The Hurog Family

Other Authors => Favorite Odds and Ends => Topic started by: charmed on November 18, 2007, 10:54:56 am

Title: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: charmed on November 18, 2007, 10:54:56 am
I came across this article on another forum. It's a thought provoking look at books going digital and the future of printed books. What do you think?

http://www.newsweek.com/id/70983/page/1

Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Good Mazoku on November 18, 2007, 11:19:20 am
Well, it certainly has a certain appeal to it, but I think I'll stick to good ol' paperbacks. It's something to do with the feeling of paper under your hands, the way some books you love look like after you've read them so many times, the fact that sometimes you pass before your bookshelves and see a cover and you remember something that happened to you that's related to that book, things like these.
Call me a sentimentalist, but I need a book to be real in every way it can, for me to really enjoy it.  ;)
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on November 18, 2007, 01:08:09 pm
I just read the article, QC, and it's a reminder to all of us that we need to pay more attention to intellectual property law, digital standards, accessabilty, the dangers of privately owned, for profit, operating systems and standards that allow us access to our information.  The threat to the physical book (which I love too) is the least of our problems.  Talk about a brave new world.  Do we trust Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Google with something so important to our world?
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on December 29, 2007, 09:30:27 am
I was a pretty big nay-sayer on the whole idea of digital books.  From a usability standpoint, it's pretty hard to improve on a paperback!  However, due to Patty's rather voracious appetite for books (and the fact that my rather-small house can't accommodate her ever-growing collection) I just bought her the new Sony reader.   From a usability standpoint, it has several advantages: It's about the size of a paperback, and the cover opens and closes like one.  The display (electronic Ink) is very easy to read and consumes no energy except when turning pages.  With a two-gig memory card in place, she can carry several hundred books at one time, and place as many bookmarks as she wants.  This is the first time I've seen a reader that I think could replace a physical book.

RANT ON
The problem, naturally, is all the DRM (Digitial Rights Management) garbage that our corporate overlords see fit to shove into every possible offering.  I am a huge proponent of open standards.  The sony reader will read plain text, and pdf's (with a bit of coaxing, and if they're not too complex -- the computer inside this thing isn't very powerful).  But Sony's bookstore, which is the only place to get books in the preferred format for this reader, is slow, incomplete and fairly expensive.  I understand that we don't want the books to be uploaded and shared feely, but currently the trend is always to limit the consumer -- and in the end I'm never sure, with digital goods, just exactly what I've purchased.  Apparently the right to enjoy their material, for as long as they decide to let me, provided I never try to abandon their platform or do anything else that irritates "The Corporation".  That bothers me.
RANT OFF


On a gentler not, I also have some reservations about the way in which publishing firms are wording "digital rights" clauses in their contracts.  With paperback books, the author usually makes about 6% of the cover price.  That's not unreasonable, considering that the publisher bears the cost of actually producing the books, as well as all shipping, advertising and distribution, which ends up being a very large percentage of the final cost.

In digital contracts, many publishers are offering the author 10%, which seems generous until you realize that the production and distribution costs are essentially zero.  The do put some time into editing, and they may contract for cover art (though some purely-electronic editions don't even do that).  Essentially, the publisher is claiming that 90% of the value of the finished novel is due to their editing, which seems absurd.  We've met several editors, and have a good idea of how much they're not making.  Currently, the trend is for agents to tell authors, "Don't worry about digital rights -- they're such a small percentage of sales it's not worth fighting over them."  And, currently this is true, but every year digital sales get a little bigger.  The publishing companies are establishing a "standard" early, so that when the authors stand up and say, "It's not fair!", they can say "It's the industry standard, nothing we can do about it.  Take your 10% and be happy."  They'll be laughing all the way to the bank. This worries me.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on December 29, 2007, 11:43:35 am
I too am worried about the pricing on digital books.  How come they still cost 75% of the cost of a MM paperback?   I don't think the cost of book prep, distribution and marketing is close to zero, but it's not 3 bucks per book either!  There should be room for everyone to make a bit more money and give the buyer a break as well.

Thank you for commenting on the Sony reader.  I am interested is getting something as well, but Sony is one of the more nutty about DRM and I'd rather avoid that if I can.  At least it will use plain text.  I have heard whispers from some librarian friends about archival digital storage standards being considered by public libraries and schools.  I hope something good comes of it.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Rob on December 29, 2007, 12:05:57 pm
I'll keep my paper books....Thank-you very much!....for me the whole reading experiance includes turning actual physical pages myself, the texture of the pages and cover (whether they be Paper or hard back), and I even love the SMELL of books.  And for some reason I don't see myself getting that same warm, cozy feeling when I curl up with a computer as I do when I curl up with a book.  Call me crazy.  Why does everything have to be computerized?  Since I was a kid, I've dreamed of having one of those big old libraries full of books that you used to see in rich people's mansion and those old English manors.  (Takes a moment to drool over mental picture of wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelves full of books; and rich leather chairs and a big old oak desk.  And not a cumputer in sight....ahhhhhh)

To reiterate...I'll keep my paper books.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Has on December 29, 2007, 01:02:00 pm
I am becoming more open about the idea of e-books especially about the convienice and space saving aspect. However I dont like any of the devices and until there is one that cheap and is not DRM protected then I am going to stick with paper books. Although I think that ebooks can never take over the real thing- the smell and feel of it and using a device somehow feels impersonal. And I also dont like the fact that with new media - corporations are trying to take advantage of the whole thing - its a similar situation with the whole writers strikes and the internet/webisodes/downloads. :(  They are saying they wont make any money but they are especially when more and more people are using the net and ebook devices.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on December 29, 2007, 02:56:11 pm
Small confession here.   I'm really impressed with the hardware of the Sony reader.  It's also running a Linux kernel.  I'm predicting that my "band of brothers" (here's a shout-out to all you open-source code-monkeys out there!), will eventually work up a project to drop all of Sony's software and load it with something much more friendly. 

Hi, my name is Mike, and I've worked computer security for years.  I don't like secrets, I don't like DRM, and I don't much care for corporations telling me what I can do with the content I've purchased.  I DO believe in copyright, but I'll take all my content with a heaping helping of open standards please.   

Also, regarding DRM, there's always been a fly in that ointment.  In order for the product the work, the vendor has to supply both the lock (the drm'd content) and the key (a reader that can unlock it).  Any time you supply both the lock and the key, some genius is going to figure out how to duplicate the key, extract the content, and repackage it without the lock. . . and the Sony format looks pretty weak.  I had my hex editor running on it the day after Christmas, and it looks almost like  "pdf-light" with a simple encryption wrapper around it. 



Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on December 30, 2007, 09:01:36 am
One of my favorite and important philosophic ideas was presented in an accounting class.  All trade is based on the belief we can trust who we trade with.  If by and large we couldn't do that we would not have human civilization.  The idea of ownership is one step behind that basic requirement of trust in the underpinning of commerce.  If we don't own something we can't give or recieve something.  All else are layers of complications based on the nature of things and the fact that we have a real hard time being civil human beings sometimes. 

But I think trust is required for all positive human interaction.  So, if we choose to be social human beings we need to be both trustworthy and trusting.

I wish the folks on some of these corporate boards would take a basic accounting class every once in a while!
And learn to be better humans rather than better owners.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on December 30, 2007, 11:12:25 am
One of my favorite and important philosophic ideas was presented in an accounting class.  All trade is based on the belief we can trust who we trade with.  If by and large we couldn't do that we would not have human civilization.  The idea of ownership is one step behind that basic requirement of trust in the underpinning of commerce.  If we don't own something we can't give or recieve something.  All else are layers of complications based on the nature of things and the fact that we have a real hard time being civil human beings sometimes. 

But I think trust is required for all positive human interaction.  So, if we choose to be social human beings we need to be both trustworthy and trusting.

I wish the folks on some of these corporate boards would take a basic accounting class every once in a while!
And learn to be better humans rather than better owners.

Wow -- that's a really elegant and easy to understand way of putting things.  Obviously, at least for me, trust in corporate America is breaking down.  Possibly because I've spent months of my life trying to rescue critical data stored in various "proprietary and secure" formats after the company that locked the data up went belly up, leaving the customer holding the bag.  But that's a much bigger problem than the future of reading.

Back to the topic -- I'm kind of excited about the potential for some of the newest technologies to actually improve on the paperback experience.  From a hardware standpoint, I think Sony's e-reader is the best I've seen so far.   The Kindle(sp) from Amazon, however, has some really nice ideas -- the embedded networking means that you can access a dictionary or thesaurus from anywhere, or even order new content.  I think the actual hardware looks kind of cheap and clunky, but they did put some good thought into it.

The Electronic Ink technology is just amazing -- I've seen reviewers complaining about the lack of a backlight and imperfect contrast, but the basic concept gets a huge thumbs up.  The display isn't a light-bulb (like most LCD screens) and can be viewed from any angle.  It's much easier on the eyes than LCD or CRT displays -- and the resolution is good enough that text looks crisp and clean.  Because it only uses energy when changing the display a modest battery can last for days of reading -- finally some independence from the electrical socket!  There's room for improvement, but this is really the first-generation release of this technology, and I'm pretty wowed.   Even better, this technology doesn't need to be embedded in a heavy, flat display (though the current models are), it can be deployed on a flexible plastic film. 

 I keep envisioning a small booklet of 20-30 pages of electronic paper, displaying a book a chapter or so at a time.  You could literally flip the pages back and forth just like a real book.  When you get to the end of the chapter, press a button, and the same pages hold the next chapter.

I don't know what the future will bring.  I do know that our personal library is several thousand volumes.  Every time we move I end up packing close to 200 very heavy book-boxes with us.  Storage space for that many books isn't free, and finding the one you want is sometimes a challenge.  I love books, but I look at that little Sony reader, and I think about the multiple 500 gig hard drives on my computer, and I can't help but think I'm looking at the future. ;D
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Perkinator on December 30, 2007, 12:07:30 pm
What interesting posts. My book collection is beyond overwhelming (I used to be a librarian, we would get the wholesalers discount on personal orders) I tried downloading books on my laptop, but the snuggle/comfort factor just isn't there yet. Lounging on the couch reading a book off the laptop is NOT comfortable. I will have to look into getting a reader eventually.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on December 30, 2007, 07:53:37 pm
Thank you sincerely for your assessment of 2 of the first practical ereaders.  I too love books.  But I also love living more lightly on the Earth.  Most of my library is currently in storage in the basement (a full pallet of boxes).  I miss my books!  But they will stay there until my partner and I find a place of our own.   That space will be intentionally small.  I don't want all that much  house to care for and I don't want to spend an excess of my time, energy or resources on things that are just things.  I want room for only what I treasure and I think a smaller space helps encourage that type of living.  But I don't want to give up my fluff books either so it looks like I'll be getting some kind of reader soon. ;)
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on December 30, 2007, 09:12:56 pm
But I also love living more lightly on the Earth.  Most of my library is currently in storage in the basement (a full pallet of boxes).

Ouch.  We're pretty "green" in most respects, but we're probably responsible for the deforestation of entire third-world countries when it comes to paper.  We leave a footprint like Godzilla.  I WISH we had a pallet of book boxes -- I've got three units of industrial shelving stacked floor to ceiling, two bookcases in the house, and Patty's office is stuffed full of bookcases and boxes that won't fit anywhere else. :(
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on December 30, 2007, 09:29:02 pm
Small confession here.   I'm really impressed with the hardware of the Sony reader.  It's also running a Linux kernel.  I'm predicting that my "band of brothers" (here's a shout-out to all you open-source code-monkeys out there!), will eventually work up a project to drop all of Sony's software and load it with something much more friendly. 

Hi, my name is Mike, and I've worked computer security for years.  I don't like secrets, I don't like DRM, and I don't much care for corporations telling me what I can do with the content I've purchased.  I DO believe in copyright, but I'll take all my content with a heaping helping of open standards please.   

Also, regarding DRM, there's always been a fly in that ointment.  In order for the product the work, the vendor has to supply both the lock (the drm'd content) and the key (a reader that can unlock it).  Any time you supply both the lock and the key, some genius is going to figure out how to duplicate the key, extract the content, and repackage it without the lock. . . and the Sony format looks pretty weak.  I had my hex editor running on it the day after Christmas, and it looks almost like  "pdf-light" with a simple encryption wrapper around it. 


Hi, my name is Jackie, and I've worked in computer security for a few years, too.  I think open, non-proprietary standards for information storage and exchange is key to keeping open electronic communication. And open electronic communication is a key to world peace and more prosperity for all of us. (I could support why I think so, but it would be at least a long essay  ;) ) I know security is necessary.  I know I want privacy and how far I can generally trust my fellow humans.  But the way DRM is being done now doesn't work.  We can and will do better with a nonproprietary solution.

Well, boys and girls, I hope you're out there coding, because I'm in here waiting for a new way to read a book!
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on December 30, 2007, 10:09:49 pm
But I also love living more lightly on the Earth.  Most of my library is currently in storage in the basement (a full pallet of boxes).

Ouch.  We're pretty "green" in most respects, but we're probably responsible for the deforestation of entire third-world countries when it comes to paper.  We leave a footprint like Godzilla.  I WISH we had a pallet of book boxes -- I've got three units of industrial shelving stacked floor to ceiling, two bookcases in the house, and Patty's office is stuffed full of bookcases and boxes that won't fit anywhere else. :(

It used to be 2 pallets, but one was lost to a basement flood. :-[  I really want that reader so I can start replacing those books.

I hope we all choose to live in a more enviromentally aware way.  But I certainly don't want anyone telling me how I should live unless it is absolutely necessary. (ie no murdering other people, no starting fires, etc...)
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: charmed on December 30, 2007, 10:16:08 pm
A month after I posted it, this topic is suddenly on fire!!  ;D

I am enjoying reading everyone's thoughts. I too have shelves and boxes of book, but no pallets yet. :D While I prefer the comfort and familiarity of a paper book, a reader would sure help with the space problem.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on December 30, 2007, 10:16:22 pm
Something else to consider is that there are a lot of conversion utilities to convert documents between various formats.  While I'm sure these really anger the various ebook sellers, they do provide a means to convert from proprietary formats to more open ones.  You can also convert from bulky formats (like PDF) to whatever works best on your reader. 

Here's a page that links quite a few of them:
http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_conversion
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: AnemicOak on January 15, 2008, 01:50:38 pm
I went ahead & bought a Sony 505 in October & have read about 70 books on it so far.  I have to say I love it & it's getting to the point where I dislike having to buy a new dead tree book when there's no ebook version available (thankfully Patty's books are available).  My paper library has gotten to the point (about 2,000 books) that I'm simply out of room.  My Reader has 160 titles on it & take up no more space than if I had 1 book on it.

Ideally every publisher would handle ebooks the way Baen does (some free titles, no DRM), but because many Publishers, Agents & Authors are afraid of piracy I think we'll see DRM for some time to come unfortunately (although the music industry is getting away from it).


I generally refuse to buy DRM books (unless I can crack & convert them for my own use).  I buy all my books as MS Reader books because I can easily convert them to work on my Sony (very easy to do) & at the same time can easily shift to another format like Mobipocket or HTML if I decide to change devices sometime in the future.  If publishers want me to buy a DRM book (one I can't crack & convert) they need to lower the price to a buck or two because it's basically like renting the book, not owning it.


For anyone interested in ebook devices (Sony, Cybook, Amazon, etc) http://www.mobileread.com is a great place to learn & get questions answered.


~Brian
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on January 15, 2008, 03:41:29 pm
Thanks! exactly what I was looking for. ;D
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Sylvia_Hui on January 16, 2008, 01:11:50 am
The only major hesitations i have at this point is

A.) I was waiting for a decent reader to come out that didn't look like i was trying to haul around a lap top sized device that had only one purpose.

B.) The sticker price of many published E-books can be higher then the trade/paperback price.

C.) Proprietary format and software. ANNOYING.


Things i do like about ebooks.

1. Nature friendly
2. Convenient availability, love book shopping at 3 am.
3. the ability to have many books without eating all the weight out of our allowance when the military makes us move again.
4. My son cant rip them to shreds if i forget to close up the reading room.


I think i will always go back and buy my favorites in print tho. I am really excited about the Mercy Hardcovers. They will look so great sitting on my book shelf.


Title: Talking about eBook readers..
Post by: Readsalot on January 22, 2008, 10:52:07 am
Hi everyone. I just wanted to put in my 2 cents on the subject of eBook readers since Mike was talking about them in his 1/12 news report. I travel A LOT for my job and love to read, so I have mucho books in ebook format. I also continue to buy hard copies too, because I do like to feel that paper copy in my hands, lol.

But, I found that I couldn't get every book I wanted in just one format, so I bought a PDA instead of a deadicated reader (such as Sony, Franklin, etc.). I now have books in MS document, HTML, PDB, PDF, LIT and PRC and probable a couple other formats. I can read my books on either my PDA or my PC's (desktop or laptop). Baen.com, Fictionwise.com and eReader.com get a lot of business from me and I have learned to love the convenience of ebooks.

I would recommend buying a PDA vs a ebook reader deadicated to only one format. Besides with a PDA you get a lot of other functions thrown in.

Any one else out there using ebooks?

Readsalot  :D
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 22, 2008, 11:29:45 pm
PDA's have several advantages.  For about the same price as a dedicated reader, you get a device with considerably more processing power (which is important for those huge PDF documents), support for many formats (and the ability to easily install additional software), considerable storage capacity,  and a host of other useful functions.   All good points, and great reasons to go with a PDA.

However, the dedicated readers have a few advantages as well.  They generally have a screen that is two or three times larger than a PDA, and more closely mimics paper.  While the screen lacks color, it is usually higher resolution than a PDA. They have a reduced set of controls, so you're not always popping up a spreadsheet or a calendar while trying to turn the page. They have a much longer battery life while reading (as a result of having a tiny processor, limited memory and a different display).

In the end, I guess it comes down to what you value in a reading experience and how willing you are to add another expensive trinket to your arsenal of consumer electronics  ;D.  I was really impressed with the ergonomics and "feel" of the little Sony reader -- it feels very "book-like", and I am very impressed by the screen.  For me, a PDA is too small, and strains my eyes after reading for a while, but that may be because I'm 44 and my eyes aren't quite what they  used to be  :(    The readers are ONLY good for reading lightly-formatted text, while the PDA can perform many tasks adequately. 
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: jackie on January 23, 2008, 08:15:54 am
I dream of a smart phone/pda withiout an MS OS on it (you know - reliable)  I have worked in IT for a while and have spent quite a bit of time with a variety of electronic leashes.  I want one object that will do most things consistently and not require me to get a new gadget to stuff in my already over burdened backpack.  Call it a cell phone though, because anything else they won't let you bring into court.  It doesn't matter that the cellphone can do all the bad things the other electronics can do, the cell is ok and nothing else is.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Readsalot on January 30, 2008, 11:58:59 am
For me, a PDA is too small, and strains my eyes after reading for a while, but that may be because I'm 44 and my eyes aren't quite what they  used to be  :(    The readers are ONLY good for reading lightly-formatted text, while the PDA can perform many tasks adequately. 

Your right about the size of PDA screens. I don't notice it anymore now that I gotten used to it. If one of those dedicated readers were a little more flexible about the file formats you could read on them I would go for the bigger screen too. Maybe I should check out one of those 1lb computers, lol. Now that would cost some big bucks for sure.
Title: Kindle affects sales, makes publishers uneasy
Post by: charmed on June 04, 2008, 07:29:32 pm
A while back I posted, in Chat I think, a link to an article on Kindle, Amazon's e-reader. Now,the NY Times has an article about the Kindle and it's effect on publishing.  Read it here. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/02/books/02bea.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)
Title: eBook Readers
Post by: munkee on June 07, 2008, 03:16:43 pm
I read on the site that you've purchased a Kindle (or perhaps I'm hoping you have) and I'm curious as to what you personally think of it. I've read the reviews, wafted the webpage under the hubby's nose and done all the hints to santa I can, but he's hesitant. A lot of people are saying wait for V 2.0 to come out before spending the money. What's your expereince with them?

AND if I'm totally off base, feel free to screen slap me and blow me off as weird then throw me back to the peanut gallery and let loose the mods. (it's a fun visual, no?)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Mike Briggs on June 07, 2008, 03:50:44 pm
Munkee:
Patty's still recuperating from her surgery, and is sleeping a lot.   She actually bought the Sony reader rather than the Kindle.  We've never even seen the Kindle, so I can't give you any firsthand information.  The Sony reader is a little smaller, a little sleeker, and uses the same digital ink display.  The display is great, and the reader works very nicely.

The biggest problem, at this time, with e-readers is that there are too many formats to support, and the DRM makes any investment in digital books a bit risky.  If you don't mind possibly facing DMCA violations (sorry, separate rant) you can always look at breaking the copy protection on your e-books and transcoding them to something like html that's fairly universal and not burdened with all the proprietary controls and limits of the formats being shoved at you by the sellers.   Naturally, I would never do something that smacks of illegality, regardless of how stupid the laws may be.  :o

Bottom line, the Kindle and the Sony Reader share some very good display technology, and are designed to "scratch the same itch".   Lots of reviewers have completely missed the point by trying to compare e-readers with laptops and PDA's.  It's apples and orangutans.  These are dedicated readers.  The processors are very small, to promote long battery life.  The digital ink is frankly, amazing.  Not quite as high-contrast as ink on paper, but very good.  Visible under nearly all lighting conditions (including full sun) and from nearly any angle.  Battery life is excellent -- a quick charge and you're good for a full day (or two or three) or reading. You can also haul hundreds of books around in one pocket, which is great for travelers.

These are the first two devices I've seen that represent a viable alternative to paper and ink books.  I'm sure there will be improvements in coming years, but I never thought I'd see anything that could replace a paperback.  The Sony has changed my mind, and the Kindle should be very similar.

The downsides are cost (you don't want to forget one of these at the beach), a slight loss of contrast, inability to display color, and a slight delay when flipping pages.  I liked the ergonomics of the Sony unit better.  It's software is functional, but nothing to write home about.  The Sony store (which is the easiest place to buy compatible books unless you're a lawless pirate), is likewise functional.  I'd give the software a "B" and the Sony store a "C".  I'm hoping they update the software one of these days.

The Kindle's built in wireless system would be really nice for travelers on the go, you can grab more books just about anywhere.  The Sony requires you to grab the books via your computer, then transfer them to the e-reader.    DearAuthor.com has a number of detailed reviews of both units.

Hope this helps.


Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: munkee on June 07, 2008, 04:02:44 pm
oh goodness please, don't wake her for this.

yes that did help quite a bit and I appriciate the info, I hadn't actually heard about the sony one, so I will give that some research time.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Mominator on June 20, 2008, 04:13:58 pm
My $.02, adjusted for inflation:

I got to play with the aforementioned Sony Reader at Miscon, and I was super impressed!  I really liked how it looked on the page (Mike's right, the e-paper is amazing), the total lack of glare issues made me squeal like a little girl, and I decided that I wanted one like NOW! 

The cons: I have a lot of books.  Replacing them with a reader file would be cost-prohibitive, but I could just start with new books, I suppose.  Also, what if the Reader breaks?  No books makes Momi somewhat cranky.  I am not sure what their repair/replacement policy is, so I would probably wait for people like Mike and Patty to pave the way as early adopters of the new tech.

