generation who feel it is normal to get music for free. Trying to get them to pay is becoming a nightmare for the industry.

Then we had the invention of the DivX and the industry fought it like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....now we have an entire generation who feel it is normal to get video for free. Trying to get them to pay is becoming a nightmare for the industry.

Now we are moving into an age of E-Readers and the industry is fighting like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....

If you ask me, it would be a good idea for them to rethink their distribution methods now to ensure people feel that they are getting value for money, because the lesson is, if you continue to cling to the old models, people get used to getting their entertainment for free, and re-educating them becomes nigh on impossible.
Fizzban 7th March 2011, 21:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirly
There's nothing like seeing history repeat itself, is there? And there's nothing more foolish than ignoring the lessons of very recent history. Yet here we go again, only this time with the written word.

First we had the invention of the MP3 and the industry fought it like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....now we have an entire generation who feel it is normal to get music for free. Trying to get them to pay is becoming a nightmare for the industry.

Then we had the invention of the DivX and the industry fought it like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....now we have an entire generation who feel it is normal to get video for free. Trying to get them to pay is becoming a nightmare for the industry.

Now we are moving into an age of E-Readers and the industry is fighting like mad, desperate to keep hold of their excess profits....

If you ask me, it would be a good idea for them to rethink their distribution methods now to ensure people feel that they are getting value for money, because the lesson is, if you continue to cling to the old models, people get used to getting their entertainment for free, and re-educating them becomes nigh on impossible.

Actually you have generation of people who BUY mp3's and AVI's online rather than purchase archaic forms of storage like CD's and DVD's. Written media sadly seems to be going the same way. I'm not sorry to see CD's go, good riddance..but I do fear for my beloved books.
l3v1ck 7th March 2011, 22:00 Quote
Do these publishers think they have some god given right to peoples money?
What next. Short term biodegradeable glue in paper books so they fall apart after eighteen months?
If they charge the same for an ebook in the first place, they'll make extra money from reduced costs (paper print etc).
We should have the same rights for our e-purchases as we do for our physical purchases.
supermonkey 7th March 2011, 22:03 Quote
"Free" distribution of media has been around long before MP3 and DivX came along. Before the internet, we used to swap audio and video tapes and make copies for ourselves. The internet and file-based media certainly made things easier, but file sharing has been around a long time.

With books, however, we have multiple generations of people who are used to free access to literature from their library. Libraries currently are facing stiff cuts due to the financial mess, and now they are facing increased costs for e-book files based on what seems at first glance to be a somewhat arbitrary figure. They already have to spend more money to increase hardware and software infrastructure to handle the increasing demand for digital content.

If a library has to re-purchase an e-book after it has been loaned 26 times, will publishers be willing to lower the price for a qualified institution? What costs will libraries face if this plan goes through?
Whirly 7th March 2011, 22:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
Actually you have generation of people who BUY mp3's and AVI's online rather than purchase archaic forms of storage like CD's and DVD's. Written media sadly seems to be going the same way. I'm not sorry to see CD's go, good riddance..but I do fear for my beloved books.

I have to disagree with you slightly on the buying of music and video. Certainly the iPod/phone/pad users are "buyers" due to their choice of fashion statement. But outside of that subset I would suggest that you would find a large percentage own mp3's that are not licensed. Still, I have no concrete research to back up my theory EXCEPT for the music and video industry's official statistics on how much piracy is costing them a year - figures that are so high they MUST mean that a very significant percentage of the population does not buy their music or video.

I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As for the idea of physical books becoming extinct, wash your mouth out for even saying such a thing and tempting fate! IMO the feel of a book is irreplaceable and ADDS to the reading experience (unlike the containers of other media). Nevertheless, I can see e-readers becoming the norm and books becoming a luxury experience. Sadly.
Fizzban 7th March 2011, 22:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirly
I have to disagree with you slightly on the buying of music and video. Certainly the iPod/phone/pad users are "buyers" due to their choice of fashion statement. But outside of that subset I would suggest that you would find a large percentage own mp3's that are not licensed. Still, I have no concrete research to back up my theory EXCEPT for the music and video industry's official statistics on how much piracy is costing them a year - figures that are so high they MUST mean that a very significant percentage of the population does not buy their music or video.