You might also note that the Sony Reader is, like the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, slightly cheaper.  :)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Cole on June 23, 2008, 07:30:23 pm
i took a look at the kindle and the sony reader and the kindle seemed much more user friendly to me i want one but in an article in newsweek the kindle 2.0 is to have a color screen and the kindle is more like the size and weight of a paperback book than the sony
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: e_booklover on June 24, 2008, 09:15:46 am
Cole,
Do you have any idea of the timeframe for Kindle 2.0 release?  I much prefer real books but there are times when I might have weight/size limits on luggage and it could come in handy.
Thanks,
e_booklover
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Cole on June 24, 2008, 10:19:15 am
no i dont know but i think it is still in the middle of design and if you take technology like video game systems next gen stuff dont come out for at least 5 years and ipod stuff didnt upgrade for almost 3 years so itll be awhile since both the kindle and the sony are fairly new products
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: e_booklover on June 24, 2008, 11:04:20 am
Thanks :)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: munkee on June 25, 2008, 05:23:41 am
Now suddenly, I'm not so sure I want one.
I read a review where the hubby got his wife one and she loved the technology of it, but missed the paper feel, the ink smell and was under constant stress of the read as she couldn't tell exactly how much book she had left. I realized, I do that quite a bit. Especially when I'm reading at night and my hubby's like, you coming to bed soon? So 'll flip to where the chapter ends, tell him how many pages I have left (read a chapter beyond what I quoted) and then head to bed. I'm not sure you can do that with an electronic device.
I think I would miss the thickness of the book, realizing I'm too darn close to the end of the book and knowing my storyline isn't resolved hense a series which both excites me and horrifies me as I have to WAIT for the next book to resolve open plot lines. I don't think the published books will ever die off. I'm not sure the kindle or the reader will be that popular...People will buy them and then realize there's something serioulsy lacking about them as they read. I dunno, I could be wrong, but now I've en empty feeling where a want once was that was crushed by the realization that my toy wasn't exactly what I thought it would be....
Ah well, I'll survive.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: DogPatch on June 25, 2008, 10:24:47 am
Especially when I'm reading at night and my hubby's like, you coming to bed soon? So 'll flip to where the chapter ends, tell him how many pages I have left (read a chapter beyond what I quoted) and then head to bed.

I'm laughing too hard to type... ;D  Thought I was the only one to do that to poor hubby. 

This made my day, Munkee.  Thanks! :-*
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Dianne on June 25, 2008, 11:17:50 am
I'm going to throw in my 2cents...I've had an e-reader (which only reads books) and quickly outgrew it.

This time I bought a Dell Axim.

I love it.  It supports every kind of format, you can have the screen scroll for one handed reading, enlarge the font, have access to the 'net , charge it in the car, at home or anywhere in between.  Use it for movie or audio down-loads too.  You get to choose what you want it to do when you buy it.  Extra batteries better case (for clumsy people like me)  add a card/s to it for bigger files you may not want to keep in the body of the beast (like War and Peace LOL)

You can book mark pages and read it without a light on.
 You can usually use it for 2 or 4 hours before it need recharging and if that isn't convenient you can get it with a larger battery or even extra rechargable batteries.
It will never replace written pages and a brick and mortar book store.  But when I'm traveling or out of the house I keep it with me and always have an entire library at my fingertips.  And I mean at least 300 books or more at a time.  I find it awkward to keep more than one or two choices in my purse on any given day, and i would hate to scare you with the number of books I traveled with until I bought this.  Plus if you like more...errrr...erotic books and are a tad embarrassed by the covers or even where you have to go for them, well this is a solution LOL!
No you can't download books without being near a 'puter, but there aren't many places you can go without at least so Internet access!

OK I used up my 2 cents sorry for the rave!
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: e_booklover on June 25, 2008, 04:45:31 pm
II find it awkward to keep more than one or two choices in my purse on any given day, and i would hate to scare you with the number of books I traveled with until I bought this.  Plus if you like more...errrr...erotic books and are a tad embarrassed by the covers or even where you have to go for them, well this is a solution LOL!

I snipped your quote.  Lol certainly makes sense to me.  I could appreciate not having to worry about ensuring your book is face down and upside down from any casual observers.  :)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Cole on June 27, 2008, 01:09:37 am
my aunt has a samsung because she likes to read erotic books but commutes to work on a public train so now nobody has to know what she is reading when there is no "cover"
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: DogPatch on June 27, 2008, 03:20:25 am
My sister used to make covers with titles like "Lost Books of the Bible" and "Have you Been Saved?" that would fit over her, uh, more 'pleasurable' reading. 8) 

I want to buy a reader, but the price is way out of the budget.  Plus, all the choices.  I think I will wait until the dust settles, and one format/manufacturer takes the lead.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Eryl on June 27, 2008, 11:11:40 am
Wel, I bought the first Sony eReader last year, and bought the new one when it came out (they are on version 2 now).  I gave the old one to my friend, and we both use them alot.  They are very useful for the subway ride to and from work, and traveling (both on the airplane, and staying some other place without having to bring 3 or 6 or 12 books with -- heavy). 

I also buy alot of ebooks from the various epublishers, and the computer screen was destroying my eyes.  So mostly what I keep on the ereader are ebooks and new releases that are either hardcover or I got so impatient I couldn't wait till tomorrow to go to the book store to get it.  I've got several duplicates, in print and ebook form.  The ereader is so convenient, but when I'm home, I do like to read print books.

As for missing the feel (and smell) of books, well, ereaders are not designed to REPLACE books, but to be an additional means of reading.  Really, they're only aimed at people who buy many books (I usually buy 4-8 books a week) and read all the time, and also people who read alot of efiction (I also buy several ebooks a week).  I'm very happy with it, and my library of print books.  I'll be keeping and reading both of them.  I also get to show it off alot on the metro, and I think I've sold a couple that way.  The screen is WONDERFUL.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: e_booklover on June 27, 2008, 12:10:18 pm
Thanks for clearing up some fuzzy things I was thinking :)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Elle on June 27, 2008, 03:37:59 pm
As for missing the feel (and smell) of books, well, ereaders are not designed to REPLACE books, but to be an additional means of reading.  Really, they're only aimed at people who buy many books (I usually buy 4-8 books a week) and read all the time, and also people who read alot of efiction (I also buy several ebooks a week).  I'm very happy with it, and my library of print books.  I'll be keeping and reading both of them.  I also get to show it off alot on the metro, and I think I've sold a couple that way.  The screen is WONDERFUL.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who travels with more than 10 books. :)

I picked up the sony e-reader and I LOVE it! I got it a couple of days ago and I want to go on trips just to take the reader with me.

Like most of the readers here I don't think it will ever replace my love of the book and I won't stop buying books because I have the reader but I will buy more ebooks and have already. I'm sure the honeymoon period will wear off in a year or so...but right now I'm totally infatuated with it.  :P
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Timesdragonfly on July 01, 2008, 03:23:25 pm
I have a Kindle and I LOVE it. It's super easy to read, in fact I read faster with it. It's portable and easy to use.
It Does have some draw backs though, I'm finding that some books just aren't offered on the Kindle yet. There will be one or two of the series availible, but not all of them. It's frustrating. IDK, I'd wait a while if I wasn't such a tech addict. I'm guessing the next versions will be better, and more books will be availiable soon!
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: Elle on December 27, 2008, 09:34:33 pm
I have a Sony ebook reader. Love it. Probably my favorite tech purchase in the last year.

One glich though that annoys me. I think it's my fault anyway but still annoying. I have a 4G card in it and every once in a while the reader will not so much freeze but slow down considerably and blank and I'll lose all the collections that I've created.

The books will still be there but I'll have to go into the Sony library and re-create my collections and put the books back in it. I need to do some research to see if anyone else is having that problem.
Title: Re: Reinventig the Book:The Future of reading
Post by: gryphon340 on December 28, 2008, 08:26:38 am
How much editing can for a DRM, I mean most is done on electronic format when turn over to the Publisher from what read on other blogs (this may not total accurat.) Then when it sent to the printer they computer for the "Plates" now. Since DRM is still in infantcy you as authors may want to jump on the econmics before 90% becomes custmary.
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: Snoopy on December 30, 2008, 12:44:38 am
Hm, water and paper pages don't mix too well, either, as I know from experience. :) Though you can still read them, usually, and you didn't pay quite as much for the book as for the e-reader, which would end up completely broken I suppose...

I know that I'm getting one as soon as I have enough money saved, since I like to travel, and then it's always the question of which five books to pack, and I always end up with at least ten crammed in bags and suitcases somewhere. :)

For the couch-or-bed reading, though, paperback will stay my favourite.
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: bengrenell on January 03, 2009, 09:45:00 am
I pretty much feel like most people. The feel of a book in the hand can't be replaced by an electronic reader. The thing is that both can co-exist very nicely. For storage and portability electronic books are "the bomb". For the sheer joy of plowing through a book nothing will ever replace turning REAL pages. I should like to add one more medium. Audio. Audio books are both storage and portable friendly PLUS they add another dimension to the tale if the narration is superb. It turns books into a bit more of a collaborative effort in a way. Something more like a play or a movie.
Title: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: The Deposed King on January 04, 2009, 10:16:22 pm
If you are going to keep control of your e-books you need to do something like what Baen books has done.  Have a large on-line community that loves fantasy/sci-fi books, buys all the e-books they can get their hands on and when all on their lonesome they come across e-piracy of baen books publically flaggelate the erstwhile pirate.  Saying that there is already free library if they're too poor to pay and that hundreds of cheap e-books without DRM are available to be had.

www.webscriptions.com




The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: AnemicOak on January 05, 2009, 01:05:19 pm
I read the posting on the main page about piracy and ebooks and while I agree that commercially available ebooks make piracy easier piracy didn't start once publishers started selling e-versions.  In fact there are still a few publishers that refuse to sell ebooks, but yet in a matter of days, for popular authors, the books can still be found posted on the internet.  Some of the scans produced are of a higher quality than a publishers eventual commercial ebook offering.  Patty's books have, unfortunately, been available as scans for years.  I do agree 100% it's up to the author do decide if their work should be given away.

Baen's model is nice, but I don't think any of the bigger publishers are going to go for it anytime soon (Tor is going to be available from them soon, but that's the biggest at this point).  Baen also doesn't set a $20-$25 srp on Hard Cover equivalents which is nice.

DRM, at least in it's current form, is horrible.  I'm basically renting a book for the price of owning a printed version.  Maybe not a big deal for folks who don't re-read books, but I've been known to re-read certain favorites dozens of times.  If they want to sell DRM'd books then they should be priced more like the rentals they are.

Unfortunately I don't think most publishers even understand DRM.  It's not like it stops piracy, all it does is make life tough for those of us who spend our money on ebooks and would like to be able to continue to enjoy them even if we switch devices.  The music industry is dumping DRM for the most part, hopefully the publishing industry will follow suit.

Many of the downloaders of pirated books (music, whatever) are hoarders who never even read all the books they've downloaded.  While that has nothing to do with the right or wrong of things I do believe it means every download isn't a lost print sale.


Not sure what the answer is.  Is there an answer that's fair to everyone (Publishers, Authors & Readers)?


Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on January 05, 2009, 10:13:29 pm
----Snip----

Baen's model is nice, but I don't think any of the bigger publishers are going to go for it anytime soon (Tor is going to be available from them soon, but that's the biggest at this point).  Baen also doesn't set a $20-$25 srp on Hard Cover equivalents which is nice.

----Snipt----



And in addition to Baen's model being nice, it has been proven that it in no way stops you from becoming a best selling author.  Just look at David Weber.  In fact the near cult following over at baen's online forum virtually ensures that if your book is a decent read you will have an instant fan base, ready and rearing to buy the book as soon as its available, so that they can read 3/4th's of the material they haven't yet got their hands on.

I agree that its the right of the author/publisher to decide if they want to put their works up in an e-book format.  However accepting that in the real world DRM does not stop piracy and that many authors as well as fans are extremely well satisfied with the Baen Books approach to e-books, I can't see how one wouldn't at least give it a try and test it.  Its not like an author has to blaze the unbroken trail entirely on their lonesome here.  There is a tested and proven method with a multi-year track record to follow.

Fact is newpapers are losing business and internet news is more and more dominating the field.  Ask yourself how many newspapers will still be around in printed format once the non-computerized/internet generations are no longer a significant fraction of the high paying population.  How many less when those generations are gone completely?

I honestly expect electronic is the wave of the future.  The question to my mind is not if books will all be electronic but when and in what format.  And which e-formats are going to bring you the biggest Cha-Ching.




The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 07, 2009, 10:37:39 am
It looks like my mini-rant on the home page have provoked a couple of responses.  We've also gotten several emails (including a couple who were apparently afraid we'd sick lawyers on them if they admitted to downloading books).

Here's my thoughts:

Yes, Piracy existed before ebooks.  People would feed the book through a scanner with OCR, and then publish the text of the book.  However, the scans usually weren't perfect, and reading a book on a computer isn't really an ideal experience.  Most people experience eye fatigue after several hours of reading what amounts to text on a lightbulb! Under those conditions (which, BTW, is where Baen started) it's easy to see how someone might start a book on the computer, then decide to buy the paper version.   We didn't worry about it much.

What has changed, with the e-readers, is that electronic copy is now, in many respects, a superior reading experience.  Add in the space/storage advantage, and paper is probably doomed in the long run.  That's progress, and that's good.  It means even apartment dwellers can have a huge personal library.  It also means that, for a growing number of people, there's no incentive to buy the paper version of the book.

The problem with the e-books, of course is piracy.  Ideally, if you sell a book, there should be one book out there.  If Bob buys it, he can give it to Fred, but he shouldn't be able to print a NEW copy for Fred.  That paradigm, the basis for copyright, doesn't work well with electronic books. The publishers are TRYING to protect sales by adding DRM, which makes it more difficult to copy.  The problem with DRM, from a technical point, is that you need to supply both the locked content and the appropriate key to the customer.  As long as you supplyboth the lock and the key, any good nerd can eventually find a way to unlock the content, there is no way (except perhaps quantum computing) to defeat this problem.   So, the locks are ALWAYS faulty.

More important, DRM'd content inconveniences the honest customer.   If I pay for an e-book, I should own the stupid thing.  I should be able to copy it between as many reading devices as I own.  I shouldn't need to type a code, connect to a key server, or jump through any hoops to enjoy my content.   The pirate, of course, never has these concerns.  I recently bought a popular movie on DVD.  There were 10 minutes of unskippable ads up front, as well as the oh-so-annoying anti-piracy ads.  A friend downloaded a torrent of the same movie illegally, and his version doesn't have all that annoying junk.  Who got the better product?   When the pirate gets a better product than the paying customer, the publisher has a problem.    That's as true for books as it is for movies. 

Once we have content that's free from DRM, however, the piracy can start in earnest.  Yes, I know that not every download is a lost sale.  Some of those people would have borrowed from their friends, or wouldn't have read the book at all.  Heck, some people probably download books they have no intention of reading.  The problem is that, as ebooks beome the preferred way of reading, the percentage of lost sales increases.  Five years ago, pirated books represented a fraction of a percent of the total sales, and were easy to ignore.  Now, that percentage is much higher.  Why would a reader pay six or seven dollars for a DRM'd copy of a book, when they can download the same product in a more friendly format for free?  The simple answer is, they won't.

Baen did something pretty bold, by releasing a lot of books for free.  Mostly, he released the early books in popular series, which encouraged people to get caught up on (and in) the story, then head to the bookstore to grab the newest books in the series.  That works very well, and David Webber and other popular authors have done well with that technique.  Most of the other publishers are terrified of losing money, but I suspect many will eventually follow Baen's lead in releasing some books for free to promote interest (and sales!) of others.

However, it doesn't work if the newest books in the series are ALSO freely available from pirate sites.  Even Baen is having problems with piracy.  One copy of the book can be endlessly, perfectly, and freely distributed to many thousands of users on demand.  That makes making a living from book sales pretty difficult.

We've gotten letters from people saying, basically, that authors like Patty make more money than many of the readers, and we're simply being selfish by asking for money anyway.  They're downloading pirated books to protest our greed.  After all, if we were good people we'd give the books away for free.  I find that offensive -- how many of those people would volunteer to tell their boss they'd like to work for free?  How many would continue to show up to work every day if they didn't get a pay check at the end of the month?  Authors, for the most part, are not wealthy people.  They do what they do because they love it, but they have bills just like everyone else.   I don't object to libraries, to loaning books, or any number of other ways of enjoying a story without directly paying money, but it burns me up when folks claim they're justified in stealing books.  I drive a Toyota, and I work as hard as the guys driving Ferrari's.  However, if I steal a Ferrari the police are going to throw me in jail. You can't justify stealing (or technically, copyright infringement) on moral grounds. 

So, I'm back at square one.   I'd like Patty to continue to make a living writing.  She works hard (and so do I, for that matter) to produce a good story.   I worry that those who purchase an electronic book, which basically is a license to read the story, aren't getting the best value for their money.  They have to contend with DRM, they can't legally sell their e-book, and they paid almost as much as the paper version.  Something's wrong there.

I'm pretty convinced that e-books are going to rapidly dominate the market, and piracy is becoming ever more common.  In a world dominated by e-books, and without DRM (which I think is doomed), is there any room for a professional author?    Who would pay them, and why?   One thing's for sure, the future's going to be an exciting ride.



Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: james on January 07, 2009, 01:33:23 pm
I joined this forum because of Mike's rant.  I would like to say a few things about the whole e-piracy/DRM issue.

Baen Books started the Free Library about eight years ago.  Eric Flint started it in response to people clammoring for DRM.  He was (with Jim Baen) very much on the other side of the issue.  I recommend that you read his arguments for no DRM at www.baen.com/library/ (http://www.baen.com/library/).  The home page of the library gives the basic gist, and his Prime Palaver articles expand on it.  Further he has a ongoing article in the Baen Univerese magazine (salvos against Big Brother) that further expands on the issue.  Here is his basic summary:

1. Online piracy — while it is definitely illegal and immoral — is, as a practical problem, nothing more than (at most) a nuisance. We're talking brats stealing chewing gum, here, not the Barbary Pirates.

2. Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc.

3. Any cure which relies on tighter regulation of the market — especially the kind of extreme measures being advocated by some people — is far worse than the disease. As a widespread phenomenon rather than a nuisance, piracy occurs when artificial restrictions in the market jack up prices beyond what people think are reasonable. The "regulation-enforcement-more regulation" strategy is a bottomless pit which continually recreates (on a larger scale) the problem it supposedly solves. And that commercial effect is often compounded by the more general damage done to social and political freedom.


I think that he says it much better than I can (to be expected since he is an author and I am not).  I strongly recommend that anyone interested in this issue read the totaliaty of his arguments.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 07, 2009, 02:26:24 pm
James:
First, welcome to the forums.  For what it's worth, I agree with you entirely on DRM.  It causes more problems than it cures.  I also admire Jim Baen for being willing to let his authors make some of their works freely available.  In the current environment, that's proven to be a viable technique.

As far as piracy being merely a nuisance, I'm not convinced.  Certainly that's true today, piracy is still a VERY small percentage of the total books read.  However, as more people shift to e-readers as their primary reading material, I expect piracy to rise as well.  The way people read is changing, as are the social norms about downloading bootleg materials.   I'm not worried about this year, or next, but if current trends continue, piracy will become far more than an annoyance.

Note that I'm not suggesting a solution; I don't have one.  I'm not saying we need to abandon e-readers and shut down the torrents.  You can't stop progress, and you risk making a arse out of yourself if you try.   The buggy-whip makers faced the same sort of problem a hundred years ago, and they didn't legislate the car out of existence. I'm merely saying that, if current trends continue, the conventional model of an author collecting per-copy revenue for her work may become unsustainable.  Perhaps another model can be found, or perhaps books will be written only by hobbyists who do it for fame and recognition.  That's worked pretty well for open source software.  Maybe we'll end up with wealthy patrons who commission authors to write books to their specification the way music was done for years.   Who knows?  My crystal ball is defective.


Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Has on January 07, 2009, 02:30:41 pm
There is an interesting article at Dear Author about DRM and audiobooks which is also affected- pretty interesting as the US Governement is getting involved. Here in the UK the Sony Reader was just recently introduced - theres no sign of the Kindle and I dont think there is any plans for that to be here in the near future. But it was interesting to note that many commentators were saying that ereaders wont catch on here despite the successes of Itunes which is funny because I agree with Mike that wont definitely be the case.

Heres the link.
http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/01/07/will-the-government-finally-do-something-about-drm/
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on January 07, 2009, 04:03:28 pm
I find this whole discussion VERY interesting. And important to us all.

I agree with Mike on a variety of issues -

1. Copyright abuse is stealing and we shouldn't do it.  IMO, people who download pirated content are thieves - mistaken at best, cheating scum of the earth who need to be prosecuted at worst.  We who feel this way need to be vocal about our views so that the apropriate cultural limits are being applied.

2. DRM is not working in the form it is now.  It's not working for anything digital yet and it needs to.  It's an inconvenience to legal purchasers and not even that to the thieves. GRRRR

3.  Digital everything (including books) is here to stay.  The only question is how it happens. 



But I've had a few thoughts on this subject as well.
 
1.  Creators of intellectual property deserve recompense for the work to the extent that people are willing to pay for it.
 
2.  Publishers deserve recompense for the services and value they add to whatever they publish and make available on the market.

3.  Digital publishing and the Internet have made not only large scale piracy possible, but a huge open market for really cool, weird "stuff" the we could never hope to find buyers and sellers for.  This is truly wondrous and I want to see it continue.

4.  Not everyone who wants to publish necessarily wants money in return for their intellectual property, but they often do want protection from having their work corrupted or claimed by others (plagairism).

5.  When you buy a book or a picture or a song or a whatsit,  exactly what do you want?  I don't think we all necessarily want the same thing.  Maybe I want to read it once.  Maybe I love it and want to read it, and listen to it and touch it and keep it forever.  I think a smart publisher would make the content available in a variety of ways - a 1 month loan, a beautifully printed book, a score for orchestra or a MP3 file with a ton of meta data.....

6.  Authors should have as much controll of their work as they want and no more.  Publishers should get paid for what they produce.  And we should never sit still for paying more than we value it for, provided we are not taking something without permission (in other words stealing).  In other words, we are voting for how content is available and for how much by what we purchase.  If we don't pay for it, they won't make it.

But in the mean time,  if you can figure out a way for me to first "rent" an ebook for a month for a buck, and then go back and purchase a digital copy in perpetuity for another 10, I will be one of your first customers.  Especially if you're publishing, legally and ethically, my favorite authors.....

Except for Kindle, or iTunes, because right now you can only buy content from a single source.  I don't lightly accept monopolies.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on January 07, 2009, 06:30:30 pm
James:
First, welcome to the forums.  For what it's worth, I agree with you entirely on DRM.  It causes more problems than it cures.  I also admire Jim Baen for being willing to let his authors make some of their works freely available.  In the current environment, that's proven to be a viable technique.

As far as piracy being merely a nuisance, I'm not convinced.  Certainly that's true today, piracy is still a VERY small percentage of the total books read.  However, as more people shift to e-readers as their primary reading material, I expect piracy to rise as well.  The way people read is changing, as are the social norms about downloading bootleg materials.   I'm not worried about this year, or next, but if current trends continue, piracy will become far more than an annoyance.

Note that I'm not suggesting a solution; I don't have one.  I'm not saying we need to abandon e-readers and shut down the torrents.  You can't stop progress, and you risk making a arse out of yourself if you try.   The buggy-whip makers faced the same sort of problem a hundred years ago, and they didn't legislate the car out of existence. I'm merely saying that, if current trends continue, the conventional model of an author collecting per-copy revenue for her work may become unsustainable.  Perhaps another model can be found, or perhaps books will be written only by hobbyists who do it for fame and recognition.  That's worked pretty well for open source software.  Maybe we'll end up with wealthy patrons who commission authors to write books to their specification the way music was done for years.   Who knows?  My crystal ball is defective.




In the service industry some business models are predicated on up to 75% fraudulent credit card payments.  They make enough money on the 25% they actually receive, because the buying base is so expanded that they are making more than they would have otherwise.  Not saying factoring in a 75% piracy rate is a good thing.  But from what I've seen if can be a very profitable thing.

So if you can prove you're making more money than you would have.  And its not going to give you a heart attack from the mere thought of all those pirates.  Then I say go for the Cha-Ching.  Piracy much like taxes is simply the cost of doing business.  Until the pirates get organized there's not much we can do about them, without curtailing our own liberties to spite them of course.


The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 07, 2009, 10:23:39 pm
While there are indeed businesses that work with high rates of  fraud and "evaporation", there's a big problem there.  For example,  Hospitals and doctors quite often have to treat people who have no ability to pay.  Naturally, those losses are passed on to the paying customers.  So prices go up (why do you think a night at the hospital costs more than the Presidential suite at the Waldorf?), insurance rates climb.  A smaller percentage of people can then afford insurance, and the cost for the everyone else gets passed on to THOSE, and the rates climb. . . and presto! you have a health care crisis. 

According to 2006 figures (the latest I've seen) most authors a earn a bit less than 20K a year, which is below the poverty level in most states.  In order for them to survive with a 75% piracy rate, they'd need to quadruple the price on their books.  How many $32.00 paperbacks do you think they can sell, especially if the same book is freely available on a torrent?  Now MAYBE the wider dissemination of the books through piracy will prompt additional interest, and some percentage of those folks will actually be honest enough to purchase a copy.  If so, the effects may not be quite so dire, but why should SOME folks pay good money for the same product that many others get for free?

Fraud and piracy aren't truly victimless crimes -- the victims are all the honest customers who ultimately pick up the cost. 

Jackie: I love your idea of being able to "rent" an ebook for a month, or optionally buy a permanent version.  That would be awesome, but with our current technology, such control isn't possible.  Actually, that's probably fortunate, because if it were, probably the content industry would abuse it to force us to pay for each time we watch a DVD or listen to an album.  I think part of the problem is that the MPAA and RIAA have been such utter, pig-headed, money-grubbing pinheads that it's become accepted to pirate music and videos just to spite them.  The content industry (including some authors) wants to screw the customers, and many customers want something for nothing.  Coming up with a fair solution is too much for my tired brain.  :P
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on January 08, 2009, 08:58:01 am
No technology is current for very long, these days....
So if we don't like the product - including the marketing and packaging, we shouldn't buy it.  And let them know WHY we didn't buy it.

If we always do what we always did, we will continue to get the same darn thing. 
As far as digital commerce of content I know I want, I will continue to ask for what I want and NOT buy what I don't want.  The more that do the same, the sooner the producers will change their offerings.  And the sooner we vote for useful government controls and laws, the sooner they will improve.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: james on January 08, 2009, 02:14:08 pm
In the future it may be true that e-books will totally replace paper, but that time is not now.  Nor is likely to happen within our lifetimes.  E-readers are sufficiently expensive ($300+), and the advantages of e-books vs. paper are sufficiently small that such change will take place over a long time (if it actually happens).  This is not the same as CDs replacing records and tapes, or DVD replacing VHS.  It is more like velcro vs. the zipper.

The future is generally able to take care of itself.  Retail policies shouldn't be made because something may or may not be a major problem in 50 to 100 years.  New technoligies may come out that will make everything we discuss meaningless.  Instead of worrying about a future that may never come we should focus on e-books in the here and now, and the immediate future.

One thing that bothers me about this is the assumption that most people are dishonest, and would rather go out of their way to steal something then spend a little bit of money to get it legally.  My personal experience and the way our society works is based on exactly the opposite premise.  Sure there are examples where it has become socially acceptable to steal (ie pirating music), but you are likely to find that that acceptance happened because of the actions of the industry not the pirates.

As a rule people don't demand things be free, or even cheap (though cheap is good).  What they demand is the item they want at a reasonable price and hassle free.  They also want to know that if they buy something then they acutally own it, and can do what they want with it.  When an industry refuses to meet these criteria for no better reason than greed (and everyone knows that is the only motivating factor), then the people will simply bypass that industry.  If the industry does meet these criteria (like Baen), then theft of its products will not become socially acceptable.  In that case such theft will remain a very minor part of the industry.

Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on January 08, 2009, 03:04:59 pm
James, generally I agree with you.  The social rule that keeps the culture most civilized is tit for tat.  Hurt me and mine and I will hurt you.  Trade fairly with me and I will trade fairly with you.  Steal from me and I will steal from you. The most important, sustaining commercial practice we have is that it's good business to be honest.  I think the last year or so is the proof of that pudding.  Without a general trust in each other, we can't successfully trade.  So, let's mend our ways and do better.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on January 08, 2009, 06:47:46 pm
While there are indeed businesses that work with high rates of  fraud and "evaporation", there's a big problem there.  For example,  Hospitals and doctors quite often have to treat people who have no ability to pay.  Naturally, those losses are passed on to the paying customers.  So prices go up (why do you think a night at the hospital costs more than the Presidential suite at the Waldorf?), insurance rates climb.  A smaller percentage of people can then afford insurance, and the cost for the everyone else gets passed on to THOSE, and the rates climb. . . and presto! you have a health care crisis. 

According to 2006 figures (the latest I've seen) most authors a earn a bit less than 20K a year, which is below the poverty level in most states.  In order for them to survive with a 75% piracy rate, they'd need to quadruple the price on their books.  How many $32.00 paperbacks do you think they can sell, especially if the same book is freely available on a torrent?  Now MAYBE the wider dissemination of the books through piracy will prompt additional interest, and some percentage of those folks will actually be honest enough to purchase a copy.  If so, the effects may not be quite so dire, but why should SOME folks pay good money for the same product that many others get for free?

Fraud and piracy aren't truly victimless crimes -- the victims are all the honest customers who ultimately pick up the cost. 

Jackie: I love your idea of being able to "rent" an ebook for a month, or optionally buy a permanent version.  That would be awesome, but with our current technology, such control isn't possible.  Actually, that's probably fortunate, because if it were, probably the content industry would abuse it to force us to pay for each time we watch a DVD or listen to an album.  I think part of the problem is that the MPAA and RIAA have been such utter, pig-headed, money-grubbing pinheads that it's become accepted to pirate music and videos just to spite them.  The content industry (including some authors) wants to screw the customers, and many customers want something for nothing.  Coming up with a fair solution is too much for my tired brain.  :P



Or they could quadruple their purchasing base by reaching more paying customers and keep the costs the same or actually lower them. And I don't really hold much truck with the whole, piracy will disseminate the books among the masses and increase sales thing.  It might but I have no data to support such a thing.  However I do think that electronic availability and a good e-advertising program will expand your customer base and increase sales.  Having easily available e-books may increase the chances for piracy but it also increases the chances for genuine paying customers.  And since e-books are different from dead tree books, the theft of one doesn't mean you have to increase your unit costs.  A stolen paper book has a certain dollar cost to produce, the e-book cost is a fraction of that.

And honestly ask your friends who buy books, and find out how many of them pirate all or some of the books they read.  I bet its darned few of them.  The majority of people are going to pay for the books.  A hand full are going to try to rip off everything they can get their hands on.  But that the same as the rest of life.



The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: OTenshi on January 08, 2009, 07:15:35 pm
I seriously dislike piracy, if you like the media (CD, DVD, Book, Movie, etc) enough to want to watch/listen/read it that bad, buy the freaking thing!  You can rent from a store or borrow from a library just about anything these days.

I like Ereader.com's answer to piracy.  The books are locked with the purchasers' name and full credit card number.  To unlock the book to be read you need both. 
Now, I can think of ways around this, but it's a nice start.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: BiniBeans on January 09, 2009, 01:25:36 pm
Like James I have signed onto the forum for this discussion.
I am a bookaholic and really appreciate the way I can just go online and have a vast plethora of new books I can buy and read almost at once. I was lucky in as much as I have only lost three books to expired DRM rights so far. I certainly am not happy with that but ultimately I'd rather suffer this than lose the opportunity to instantly buy and read a new book of a series I collect a couple of hours or even a day earlier than the printed version of the same book could be delivered.

As to the piracy issue I cannot see how there is likely to be a solution that could stop it to any meaningful degree. If the industry comes up with a new version to secure their product some smart person somewhere will come up with a countermeasure. And propagating a new method to circumvent DRM can and will be distributed online in a flash for sure. So DRM doesn't make all that much sense to me. In addition I really have an aversion to anything that smacks of "big brother" type of control.

And what about all those second hand books being sold like on Amazon marketplace? Isn't that much more of a cut into the author's percentage of sold books because people buying them would have been much more likely to have bought a new copy otherwise than people who just download (steal) something for free?

In the end I can only hope and believe like James that humanity is inherently too decent and maybe also too smart to try and steal from those that create that which they love to read until those (authors) cannot afford to actually continue to write and publish more books anymore.

As to ebooks replacing paper books totally, I don't think it will happen quite that fast. Most of my friends and I at least still love to actually be able to hold a book in our hands, see it on our shelves or even smell it. Still ebooks are really convenient and also have the advantage of being environmentally more responsible. For me this means I mostly only still buy those books in print by author's that I love the most. So with those series I cannot do without (like the Mercy series and now of course the Alpha and Omega one as well) I usually end up with two versions of the same book as I travel a lot and like to take my favourite books with me in case the mood strikes me to reread them. On the other hand I am much quicker to buy a book by an author unknown to me as an ebook and since I can get the book instantly also spend much more time browsing for stories that might interest me. So overall the volume of books I buy per year since the arrival of ebooks has at least quadrupled and the majority of this increase is made up of ebooks. I can't believe I am the only one in this, so I'd expect the money lost through piracy is compensated to some degree at least by an increase of sales, is it not?

Oh, and by the way Deposed King thanks for the tip with Baen books, I can always use a new source.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 09, 2009, 07:59:21 pm
BiniBeans:
Well, thanks for signing on.  You know, it's been good to get a little broader perspective on things.  I suspect that eventually the publishers are going to have to give up on DRM.  As a customer, that would make e-books even more attractive than they already are.  We spend somewhere between $100 and $150 a month on books.  Patty trades in used ones, but there's so many good authors writing new stuff. . .

At this point, probably about 30% of our books are electronic.  However, the bookshelves are ALREADY crowded after moving to a new house, and electronic books are looking better all the time.  Do you know how many books fit on a  tiny 32Gig flash drive?  Lots!  Personally, I strip the DRM because I find it annoying, as most customers doubtless do.

I suppose I should have a little more faith in human goodness.  Really, for Patty, the piracy is just an annoyance, she's making a good living publishing and life is grand.  We know a number of e-published authors, who depend entirely on e-books, and they're not having such an easy time of it.

Hopefully, as e-books become even more popular, we'll find an equilibrium between price and demand where most people will continue to support their favorite authors.   Frankly, with virtually no production or distribution cost, e-books should sell for about half (or less) of a paperback, and most folks would throw a buck in the jar for a good read, I think.

Thanks for all the good thoughts guys, I appreciate it!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: AnemicOak on January 10, 2009, 04:41:03 pm
Quote
Yes, Piracy existed before ebooks.  People would feed the book through a scanner with OCR, and then publish the text of the book.  However, the scans usually weren't perfect, and reading a book on a computer isn't really an ideal experience.

A good percentage of pirated books are still scanned and OCR'd.  As a recent example there are copies of three books that just came out Sunny's new Mona Lisa book, Galenorn's new Sister's of the Moon book and Rachel Caine's new Morganville book.  While all three are available for sale as ebooks the copies floating around the darknet are scans and not commercial copies that have been un-DRM'd and converted.  There are also still publishers that don't put out ebooks, there books are still being pirated.  So while ebooks make it a ton easier even without them you see the popular authors works being pirated.  I've never tried scanning a book, but from what I've picked up if you have a halfway decent scanner and a copy of Abby Fine (OCR) a person who's got the techniques down can scan a book, proofread it and have it out in a few hours to a day.



I like Ereader.com's answer to piracy.  The books are locked with the purchasers' name and full credit card number.  To unlock the book to be read you need both. 
Now, I can think of ways around this, but it's a nice start.

Except it's already been broken, just like MS Reader & MobiPocket have.  I agree it's a friendlier DRM scheme in theory as it's not tied to a device like the others are, but to the user.  As long as you have a backup and keep your cc number filed away you'll be able to access the book theoretically forever.



A good example of why DRM sucks just cropped up.  Fictionwise who are one of the top eBook retailers is being dumped, without explanation, by one of their distributors (Over Drive, aka Content Serve).  As of 1/31/09 anyone who has a book in their FW bookshelf that was distributed by Over Drive will no longer have access to it.  Not a big deal immediately as one assumes you have copies downloaded for current use, but when you get a new device & need to re-download you'll be out of luck.  Now it's not as bad as it could have been.  Since FW owns eReader they've gotten together with publishers and most of those books will be replaced for folks with an eReader version.  It's not the same as having access to your copy in whatever your favored format is, but it is something (of course it benefits FW by getting their format into more user hands too for you cynical ones out there).  Now if this same thing were to happen to another retailer, say Books On Board, everyone would just be out of luck.

Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Daggertooth on January 11, 2009, 08:13:16 pm
I seriously dislike piracy, if you like the media (CD, DVD, Book, Movie, etc) enough to want to watch/listen/read it that bad, buy the freaking thing!  You can rent from a store or borrow from a library just about anything these days.
I'm not sure what you are getting at.  What is the difference in financial commitment between pirating a book and just renting it from the library?  Same with any other media.  Is it just the morality of how the media is acquired?  A legitimate free way vs perceived stealing?


I am just wondering if the numbers are significant enough to worry about with regards to ebooks.  The difference between going to the library and just downloading a free copy seems moot as the end result is the same.  I'm sure piracy will increase if the majority of books become ebooks.  whether or not that affects actual book sales or merely library visits I do not know.  I would hope that whatever happens authors will still be able to make a living writing books.


I don't support piracy, but I have been guilty of it in the past.  I wouldn't pirate any ebooks as I don't like the concept of the ebook.  something about straining my eyes to watch a computer screen for several hundred pages makes me shudder.  Plus I like to have the book in my hands and find some remote place away from everyone and everything just to sit and read.  No need for electricity or a battery that may not last several days.  Anyway, one time I downloaded a movie.  Now I've downloaded tv shows before and deleted them after I watched them, often just to catch up on a series going on at the time, but this was my first movie.  Fox entertainment somehow got wind of it and contacted my Internet provider who contacted me threatening to cancel my Internet if I did not delete the ill gotten goods.  Which of course I did.  Anyway, the reason I mention this is that I wonder how practical it would be for publishers to monitor their ebooks this strictly and if it was possible to police it in this way.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Sorikan on January 12, 2009, 03:13:38 pm
There are many good arguments in this thread, but I simply know this: (and so does Baen)

If I were allowed to pay $15,$20,$25 for an ebook version of Bone Crossed, RIGHT NOW, I would do so IMMEDIATELY, no questions asked! (Baen makes easy money this way)

There is absolutely no reason I should be forced to wait for a bunch of paperbacks to arrive in every dinky town so the book can be available on the same day for everyone. If you like to buy paper books (I do) then wait to do so. You dont like to(I usually buy ebooks first, if available, as I live in a small town with no real bookstore), then dont.

I have downloaded MANY books which I have sitting on my shelves simply so that I can have something to read, when I find myself on hold for extended periods, meetings, stuck in traffic, airports or any one of a dozen boring places. Does this make me a pirate? I dont think so. Do you?

Heck, if I could paypal Patricia Briggs $30 bucks and get an ecopy of Bone Crossed to read tonight, I would do it. (Have I said that enough?)

There will always be some form of DRM that is used in some percentage of any digital content market. There will always be thieves / pirates. I believe, and Baen has proven, that the greater (by far) percentage of people are honest and will pay for NON-DRM books if they can get them quickly, and when they want them. I know I do.

Me
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mominator on January 13, 2009, 04:08:03 pm
Another point:  How would you get your copies of e-books autographed by the authors at book signings???  Of course, some authors might view this as a plus, not a minus...   ;D

Back to lurking,
Momi
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on January 13, 2009, 06:42:36 pm
Another point:  How would you get your copies of e-books autographed by the authors at book signings???  Of course, some authors might view this as a plus, not a minus...   ;D

Back to lurking,
Momi

The author could make a personalized signature and scan it into his/her computer and then up load it into the copy of the e-book you were getting or e-mail it to the person?


The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Sorikan on January 14, 2009, 10:55:46 am
eBooks will NEVER totally replace paper based books.

I don't know what the eventual percentage will be with paper VS ebooks, but I would say that paper books will not drop below 30% for at least the next 15-20 years.

Me
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Carradee on January 14, 2009, 12:39:42 pm
If e-books were free, I'd buy paper books more often.  Why?  Because I'd be able to test the author and story before I found out it was a "keeper".  My library's fantasy section stinks, and I've been burned by too many stories that I loved 'til about halfway through when they died to risk buying a book that I don't know I want on my shelf.

That I live with my parents, who aren't happy when I read fantasy, much less when I buy it, also contributes to my selectivity.  I don't want to instigate more arguments.

If they were cheaper, say $1 or $2, I'd buy them more often.  I'm glad to know about Baen, and I'll definitely be checking them out.

So I definitely agree with the argument about pirating e-books likely helping print author's business, but with the caveat that it depends on the book.  I know of one author who's having problems about being unable to continue a series because not enough people are buying the books after the first one, and apparently a LOT of people are downloading those ones as pirated versions.  There's likely a connection.

I think of free e-books like I do fan films and fan fiction: it should be up to the author how he'll treat them.

So when I find my favorite authors' books as pirated e-books online, I contact 'em and send a link.

E-books would be nice to have, methinks (considering my overstocked bookshelves), but I often loan my books out.  I want to keep that ability.  And no way am I paying the same amount for something that cost a fraction to produce when I can get that nice, easily-loanable print copy.

If they were nice, cheap, pdf files?  I would buy e-books all the time.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Has on January 14, 2009, 12:53:10 pm
You know what would be perfect if there was a way to rent ebooks/books online like netflix but then after a week or so its deleted  or you have to send it back. I do know there is an book service like netflix but there isnt one available here in the UK and I am not sure if that was a successful venture- but its a great way to buy the ebook or order the paper copy if you enjoy the author or series. Most of my book purchases are for auto buy authors but I also definitely check out new/debut authors and I agree I get burned sometimes because it wasnt something that I expected.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Temari on January 14, 2009, 01:14:49 pm
I wonder if one solution is to release the e-book 6 months after the main release? So like Hardback-paperback - if you want the new thing you pay top price, if you don't have the money you wait. No easy copying of the 'must have' item would reduce piracy a lot I think. Who would bother to download a pirate film from 10 years ago? Just wait a week and some TV channel will probably screen it!

Having not enough money is no excuse for piracy. I'm waiting for Wolfsbane and Mistletoe in paperback (or when a sufficiently cheap 2nd hand hardback appears on the net). Eventually I'll read it. And enjoy it  :) If I was really hard-up I could get it from the library instead for free, just having to wait again.

I also agree with Mike's comments on author pay - writing is a vocation, not a money earner job. There are several writers whose books I love who stop because the writer hasn't the time between other earning jobs and the rest of their life to keep writing, and there's me going 'But your books are great'. It's not always enough.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Has on January 14, 2009, 01:17:45 pm
The thing about delaying the release of the ebook- wont stop pirates. They will just scan the paper copy - I even heard of translations of being done especially for popular books like Harry Potter. It was translated and released via ebooks and pirated paper copies before it was officially released in Asia.

Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Temari on January 14, 2009, 02:08:57 pm
I guess it's not so much stopping as reducing. If people are really determined they will always get a copy. The scanned ones are more likely to be poor quality though, so that should deter people.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Sorikan on January 14, 2009, 03:31:47 pm
I am serious though, I have the book on order at Amazon and will get it as soon as it is out.

But then I read that @#$%Z^&* SINGLE CHAPTER excerpt, and now I really, really want that @*&$^%#*&$ book!

I would, right now, pay.....$25 for an ecopy? Even though I will have the hardback soon.

Me
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on January 14, 2009, 06:20:11 pm
I am serious though, I have the book on order at Amazon and will get it as soon as it is out.

But then I read that @#$%Z^&* SINGLE CHAPTER excerpt, and now I really, really want that @*&$^%#*&$ book!

I would, right now, pay.....$25 for an ecopy? Even though I will have the hardback soon.

Me


Yeah that's the way it is for me with most of the good Baen books.  Read the first quarter of the book for free.  And then can't stand to wait for the next 5 months until it comes dead tree, and just purchase the E-arc for 15$ and call it good.  Plus my understanding from authors comments at Baen is that while E-books are a smaller market than dead tree, the authors actually get a larger percentage of the take and thus make more money.


The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Sorikan on January 15, 2009, 07:35:02 am
How could they not make more money? There are no outside companies to print, publish, ship, warehouse or sell the product.

I would think that alone adds what? 75% back to the author as none of the above are needed?

Me
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: mdauben on January 15, 2009, 07:48:01 pm
There has been a lot of talk about how much authors might be losing because of illegal copying and distribution of legal ebooks.  I have to wonder about the flip-side of that coin.  How much do authors lose when there isn't a legal ebook version of their titles available?

Honestly, I have not bought a dead tree copy of any fiction book in years.  All my fiction books have been ebooks.  I have come to prefer the convenience of the format.  I can download a new book in seconds instead of spending time and gas driving to the bookstore; I can carry around a dozen or more titles on my smart phone (which I would be carrying anyway); and I can store hundreds of ebooks (and I own hundreds of them) on my computer or on one or two DVD-R's, as opposed to costly and bulky bookshelfs.

There are so many good books available as legal ebooks each year, that I can't keep up, so if an author or their publisher won't release a title as an ebook, I probably just won't buy it.  Lost sale.   :(
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Honeywell on January 16, 2009, 07:07:42 pm
I don't own an e-book reader but I download e-books all the time because it's just that easy.  I freely admit it's stealing but it hasn't resulted in any lost sales from me, just the opposite.  I honestly consider and use torrents the same way I use my public library. 

A few examples: 

The Sookie Stackhouse Books, I've read for years how great they were but the covers and the summary just didn't interest me but with the increase of interest from the TV series when I saw a torrent I grabbed it.  Turns out I loved the series so I went out and bought all the books that were out in paper back.

Laurell K. Hamilton, I gave up on both of her series a couple books ago but when I saw them I downloaded them and gave the author another chance.  She didn't lose any money, I was done with the series and she actually had the potential to win back a reader. 

The Mercy Series, The reviews, sample chapters and covers sold me immediately and I ordered the first two without bothering to look for a "sample" and I pre-ordered the third.  I love the series but I don't buy hardcover books, ever.  I'm sure I'll read the book for free long before the paperback is released.  I'll buy the paperback when it comes out just because that's how I prefer to read my books and I'm sure I'll want to re-read it.