I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As for the idea of physical books becoming extinct, wash your mouth out for even saying such a thing and tempting fate! IMO the feel of a book is irreplaceable and ADDS to the reading experience (unlike the containers of other media). Nevertheless, I can see e-readers becoming the norm and books becoming a luxury experience. Sadly.

I agree with you on books, I love the feel of them and the smell and..well everything.

Of course there are those who don't pay for mp3s. But do you really trust the music industry on how much they are losing?? I don't. People were making copys on cassette tapes and ripping CD's long before mp3 came around. What we have seen is a decline in CD sales...but then who purchases a CD now when they can get it digitally and all ready for the mp3 player? No one.
deadsea 8th March 2011, 01:05 Quote
Maybe the libraries should just stop buying e-books from them. It's not as if e-books are any cheaper. Moreover, actual books are loaned out till they fall apart or are retired however long that may be and not some arbitrary 26 times.

Maybe they should just link e-book replacement to actual copies of the book. E-book gets replaced once a certain percentage of the library's hardcopies get replaced. But then again, considering the whole scent of a money grab this carries, I'd bet good money that it'll be a 1 to 1 ratio.
Bindibadgi 8th March 2011, 01:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

No, it wouldn't.

You'd have something akin to the internet today: 99% full of ****, 1% worth using. Where the genuine works of art are drowned out in a mass of spam and cheap crap. THAT is why Appstores have become so popular - to give a trustworthy, vetted source of paying for applications that work. They are the publishers of today.

Just type in "backup application" into Google and tell me, which of the thousands are worth paying for? Brand name only? :|

Physically, no, eBooks don't age, but how else would artists get money for their works? You can't sell directly because there are a million writers out there. Some kind of gatekeeper is unfortunately needed. This is even more important in keeping the quality of learning and informative works, which I would argue libraries are specifically designed for.

You have to also question whether libraries should also be "free" to ctrl+c, ctrl+p an eBook for everyone that might want to borrow it...? I mean, they are only borrowing it so would give it back anyway - how do you "give back" an eBook?
ZERO <ibis> 8th March 2011, 05:40 Quote
We all know that to make an e-book you first need to print a real book then photo copy it so it gets into a computer. After than you then burn the old book b/c you no longer need it. Then you also protect the one digital copy with drm so there can only be one. Thus for every additional copy you make a new book, photo copy it and then burn it. As this is how e-books are made I do not understand how anyone can say it costs nothing to make them. Clearly it even costs more than a real book b/c not only do you need to make a real book you also half to pay for the photo copy, the drm and the dire to burn the book. These high extra costs leave the industry with no choice but to charge a 100% markup every 26 uses. We should be glad they give us that many! Previously the physical books we would buy could only be used for 26 pages before turning to ash and requiring us to buy a new one.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
No, it wouldn't.

You'd have something akin to the internet today: 99% full of ****, 1% worth using. Where the genuine works of art are drowned out in a mass of spam and cheap crap.

That would only be the case for people too stupid to know how to use a search engine to find good data. Also the people who are too stupid to find good data would not be able to appropriate good data anyways in digital or physical for that matter so is anyone really losing here?

It is just like music, want people to listen to classical convince them they need good audio equipment once they have that and listen to classical they will be buying the **** off the shelves. I never thought I would listen to that stuff until I got audiophile grade equipment within a month I was buying box sets of classical music and other works so I could make quality flac rips myself. Technology opens new doors, we should not keep them closed becuase we fear the inability to filter what will come out.
Picarro 8th March 2011, 07:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
We all know that to make an e-book you first need to print a real book then photo copy it so it gets into a computer. After than you then burn the old book b/c you no longer need it. Then you also protect the one digital copy with drm so there can only be one. Thus for every additional copy you make a new book, photo copy it and then burn it. As this is how e-books are made I do not understand how anyone can say it costs nothing to make them. Clearly it even costs more than a real book b/c not only do you need to make a real book you also half to pay for the photo copy, the drm and the dire to burn the book. These high extra costs leave the industry with no choice but to charge a 100% markup every 26 uses. We should be glad they give us that many! Previously the physical books we would buy could only be used for 26 pages before turning to ash and requiring us to buy a new one.