I can definitely see the potential problem, though.  I love the simplicity of e-books and if it wasn't for the DRM issues with the readers on the market I would already own one.  If I like reading a screen more than a paperback that's when it might get tricky but I'm pretty sure my honesty will rule out.   I just wanted to add the perspective of a pirate to the discussion.  I hope it doesn't offend anyone, particularly the author.   
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: bengrenell on January 17, 2009, 09:24:43 am
Perhaps you don't consider it to be bad because you go out and purchase the books anyway but I assure you that is not the case with most people who do illegal downloads. We live in a time and place where people who would never think of going into your house and stealing the painting you just completed feel perfectly OK about stealing your creative output as long as it can be done without the artist knowing about it.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on January 18, 2009, 09:05:34 pm
Good lord.  I just put a "hey, you like Patricia Briggs books, have you thought about joining her board?" comment up in Baen's and someone replied with "I heard a rumor she sent someone an eARC of Bone Crossed hoping it would be pirated, is there any truth to this?"

Well, I told them,
first, I don't believe there ARE e-ARCs of it,
second, what would it gain her?
And third, lookie here at this thread.

Wonder what'll happen from that?
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: pence on January 18, 2009, 09:19:18 pm
The expense of the readers discourages me - and if you drop it --- you are out an expensive reader and with some of the providers you have to repurchase the books as well as I understand it.  I'll keep my paper technology.  Even if I read and drop it in the bath tub I just swear and dry out the pages!  Plus I can hurl a disliked volume at the wall without inhibition.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: charmed on January 18, 2009, 09:42:59 pm
Good lord.  I just put a "hey, you like Patricia Briggs books, have you thought about joining her board?" comment up in Baen's and someone replied with "I heard a rumor she sent someone an eARC of Bone Crossed hoping it would be pirated, is there any truth to this?"

Well, I told them,
first, I don't believe there ARE e-ARCs of it,
second, what would it gain her?
And third, lookie here at this thread.

Wonder what'll happen from that?

Seriously? I am always amazed at the rumors that fly around, regardless if the subject is books, celebs or your next door neighbor.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on January 18, 2009, 09:47:24 pm
Well, if I recall, you've glanced in at Baen's, but don't care for the format and don't go there, but I kept the link to either his post or my reply, if you're interested.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: charmed on January 18, 2009, 09:48:53 pm
Well, if I recall, you've glanced in at Baen's, but don't care for the format and don't go there, but I kept the link to either his post or my reply, if you're interested.

Sure, pass it on. I haven't been there in many months.
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: Patti L. on January 18, 2009, 09:52:11 pm
Hear hear, Pence!  Try starting a fire or ten with an ebook reader, or wiping your -- never mind.
Try putting notes in the margins of the pages or signing your ebook to claim ownership.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on January 18, 2009, 09:54:29 pm
http://bar.baen.com/baen.books/3089/Re--Just-a-recommend--.html
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: charmed on January 18, 2009, 09:55:42 pm
I had to log in to access it.


Ok, we now return to our regularly scheduled program. :)
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on January 18, 2009, 10:06:16 pm
Anyone else who wants to look at the whole thing, once you log in to Baen's (and you may have to wait to be assigned a password, if you're not already a member), you click the word 'thread' and you can read everything in that thread from the initial post to the latest.  If you want to comment, don't - DO NOT click 'reply', click "Quote", so it copies the post you're replying to, some people recieve it in a format that doesn't relate what you've sent to what comes before without that.

I'm still all of a muddle about ebooks.  I think they should be less expensive than printed, and capable of beind downloaded from one electronic gadget a person owns to another belonging to the same person, but how would you enforce it?
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on January 18, 2009, 11:41:26 pm
Don't worry Patti, I'm in a muddle about book piracy as well.  I've read several other blogs on the topic over the past couple weeks, and to be honest I find most of the comments depressing.

Ebooks offer huge advantages over traditional books.  I used to think that there was no way any little gadget would ever replace a normal book, but now I think it's pretty much inevitable. The current e-readers are expensive and have some shortcomings.  But hey, I was around when Personal Computers were just a nerd-toy as well.   The ability to carry a library in your pocket is a seductive and powerful thing.  I would love to have all of my books in my jacket pocket, whenever I wanted them, and that's possible even with current technology.  In a few years, look out!   While publishers could continue to wage war with their consumers through aggressive DRM, I expect they'll eventually give up. 

Technology is changing the world, and generally that's a good thing. However, the business model that copyright was designed to protect is being rendered obsolete by technology.  Trying to restrict copying in a digital age is effectively impossible.  Frankly, copyright has been extended and bloated and twisted by corporate greed over the past fifty years to the point where I completely understand the public being gleeful at being able to circumvent it.  It was supposed to be a FAIR deal, where the authors got protection for a LIMITED TIME, and new material eventually landed in the public domain.  That model was broken by one-sided legislation. Now the public is simply taking whatever they want and declaring it public domain by fiat.

I've heard all sorts of excuses for copyright infringement.  Some people say that books are too expensive, and claim that they're protesting book prices by downloading pirated copies for free. Presumably, they'll quit pirating when books cost less than nothing.  Others claim that the authors are prostituting their talent by charging money, since real art is created out of love.  By not buying books they're trying to keep the art pure.  Others just think it awesome that their internet subscription includes free books!  Others espouse the "try-before-you-buy" approach, and reserve purchases for the really good books.  Quite a few well-meaning but ignorant folks are trying to ride the open-source bandwagon to free entertainment, pirating materials while chanting "information wants to be free".   Many bloggers have claimed that it's the responsibility of the authors to adapt, that they should give their books away and find alternate means of supporting themselves.  They point to musicians, many of whom now give recordings away and charge for concerts and kitsch.  How may people would pay $50 to hear an author the first chapter of their book in "concert"? 

In the end, the only thing that matters is that a large percentage of people expect something for nothing.  They have the technological means to take what they want, and they'll twist their morals and ethics into pretzels to justify it.  I don't think the torrents are going to slow down based on any sort of rational argument.  Why pay good money for something you can have for free? 

Patty's doing very well with paper books, and even managing to sell a few electronic copies.  Piracy is just an annoyance at this point in time.  E-published authors are having a much harder time of it. As more people move to e-readers, I expect to see an increased impact on traditional authors.   I'm very grateful for the good fortune we're currently enjoying, and I guess we'll just ride this pony as far as it takes us, and see where things end up.



Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: ArtAngel on January 19, 2009, 04:06:08 am
Quote
Others claim that the authors are prostituting their talent by charging money, since real art is created out of love.  By not buying books they're trying to keep the art pure.

These people aren't artists, are they ;D?
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: Talisman Maker on January 19, 2009, 04:29:52 am
I thought e-readers were a waste of money.  I mean, who wants to look at a computer screen to read a book, right?  Then I saw one of the Amazon Kindles.  ::drool:: one of the only ones with e-ink.  I find it very hard to switch off from the Kindle to an analog book now.  The advantages are enormous and so far I have only found one disadvantage to it.  I recently read an autobiography (of sorts) by Michael Palin (he of Python fame) and I KNOW there were lots of pics in the book.  They only had one in the e-version.  Pics are memory hogs and so they limit it to just text. 

As a regular read, it's far superior.  It's easy to download, easy to read, has a long battery life, and the books are always cheeper than whatever is available in analog version (on Amazon anyway).  I don't like that it's proprietary, but haven't had much issue with books not being available yet, so that's not a major negative.  I like that you can make notes, bookmark pages, and look up words right there. 

I still have MANY analog books to slog through, and I'm sure I will be buying and recieving books in the future, but I much prefer it now.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Midangel on January 19, 2009, 07:00:43 am
Quote
Others claim that the authors are prostituting their talent by charging money, since real art is created out of love.  By not buying books they're trying to keep the art pure.

These people aren't artists, are they ;D?

I think they are complete numpty heads!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Has on January 19, 2009, 07:19:21 am
Yep and I cant believe that comment about the e-arc :P
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: pence on January 19, 2009, 08:42:52 am

The 'books' on the kindle may be cheaper, but that is after the initial $350 investment. And if you drop it, mislay it ...! Yes Amazon at least kindly* lets you redosnload the titles you have already purchased, but you are
still out ANOTHER  $350 for a new reader. 

*sarcasm
Title: Re: Reinventing the Book:The Future of Reading
Post by: Talisman Maker on January 19, 2009, 09:57:30 am
I've actually dropped it a couple of times with no worries.  It's all solid state, so no moving parts to break.  It also comes with a pretty soft and cushy holder that absorbs some of the shock of a fall. 

I know it's expensive.  I know it'll take 20 years to actually "pay" for it, but I do not have room for any more books, and I can't get rid of them, and I can't not buy them.  This solves a problem I have.  ::plus it's cool::
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Gerd D. on February 06, 2009, 11:57:03 am
Not sure where best to post this, just happened upon this address over at DP:

All you ever wanted to know about eBooks and lots of free books to read at*
http://www.ebookweek.com/


*you actually have to follow the on-site links to get to the free books
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Gwendolynn on February 06, 2009, 03:18:35 pm
Thank you for the link.  I am still gathering information.  My husband bought me a Sony reader last weekend and I'm still adjusting.  I miss holding a book.  I love the smell and feel of them and it has only been a week.  I wonder how long I can go without buying a paperback.  It is like my husband got tired of the piles and piles of books I leave around the house...
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Elle on February 06, 2009, 06:11:17 pm
Gwendolynn,

I have a Sony ebook reader and it's in no way replaced my books. It's more a convience when I'm commuting or travelling. I could never stop buying actual books. I enjoy the feel of them too much as well. :)
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Patti L. on February 06, 2009, 08:31:18 pm
Robert Heinlein knew that would be the case - 3 decades ago?  4?
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Faellie on February 16, 2009, 03:21:10 am
I do buy ebooks, legally (books are my escape from the pressures of my well-paid job - I can afford literary therapy because of the job).  I don't download music, legally or illegally (I make my own, thanks).  But I have today started downloading Series 4 of Supernatural, which I can't get on TV and the first DVD of which isn't out until April.  I have legally bought the DVDs of Series 1 to 3, and have promised myself faithfully I will buy the Series 4 DVDs when available (I don't anticipate any difficulty in upholding this promise).  I still feel guilty for the downloads.  The only reason I got turned on to the series in the first place was (via fanfiction) the (illegal) youtube videos (for watching which I don't feel terribly guilty, given the big corporate nature of youtube - although that itself is not a full exculpation, I know).

Not sure where that leaves me (except that I've now just outed myself as a rabid Supernatural fan.   Probably best not to tell my bosses - see the first sentence...)
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: bengrenell on February 17, 2009, 09:32:18 am
While we need to do all possible to clamp down on piracy, in the end it is how many people purchase the books rather than how many steal them. Isn't it odd that people who would never dream of breaking into a store and stealing merchandise or walking into Barnes and Noble and shoplifting have no qualms stealing online. Bah !
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on February 21, 2009, 11:53:57 am
While we need to do all possible to clamp down on piracy, in the end it is how many people purchase the books rather than how many steal them. Isn't it odd that people who would never dream of breaking into a store and stealing merchandise or walking into Barnes and Noble and shoplifting have no qualms stealing online. Bah !


Its like graffiti or advertising signs.  If its out there where anyone can look and see.  We don't instinctively view it as private property that's been stolen.



The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on February 21, 2009, 03:14:12 pm
Time just recently had a neat article about the plight of newspapers.  I think it's something we need to pay attention to before we get stuck with something we don't want.  Like a useless fourth estate.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on February 22, 2009, 12:45:37 pm
Time just recently had a neat article about the plight of newspapers.  I think it's something we need to pay attention to before we get stuck with something we don't want.  Like a useless fourth estate.


A: You don't already view it as useless?

B: Newspapers are like Dinosaurs.  They have to change with the times or go extinct.



The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on February 22, 2009, 01:32:25 pm
They do provide
A:  a certain amount of humor

B:  bird/hamster cage lining.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on February 23, 2009, 06:49:03 am
No, they aren't quite useless, and they (writers and photogs and editors)  are trying very hard not to be useless.  I see much of TV journalism as useless. if not out and out harmful.  The Internet journalists are a mixed bag and the only hope for print journalism, so I have hopes.

I think you will be using plastic bags and computer printer paper instead.  I find it ironic that now in the "digital" age, we use more paper than ever.  We are getting close, but we still need something to write a note on and stick it in our pocket or pass to the kid in the third row.
Title: Just some thoughts about ebooks and DRM...
Post by: Talyn on February 27, 2009, 05:45:58 pm
After re-reading Mike's post about ebooks and DRM it got me thinking, what kind of happy medium can be established? We need some form of DRM, authors need to make money. I don't have much faith in mankind to not pirate things. On the other hand too much DRM angers the legitimate customer and makes the pirated option a lot more convenient! No DRM system is fool proof. Most new PC games are cracked within 24 hours of being released, hell, sometimes they are cracked and on the torrent sites BEFORE they are released! So you need a system to keep people honest, the majority of people. You can't stop the people determined not to pay, and trying will just anger your legitimate customers.

Take a heavy DRM game, for example Spore.
1. Limited activations.- Oh, you reformatted your computer and you have used your activation code twice. Time to call EA for 20 minutes to activate the game you "bought"!
2. You lose the product if the company goes out of business- If the recession is showing us anything, it is that big companies are not immortal. What do you do with your game after the company goes away? You can't play it anymore!
3. Your computer is infected with bloatware, spyware, and sometimes root kits!- I bought something, but I am treated like a criminal on the off chance I might be one! My computer gets software installed on it I don't want, just so I can play a game I own!

My alternative is this! To take the game comparison a bit further, I will talk about a system called Steam. I buy my games now through Steam. Steam is a form of DRM, but it adds value to the product. I have a Steam account, it is linked to all the games I have bought. I don't have to worry about losing CDs or CD Keys. I just log into my steam account, and I have instant access to all the games I've bought. If the game is not installed on the computer, I can just download it again off Steam. Sure, the company running Steam could go out of business, but hey, they said before they will release a patch to make all the games I own no longer require Steam to run if they do. (A bit of faith required here but I like to buy my games so my favorite studios will make more!)

So, what I propose is a similar system for ebooks. Call it the virtual bookshelf if you will.
You download the client onto all the computers you own, and sign in. You now have access to all the books you have ever bought from the store. You can only be logged in on one computer at once, so you're not letting you and 50 of your closest friends read the same book at the same time.   However, because it is a log in system you could, say, loan it to your friend for the weekend and he/she can enjoy the books. It is the same system as a hard (dead tree) copy, only one of you can read it at the same time yet you're still free to share- and convert more readers. To me, this is the only workable system out there. You need DRM to keep honest people honest. The same way you need locks on your house and your car. Yet you can't stop the hardcore people, they're not going to pay to begin with and the best DRM system only slows them down. It doesn't stop them, just like a determined criminal is going to break into your house.

So, just a bit of food for thought. Feel free to criticize.

Additional Info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_(content_delivery)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spore_game#SecuROM_controversy
(All links off Wikipedia, take all information with a grain of salt)

*Note:  I took Talyn's permission and edited his post, hopefully making it a bit clearer for us who are less tech oriented.  Patti L.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on February 28, 2009, 09:13:43 pm
This sounds like a pretty fair compromise to me; as long as the publishers don't insist on charging as much for an ebook as they do for a dead tree one.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on March 01, 2009, 08:54:47 am
You still need to be attached to a "big brother".  Think power outages and cable down and... It's not a big deal to people who live in dense populated areas where even if they go down, they're up in hours.  Internet is no more  ubiquitous than phones or electricity is.

But you are right, this is much better than many options out there.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: bengrenell on March 03, 2009, 07:00:58 am
I guess I'm just an old dinosaur. E-books have a place but they have still not arrived at a curled up in a really comfy position sort of part of my life and I doubt they ever will. Having said that I still believe it is very important to protect both authors and publishers. Without them all you would have at best is fanfic and not even good fanfic because that requires editing and critical selection. I know I have said this before but I can't seem to stop saying it; people who would never dream of walking into your house and stealing your TV or loose change or your favorite toiletries, think nothing of stealing from you on-line. If you steal on-line it is looked at as being cute or smart or inevitable. I would love to see the look on the faces of those people who take what they want without paying for it if people did the same thing to them. Let's say a grad student who had worked for 6 month on a dissertation only to find someone had swiped the work and used it for their own dissertation. You would see steam coming out of their ears and eyes that looked like brightly glowing coals-straight out of a cartoon.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on March 04, 2009, 05:04:27 pm
I guess I'm just an old dinosaur. E-books have a place but they have still not arrived at a curled up in a really comfy position sort of part of my life and I doubt they ever will. Having said that I still believe it is very important to protect both authors and publishers. Without them all you would have at best is fanfic and not even good fanfic because that requires editing and critical selection. I know I have said this before but I can't seem to stop saying it; people who would never dream of walking into your house and stealing your TV or loose change or your favorite toiletries, think nothing of stealing from you on-line. If you steal on-line it is looked at as being cute or smart or inevitable. I would love to see the look on the faces of those people who take what they want without paying for it if people did the same thing to them. Let's say a grad student who had worked for 6 month on a dissertation only to find someone had swiped the work and used it for their own dissertation. You would see steam coming out of their ears and eyes that looked like brightly glowing coals-straight out of a cartoon.


Right because when someone steals from you on line what they are really doing is cloning somthing.  They are not taking your only irreplacable copy of whatever.  They are duplicating it for their own usage and leaving your original entirely intact.


the Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on March 04, 2009, 06:59:28 pm
Yes, King, that is true.  I just started using Facebook and am putting up some photos that I feel protective of.  It's not my work, I don't make my living by it.  But it is my art.  I feel stronly about who sees it and who uses it.  So I have secured the photos pretty carefully.  I would be upset if Facebook screwed up the securiy and let it be copied or seen by people other than those I allowed.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Gerd D. on March 05, 2009, 07:29:11 am
Not sure if that was already posted, I think we do have a eBook thread somewhere already, but I can't find it.

Anyways:
Free eBooks from Ballantine
http://www.suvudu.com/freelibrary/
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: charmed on March 05, 2009, 04:11:42 pm
I'm going to pin this and let's use this one thread for free ebooks. If there's a publisher giving away e-books post the link here. :)

charmed
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Midangel on March 06, 2009, 03:58:16 am
Awesome, thank you for the links Gerd!! ;D
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Has on March 06, 2009, 12:37:09 pm
Random House is also giving out free books- mainly its sci fi and fantasy but its looking like they are following in Baen's footsteps!

http://www.suvudu.com/freelibrary/
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Patti L. on March 11, 2009, 06:41:50 am
There's been some talk about this site @ Baen's.  It's high storage requirement pdf files.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Jazzlet on March 18, 2009, 08:10:51 am
Time just recently had a neat article about the plight of newspapers.  I think it's something we need to pay attention to before we get stuck with something we don't want.  Like a useless fourth estate.


A: You don't already view it as useless?

B: Newspapers are like Dinosaurs.  They have to change with the times or go extinct.



The Deposed King

Rather depends on the newspaper doesn't it? I'm a fan of the Guardian which I now read on-line, they have a free-to-read site http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)and an enhanced paid for site which I subscribe to, because I want the paper to go on existing. Papers like this are an important part of civil society :)
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on March 18, 2009, 11:00:55 am
Thanks, Jazzlet, for speaking up and understanding the problem.  My partner gets a daily paper delivered at home and it seems it only gets smaller and smaller.  I don't like the physical papers sitting around, or the waste of trees, but we really need to find a viable alternative for an independent news media.  TV sure ain't it!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on March 18, 2009, 11:22:56 am
And sifting through blogs or MySpace/YouTube/FaceBook isn't really it either.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on March 18, 2009, 11:30:33 am
No, but it's better than nothing, whigh is what we'll have if we don't do something.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: logically on April 12, 2009, 01:50:58 pm
I have the Sony Reader, but mostly I only use it for college (makes it much easier to be an English major).  Otherwise, I'm continuing with my actual library...  I just love my actual books too much.

However, for those who didn't know, Sony added a google-search of pdfs/books that are free.  A lot of trash, but also some good stuff in there.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Gerd D. on July 07, 2009, 06:28:16 am
Two useful Blogs for eBook readers:

http://freesciencefantasy.blogspot.com/
http://freesf.blogspot.com/
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Grandpappy Wycked on July 13, 2009, 06:00:26 pm
I use my Blackberry Curve (8310) with mobireader. I only need a book when I am either at lunch or an appointment, otherwise, it is WAY to difficult to read while riding  ;)

The screen is small, and it takes a little getting used to, but for 15-20 minutes of reading at a time, it works suprisingly well, especially when you add in the music to block out the sounds around me. I don't run the net on my phone, but can still move the books from the computer to my phone with ease.

http://www.mobipocket.com/en/HomePage/default.asp?Language=EN
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Vinity on July 22, 2009, 10:05:48 am
I'm coming in late to this conversation but the itouch, iphone has an ap for all the different ereader formats, so you can DL kindle, sony, B&N, ereader/fictionwise, whatever. It's not super in bright sun and of course it's smaller than usual standalone readers but you can get used to it.

I haven't gotten a netbook yet but I'm hoping it will be able to DL different formats.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Gerd D. on August 10, 2009, 09:50:42 am
Simon & Shuster is currently offering Scott Westerfields Uglies as free download:
http://www.simonandschuster.com/giveaways/uglies-download
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Has on August 10, 2009, 04:07:59 pm
For non US readers use a famous ZIP code to register the download- I used 90210 which worked it didnt for non US postcodes,.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: ArtAngel on August 10, 2009, 11:15:09 pm
90210... ROFL! Thanks for the tip Has!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: hazal025 on August 21, 2009, 05:35:54 pm
I haven't read this entire thread, so if someone already said this sorry.

But, I've been trying to follow the Google books thing since I saw the post Mike wrote about it.  It got me very interested.

Well, today I searched "google books" on google intending to read about the Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo coalition to fight the deal.

And lo and behold there is already a site up, and books are already on it in their entirety.  Including all of Patty's. >:(

I thought this was still waiting for a judge to approve the deal?!?  Denny Chin or whatever his name is.

Just thought yall might want to know.

Amber
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on August 21, 2009, 07:36:49 pm
Whoa, you had us scared for a bit there!   Actually, there's two parts to Google's book plans.  The first, which is up an running, is Google Book Search.  This is the one that has all of Patty's books.  Fortunately, this is just a search engine.  It shows only a few pages (like 30), and while you can do searches that show additional pages, there are fair chunks of the book that the search will never display.   Basically, with a little work, you can get maybe 60% of the complete text.   Frankly, this is a valuable tool for readers, and we think it's very helpful. :)

However, because Google has scanned, and is displaying, some of the book's text, this opened the door for a lawsuit.  The result of the lawsuit is a settlement that, if approved, would enable the Google Library Project.  This is the nasty scheme by which Google basically gets to ignore copyright law and publish pretty much everything.  Fortunately, they can't move on that until it's approved by the courts, and HOPEFULLY the courts will throw the settlement out.   >:(

The good is that, right now, only the Book search is running, and while it looks scary, it's really not a bad thing at all.   8)
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on August 21, 2009, 07:45:58 pm
Anybody who's on twitter or the like, I'd encourage you - as a reader who doesn't want MY authors to be ripped off - to get out there and make a stink about this lawsuit, to help make sure it doesn't go into effect.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: hazal025 on August 22, 2009, 03:11:00 pm
Whoa, you had us scared for a bit there!   Actually, there's two parts to Google's book plans.  The first, which is up an running, is Google Book Search.  This is the one that has all of Patty's books.  Fortunately, this is just a search engine.  It shows only a few pages (like 30), and while you can do searches that show additional pages, there are fair chunks of the book that the search will never display.   Basically, with a little work, you can get maybe 60% of the complete text.   Frankly, this is a valuable tool for readers, and we think it's very helpful. :)

However, because Google has scanned, and is displaying, some of the book's text, this opened the door for a lawsuit.  The result of the lawsuit is a settlement that, if approved, would enable the Google Library Project.  This is the nasty scheme by which Google basically gets to ignore copyright law and publish pretty much everything.  Fortunately, they can't move on that until it's approved by the courts, and HOPEFULLY the courts will throw the settlement out.   >:(

The good is that, right now, only the Book search is running, and while it looks scary, it's really not a bad thing at all.   8)


Ok,  sorry I misinterpreted it. 

I went to the site, and clicked on one of Patty's books.  And it seemed like it showed several chapters.  So then I clicked to skip to the middle of the book, and it showed that too.  So I checked closer to the end and it was there too.  So it seemed like the whole book was up.

I'm glad it is not.  I'm heartened by the fact that major corporations are joining together to fight the google deal.  I can't see any judge approving it.  Especially with all of the anti-trust talk already going around about it.

Anyways, glad I misunderstood and sorry I scared yall!!

--Amber
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: cavaliergirl on August 23, 2009, 05:59:17 pm
All of this is interesting, and I don't pretend to know the answer. 

Here's my story....  about 2 years ago I bought a copy of Eclipse (Steph Meyer) as a downloadable audio book.  I was happy with it and listened to it on an MP3 player back then.  Recently my Mp3 player died so I found the email receipt and logged onto that site, no link to download.  I called technical support and they said I could only download that ebook once.  I could have burned it into a CD  at the time I bought it, but since I didn't, I'm just out the money.  They'd be happy to sell it to me again (and double pay the author?  that doesn't seem fair) or I can go to the hassle of checking it out from the library and getting it from the cd to my new mp3 player or I can try to figure out how to download an illegal copy. 

I'm not happy with any of these options.  I'll never  buy anything from that company again and this whole experience will make me hesitate about buying ebooks and downloadable audio books.  I'll certainly never buy from a company that only lets me download one copy.  Then I'm out the content if my computer breaks.  There's got to be a better solution.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on August 23, 2009, 06:11:48 pm
Sorry to hear that you got snookered  :-'    Ebooks are a young technology, and especially given the ease with which they can be uploaded and shared, the publishers are trying to be cautious.  Of course, the illegal versions are completely free from DRM (after all, the pirates don't care how many copies you make!).   I don't know the answers either, but I hope publishers figure out a way to insure that their honest customers don't feel like they've been swindled.

Fictionwise (my ebook store of choice) is actually pretty good.  They keep a record of my purchases, and will let me download them again if I lose them (or swap readers).

This kind of reminds me of my days as a nerd, when we'd be working in the server room in the middle of the night facing a wall of malfunctioning servers.  They call it "bleeding edge" for a reason, and the early adopters too often take a pummeling.  :o

Sigh.  At any rate, I can empathize with you, but I'm fresh of of answers.   :(
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Talyn on August 24, 2009, 09:31:45 am
Well, after using my iPhone as a ebook reader for several days (6+ hours at a time!) I have to say I am quite impressed with it. I turned off everything not necessary, and by turning the brightness down low I was able to get a large amount of reading out of the battery on a single charge.

Biggest issue I had, was at that brightness, specks of dust were very noticable, I had to wipe the screen down, a lot.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Laurel Newberry on August 24, 2009, 04:35:50 pm
As a new author I am finding this topic makes my blood pressure rise and my jaw clench. Why should I bother? I have written my stories for years, sharing only with friends and family until just recently. Now I'm wondering if I should have just kept them to myself after all.
It is disheartening to go through all the struggle of writing, polishing, finding an agent and publisher, and trying to attract an audience, only to find out that over a third of the local writers I've met - wonderful, hardworking people - have been pirated. And that's just the ones who know for sure.
It's not like I expect to make a living at this, although I make that my goal, but I would like to be able to afford the updates to my computer and new glasses to compensate for hours of time I spend in front of the screen. 
I have to admit, sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one actually paying for books and music, but I continue to do so because - IT"S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!
If all I can do is teach my children what I believe, that is what I will do. The world does not owe them everything they want, they will have to work for it.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Tambayo on August 25, 2009, 07:17:35 am
At the moment I am in the position of being forced to use pirated ebooks, because selling outside the USA is blocked by the publisher. Fictionwise is not allowed to sell me hunting ground, mobipocket ditto. BooksOnBoard has no format unDRMed or in DRMmobi which my bebook (Hanlin) can handle. Amazon USA wil/can not sell me a kindle and wont sell me ebooks without the coding that goes with it.

Is there an option for those outside the USA like me at all?

I want Patty able to keep writing, or do i just take a pirated version and send her a few dollars via paypal?
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on August 25, 2009, 09:52:45 am
Arrrggh.  Why isn't anything simple?  The whole region-coding thing isn't really the publisher's fault.  It's technology outrunning the current infrastructure.  Patty sells rights to publish her books by region.  For example, ACE buys North American distribution rights.  Other companies may buy French, or German, or Pakistani publication rights.   Generally, these companies try very hard not to sell outside the area for which they have distribution rights to avoid lawsuits.  For example, if Patty sold rights to some tiny little Pacific Island (for a few hundred dollars), she'd be upset if they were selling worldwide in several languages!  :o

Of course, the internet complicates things, since our hypothetical tiny island nation almost certainly has internet, and suddenly it may have customers from all over the world trying to buy the book electronically.  This is an area where the current business model hasn't kept up with changing technology, and again, I don't have the easy answer.

While I don't have the perfect answer, I can tell you how I address this problem.  When companies won't sell due to your location, you have to ask, "How do they know where I'm from?"   The answer is usually the IP address assigned by your server -- different blocks are assigned to various countries.  The server at Fictionwise does a quick lookup, and says, "Oops, you're from overseas.  I can't legally sell to you."   The solution is to  use a proxy server located in the USA  (just google proxy server USA).   You first connect to the proxy server, and it makes the connection to the vendor using it's IP address, which shows a USA location, and you can go ahead and buy whatever you want.  :)

The ONLY cavaet is that, because there are two legs to the connection, any encrypted content may be vulnerable at the proxy server.  Some rotten people have used proxy servers to grab credit card numbers, so be cautious.  On the other hand, if you pay via PayPal, that traffic is usually handed over entirely to the Paypal server, so you DO have an encrypted connection.   For the record, good proxy servers often require registration etc. because bad people like to use them to hack systems, download illegal content etc.  Since it's their IP address that gets associated with the bad deeds, the proxy servers may want a way to get back in touch with you.  Many proxy servers charge a small fee to basically lose your browser logs, granting you virtually complete anonymity. . . ???

Anyway, I didn't mean to turn this into a crash course on proxying, but it's a simple way to get around the region restrictions on selling digital items.  Hopefully someday a better solution will be reached.   :-\

Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Tambayo on August 25, 2009, 11:00:58 am
It's not the IP adres i think. Paypal has an adress for me (outside USA cannot fix that) CC is non USA also. So far me stumped and pissed.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Tambayo on August 25, 2009, 11:32:00 am
With Has helping in another topic i got it!

Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: logically on August 25, 2009, 05:39:48 pm
I had a Sony Reader for not quite 2 years.  I really tried the digital book thing...but I ended up selling it a few weeks ago. 

I just can't give up my books.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on August 26, 2009, 11:22:13 am
Hooray - Tambayo!

I feel for people who loose copies of ebooks and don't get them replaced easily.  But then I thought about the rain shower I had in the basement where I had stored a bunch of books.  I do not expect any publisher to replace any of those books or even give me a discount to replace them.  Why would I expect an electronic publisher to do so?  Granted, "OOps" happens more in the electronic world, and we expect to be able to back up anything we own, but still.  How reasonable is it to expect this?
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Has on August 26, 2009, 04:30:46 pm
I think with ebooks its suppose to be an advantage and even if you do back them up sometimes that can fail. Books on Board, Amazon and Fictionwise and other ebook stores do keep your bookshelf online so if anything is lost you can redownload although I think its limited.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on August 26, 2009, 04:58:56 pm
For anyone who wonders why book piracy makes me grumpy, try doing a google search for "Patricia Briggs", then looking for new links in the last 24 hours.  Virtually all of the top twenty links are pirate sites happily offering the books that were released yesterday for free download. And people wonder why publishers are struggling!    >:(
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Vinity on August 26, 2009, 06:23:47 pm
I'm sorry :( that makes me sad. At least I bought it as audio and paperback. There are still good people out there. You'd think someone who loved books and reading would be ....less selfish.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on August 26, 2009, 07:05:48 pm
Aww.  Thanks Vinity.  The good readers make it all worthwile -- and there are an awful lot of really nice readers!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Tambayo on August 27, 2009, 07:32:55 am
I feel for people who loose copies of ebooks and don't get them replaced easily.  But then I thought about the rain shower I had in the basement where I had stored a bunch of books.  I do not expect any publisher to replace any of those books or even give me a discount to replace them. 
No, your insurance policy should cover that.
Why would I expect an electronic publisher to do so?  Granted, "OOps" happens more in the electronic world, and we expect to be able to back up anything we own, but still.  How reasonable is it to expect this?
Again your insurance, if there is damage to the house, or theft of the reader (at least the reader should be compensated for). The books themselves is more complicated due to easy backup possibility.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Has on August 27, 2009, 08:37:48 am
It looks like the UK will have the new Sony readers- nothing about the newly announced 3G reader though- you can preoder on Waterstones

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/navigate.do?pPageID=1918
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Talisman Maker on August 27, 2009, 08:42:33 am
I saw a pic of the new one the other day.  Gosh it was pretty.  It was very similar to my Kindle, only it had a touchscreen.  They're teaming up with AT&T I think to provide the 3G network too.  That way they can compete apples to apples against Amazon. 
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Has on August 27, 2009, 08:52:18 am
Yep and another thing it looks like they are also concentrating on outside the US- Amazon is just starting to do that with the Kindle but I think Sony has an edge especially if people just want an ereader as well as the fact they have more choice in shopping for books elsewherel. Its going to be interesting.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on August 27, 2009, 11:34:41 am
But I don't expect it of the publisher.  I bought it, now it is my business to take care of it or not.  I may choose to insure it or not but that isn't the publisher or author's problem.  It's mine.  I object to DRM that interferes with my ability to back it up reasonably, or says they can disable it after I take possession. (think Kindle)

Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Midangel on August 27, 2009, 12:18:12 pm
A lot of ebook-retailers these days allow you to re-download your ebooks. I buy from four different sites, and I can download my past and present purchases as many times I want, but I don't need to as I back them up. Geographical restriction is not as bad as it was a few months ago, I should know as I was nearly screaming with frustration. Books on Board, or as I like to call them BOB, now have a UK store which allows UK customers to purchase books. With all the new e-retailers opening in new countries, things are making their way. But, it will take time.

I hate DRM, mainly because of the formats and I should own my darn book. But, with piracy running rampant, it's a vicious circle that is not going to be broken. Piracy will always exist, but the publishers need to come up with another way that doesn't make the honest customer a criminal by stripping away the DRM. I've heard of Social DRM, but I think there has to be a fine line on what information you have stored. But, it would be better that DRM now IMO.

I think this debate can go on and on forever until everyone has crossed eyes. One corner: the pirates, in the middle: honest customers and in the final corner: the publisher. At the moment, I know who is NOT winning and that's the honest customers.

I would advise people to purchase ebook readers that allow MULTIPLE formats and not a particular one. Don't use the excuse of that pirating is the only way to get them. Do what other people do. Go without. You are not helping the authors. And it pisses of publishers who will insist on DRM further and futher.

In other words, DRM sucks big donkey hairy balls, but don't go using torrents to get the books. Just join with us in screaming and waving our fists in the air.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on August 27, 2009, 12:58:24 pm
Midangel - you hit it right on the head!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Midangel on August 27, 2009, 01:09:37 pm
Thanks Jackie. Though I think it needs to be a big hammer. A very big one.

Another solution.  If you can't get the ebook version, buy it in paperback. Tis what was commonly used before the day of digital arrived. :P
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Avarel on August 27, 2009, 03:10:32 pm
before there was ebooks, before there was publishing companies, copywrite and all sorts of other modern inventions, there was the storyteller.

most were somewhat good, and told storys to the people around them. others were really good. they told stories to kings and great people.

Most people didn't get to hear the really great storytellers more than once in their life. Now, all we have to do is pay a bit of money and pick up a book to get a good story.

Maybe we are just unaware of how good we have it.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Cerulean on August 29, 2009, 02:15:15 pm
I got my new Kindle for my birthday and like it. It is perfect for traveling and I like being able to finish one book at 11:00 pm and download the sequel immediately :) I've found that at least for right now, many of the books are a little cheaper on the Kindle. In hardcover, the price can't be beat - $9.00 for all hardcovers. But the paperbacks are around a few dollars off, too. I don't know how long that will last, or even if it will be extended. To me, it only makes sense that it's a little cheaper because the publisher isn't paying for paper/printing. I know there must be expenses involved in digitizing the book, but it just seems to me that books should be cheaper if they're electronic instead of hardcopies.

Anyway, there are a few things I've noticed about the Kindle (or possibly the Sony, too). One is that sometimes the formatting is just slightly off. I've had a couple extra spaces once in a while in the books. And one book I just read had extra lines after each paragraph - which got QUITE old VERY quickly. But one thing that I didn't think about earlier is how the books are organzied. They can be organized by the most recently opened/bought and by author last name. But I like to organize my books in my bookshelves by my favorites at the top, getting progressively lower in quality as they go lower in the bookcase. So I'll keep my Jim Butcher and Robert Jordan and Patricia Briggs in the top two shelves, etc. Well, I can't "browse" which books I'll want to read on the Kindle like I can an actual bookshelf. And there's one more problem. I'll often recognize which books are which by their covers and not the titles, especially if its a series where the titles are all kind of alike. For example, the Jeannine Frost Dark Huntress books. I have them all on my Kindle and they all have "grave" in the title. The titles themselves aren't particularly memorable. I don't remember which is the first, second, third, or fourth book in the series. I have to open them all up to figure it out.

Another issue is that one of my *favorite* things to do is spend hours at the Barnes & Noble looking at books, reading some portions (or all of them!) while drinking a chai, etc. But with the Kindle, it doesn't make sense to buy the hardcopies of books. So I feel guilty for spending all that time in BN, but then leaving without buying anything to go home and buy it on Amazon. It's just a strange feeling. I love the feeling of leaving a bookstore with a bunch of books.

Anyway, I still like my Kindle very much, but it does have some other small drawbacks. I'll still buy harcopies of books, but now I have to struggle with whether to buy hardcopy or e-copy. Oh, and here's another example. I ran across a book in BN that I wanted - and had preordered on the Kindle for slightly cheaper. It came out early in-store but I couldn't buy it! So frustrating. So I guess the good part is you can buy the books even when not in a bookstore immediately - if they're already out. But if you're waiting, there's no way to get them early like you sometimes can in-store.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Talisman Maker on August 31, 2009, 03:51:03 am
About the prices of Kindle books...The prices will always be less than whatever the published edition is.  At least it has been for the past 2 years.  They are NOT always below $9.99 tho.  In fact the prices for ebooks when the paper version is in hardcover have been going up.  I am waiting for a few books to come into paperback right now because the kindle price is currently over $15.00 (to be more in line with the hardcover).  I know when the paperbacks come out, the price will go down. 

Did you get a Kindle 1, Kindle 2, or Kindle DX? 
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: cavaliergirl on September 01, 2009, 08:14:19 am
I'm not defending thieves and pirates, but does anyone else think that ebook pricing is unfair?  Added into the cost of the book is ink and printing costs plus reasonable profit for the printers, shipping from printer to publisher to various book stores, plus reasonable profit for the book store, the publisher, and payment to the author.

With an ebook, there are no paper and ink charges, no printer to pay, and no multiple shipping charges.  Why then are paperbacks the same price in either format, or maybe a 10% discount?  (Hardbacks are usually cheaper because amazon is selling them at a loss, not because publishers give a discount.) 

The extra money doesn't subsidize any extra costs, nor does the money find its way to the author.  Obviously, stealing isn't the right answer.  But I won't buy a Kindle or similar device until the publishers bring the price down in line with expenses. 

One possible solution that might help with piracy and be fairer to readers regarding pricing is to start holding books for 6 months or a year before making them available electronically.   No seeing a book become available online for free minutes after publication, undermining sales.  And then sell the book at a "sale" price both compensates the author and publisher without overcharging.  (I'd still be lining up to buy Patty's books the day they came out.)
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: The Deposed King on September 01, 2009, 04:47:38 pm
I'm not defending thieves and pirates, but does anyone else think that ebook pricing is unfair?  Added into the cost of the book is ink and printing costs plus reasonable profit for the printers, shipping from printer to publisher to various book stores, plus reasonable profit for the book store, the publisher, and payment to the author.

With an ebook, there are no paper and ink charges, no printer to pay, and no multiple shipping charges.  Why then are paperbacks the same price in either format, or maybe a 10% discount?  (Hardbacks are usually cheaper because amazon is selling them at a loss, not because publishers give a discount.) 

The extra money doesn't subsidize any extra costs, nor does the money find its way to the author.  Obviously, stealing isn't the right answer.  But I won't buy a Kindle or similar device until the publishers bring the price down in line with expenses. 

One possible solution that might help with piracy and be fairer to readers regarding pricing is to start holding books for 6 months or a year before making them available electronically.   No seeing a book become available online for free minutes after publication, undermining sales.  And then sell the book at a "sale" price both compensates the author and publisher without overcharging.  (I'd still be lining up to buy Patty's books the day they came out.)


I look at the current e-book prices as compensation for lost sales from pirates who now won't buy the paperbacks.

I've never pirated.  Never intend to.  But the only justifications for the current e-book prices, are paying for the dead-tree printers/production line the company bought but is now fazing out and make up for lost sales from piracy.

And if the high prices are to make up for piracy well...  I'm not a pirate and never will be but my sympathy for all those pirated sales goes way down.



The Deposed King
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on September 01, 2009, 05:26:11 pm
Did you see Mr. Mike's post a few days ago, Cavaliergirl?  2 days or even faster, after "Hunting Ground" came out, most of the hits on the internet are PIRATED COPIES OF THE BOOK.  What good would it do to make the legitimate ebook sellers hold off for 6 months?
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: cavaliergirl on September 02, 2009, 12:42:52 am
I don't think anyone can make an ebook if here are only paper copies available for sell.  When Harry Potter 7 was coming out, someone photographed every page.  I actually saw a copy of that and many pages were blurry or the hand that held the book open was in the way. 
 
Or maybe, someone  could type the whole thing.

The point is, turning a paper book into an ebook is a LOT of hassle.   if a book isn't available in an eformat for paying customers, it'll be too much trouble for most pirates to make it available or for most readers to download.  That gives the publisher a chance to lock in some sales for people who really want to read the book.

As for overcharging customers to make up for pirates, that's like overcharging paperback purchasers because some people sit in Barnes and Noble and read books without buying them, or dozens will read the same copy of a book from a library without purchasing it, or friends will share books, or people will buy them used at a garage sale or from a used book store.  There are a lot of ways that someone can read a book without paying for it. 

If the book publishers are saying that every pirated copy is a lost sale and they're going to keep prices artificially high as a result, well a) that smacks of collusion and greed,  and b) they're going to discourage the development of ebusiness because a lot of people (like me) would rather get an actual copy of the book at Walmart for 25% off than download an ecopy with DRMs for 95-100% of the suggested retail price.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on September 02, 2009, 06:17:41 am
Quote
I don't think anyone can make an ebook if here are only paper copies available for sell. 
So, I suggest you try googling for Ms. Briggs & Hunting Ground on the net & see what comes up.  That's all.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Ellyll on September 02, 2009, 06:19:54 am
Yes, but HG is out in ebook format, so that doesn't apply to what she was saying.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Cerulean on September 02, 2009, 07:28:23 am
About the prices of Kindle books...The prices will always be less than whatever the published edition is.  At least it has been for the past 2 years.  They are NOT always below $9.99 tho.  In fact the prices for ebooks when the paper version is in hardcover have been going up.  I am waiting for a few books to come into paperback right now because the kindle price is currently over $15.00 (to be more in line with the hardcover).  I know when the paperbacks come out, the price will go down. 

Did you get a Kindle 1, Kindle 2, or Kindle DX? 

I have a Kindle 2. I saw a paperback the other day that was more expensive on Kindle than the hardcopy version in the store. I have no idea what's going on there. I've noticed that some Kindle paperbacks are $6.50 or so and others are $4.50 or so. I wonder why the difference, and how whomever it is that decides these prices does so.

I was at BN last night and found several books I liked. Thanks to my Amazon.com app, I found out that I could get them a little cheaper on Kindle than in-store, so I left without buying anything at BN. I felt so weird. Both b/c I normally would've had a bunch of books as I left, and that I wasn't buying from the store I frequented.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: jackie on September 02, 2009, 07:42:55 am
Actually, it is not so hard to scan in and digitize a book. It's an afternoon's work.  It doesn't get you the nice formatting, but it's ok.  For the last 4 months I have been (legally) scanning stuff.  I do mostly architectural drawings, but some of my team mates do text.  They take about an hour for a novel's worth, but they have equipment and software designed for it.  Not putting the book out in electronic form will not slow the pirates down. 
Just because all you do is click some buttons and provide a credit card and spend a few minutes downloading and you get a book doesn't mean that it's that easy on their end.  Websites, delivery software, payment software, internet security, advertising, and all the other stuff necessary to be there when you want the book all cost money.  I still think the price of e books remains too high. That's also part of why I'm not buying yet.  But there are costs and we shouldn't be surprised that it costs SOMEthing to provide the book.

Also, shoplifting IS figured in to the cost of retail items, just like everything else.  Retailers can choose to pay more for security guards, cameras, security tags, or just let stuff be be stolen and calculate it into their costs. Usually it's some of both.  Just ask anyone who has made a carreer of retail sales.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Talisman Maker on September 02, 2009, 08:03:10 am
AS far as I can tell, the prices are set by demand.  Newer books by well known authors are more expensive than older books by unknowns.  A recently released Pern book by Todd McCaffrey is $14.95 while "for love of mother not" released back in the 80's is free.  The prices are always less than whatever published book is out there, but it's not always less than $10.  I've seen a few that were even over $20. 

There are a few websites for getting free e-books, you just have to watch the version and then uplaod it to the kindle either by linking to your 'puter or e-mailing it to your kindle.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Mike Briggs on September 02, 2009, 09:38:19 am
Just a quick note or two on e-book pricing.  I had assumed that ebooks would be MUCH cheaper to produce than paper.  I did a little digging, and found out that the printing cost is typically less than 10% of the cost of the book.

In addition, while ebook delivery requires fewer resources, preparing the ebook in various formats is not the instantaneous button-push it probably should be.  Most publishers don't sell books directly to the public, they go through e-book distributors (like Fictionwise), and the wholesale price is similar to what they get for paper books through traditional distributors. 

Publishing actually operates on very thin margins -- typically 10% or less.  Very few businesses can thrive on those margins, so publishers don't have a lot of wiggle room in their pricing structure. Ebooks require the same authors, editor, marketing and cover art as print books, and what's saved in actually printing them is usually spent in converting them to e-pub formats.

I'm not saying ebooks are currently perfect.  I've had the same problems with DRM as most other folks.  There's plenty of room for improvement in ebooks.   However, when I hear people saying that the price should be nearly free (I keep hearing $.99 thrown about), I kind of shake my head.   That's far less than the publisher's actual cost.   They CAN'T sell for those prices and stay in business.   