That would only be the case for people too stupid to know how to use a search engine to find good data. Also the people who are too stupid to find good data would not be able to appropriate good data anyways in digital or physical for that matter so is anyone really losing here?

It is just like music, want people to listen to classical convince them they need good audio equipment once they have that and listen to classical they will be buying the **** off the shelves. I never thought I would listen to that stuff until I got audiophile grade equipment within a month I was buying box sets of classical music and other works so I could make quality flac rips myself. Technology opens new doors, we should not keep them closed becuase we fear the inability to filter what will come out.

You gotta be shitting me. No way that's real.
Bindibadgi 8th March 2011, 08:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
That would only be the case for people too stupid to know how to use a search engine to find good data. Also the people who are too stupid to find good data would not be able to appropriate good data anyways in digital or physical for that matter so is anyone really losing here?

It is just like music, want people to listen to classical convince them they need good audio equipment once they have that and listen to classical they will be buying the **** off the shelves. I never thought I would listen to that stuff until I got audiophile grade equipment within a month I was buying box sets of classical music and other works so I could make quality flac rips myself. Technology opens new doors, we should not keep them closed becuase we fear the inability to filter what will come out.

That's most of the world then. Why is Apple's App store very, very popular?
perplekks45 8th March 2011, 08:47 Quote
I'm really sorry that I missed the reason why this turned into yet another pirating discussion. :|

Anyway, publishers are useful to filter out all the crap and to make sure writer's/artists actually DO get (some of) the profit they deserve. Yet I still have to see a single valid argument being made why I would have to pay the same amount of money for an ebook as I'd pay for a "proper" paperback, never mind hardcover.

Just like many people in this thread and other discussions about ebooks have said before I absolutely love the "experience" of reading a book. Smelling it, turning the page, being able to walk to my bookshelves & just browse for a book I want to read now. This is something that's very hard to replicate with an ebook, in my opinion at least. Does this make me sound like a weirdo? I don't care. I grew up with books and, as long as they're available, will always prefer them to ebooks. Though I'd seriously consider getting a Kindle or Nook Color once they do the following:
  • make ebooks cheaper than paperbacks
  • massively increase the size of the back-catalogues
  • agree on a SINGLE DRM-free format

Until the industry reaches the state I'm looking/waiting for, ebooks are of no interest to me.
adidan 8th March 2011, 09:06 Quote
What happens when the electricity goes out and your batteries run down?

'I know, I'll just read a book by candlelight until the power's back on.....Oh, hang on....' :D
t1alek 8th March 2011, 11:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tank_rider
I think the publishers are missing a point here that if there is no real storage costs to keeping ebooks then libraries no matter how small will all be able to stock more ebooks than regular printed ones and therefore will be buying more anyway. It will also mean they can get all the most up to date titles very quickly. I can see this becoming a paid for service though much like renting cds and dvds are in british libraries.

Renting cd's and dvd's cost money in the UK? In my country cd's, dvd's and videogames are free to rent as long as you return them on time (at least for the time being and often with a limited selection) I even think some libraries will let you download some mp's from the confines of your own home. The same goes for e-books, which is rather convenient, when you're doing a school project etc.