On the other hand, selling ebooks for hardback prices seems wrong.  The idea, I believe, is to try to keep ebooks from diminishing the demand for the hard cover books.   Publishers often release a premium product (hard cover) at a high price point, then later release a more economical version at a much lower price point.  Obviously, they don't want to hamstring the premium market.   I'm not sure that selling super-expensive ebooks is wise -- I think they're driving potential customers right into the arms of the pirates.  However, that's a marketing decision, and I'm NOT an expert in that area.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: adchrist on September 29, 2009, 03:38:12 pm
People who don’t even like reading are jealous of my Kindle. It looks great, and a lot of people say it's like a giant iPod for books.

Here are some of my favorite features.

The “Next Page” button: Why turn a page when you can press a button? It’s way cooler.

Whispernet: This amazon.com trademark allows Kindle owners to get wireless 3G, internet all over the world.

Download Time: Books download through Whispernet in under a minute. My quickest download? 5 seconds. That’s right, five seconds. Why wait a week for you book to arrive in the mail when you can wait 5 seconds for it to be electronically delivered to your Kindle? No shipping, no handling, no waiting.

The Discounts: Anywhere from a 20% discount (available on all Kindle edition books) to a 100% discount. That’s right, FREE books.

The Selection: There are over 300,000 e books available for the Kindle, including each week's New York Times bestseller list. Choose from a number of genres, including fantasy, history, sci-fi, romance, biographies, reference, sports, travel and even cooking books. More books are added every day. Newspaper, magazine, and blog subscriptions are also available.

The Storage Capacity: The Kindle can hold more than 1,500 books. A virtual, literal, portable library. My Kindle currently holds 40 books. More are added every day.

The Size: It’s just over 1/3 inch thick, 8 inch by 6 inch in size, and weighs less than a pound. It’s slimmer, smaller, and lighter than your average book. Perfectly purse-sized for me.

The Display: It pretty much looks like a page from a book. It’s not back lit, so it won’t hurt your eyes if you spend hours reading at a time (like me).

The Battery Life: It last for a pretty long time, especially if you have the wireless turned off. I can read about 3 books before I have to recharge it.

It's my favorite possession  :D
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Fairyfreak on October 08, 2009, 07:15:10 am
Kindle to be available internationally!  :)  Finally! 

www.amazon.com
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Vinity on October 10, 2009, 06:02:26 pm
But make sure of what the prices will be for books before you buy. Has linked an article the other day where Kindle/amazon reneged on an earlier statement books would mirror US prices. Prices will be higher than the US store.

Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Has on October 13, 2009, 01:00:09 am
Also it seems amazon doesnt seem to care about the fact when you order the Kindle local VAT taxes will be priced on top of the price so its even more expensive plus charges as well. Personally I think its a copout- also Geo restrictions is def in place as well so what is the point of getting a Kindle.
Better off price wise getting the Sony  or similar device at least you dont have to face 'hidden charges' plus I think amazon is going to regret this because outside of the US other competitors are making headways in the international market which will affect them in the longterm.
Title: Re: eBook Readers
Post by: Patti L. on October 13, 2009, 07:47:47 am
I think I saw a thread in Baens' bar about Kindle doing a price reduction.
Title: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Midangel on February 05, 2010, 09:49:17 am
Hey Hurogians.

Jane from Dear Author, Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Angela James editor of Carina Press, are giving a presentation over at the Tools of Change conference. (http://www.toccon.com/toc2010)

From DA:

Quote
Our presentation is what readers want and it is based on conversations we’ve had with ebook readers for over four years on our blogs, in email and on message boards. But folks like hard numbers along with anecdotes so we’ve put together a survey and would love for you to fill it out. If you do fill it out, you’ll be entered to win $250.00 toward books or an ebook reader of your choice.

I filled in the survey, and it's a great chance for readers to get their say - especially to the publishers.

Here is the link to the survey: Survey (https://dearauthor.wufoo.com/forms/ebook-reading-survey)


Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Patti L. on February 05, 2010, 10:23:15 am
I took the survey, the anti-spam symbols to copy on the bottom were a bit dicy; it was blown up fuzzily so I wasn't sure if it was 8/8 or g/8 or 3/8 or 5/8.  I guess I got it right, but dang!
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Varg on February 05, 2010, 10:33:29 am
I took the survey too, and the anti spam were fuzzy for me too.
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Has on February 05, 2010, 10:56:13 am
I did it yesterday- and I agree the capcha was fuzzy.
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: berryblu on February 05, 2010, 10:56:58 am
I had to request another recapta so I could correctly do the antispam.   :-[  Interesting survey.  I hope it goes places and reaches the right desks.
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Patti L. on February 05, 2010, 11:02:20 am
Big time, Berryblu!  I referred to Baen & their sensible non-DRM, lower priced e-books several times.
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: berryblu on February 05, 2010, 11:33:14 am
I, myself, mentioned how important ebooks are and will continue to be to the publishing companies.  Also, I suggested that more information about the facts of ebook publishing should be given out.  I guess most people don't realize that it costs almost the same to publish a mass market paperback as it does to publish an ebook.  The actual printing costs aren't all that high per book with most of the cost being the production.   :-whistle
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Patti L. on February 05, 2010, 11:39:28 am
(http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs19/f/2007/275/2/f/_confused__rvmp_by_bad_blood.gif)  Isn't that backwards?

That it costs almost as much to produce an e-book as it does to produce a pocket paperback?

The thing is, it doesn't cost more, and it absolutely doesn't cost as much as a hardcover/hardback, so why should they charge hardcover prices?
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: berryblu on February 05, 2010, 11:46:58 am
LOL  Sorry, and yep, I reversed that.  It costs almost the same to publish an ebook as it does to produce a print paperback.   :-[
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Midangel on February 05, 2010, 11:52:35 am
Some of the pricing that goes into ebook includes formatting the ebook, hosting, and putting the DRM on the ebooks. But ebooks should definitely be cheaper than hard covers. No publisher will ever convince me that they should be the same price. Ever.Ever.


 
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Kate on February 05, 2010, 01:16:05 pm
Thanks for the link. I filled in the survey. Good distraction for a Friday afternoon. :)
Title: Re: Ebook Survey
Post by: Vic on February 05, 2010, 04:38:29 pm
Yep, thanks for link and survey completed.  Agree with price and would refuse to pay hard cover prices!
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Carradee on March 01, 2010, 01:49:22 pm
Just a quick note or two on e-book pricing.  I had assumed that ebooks would be MUCH cheaper to produce than paper.  I did a little digging, and found out that the printing cost is typically less than 10% of the cost of the book.

Ditto.  So I'm a bit more reasonable about what I expect ebooks to cost, these days.  Not that I'll pay hardcover price--I won't even pay that for hardcovers.  (I only buy hardcovers when it's at a thrift store or something like that.)  I also want it to cost less than paper, if only for the problem of being unable to loan an ebook to a friend, as things stand.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Varg on March 01, 2010, 01:57:18 pm
I also want it to cost less than paper, if only for the problem of being unable to loan an ebook to a friend, as things stand.

I agree. If I can't own it completely then it can't cost as much as a paper book that is all mine and free for me to lend or give away as I please.
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: Pfefferminztee on March 03, 2010, 11:24:42 am
So, WTF? Kindle isn't available till April? ??? But hard cover is out now. WTF?  >:(
I don't understand it, either. First, they want you to buy their expensive technological devices and then they don't even offer you equal services. It is just wrong.
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: gryphon340 on March 03, 2010, 11:27:50 am
it's business
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: Kate on March 03, 2010, 11:40:10 am
So, WTF? Kindle isn't available till April? ??? But hard cover is out now. WTF?  >:(
I don't understand it, either. First, they want you to buy their expensive technological devices and then they don't even offer you equal services. It is just wrong.
Actually, Amazon wouldn't be the ones holding back the release date; that would be the publisher. Amazon must work with the release dates from the publisher. I'm not 100% sure why the publisher wants so desperately to push the hard covers over the ebooks. My impression is that the margin on them is not that different, because of the added cost to print the HCs, but I could be wrong. Even though I've been involved in the fringes of publishing for about 10 years now, I was never deeply involved in the actual printing side.
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 12:22:34 pm
Yep :(
Harper Collins are delaying their big releases along with Macmillan - you know you are better off getting the UK edition which will be out roughly the same time the ebook is released and its paperback. I preordered it but was thinking of getting the ebook but its only available via Itunes as  an enhanced ebook. I'm like well if the US publisher doesn't want my money I can wait and get the UK edition although it has an ugly cover :P
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: gryphon340 on March 03, 2010, 12:24:15 pm
New York Times Bestseller List doen't add e-books into sales figures.
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: lilliana on March 03, 2010, 12:25:45 pm
nope and online orders either
Title: Re: Kim Harrison
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 12:38:05 pm
Actually they do - Kindle and online sales do count. Sony was recently added - its like DVR viewings being added by Nielson recently too.  This idea that ebooks dont count is wrong. This is really to stop ebooks gaining popularity and a business model that is facing changes really (wont go into a rant :P ) but its like holding back a dam with ice lolly sticks and tissues  :S
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 01:20:52 pm
Because of this survey and the recent decisions about ebooks being pushed back and it seems to be affecting big releases now- most notably Kim Harrison's latest. I have changed the title of this- so we can discuss these issues: :D
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Kate on March 03, 2010, 01:40:54 pm
I find it very frustrating that some publishers are pushing back release dates. I think the latest Kim Harrison Kindle release is pushed back about a month later than hard-cover release. As someone pointed out on her thread (I think it was you, Has), the publisher gets credit for ebook sales, so it can't be that. And I would be surprised if their profit margins are that much higher on HC books than on ebooks, even with the discounts. I find this vexing.
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: berryblu on March 03, 2010, 01:47:21 pm
From what I understand the profit margin is a bit higher for hardcover releases.  The extra cost of the larger pages and the cover aren't much considering the price for pulp.  I do understand why the publishers are delaying the ebook release if they don't want to raise the price of the digital edition to equal the hardcover price.  Personally, I don't like that delay, but I am happy that the publishers are taking the digital piracy and such into account when making decisions.
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Patti L. on March 03, 2010, 01:48:35 pm
Hmm.  Maybe it's about bragging rights/spurring further sales?  Because monetary credit, yes, but does it make it into the best seller statistics?
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 01:52:03 pm
Tell me about it!!!!

But once more people have adopted ereaders - wouldn't those HC sales be affected?
Look at the Kim Harrison thing- I could have bought the ebook and it would have meant money for the publisher and for the author but the delayed release means I wont get it in time and now I wont bother and will wait for the PB from Orbit in the UK- cheaper and a different publisher. They lost a sale!

I think its just publishers who dont want to change the status quo and maintaining the old business model. Its like with most things resistance to change *sigh* but I think this is detrimental to authors and to readers because I like ebooks and I prefer them. And ever since I bought my ereader I have been buying more books so its a good thing. I am only buying print books from must have authors - I dont have enough room for books and I dont want to purge :P but adding geo restrictions on top of this its really really frustrating :(

Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: berryblu on March 03, 2010, 01:57:26 pm
Getting into the top of the bestsellers list makes gobs more profit for everyone involved, including the authors.  When it is a hardcover release, the numbers matter a great deal and I'd guess that the increasing rate of digital theft is harming some of those accounting practices for the bestseller lists.  So, I see it as a double hit for the publishers, less money from ebooks (if they are reduced in price) and less money from people stealing their books.
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: e_booklover on March 03, 2010, 02:03:44 pm
But what about those books whose release in ebook is delayed and yet they are scanned and posted for download within 24 hours of the initial release date?
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 02:19:06 pm
Its probably happened with Black Magic Sanction :P

The thing about hitting the lists its like television ratings - 5 thousand odd boxes state statsitcally how many people are watching a show. It may have worked 20 years ago but the television landscape is changing and ratings are falling. The bestseller lists can also be manipulated alot of books can bought in 'bulk' by groups so it appears they have sold many copies yet they haven't - and ebooks shouldn't eat into bestsellerdom in fact will help it. Digital content can reach a wider audience- many people are not going out to bookshops even the big brands here like Waterstones are struggling and Borders UK arm has closed.

This is due to the success of amazon and similar stores but also people have more choice in entertainment mediums. Digital content can be a new form to reach that audience but its publishers' short sightedness in the whole matter - THEY KNOW things are changing but they want to retain the old model because its easier to deal with than dealing with the uncertaintity  of changing their approach. The Agency model will not do that and I got a feeling that sooner or later Amazon is going to start publishing direct and will probably offer huge amounts of money to a big named author soon.

Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Patti L. on March 03, 2010, 02:24:53 pm
My point was that only a limited number of "brick and mortar" stores' statistics are reported to the NYTimes, etc., and the electronic ones not at all, as far as I know, so they don't currently impact the sales figures.  So the publishers can't say "We sold xety thousand copies in hardcover, and zedity thousand in ebook form, for a total of a boatload more than you, neener neener."  And thus it doesn't increase the buzz and get more people buying them, paper or electron.
Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Has on March 03, 2010, 02:29:31 pm
Yup!
Real buzz for me is word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family. Although its fantastic to see that my favourite authors have charted - its pretty relative. I think because we are in the early days of this its going to get pretty bumpy and interesting on how publishers cope and deal with these changes.
Title: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Patti L. on April 08, 2010, 11:03:47 am
So, there's been some talk in different threads about the fact that not just e-books, but actual printed ones are getting geographical restrictions.  Distributors refusing to ship US or even English language editions to non-English speaking European countries.  And, oddly, even the UK is affected by this.

What facts do we have about it?
How badly has it/will it affect our Eurogs, or even Curogs (Canadian Hurogs)?
What can be done to try to prevent it?
What can be done to get around it, and should we do that?

This is the place to talk about it.

For starters, personally, I would recommend emailing to distribution companies and publishers, or putting comments on any kind of web sites they might have expressing your opinions, and reminding them that for each person who posts regarding this, probably 100 more aren't doing so, and that en masse, you and your 99 silent partners represent some thousands of dollars.  The bottom line is always a telling point in such arguments.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 11:20:33 am
Hmm, one thing about geo restrictions that somebody pointed out to me is that it might be illegal as it is restrictive trade and possibly also could be argued to be a form of price fixing.
One can hardly call geo restrictions free trade.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Has on April 08, 2010, 11:51:30 am
Well its not illegal to order a book from a site like amazon.com because I think you are importing it and in the UK there are no taxes to books and newspapers. I think some countries in Europe its different, however it looks like publishers are starting to lean on the online stores not be able to offer the US editions which I can understand but then again I wish they would actually sync the publication dates. For Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre you cant order it from Book Depository or amazon UK and if you order from the US you have to pay for shipping costs which can be a bit hefty.

I just wished that publishers can catch up with a global audience :P
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 12:01:59 pm
Do you get told you can't have it because of restrictions? When I go to bookdepository it(hell fire US ed.) is listed as out of stock not unavailable due to restrictions.... and Amazon uk just lists sellers
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Has on April 08, 2010, 12:26:39 pm
Check the .com addy for Book Depository - last night on twitter I asked US twitters to see if it was available to them and they said yes. Keiron who is the CEO of Book Depos actually tweeted me that it was due to restrictions. I usually order from .com addy if its restricted with the UK one but even that has been shut down :(
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Elle on April 08, 2010, 12:30:46 pm
I'm not able to order the E-book version of Silver Borne from Sony. It's geo-restricted to the US readers only. I've not be able to find it anywhere to buy, which I've found to be incredibly frustrating. I mentioned to Has on twitter that I feel like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I have all this money to spend and no one wants to take my money. Please, someone...take my money.  :-whistle

In my recent travels though I did find a copy to buy (thanks to Has) but it was only in mobi. So the search continues.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 12:33:15 pm
Annoying concept DRM, is >:(
and one have to say, restricting sales is sort of strange for people depending on sales to earn.....

Check the .com addy for Book Depository - last night on twitter I asked US twitters to see if it was available to them and they said yes. Keiron who is the CEO of Book Depos actually tweeted me that it was due to restrictions. I usually order from .com addy if its restricted with the UK one but even that has been shut down :(
How very very BAAAD! Why on earth can publisher restrict who the book stores can sell to?
Seemingly being in Norway saves me from this though, they are all available to me. *big sigh and lowering of shoulders*

The strange thing is that some of the local book stores here who sell books in english will be selling the US editions. I have sometimes found books in the stores here that had release dates more than a month into the future.

I find it strange too that because they can not work out how solve the technical troubles in regards to electronic books they have to start messing with physical books. They have/had a system that worked very well. Why make more trouble for themselves ???  This does not give a good impression of this industrys professionals and their ability to cope with change.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Rob on April 08, 2010, 12:38:09 pm
Unfortunately retail sellers don't think logically....they go by this strange and confusing equation called "The Cost/Benefit Ratio".....I work in retail and this equation still makes no sense to me.....
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: ppbwashu on April 08, 2010, 01:01:02 pm
The whole restriction idea sounds like people shooting themselves in the foot, to me. >:(
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Patti L. on April 08, 2010, 01:10:42 pm
So, get online and tell the people doing it.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 01:15:12 pm
I agree ppbwashu!

Rob, I cannot for the life of me see where they can find any benefit in restrictions. They sell less and annoys potential customers. So where is the gain ???
 Also alienating customers and treating us like we are stupid...... not a good way to do business.
It is things like this that help make people think it is ok to download pirated copies of ebooks. "If they don't want my money I will grant them their wish and get my copy another way!"



Ok Patti. *bows before greatness*
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: ppbwashu on April 08, 2010, 01:17:14 pm
Yes, O Abbess of Alliteration!
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Rob on April 08, 2010, 01:20:00 pm
As I said...I have no understanding of this their equation.....
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 01:22:56 pm
As I said...I have no understanding of this their equation.....
You iz a sensible person! :)
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Patti L. on April 08, 2010, 01:26:28 pm
Well, I got an email earlier today about a mine collapse that killed 16 people recently; same company that had around a dozen more people killed due to removing some cross ventilation around a year ago in another mine...cheaper to pay the fines than do proper safety measures, and they take home staggering profits for the share holders and executives.  Same idea.  The number crunchers get away from them, don't take the human aspect into account.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 01:35:59 pm
That is bad! and illegal I hope.It is scary that someone can actually make priorities like that. Forgetting that they are risking people, and people are worth infinitively more than money. Luckily the restrictions on books are not potentially deadly, unless some rabid restricted reader decides to do murder.


BTW Googles book scanning project got hit with another law suit. Clicky (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07google.html?ref=books)

Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Has on April 08, 2010, 02:06:19 pm
People who cut corners will always regret it at the end and that is not counting how much it will end up costing :P

With the Google thing - i am not surprised but I suspect there will be a few more twists in that saga :S
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 02:13:19 pm
Yep. They are even getting protests from governments. And I read somewhere that the settlement with the authors was being reviewed.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: jackie on April 08, 2010, 02:36:47 pm
There should be more protests.  Most of what Google is doing is just cramming things through.  I know we need to think more carefully about this so that both intellectual property rights are maintained, and access is appropriately and easily managed.  I hate DRM, but there has to be more than just "I promise not to abuse your rights" to protect intellectual property owners.  And I hate the idea that a single, for profit company will have the kind of control our courts seem to think they have the right to hand out.

We are setting bad precedent here. >:(
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Varg on April 08, 2010, 02:46:00 pm
I agree totally jackie.
Which is why I get so disappointed and loose so much respect for the publishing industry after this. Why do they not strive to find solutions that will benefit both consumers across "regions" maintain the intellectual property owners secure and let them make money doing so. The overall impression is panicking and slapping on restrictions as some kind of emergency mesure. From what I have been reading about this there is very little constructive input from the makers of the restrictions. Also they do not seem to take seriously peoples complaints.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Has on April 08, 2010, 02:55:52 pm
Ugh! I know!
And last night Parliament passed an asinine bill here about digital copyrights here. There is no real thought about the consequences and its passed by idiots who have no idea what the issues are :P
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Has on April 08, 2010, 03:53:33 pm
Here is some food for thought- ebook sales have risen 170 percent so far - and there is speculation that in a few years time might be on par with mass market books which does make the recent changes from the publishers make you go hmmm.

http://www.publishers.org/main/PressCenter/Archicves/2010_April/BookSalesEstimatedat23.9Billionin2009.htm

I would love to see the sale figures for next month to see if there is a dip especially with the changeover of the Agency 5 publishers.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Kyria on April 08, 2010, 06:46:08 pm
I haven't looked up information on this (I don't do eBooks... although I will qualify that with a "yet") but are the geo restrictions on eBooks purely for downloading?  Are there issues similar to DVD zoning with eBook formats?  I know I had all the lovely irritation of switching the zoning on my laptop when  went to Australia for a semester and wanted to watch my roommate's movies... and then when I wanted to watch my own, I had to switch it back, and you can only do that something like 5 times. 

I can see there being some issues with international copyright coming into play here.  I don't agree with it, I'm just looking for the logic behind it. 

Also, Google is evil.  They're trying to monopolize a little bit too much of the online/digital world, IMO. 
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Rob on April 08, 2010, 06:49:06 pm
Also, Google is evil.  They're trying to monopolize a little bit too much of the online/digital world, IMO.  

I think of it as Robin Williams said concerning Bill Gates.....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLjt6N_xJac

WARNING>>>>FOUL LANGUAGE IS USED IN THIS CLIP!!!
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Kyria on April 08, 2010, 07:20:28 pm
Love Robin Williams. But yes, it took some getting used to that he is an ADULT comedian... My baby brother (now not so baby, he's almost 21, when did that happen!?) used to love doing Robin Williams impressions, but of course that was when we were little, and we only knew the kid-friendly Robin Williams (Aladdin, Hook)
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: irian on April 24, 2010, 12:28:43 am
Since we get both US and UK editions over here, and there aren't any publishers doing Tagalog translations of most popular fiction titles (except for Mills and Boon/Harlequins), this problem is probably restricted to Europe and Canada. My friend in Taiwan orders US editions from amazon for those books that she can't find locally, and I haven't heard her complain about having any of her latest orders declined yet either.

I'll have to agree with the others who say it's the fault of the number crunchers though. An author located in the US would sign a contract with a US publishing house, and publishers in other countries (like the UK) will usually produce their own editions "by agreement of" the original publishing house. If retailers in the original country were allowed to sell to buyers in the "by agreement of" countries, then that translates into lost potential sales for the company that got the republishing rights, particularly in the original edition isn't released simultaneously with the licensed edition. Then again, people in the US have been buying Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven from amzon.ca, so I guess the problem is limited to US publications that are licensed to other countries?

I experienced a similar problem in early 2000 though, when I was buying Kodansha's biligual mangas of Cardcaptor Sakura (which were intended to help Japanese kids learn English). Tokyopop was doing their own translation of the Cardcaptor manga though, and when they realized that fans were buying the Kodansha bilinguals (which had more volumes out than their own version), they managed to get Kodansha to stop distributing the biligual books in the US.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: OTenshi on April 24, 2010, 03:56:28 pm
I dislike that publishers are being so greedy and thoughtless. 
The restriction thing tweaks me almost as much as the fact that charging the same for ebooks as paper books is just highway robbery.  There's almost no production cost, and they're charging the same as a hardcover (twitch)?  On top of that some of the covers don't come with the download (twitch), so you get a generic page with just the title. Nrrrr.  It makes me want to start a publishing company just to give people a fair break. 
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: mikaela_l on April 30, 2010, 01:22:01 am
I hate Geyorestrictions. DRM is annoying, but georestrictions is a bigger threat. Why? It annoys the customers.  The book I want isn't available? Too bad I'll buy something else instead.