I am very much part of a generation that is used to getting digital media for free (I'm 20yo) and converting me to a paid for service will be nigh on impossible, depending on the uptake of e-books publishers and authors must accept that their per-unit profit will decrease. This is unfortunate as some will cease operations, but it is the natural consequence of the evolution of media we are experiencing.
mclean007 8th March 2011, 11:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
You gotta be shitting me. No way that's real.
I think maybe you missed the sarcasm in that post.
mclean007 8th March 2011, 11:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZERO <ibis>
We all know that to make an e-book you first need to print a real book then photo copy it so it gets into a computer. After than you then burn the old book b/c you no longer need it. Then you also protect the one digital copy with drm so there can only be one. Thus for every additional copy you make a new book, photo copy it and then burn it. As this is how e-books are made I do not understand how anyone can say it costs nothing to make them. Clearly it even costs more than a real book b/c not only do you need to make a real book you also half to pay for the photo copy, the drm and the dire to burn the book. These high extra costs leave the industry with no choice but to charge a 100% markup every 26 uses. We should be glad they give us that many! Previously the physical books we would buy could only be used for 26 pages before turning to ash and requiring us to buy a new one.
Yes but then of course they save a bit because the book is printed and burned in the same building on the same day (no storage / transport costs) and then they recoup some of their costs by using the fire from the books to generate a proportion of the power needed to run the printing presses :D
mclean007 8th March 2011, 11:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
I still have to see a single valid argument being made why I would have to pay the same amount of money for an ebook as I'd pay for a "proper" paperback, never mind hardcover.
Couldn't agree more - I just got a Kindle and the price of some books for it is laughable, sometimes as high as or higher than the hardback. The only valid argument in favour of higher eBook prices is that (in the EU at least) they are subject to VAT (20% in the UK) whereas physical books aren't. This really should change, but I don't see it happening yet. Against that argument, however, is the fact that the marginal cost of producing one copy of an eBook is effectively zero. I'm guessing (hoping!) that prices will stabilise over time so that eBooks are consistently cheaper than their paper counterparts. Until then, I'm being selective and am only buying eBooks which are what I would counsider fairly priced (i.e. significantly cheaper than the paperback equivalent). Same goes for magazine subscriptions - I love the Economist but I'm not going to pay more for a Kindle subscription than I would for the hard copy to be printed and sent to me by post, with full colour images throughout. Yes there's no advertising on the Kindle edition, but I'm still not impressed. By contrast, the Spectator is fairly priced (£4 a month) and I'm all over it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Just like many people in this thread and other discussions about ebooks have said before I absolutely love the "experience" of reading a book. Smelling it, turning the page, being able to walk to my bookshelves & just browse for a book I want to read now. This is something that's very hard to replicate with an ebook, in my opinion at least. Does this make me sound like a weirdo? I don't care. I grew up with books and, as long as they're available, will always prefer them to ebooks.
I like the experience of reading a book, but then I quite like the experience of putting stylus to vinyl. At the end of the day, however, I've got very used to the convenience first of CDs, then of (high quality) digital music files, and I don't even own a record deck any more. Same goes for books - I love the phyiscality of reading a paper book, and they will always have shelf space in my house, but they can't compete with a device that fits in my coat pocket, stores more books than I'm likely to read in a lifetime, gives me access to a vast range of titles anywhere in the world in seconds, automatically downloads subscribed magazines, and can easily be read one-handed while holding on to the rail in an overcrowded commuter train. Since I got the Kindle, it's been the only reading material I've taken on my commute. Previously I'd always be carrying at least one, if not two books, maybe a magazine as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Though I'd seriously consider getting a Kindle or Nook Color once they do the following:
  • make ebooks cheaper than paperbacks
  • massively increase the size of the back-catalogues
  • agree on a SINGLE DRM-free format

Until the industry reaches the state I'm looking/waiting for, ebooks are of no interest to me.
We're getting there on items (1) and (2). Unfortunately I think you'll be waiting a long time for item (3). The various players are still fighting for supremacy in the market at the moment, and proprietary formats are here to stay for a while at least.
perplekks45 8th March 2011, 12:22 Quote
But I want my room full of books I've read when I'm old! :p

Yep, that's my plan, having a whole room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled to the absolute max... and I've read every single one of them. ;)
lacuna 8th March 2011, 12:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fizzban
What we have seen is a decline in CD sales...but then who purchases a CD now when they can get it digitally and all ready for the mp3 player? No one.