As for Silverborne, I haven't bought it yet. And I wont. Why? It was out of stock at my local bookstore, when I checked. Which is turned out to be a good thing, since  less than a week later I won it in a contest at the Odd Shots. Signed.     It must be fate.
Title: Re: Geo restriction of books, speculation, suggestions, commisseration
Post by: Elle on April 30, 2010, 12:03:03 pm
Silver Borne got up up at the Sony store for Canadians. That happened last week some time.   bOuNcY
Title: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: The Deposed King on June 28, 2010, 09:04:26 am
Quote
In Defense of Publishers

By: MikeJune 27, 2010

It seems that everywhere I turn, I see people clamoring for the death of traditional publishing. They're old, fossilized, moribund and getting in the way. The dinosaurs are clinging to an outdated business model, let them die! The vitriol comes from many quarters. Readers upset with prices, geographic restrictions and the spotty availability of digital books, particularly for older content. Small publishers eager to discredit the competition, and hopefully loot the carcass for market share. And, of course, writers frustrated with the current gatekeepers, who had the gall to reject their brilliant opus.

A few days ago, I read a very interesting article by Laura Miller at Salon, When Anyone Can Be a Published Author. Actually, the original title was "The Democratization of Slush", which proved to be surprisingly politically-charged. The fact that the title and even the content of an article can change virtually invisibly after publication is, I suppose, both an advantage and a potential danger of electronic media. It's lovely to be able to fix typos and correct grammatical blunders, but it makes me squeamish to think of our news and history being silently re-written to fit current social or political ideology. But I digress . . .

In my opinion, Ms Miller's article did an excellent job of analyzing a complex situation, and documenting the role of the current gatekeepers as well as the potential problems for readers when those gatekeepers are removed. In simplest terms, publishers winnow through a lot a chaff and try to find the occasional kernel of wheat for their readers. They're not perfect. They are commercial entities, and they often pass up otherwise excellent books if they don't feel they can profitably market the resultant product. They occasionally overlook good books, and have published some stinkers. However, on the whole, the stream of products coming out of the big houses is vastly better than the flood of raw material being submitted to them. If self-publishing, print on demand and technologies-yet-to-be-invented render the major presses irrelevant, someone is going to have to take over the role of reading/evaluating/judging the flood of material. The article was well written and cogent, but the comments were scathing -- how dare she ascribe any value to traditional publishing? Didn't she know that the court of public opinion has condemned them, and that the new world would be all fluffy bunnies and rainbows?

In another blog, a week or so ago, I found a bunch of people complaining that the publishing industry was asinine due to geographic restrictions on ebooks. After all, it's pretty silly that someone in the USA can purchase an ebook, but a potential client overseas can't do so. Oh, and the same thing goes for the back-list: why can't the publishers release all our favorite books from the 80's and 90's for a few cents a pop as ebooks? Stupid publishers!

Most publishers can't afford to pay the author a fair price for worldwide rights, and instead pay only for the right to publish and sell in a certain geographic area. Authors are then free to sell the rights to publish in other countries to local publishers. It's worked fine with print books, but is admittedly annoying with ebooks. Also, most publishers didn't acquire the digital rights to books twenty or thirty years ago, and so have no legal right to publish them in electronic form. Publishers are getting branded as inept or unadaptable, when really their hands are tied. Contractually, they don't have the right to do what the public demands, and if they try to make the public happy by ignoring their contracts and selling whatever they feel like, the authors will sue them into oblivion. It's going to take some time to adjust to the realities of a digital world, and an industry that depends on individual contracts with the creators of each piece of their catalog simply can't turn on a dime. Meanwhile, of course, the pirate sites which have no contracts, pay no royalties, and could care less about legality, are having no trouble giving people what they want.

We've been working with traditional publishing for about fifteen years now. The honeymoon is long over, and I'm not saying they're perfect. They're slow. They make mistakes. They don't always pander to the fragile ego's of hopeful authors. They don't always get the perfect cover on a book, or market it the way the author thinks they should have. I've even grumbled about them now and again. But when I hear all the people crying out for the downfall of traditional publishing, I get defensive. The editors I know love books. They love readers. They work long hours to try to find the very best of what's being written, and then work even more hours to try to make it better. If they can't respond to changing demands as quickly as the pirate sites, it's because they're actually interested in both upholding the law and making sure that all the creative folks involved in their products actually get paid. I find it hard to fault them for that, because the best way to guarantee your favorite author, copy-editor and cover artist are available for the next endeavor is to make sure they get paid for the current one.

I'm not against self-publishing, or even publishing through a vanity press for certain applications. There are many reasons for publishing, and many potential markets to reach, some of which are are not well served by traditional publishing. Besides, a little healthy competition is a good thing, and I think both authors and readers will ultimately benefit from the additional options being pioneered. But the current wave of hatred directed at traditional publishing seems ill-deserved and churlish to me.
Disclaimer:

This is Mike (the husband unit), not Patty, and the opinions I've expressed are my own.



My reaction:

I don't hate the publishers for 'failing' the public's demand for more, faster and better access to books especially e-book formats, because of contractual reasons, which are in reality outside of their control.  I don't even get too ticked off about it in all actuality.

I mean really, sure there is in reality a much more than basic 'capability' to put those works up, literally a mouse click after they're done editing, and make it available around the world.  But having done my home work I know that to ensure the people creating, refining and basically slaving over the creation of those works of fiction, get  fairly paid and compensated, I'm willing to put up with a certain amount of sluggishness, 'perhaps' even a bit of obstinancy as it regards changing a time tested and well proven business model in favor of an untested, new fangled, technology which has the possibility of backfiring big time.

But all of that said.  I will damn them and quite roundly too for their pigheaded failure to adopt a 10 year old model with a proven track record of success in handling and distributing e-books.  To my mind 10 years of success removes anything tech related from the realm of 'new fangled'.  And yes like a broken record I am once again referring to the Baen Books type e-book model.  found at www.webscriptions.net and www.baen.com.  Its been up and running since 1999 and they are still alive and thriving.

This is exactly the point where I jump off the 'they really have to work out contracts with each and every individual creator' so cut them some slack band-wagon.  Because Baen has no significant problems getting the e-rights to just about every book they publish.  All of their authors works, with the exeptionally rare and well discussed exception, are available not only electronically, but also many of them are available in E-Arc format available for mass distribution well before the official release date.

I'll concede that getting the rights to books from back before the dawn of the tech age, read the 90's, can be a bit of a booger.  But so what?  Any complaints I have are about the sluggish distribution of current works and a dianosaur like refusal to embrase time tested and positive proven change.

And that darned them is exactly why I can't get my hands on certain books when I am currently living in a 3rd world country and that darned them is why they should fail and fresh blood be given the chance to vie for market share, and the fresh blood should receive our (the buyers) support.

Now let me be clear.  I know that for instance Tor books would love to duplicate the Baen Model, but that Simon and Schuckster their parent company wouldn't let them... back in what? '07?  Maybe things are starting to change.  I honestly don't know.  But last I heard big publshing companies were waring with Amazon and making it so that I couldn't get my hands on a bunch of books I'd been waiting for.  Now boo-hoo little me right?  I'm so put upon.  Having to wait a couple extra months to read certain books.  Well to that I say whatever.  I'm going to air my opinions and put my money where my mouth is and support non-dianosaur like publishing companies.

I do realize the great value that editors and publishers do us by sifting the wheat from the chaff.  I honestly do.  Try buying some 0.99c or $2-3 self published or small publisher books from amazon and it quickly becomes obvious exactly what the publishers are doing to help the reader get the really good books and avoid throwing their hands up in the air over all the dross that could flood the market and make it so frustrating you'd stop buying books.

But you know what.  The Guilds of old had specialized skills.  Even after they got rid of a lot of the secrecy and refusing to train others in their skills.  They still were a small group of highly trained individuals with skills it literally took years and decades to learn.  The Guilds of old jacked joe-public around.  Artificially raising prices and creating fake demand.  It took time and effort but We crushed them and if the Publishers of today continue to try and set artificially high e-book prices well above dead tree book prices, and jerk us around by refusing to sell us e-books at all because they got their nickers in a bunch one day about certain outlets selling their books at 'what these high and mighty guild-like publishers' think is too low a price....  well We can crush them too.  And it all starts with finding outlets like Baen who aren't jerking us around and are providing us with quality books and e-books and supporting them with our dime and dollar.

I'm not saying to just one day up and abandon all other publishers and with them the authors who don't use publishers you approve of.  But certainly make your views known and put your first discretionary dollars towards those publishers who aren't jerking you around.




The Deposed King
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ironkitten on June 28, 2010, 06:43:41 pm
Well, I think you're right. I don't think ebooks should be so overly priced by their cousins printed on paper. It is obvious that paper printed books would cost more than ebooks. Those prices should be balanced in whatever contracts those publishers have with the authors and what not.
However, how many people are as educated as us to go and take the time to research all those publishers to do what you suggest? So half the battle is knowing and making it known. I am glad to hear that Thor tried to do the same as Baen, but I am not surprised they got clamped down on. I do think given the times, as nice as it is to have a "hard copy" it is best to go ahead and do the ebooks. I also think that at some point in time when publishers come around to the technological age with the rest of us or at least I think it should have been adopted already is that traditional publishers should already start going over to some kind of ebook format along with a contract for that and allow the authors to decide if they want it in ebook form. Those from way back when - ya bugger is a good word for it, but I also know that is only for those authors with living family or someone with rights to them - not the ones who don't. Anyway good post.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ArtAngel on July 01, 2010, 02:31:14 pm
Paying hardcover prices for e-books makes me cringe but paying those prices for hardcovers make me cringe too. I used to be annoyed with paying paperback prices for e-books but not anymore. A little while ago I had looked up how much it would cost to self publish, my little sis had written a story and I wanted to get a few copies printed for her as a birthday gift. If you get one or two, or even one or two hundred,  it is very expensive but once you get into the thousands and tens of thousands that real publishers deal with the printing price becomes negligible.
 
The eight dollars that you pay for a book has to go somewhere else since it obviously isn't into the printing. Then I started thinking of all the people involved in publishing one book. Writing is a full time job so the authors who write full time have to make enough to live and support their families, and they are not the only ones who get a cut in profits. How many others are getting paychecks from those profits? I don't know since I've never been published but I bet it's lots more than we think.

There are a few things that do annoy me about e-books. Yes, it is taking forever to get all the rules hammered out but when you get that many lawyers together in a room, it's their job to be thorough, to make sure there are no loopholes for anyone to get screwed over. So besides my selfish need for the instant gratification that e-books provide, I'm ok with how long it's taking. In fact, since I plan on being published if I can, I applaud the caution they are showing. 

Another thing that really annoys me and that I don't have an answer to is this. Why do we rarely get the real cover of the book? If we are paying full price then there has to be enough for the artists cut, so where is the cover? It's a small complaint but a valid one. I like the covers of most of the books I read and would like to enjoy them.

My last complaint has to do with geographical restrictions. Again, I understand the basic reasons for these. It protects the authors and publishers and makes them more money. And, no, I do not believe that to be an artist you have to be a stupid business man. Who wants to starve? No one. have you ever tried to be creative when you are hungry? It's very distracting. What I do dislike about them is this. As a Canadian reader I can go to the city and buy just about any book in a real bookstore so why can't I download that same book to a Canadian computer? That is what I don't understand.

Besides those two complaints, I applaud the caution that the publishers are taking. As annoying as it is now since there are so few ebooks available, especially in the last few months, I think that their caution will be good for writers and readers in the long run.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ironkitten on July 01, 2010, 02:44:42 pm
that is true a room full of lawyers - that is pricey right there, but a necessary evil to protect yourself. I think your last complaint is very valid as well, that never ceases to amaze me to go buy the book but not download it for whatever the reason is. I am visual so if I can't get a cover for my book forget it. Even an ebook they can upload a scan of the cover as a jpg or whatever format and it takes all of 1 minute.
The printing process and publishing of a book - I cringe, there are the writers, editors, printers, ink, paper, time, lawyers, shipping, translators, distributors and the list goes on. They all get their cut, which is why it is odd to me your not printing with an ebook so a lot of that cost could be cut out.

That was sweet you were going to have that book published for your sister. What kind of books are you writing about?
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ArtAngel on July 01, 2010, 02:59:08 pm
printers, ink, paper, time,

On the websites I was looking at, these could be paid for less than a quarter per book. That's really not a very large part of $8. Shipping costs would not be necessary, but then again when you look at the deals that publishers would get it's still not very much per book. Whereas paying someone with enough computer skills and knowledge to make a book into an ebook in so many different formats would more that cover the cost of shipping. Ebooks would also need distributors. We don't buy directly from the publisher so any time you get a company between the provider and the consumer, you need distributors.

I'm writing a fantasy novel but it's not anywhere near ready for anyone but me and a few friends who are helping me with critiquing.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: Patti L. on July 01, 2010, 03:02:58 pm
Don't forget proofreaders (however much they've been cut back), receptionists, IT guys & gals, file clerks, janitors, security, art directors, blurb writers, promotional agents (the ones who shepherd the author around on signing tours, for instance), advertising departments, mailrooms taking care of fan letters, fan fic, fielding actual physical manuscripts, readers of said Ms. to determine what is publishable (with help!), HR departments, payroll departments, accountants, tax preparers, office managers, secretaries, the reps who go from store to store with ARCs and try to talk the managers into ordering a particular author/publisher's output.  Travel agents for a lot of the above... and those others I've left out.

IK, I hope you don't mind, but I'll ask ArtAngel to answer *any further to* you either in Random, Discussion, or via PM.  It's off topic here.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ArtAngel on July 01, 2010, 03:11:39 pm
Thank you Patti! That is exctly the list I was trying, and failing, to think of. I knew that there would be a huge amount of support staff but couldn't think of all of them.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ironkitten on July 01, 2010, 03:13:58 pm
LOL Patti L. it's kewl. No it's just the rant off what Mike was talking about there is just so much that goes into it. I think it does get frustrating.  I can understand and share that frustration. We aren't too off topic. That is too funny though - I wasn't going to list them all.  Plus I think Mike has probably had to deal with a lot of that stuff otherwise he wouldn't have posted it.
ArtAngel good luck with your writing and share the link with us when you get there. If you need a bit more feedback I am sure we could all do that.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: JulieP on July 02, 2010, 01:03:30 pm
I am a professional photographer and it is a similar situation in our profession.  My clients still are looking for Large wall art, so, print is not dead.  It has *changed* though.  People want digital copies not so much to print, but to share on facebook and the internet in general.  To not respond to that would be business suicide. 

I personally love books.  My husband wants me to have an e-reader in the worst way.  He says I have a hoarding problem   9) I sorta do.  I am about to go trade all my books in, but, still want books! I do see the good side of an e reader, but, the thought of losing the feel of a book just makes me sad

On another note, as far as expenses, there are so many expenses one does not think of.  Just because there isn't printing done, or in my case, film to be bought and developed, does not make it *cheaper*.  I think photography is more expensive these days. Much easier to become proficient at, you can shoot a heck of a lot more, but, for a real professional the costs are high.  Camera bodies need replacing about every 2 years(used to last 10-15) Computers need upgrading every year to 2. Software must be purchased and then upgrade all the darn time.  My TIME, oh my TIME.  It is worth something and I do put in LOTS of hours for each client.

As was explained above, the costs are different. I can only imagine the licensing right fees!
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ironkitten on July 02, 2010, 03:03:13 pm
I agree JulieP it would be suicide not to cater tot hat market. I also agree nothing is the same as reading with an old fashioned book they are just so fun.

I forgot about the photography profession, but I can see them having some of the same things to deal with.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: The Deposed King on July 04, 2010, 01:59:57 am
I agree JulieP it would be suicide not to cater tot hat market. I also agree nothing is the same as reading with an old fashioned book they are just so fun.

I forgot about the photography profession, but I can see them having some of the same things to deal with.


I'm not sure I buy into the 'tech costs' being more than 'printing costs' argument.  I can see that many or all of the other costs would remain the same.  But in every other industry I know of, computerization of their processes has resulted in 'decreases' in costs.  Or at worst, increased efficiancy and a parity in costs.  So in short until you show me the itemized list, I'm going to cry foul and say even if all you'd save is a single solitary quarter in cost, that the e-book should be 0.24c less per unit than a dead tree book.  Not a dollar or two more!

And if you honestly told me that your tech costs to convert files into a readable e-format were equivalent to typesetting and printing costs.... I'd most likely want to have my web-development company's IT guys look at the process and if possible cut your costs.




The Deposed King
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: Mike Briggs on July 04, 2010, 07:53:27 am
I don't have any inside information about production costs, they don't show us the accounting spreadsheet.    I've heard several times that ebooks cost about 10% less than the paperback to produce, which actually seems like a reasonable figure to me; but I have no way of knowing if that number is accurate.  I suspect that a real price comparison would be pretty tough, because with e-books the fixed costs are much higher than the unit costs.  If an ebook costs $20,000 up front, and sells 5000 copies, you have a whole different unit cost than if the same books sells a hundred thousand copies. 

I think most publishers are trying to initially price ebooks high enough to avoid losing hardback sales.  Lets say, for the sake of argument, that ebooks could reasonably be sold for $5 (publisher gets $3), while still making a profit.  However, the hardback sells for $25 with the publisher getting $10 or so.  The problem (for publishers) is that if the ebook comes out at the same time, much of the demand will be satisfied by the ebook.  The demand for books is finite, they probably won't sell three times as many ebooks, so they won't be able to "make up" for the lower profits in volume.   This is the same reason they delay paperback releases by a year or so.

The problem is that the public is demanding the ebook be released early, saying, "Hey, I bought a $300 reader, I want the latest content, not year-old leavings!".  Understandable.  I think the publishers are affixing a premium price to the ebook early in the release cycle, and dropping it later.  Hypothetically, the ebook price should always be a little less than whatever paper version is currently available.

However, it's not that clean.  I've seen books that are $7 in paper, and over twenty in ebooks, WITH nasty DRM.  That's just wrong.  Publishers are still trying to figure this out, and right now it seems every publisher (or every marketing branch within a publisher) has a different idea about how to price and sell ebooks, which creates a great deal of confusion, and leads to resentment from the buying public.  I mean, if I bought a $20 ebook with no cover, bad formatting, and DRM, then saw the paperback in the discount bin for $5, I wouldn't be favorably impressed, and that's happening to LOTS of buyers.

So, I hope this gets sorted out.  The current free-for-all isn't helping readers, authors OR publishers.  However, this sort of disaster is exactly what one expects when market conditions change drastically in a free market.  Lots of people trying various strategies, some of which are just dumb, trying to find something that works. 
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: ironkitten on July 04, 2010, 12:36:42 pm
That's true Mike - thanks for sharing that with us. Hopefully that is something they work out soon. and hopefully agree with everyone.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: The Deposed King on July 04, 2010, 11:19:36 pm
I don't have any inside information about production costs, they don't show us the accounting spreadsheet.    I've heard several times that ebooks cost about 10% less than the paperback to produce, which actually seems like a reasonable figure to me; but I have no way of knowing if that number is accurate.  I suspect that a real price comparison would be pretty tough, because with e-books the fixed costs are much higher than the unit costs.  If an ebook costs $20,000 up front, and sells 5000 copies, you have a whole different unit cost than if the same books sells a hundred thousand copies. 

I think most publishers are trying to initially price ebooks high enough to avoid losing hardback sales.  Lets say, for the sake of argument, that ebooks could reasonably be sold for $5 (publisher gets $3), while still making a profit.  However, the hardback sells for $25 with the publisher getting $10 or so.  The problem (for publishers) is that if the ebook comes out at the same time, much of the demand will be satisfied by the ebook.  The demand for books is finite, they probably won't sell three times as many ebooks, so they won't be able to "make up" for the lower profits in volume.   This is the same reason they delay paperback releases by a year or so.

The problem is that the public is demanding the ebook be released early, saying, "Hey, I bought a $300 reader, I want the latest content, not year-old leavings!".  Understandable.  I think the publishers are affixing a premium price to the ebook early in the release cycle, and dropping it later.  Hypothetically, the ebook price should always be a little less than whatever paper version is currently available.

However, it's not that clean.  I've seen books that are $7 in paper, and over twenty in ebooks, WITH nasty DRM.  That's just wrong.  Publishers are still trying to figure this out, and right now it seems every publisher (or every marketing branch within a publisher) has a different idea about how to price and sell ebooks, which creates a great deal of confusion, and leads to resentment from the buying public.  I mean, if I bought a $20 ebook with no cover, bad formatting, and DRM, then saw the paperback in the discount bin for $5, I wouldn't be favorably impressed, and that's happening to LOTS of buyers.

So, I hope this gets sorted out.  The current free-for-all isn't helping readers, authors OR publishers.  However, this sort of disaster is exactly what one expects when market conditions change drastically in a free market.  Lots of people trying various strategies, some of which are just dumb, trying to find something that works.


Look I understand that you and patty don't set any policy with the publishers, nor do you necessarily have any or all of the information.  And so on and so forth.  But here is some of the information that informs my decision making process vis-a-vis these dianosaurs.

I will say.  Brand New Book:  Mission of Honor by David Weber.  Published June 22 2010.  Hard Cover List Price $27.00.  Available on Amazon for $14.85.  (If you buy $25 dollars of stuff at amazon they'll bundle it all up together and ship it for 'free'.)  Not available in kindle format at this time that I could see.  But right now today if you go to the baen webscription site you can sign up for free and buy the book in e-format for $6.00 using your credit card I also see a send it to your kindle option if you don't want to read it DRM free on line or down load it DRM free to your computer, however I've never used the kindle option so I don't know if there are any restrictions on kindling it to yourself.

In addition normally the e-book version is out 2 weeks before the release date.  That's not a hard and fast deadline, but a general rule as the editors will post the entire month's books at the same time and if they get done early they'll normally post it up early.  Also you can purchase Baen's whole month of book releases for 12.00-15.00 which generally includes two new books and 3-5 re-releases or just out in paper back stuff.

In addition:  An E-ARC of Mission of Honor was out months ago.  They always put up a disclaimer that E-ARC's are not necessarily the final version and there might be punctuation, or other errors, so if that honk's you off wait for the official publish date.  But I've never noticed any discrepancies.  Most of the big books they have coming out go up in E-ARC format a month or three before its official release date.  I know I read an E-ARC of Mission of Honor a few months ago and looking at the site there are comments on the E-Arc book starting february 4th 2010.  E-ARC's almost 'always' cost $15.00

So in short.

Mission of Honor:

$15.00        E-ARC (Available 2/4/2010)
$6.00          E-Book (Available generally 1-2 weeks before official 6/22/2010 hard cover release date)
$27.00        Hard Cover List Price  (Available 6/22/2010)
$14.85        Hard Cover Price at Amazon (Available 6/22/2010 although with shipping it'll be a couple days more)
$??.??         Paper Back (Available who knows?)


Now I can't swear to exactly when the e-book came available on the Baen Site because frankly I'd read the book months before.  But having bought lots of books from Baen I feel safe in quoting the general trend I've personally experienced.

Also I can't swear that E-ARC's have been available since 1999 like the rest of the e-books, since they take them off the list when they're no longer current as they don't want people claiming they bought a book for 15 when they could have gone to a different part of the very same site and bought it for 6.  But I've been buying ARC's since the mid 2000's at least.

Now if Baen can be doing this for a top of the Sci-Fi field best selling book and, take my work for it, most of their other new releases, remind me again why I have to pay 'more' for an e-book from other top end sci-fi fantasty publishers?



Also honestly 20K to produce an e-book version of a dead tree book that sells only 5000 e-copies sounds like and unbelievable figure to me.