I do. I have never purchased an MP3 and shall continue to buy CD's for as long as I can. The quality gap is still vast even when compared to 'lossless' digital versions, mainly due to device being used as the source. Downloaded music/video/books is all just mass catering for the lazy; those who have lost their appreciation for a quality product and are happy with something which is 'good enough'.

Its depressing.
Paradigm Shifter 8th March 2011, 12:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
But I want my room full of books I've read when I'm old! :p

Yep, that's my plan, having a whole room with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled to the absolute max... and I've read every single one of them. ;)
Why just a room? Why not a whole house? :D

A wall isn't utilised to its utmost until it's covered from floor to ceiling with filled bookshelves! :D
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidan
What happens when the electricity goes out and your batteries run down?

'I know, I'll just read a book by candlelight until the power's back on.....Oh, hang on....' :D
Quite.;)
perplekks45 8th March 2011, 15:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
A wall isn't utilised to its utmost until it's covered from floor to ceiling with filled bookshelves! :D
QFT ;)
mclean007 8th March 2011, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by lacuna
The quality gap is still vast even when compared to 'lossless' digital versions, mainly due to device being used as the source.
Surely that's down to the quality of your hardware? Over a digital interconnect into a high quality DAC (I use the one in my Onkyo TX-SR 608 home cinema receiver, which is pretty good) the sound quality from a cleanly ripped and losslessly encoded digital version (don't forget a CD is a "digital version" too!) should be identical to that on the CD. In fact the digital bitstream *IS* identical, so the only difference is in the DAC. I accept that a super high end CD player may have a better DAC than my amp, but then the highest end CD players often use an external DAC anyway, so there's no reason why you couldn't connect your network streamer / PC directly to that for indistinguishable quality.
mclean007 8th March 2011, 15:19 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidan
What happens when the electricity goes out and your batteries run down?

'I know, I'll just read a book by candlelight until the power's back on.....Oh, hang on....' :D
Or you could read an eBook by candlelight on a Kindle or similar device, so what's the difference? Unles you plan on being somewhere where the electricity goes out for a month at a time and you can't charge it, in which case you may have bigger problems than reading a book. You'll probably have run out of candles, for starters.
Cthippo 9th March 2011, 03:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Picarro
Let the publishers die, and create something like an Appstore, just for books. Where everyone could submit. It would be awesome.

I agree with getting rid of publishers as they exist now.

Perhaps they could be replaced with editing houses which work on a fee-for-service or commission basis. Perhaps book reviewers will find a new role.

Either way, the current system is unsustainable and a better one is needed.
ZERO <ibis> 9th March 2011, 05:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
That's most of the world then. Why is Apple's App store very, very popular?

Likewise the reason their products are popular, who cares that you buying as long as the tv told you it was cool. On that note perhaps the real issue is to make the tv say smart things are cool...
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
Yes but then of course they save a bit because the book is printed and burned in the same building on the same day (no storage / transport costs) and then they recoup some of their costs by using the fire from the books to generate a proportion of the power needed to run the printing presses :D

No the books are burned in the sun to ensure they are not pirated somehow by preforming majic hacks on the ashes.


As for the comments referring to real books, I actually never really understood the appeal of e-books. As much as I am into computers and technology I much prefer to do extended reading on physical mediums like books and magazines. It is not even just the simplicity of the book either there is just a different experience that you get from the physical interaction that can not be replicated.
whisperwolf 9th March 2011, 08:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45

Anyway, publishers are useful to filter out all the crap and to make sure writer's/artists actually DO get (some of) the profit they deserve. Yet I still have to see a single valid argument being made why I would have to pay the same amount of money for an ebook as I'd pay for a "proper" paperback, never mind hardcover.

The only steps that differ in producing ebooks from paperbacks would be printing and distribution, that still leaves about 14 steps of the the 17 listed here by Charles stross, printing and distribution are actually a tiny amount of the total cost of a book, less than the 20% VAT currently imposed on ebooks, so they will be more expensive currently. Want to change that? write to your MP and ask that ebooks are given the same VAT exemption as books.
Quote:
Originally Posted by t1alek

I am very much part of a generation that is used to getting digital media for free (I'm 20yo) and converting me to a paid for service will be nigh on impossible, depending on the uptake of e-books publishers and authors must accept that their per-unit profit will decrease. This is unfortunate as some will cease operations, but it is the natural consequence of the evolution of media we are experiencing.

1. I take it that if you believe all digital media should be free, you produce media yourself and that the media you produce you make available under a creative commons licence? or that you volunteer wherever you work, as obviously no one needs money in this day and age?
2.I could point out that Authors get paid bugger all mostly. A 2004-2005 study showed Authors in the UK were earning a Mean annual income of £16,531 and a Median income of £4000. Taking just professional Authors this increases to Mean £28340 and Median £12330, this basically means that appart from the top 3-5% percent of authors like Rowling and Patterson who increase the Mean income, 50% of Authors earn less than £4000 a year from writing and you want them to earn less????????
supermonkey 9th March 2011, 14:00 Quote
I get the appeal of a physical book and I love the smell of the pages as much as the next guy, but I think a lot of the opposition to e-readers and the yearning for the real book experience is rooted in some romantic idea of the good old days. The imagery that comes to mind after reading this thread is beautiful - the tactile sensation of the delicate paper in your hands as you settle down on a comfy couch and rest your eyes on the candle lit pages of that old book.

How many of you think nothing of looking at pictures on a computer, rather than buying a physical print? I can wax poetic about the feel of quality fiber paper, and the subtle tones and details of a print that are often lost in a digital picture, but I have no problem flipping through a gallery of photos on my iPhone. The same can be said for music. I know a few people who talk about the "feel" of a record, with all of its pops and hisses, as if that made the listening experience more real.

I think e-readers are the next (techno)logical step in media consumption, especially when you consider their place in academia. I know for certain I would rather have spent less money on digital versions of college textbooks, and when I was in high school I wouldn't have had to worry about lugging around a pile of heavy books.
BLC 9th March 2011, 15:18 Quote
Judging by many of the comments in this thread, it seems that I've been going about this reading malarkey all wrong. It seems that what I should do with a book is fondle the pages and jam my nose into the spine to give it a damn good sniff.

I've read books from Tolkein to Tolstoy in both digital and dead-tree format; there is no difference between an ebook and a dead tree. What stands out is what the author has actually written: the story, the world they create, the language they use etc... What I remember about a book is what was actually written, not whether I happened to be lovingly fondling pages or pushing buttons to turn the page.

I'm not saying we should abandon print media. All I'm saying is that all these romanticised notions about the "physical experience of reading a book" are nonsense. If that's more important to you than what's actually written, then you are most certainly doing it wrong (and possibly have some kind of weird paper fetish).
adidan 11th March 2011, 17:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
You'll probably have run out of candles, for starters.
I have a lot of candles.
supermonkey 11th March 2011, 19:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by adidan
I have a lot of candles.
If I run out of candles I'll just download the flashlight app for my iPhone!
adidan 11th March 2011, 19:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
If I run out of candles I'll just download the flashlight app for my iPhone!
Do they do a *slap* app yet?
henrique_flory 14th March 2011, 03:06 Quote
As a publisher, writer and reader, I think it would be fair and interesting and much better to establish a "transfer cost", to be payed by the recipient, to any e-book borrowed, sold, rented, donated, etc. It's a good bet to put this price as 1/25 of the full price of the original e-book, but it would be a publisher's decision.

In this proposal an e-book would have two numbers: the original price and the transfer price, to be paid to the original vendor (amazon, for instance), the publisher (Harper, for instance) and, most important, the author.
So authors would have access to a new flow of money, making more interesting for everyone to write. Publishers would have more money to keep their work and vendors would help books flowing trough cyberspace, not seeing this as a threat any more
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