I know its just a for if example, but if we come to some sort of impase on the cost.... At the Baen-bar site Tony Weiskopff or however you spell her last name.  The Baen editor in chief.  She has a place for questions and such.  If enough of us posted asking for a ball park estimate, if she might or might not just tell us... if she has the figures handy.  She generally answers questions if she sees them and enough of her readers want to know... like why can't we have an E-Arc of this book or what's wrong with blah blah blah.  Or at least she was over the last few years but I haven't gone to her section for about 6 months or so.




The Deposed King
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: Mike Briggs on July 04, 2010, 11:53:57 pm
Ebooks are a disruptive technology.  Publishing operates on pretty thin margins, and ebooks are breaking established practices. Publishers are reacting like a herd of Gazelle when a lion breaks cover -- scattering in various directions trying to find a workable solution and survive a little longer.  If they all marched lock-step to the same solution, then either the solution was terribly obvious, or there's a lot of collusion/price-fixing or whatever going on. 

I liked Jim Baen, and had tremendous respect for him.   HIS approach was to write contracts which gave his company very liberal terms for electronic publication.  How he got authors to agree to them is a mystery to me (I doubt we'd sign such a contract), but that's a different discussion.  Having acquired  the rights to distribute the ebooks under favorable terms, he has chosen to publish them rapidly, cheaply, and gives lots of ebooks away for free.  In a world where ebooks only account for about 5% of all reading material, this is probably a good plan.  The ebooks are essentially low-cost  marketing for the print books.  Baen has decided to try to leverage the cheap distribution of the ebook in hopes of maximizing the income of the print books, so he's basically giving them away.  If they sell, it's bonus money and if they get pirated that's just advertising.   At least, that's how I see his model*.  So far it seems to be working.

You seem absolutely certain that Baen is right, and anyone who fails to follow their lead is a dinosaur that deserves to die.  Back to the antelope analogy, Baen's path is one of many, and it's far too early to see which companies will survive. Personally, I'm glad our publisher isn't choosing this particular path.

Here's my concern with Baen's approach.  It works now, but ebook readership is growing very rapidly. What happens to this model when 95% of books are read in ebook form?  Will treating ebooks as an advertising loss still make sense?  Baen is training their customers to believe that ebooks should be cheap or free. When paper sales decline, will they be able to convince these customers to pay more?   I don't have the answers, but it may well be Baen who goes extinct.

As far as ebook costs, I pulled 20K out of clear blue sky, I have no idea what an ebook costs.  However, a midlist author may get anywhere from five to fifty thousand or so as an advance.  Then the publisher gets to pay for multiple rounds of edits with professional editors, someone to write the cover copy, the cover artist, and a designer to package the whole thing. You can also add in something for the mailboy, rent on the facilities, utilities and a host of other expenses.  These are the fixed costs to acquire and prepare a manuscript.  Of course, these costs are typically shared between the ebook and paper versions.   The ebook saves on printing and shipping, but requires a surprising amount of effort to reformat into various formats.  (I know, it SHOULD be as easy as pushing a button, but apparently is isn't).   Overall, I think 20K is probably a reasonable estimate.

*I'm not an expert on marketing or economics.  If you could see my investment history, it would be obvious that I'm also not a genius at predicting marketing performance, and my crystal ball is apparently defective. 
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: The Deposed King on July 07, 2010, 04:59:47 am
Ebooks are a disruptive technology.  Publishing operates on pretty thin margins, and ebooks are breaking established practices. Publishers are reacting like a herd of Gazelle when a lion breaks cover -- scattering in various directions trying to find a workable solution and survive a little longer.  If they all marched lock-step to the same solution, then either the solution was terribly obvious, or there's a lot of collusion/price-fixing or whatever going on. 

They seem to me more like a herd of hard headed goats each determined to take their own path, whether or not it leads them over a cliff or directly into the lions mouth.



I liked Jim Baen, and had tremendous respect for him.   HIS approach was to write contracts which gave his company very liberal terms for electronic publication.  How he got authors to agree to them is a mystery to me (I doubt we'd sign such a contract), but that's a different discussion.  Having acquired  the rights to distribute the ebooks under favorable terms, he has chosen to publish them rapidly, cheaply, and gives lots of ebooks away for free.  In a world where ebooks only account for about 5% of all reading material, this is probably a good plan.  The ebooks are essentially low-cost  marketing for the print books.  Baen has decided to try to leverage the cheap distribution of the ebook in hopes of maximizing the income of the print books, so he's basically giving them away.  If they sell, it's bonus money and if they get pirated that's just advertising.   At least, that's how I see his model*.  So far it seems to be working.

The free library mostly offers free versions of books that were back list and out of print or from some of the longer running series spanning two decades like the honor harrington books.  Some authors like eric flint and john ringo also seem to believe that by giving the first book or two in a longer series that's not even as old as the honor stuff away for free they'll still increase their sales.  They believed that by giving away free versions of books that were out of print they'd be able to revitalize the series.  Now whether this was a case of the free books actually helping to re-starting the series or simply gave the publisher the psychological boost it needed to actually re-publish the series I suppose is debatable.

Also I think you are missing the value of having the loyalty of a large on-line community (at baen's bar) that gets direct feedback from the publisher/editor and their favorite authors.   As well as the value to brand spanking new authors who for the most part snippet up to half of their book for free to a small but significant community of readers who will read half of a book for free that they might not otherwise ever be willing to risk spending good money on, who then get hooked, and end up paying for the e-book as soon as it comes out and with new authors I know that the community will often say if you like this author try to buy the paperback as soon as it comes out to help jump start the author.

Also having such cheap e-books really knocks a lot of the self serving justification of on-line pirates about how they'd pay for e-books if only there were some reasonably priced e-books.

That said I know of several authors like sm sterling who vigorously disagreed with Baen's policy and stopped publishing their books with Baen...  On the other hand brand new authors like John Ringo were picked up by Baen and hit the bestseller lists in short order, exclusively using Baen's model.


You seem absolutely certain that Baen is right, and anyone who fails to follow their lead is a dinosaur that deserves to die.  Back to the antelope analogy, Baen's path is one of many, and it's far too early to see which companies will survive. Personally, I'm glad our publisher isn't choosing this particular path.

I am fairly certain that Baen's been following a winning formula up to this point and that all along the way the other publishers sounded like they were paraphrasing the lilliputions of gullivers tales.  To wit vis-a-vis baen's crazy e-book model: 'That will never work, they'll need gulliver!'

Then when it worked they said words to the effect that gulliver was probably all tuckered out and so there was really no point in trying to duplicate Baen's success.

It seemed like a bunch of chicken little philosophy to me.  Not to say that I am 100% certain they are wrong going into the future...  after all even a broken clock is right twice a day, its just that I am certain they were 100% wrong in the past.

Honestly its like they stood by and watched Baen sprint down the e-book path, shaking their heads and saying how Baen was clearly going in the wrong direction.  Then when the e-book path became a fact of life for their book selling journey, they started doing the chicken dance.  Taking took two steps forward (started making e-books), six steps sideways (DRM/availability well after dead tree versions only/etc.) and then got in a snit (regarding how much their e-books were selling for) and took one step back.

Here's my concern with Baen's approach.  It works now, but ebook readership is growing very rapidly. What happens to this model when 95% of books are read in ebook form?  Will treating ebooks as an advertising loss still make sense?  Baen is training their customers to believe that ebooks should be cheap or free. When paper sales decline, will they be able to convince these customers to pay more?   I don't have the answers, but it may well be Baen who goes extinct.

And this is a very valid concern.  Just because something worked yesterday, doesn't mean it will keep working tomorrow.  Just look at how google dominated and then restricted the advertising industry.  Slam bam no appeal mam, for companies that had been using the same advertising strategy for two years and suddenly were no longer 'allowed' to advertise on google adwords.

I honestly believe though that's Baen's open approach and genuine feedback to the readers who frequent their baen bar site and then go to the webscriptions site for cheap books would mitigate much or most of the damage they'd suffer from being forced to bring their e-book prices up to industry standard.  But I could be wrong up and down the board.

That said I 'don't see' Baen going extinct any time soon.

As far as ebook costs, I pulled 20K out of clear blue sky, I have no idea what an ebook costs.  However, a midlist author may get anywhere from five to fifty thousand or so as an advance.  Then the publisher gets to pay for multiple rounds of edits with professional editors, someone to write the cover copy, the cover artist, and a designer to package the whole thing. You can also add in something for the mailboy, rent on the facilities, utilities and a host of other expenses.  These are the fixed costs to acquire and prepare a manuscript.  Of course, these costs are typically shared between the ebook and paper versions.   The ebook saves on printing and shipping, but requires a surprising amount of effort to reformat into various formats.  (I know, it SHOULD be as easy as pushing a button, but apparently is isn't).   Overall, I think 20K is probably a reasonable estimate.

Maybe I'm misremembering but I think an editor once said that the publisher basically made either as much as the author or twice as much as the author but the rest all went into advertising and production costs except for those few marque authors like david weber and jim butcher.


*I'm not an expert on marketing or economics.  If you could see my investment history, it would be obvious that I'm also not a genius at predicting marketing performance, and my crystal ball is apparently defective.

I'm no oracle of omaha myself.  So I can't give you grief over a cloudy crystal ball.





The Deposed King
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: Raeana1 on August 17, 2010, 11:14:40 am
My biggest beef with the publishing industry and the e.book saga going on currently is the lack of communication of publishers. If the publisher wants to delay the e.book version until a month after the hardback is released, I have no issue with that. But considering most e.reader users are avid book consumers, I think publishers are alienating them by failing to recognize them.  Why not announce a dual release date? Novel ABC by XYZ author to be released HB on 1/01/2010, e.version available on 2/01/2010.
It is especially frustrating to try to pre-order an e.book that's #5 in a series in which the first 4 books were released in e.book format, but now the fifth has been released with no word to be found anywhere about if the book will or will not be released as an e.book.

I don’t mind paying more for a book that is only available in hardcover, but I don’t think $25 or $30 is a fair price for an electronic version that I have no rights to. By buying a physical book, I can loan it to others in my household, my friends, donate it to a library sale, and etc. Most electronic versions have very restrictive EUL for readers. I understand that the EULs are restrictive in order to prevent and discourage piracy, however they also prevent many things that the public is used to being able to do.

For example, I have purchased a new copy of every one of Patti’s books that is available since then. Actually, I’ve both physical and electronic version of most of them now. But I never would have read any of her books if my friend hadn’t bought a copy of Masques from the used book store when I was in high school back in 1996 and loaned it to me. I loved it so much I went out and purchased Steal the Dragon that weekend and was hooked. In fact, I’d have to say 80% of the series/authors I’ve been hooked on over the years was due to a friend or family member loaning me a book to read. Patti didn’t directly receive any money from my friend’s purchase of Masques , nor from my reading of it, but I guarantee that without my friend loaning me that book, the chances of me buying any of the Sianam series or others when they were first published were slim to none. Add into the fact that I then loaned some of those books to others who then became fans and bought books, the number of sales from those loaned books definitely meet the triple digits just from the people I loaned to. If they loaned books to friends also, the numbers increase dramatically. I remember at one point the entire floor of my dorm in college going out together to buy a book by an author we all loved on the day it was released after someone had passed the first book of the series around. We just couldn’t wait. One passed around book meant 50 more books sold of the first sequel. I know I bought a copy of the first one so I had the series and I’m sure others did too.  This is what Baen is talking about. Baen realized that word of mouth marketing is important and embraced it. There are companies out there now that pay big bucks to find ‘viral marketing’ campaigns even half as successful as Baen’s.   

But I’ve digressed a bit and I apologize. My point on this is, every e.book sold is an e.book sold. It’s not a book sold then loaned to someone else, then sold to a used book store to be re-sold at half price then passed around by 10 other people. It’s a solid sale. With my purchase of a Kindle, I have four close friends I used to loan my books too. Either they’ve all bought their own physical versions of the book or they’ve bought e.readers also. That’s five books sold versus the one that would have been purchased if I didn’t have the Kindle. I think this is something a lot people in the publishing industry are failing to see or consider. I have nowhere near the versatility of uses with an e.book as a consumer as I did with a physical book. I’m limited to how many devices I can have the book on, even for readers that allow you to loan to other people, it’s limited to how long and how many people you can loan it to over it’s lifetime.

In my honest and humble opinion, publishers would do better to develop a base price compromised of the author/editorial stage/design/marketing costs, and then provide a cost for the media format it is released in, the production costs associated with the format and the inherent usage and rights conferred by purchasing that format. Author contract payments can vary based off what rights the author granted the publisher, why shouldn’t something similar apply to the consumer? If I lease a car, I pay significantly less money and in turn have less freedom to modify the car. If I tried to paint it hot pink and etch my name in the hood, I’d have serious penalties to pay. However if I buy the car, I have to pay more for it but I can etch my name all I want into it. Same with music, I pay $9.99 for an album online with DRM – but I can’t make more than so many copies of the songs. If I had bought the album at the store for $18.99, then I would be able to make as many copies or mixed CDs for my car as I want to, but then I paid for the DRM free material. So if I really love the album, I’m more likely to purchase the physical copy to obtain more personal use rights.

If the industry removes the excessively restrictive EUL and DRM from ebooks and then prices them the same as the hardback books, I would pay the higher price without blinking and be happy to pay it. However, as it stands, the industry has unfairly stripped the consumer of fair personal use rights in e.books and is trying to muddy the situation by saying e.books devalue hardbacks.


I think that by allowing just industry people decide and weigh in on the issues, that consumer rights are going out the window. With the record industry along with the publishing industry working to restrict fair use to prevent the few dishonest people while punishing the majority who happen to be honest, it’s turning into a police state. All these restrictions remind me of something I read once (but I can’t remember who said it or where) but it’s basically that its getting to be that a company can sell you a cow, which you then feed and care for, but you aren’t allowed to milk it or eat it because that right wasn’t included in the EUL. 


Title: Re: Ebooks discussions about release dates, publishers & general info
Post by: Patti L. on November 27, 2010, 05:53:53 pm
Dear HarperCollins eBook Customer,

As of November 19, 2010, the HarperCollins eBook Store has been discontinued. We are contacting you so that you have the opportunity to download and archive the titles you have purchased. To download previously purchased titles, sign in and visit your 'My library' page. After December 19, 2010 titles that have not been downloaded will no longer be accessible.

We appreciate your patronage, and we regret any inconvenience this may cause you.

Sincerely,

The HarperCollins e-books Support Team
----------------------------------------------------

This is also a warning to those who join places like HC with seldom-used email accounts to check their mail, or at least their library pages, and download fast.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

First, @hurogirl can copy as much or as little of my posts as she needs to spread the warning. Lots of people use throwaway email addies to join things to avoid spam. What used to be my main AOL account is now the primary spam trap for me.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: wizardbear on April 04, 2011, 06:48:17 pm
Ever since I learned to read, I've been reading books without so much as one penny
passing from my pocket to the writer's. Family, library, second-hand, I use all of
these, always have and always will. Why? Because I can.

I have also bought books new when I could, starting when I first began to have
money of my own to spend as I chose, and I still do, and always will. Why?
Because I'm not stupid, I understand that if no one pays the writer for writing,
they'll at best write much, much less, and more likely, stop writing altogether.

For me, the ratio between the two (no money from me to the writer vs. some money
of mine ending up in the writer's pocket) changes all the time, and always has, and
always will. Why? Because the circumstances of my life change all the time, always
have and always will.

I always have a limited book budget, and unless I win the lotto, I can't see that ever
changing. That means I spend what I have to spend, in the way that gets me the
most of what I want. And what I want is books,  both now AND more books latter.
This means I buy few new HB, some new PB, some EB (Ebooks), some used, and
some I read without paying the writer at all. If I have to wait, then I wait. I'll bet
you a cookie there are lots of readers just like me out in the world, too.

I happen to do a lot of business with Baen. Why? Because the Baen  business
model matches my spending habits more closely than anybody else. They make
some of their EB available for free ( thanks, Baen), they sell their EB for a price I
feel is fair without DRM, (thanks again, Baen), and their PB and HB prices are in
line with what everybody else in the book world is charging. This makes me *want*
to do business with Baen if I can, because I want Baen and Baen writers to keep
doing what they're doing.

I do business with the other small publishers who act similarly when I can, for the
same reasons. Naked Reader Press is one, there are others.

I prefer EB and hate DRM. I'll buy used, or read for free, almost every time rather
than pay for DRM. Why? Because I've already been burned, once by EBs (Sharon
Lee and Steve Miller's stuff, the EB distributor went out of business) and many times by music
 (records, then tapes, then CDs, then digital). Sorry, once burned, forever shy. I have *five*
EB I bought from Amazon. So I'm not perfect. You wouldn't believe how much I wanted to find
another way,or how long it took me to make up my mind to go ahead. I really hate DRM.

I remember when there were almost no "legitimate" EBs. Especially in the SF/F
(science fiction/fantasy) area. And some people made EBs for what they felt then,
and still feel now, were legitimate reasons. They had already paid for the DTBs
(dead tree book(s)), and felt that "format shifting" was fine for personal use. It's a
concept that goes back to the first days of cassette recorders for music and VCRs
for TV. "Personal use" or "fair use" is concept that isn't being talked about nearly as
much as "piracy" is, and I think that's too bad. Businesses who support DRM are
trying to kill "fair use" by making it a crime in the US to break DRM, even to move
an EB you payed for to a different machine. There are still people who feel this
way, that they  *have paid* and downloading a EB copy of a DTB they own is
okay. A tough call. I made my personal CD collection into mp3s. If had the
machines and the computer power to make my DTBs into EBs, would I? Some
of them, yes. The out-of-print, not available new in any format for any price stuff,
for my personal use, yes. Computer programmers call stuff like that "abandonware",
it's something the owner has given up on or can't get back into business with. If I
knew how to contact the writers, assuming they're still alive, I might try to send
them a little cash. just for the peace of mind. But how much? Danged if I know.
What's fair for a DTB I bought in the '60s for 75 cents that hasn't been printed
since? And how the heck could I find the writer? Really, on this I'm torn. Half glad
I don't have the machines and computer power to do it, and half wishing I could.

Guess in my heart I'm longing for the eye patch, parrot, and the Jolly Rodger. (grin)

A business that wants me to buy their machine so I can read their EBs is like a TV
station that wants me to buy their TV so I can watch their channels. No. I won't.
And if a favorite and well liked writer does business through a company like that,
that's their choice and they have every right to choose to do that. And I have every
right to not support that business by buying from them. Not because I want to
punish the writer, I regret any hardship that this may cause a writer I like, but
because I hate DRM and refuse to support it even by the small amounts my book
budget represents. Computers and EB readers are changing all the time,
companies go out of business, I want to know that the EB I buy today will last me
the rest of my life, just like a well care for DTB will.

(Side issue, case in point. Up-thread Mike mentions Fictionwise on: August 23,
2009. Here is an update:
"Fictionwise / Overdrive - In January 2009, OverDrive informed Fictionwise that
they would no longer be providing downloads for purchasers of e-books through
Fictionwise as of 31 January 2009. No reason was provided to Fictionwise as to
why they were being shut down. This prevents previous purchasers from being able
to renew their books on new devices. Fictionwise is working to provide
replacement ebooks for its customers in alternative, non-DRM formats, but does
not have the rights to provide all of the books in different formats."

The key word in this update is "all". So some, we don't know how many, people are
losing or have lost access to their EBs because of a shift in company ownership and
policy changes. This is *exactly* why I hate DRM. Because things like this happen.

Information from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management on 4/4/2011

End of side issue, case in point)

As long as I have choices, I will not choose DRM. And no, that doesn't mean I will
choose piracy. Libraries have ILL (inter-library loan) and you can get almost
anything if you are patient. And used books are affordable if you shop carefully, I'm
a PaperBackSwapper. Over the course of many years I've bought so many DTB that
I have more of them in my house than the local library owns. I can keep right on
buying DTB when necessary until the EB market gets the idea that what I want,
what I will pay for, is an EB that I own, that I can read on any machine, now and
forever. If a company chooses to sell EBs that way, we can do business, if not, then
not.

As for the pirates? I think are several catagories of pirates, and not all are equal. All
are in the wrong to some degree, but that degree is variable. Here's what I think:
1. Thieves. They would rather steal than pay. We've always had thieves, and always
will.
2. Protesters. They feel they are being treated unfairly and want to hit back. Right or
wrong, that's how they feel and the only answer they will accept is a business
model they feel is fair. Doesn't matter why they feel that way, only that they do.

3. Morally indifferent. "Everybody is doing it, why shouldn't I". If you have to ask, you
won't understand the  answer. Writers work hard and deserve to compensated. If
you can't see that, then we have nothing more to say to one another. We disagree
on a fundamental level and it's useless for us to discuss this issue.

4. Postponers. "I can't pay you now but I will when I can." Some of them mean
that, and carry through. Sometimes it's just an excuse.

5. Self-deluded. Some people lie to themselves all the time, or make excuses for things
they do that they know they shouldn't do. Park in the handicap spot, "I'm just
gonna run in for a second." And so on and so on. We all know people like that, and
with EBs it's "It's only one book, how much can it hurt?" or "No one will know".
Yes, we've heard *that* before, how many times?

6. Show-offs. "Look at how smart I am, your puny DRM is no match for me." They
may not even like the books, or read them. What they want is applause. And some of
them get it, that's the fuel they burn, it's what keeps them going. They are indifferent
to the harm they do, all that counts in their minds is impressing their friends.

I'm sure there are more, that I just can't think of right now. And I'm sure that some
of them won't stop, and some of them will. People can and do change. How many
of us sneaked some beer at some point in high school, or some other thing we knew
was "wrong" but did anyway. Will the kids who pirate today grow up to become
buyers? I think so. I hope so. I want to believe that most people are fundamentally
honest and that the others are the exception and not the rule.

Enough. Thoughts and comments welcome.
Title: Re: About Mike's Mutterings about Publishers, readers and hatred or lack there-ofs
Post by: wizardbear on April 04, 2011, 11:00:00 pm
RE: Baen Business Model.

Lois McMaster Bujold, who is a successful SF/F writer (putting that mildly, go here for a list of awards:
http://www.dendarii.com/awards.html ) has joined the Baen free EB (ebook) crowd, as of OCT/2010. Her novel, Cryoburn, was released in HB with a CD. On the CD were EB copies, DRM free in virtually every format, of almost all of her Baen books, plus some extra goodies. So for the price of one HB, you got almost all of her Baen books as EBs, too.

And, a copy of that CD was made available for free download. Here:
http://baencd.thefifthimperium.com/24-CryoburnCD/CryoburnCD/
So you didn't even HAVE to buy the HB to get the goodies, you could have them for free.

Cyroburn made the NYT Best-Seller List. At #20 on Nov 7, 2010.
http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/2010-11-07/hardcover-fiction/list.html

As has been said up-thread, no one knows what *will* work in the future. All we can do is record what has worked in the past, and what is working right now. LMB would be a  bright and shining star in anyone's sky.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,636 in Books as of 4/5/3011 for the HB
91 customer reviews, 3.8 stars as of 4/5/3011 for the HB

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,209 in Books for the PB, which will be released Sept/2011 Pretty good advanced sales for a book that won't be out for months yet.

The full-length electronic Advance Reader Copy was made available through Webscriptions on August 3, 2010 for fifteen bucks.

Not bad performance from a book that's been available for free, not pirated.

Is Baen's business model the one true way? Nope.  But I like it. EBs for six bucks, Monthly bundle for eighteen, some free books. I'll be a Baen customer for as long as they stick with this model. And if that's forever that's fine with me.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: pack4life on April 06, 2011, 09:05:51 pm
Mike,

Just out of curiosity, is Patty contractually bound in such a manner that you could not distribute eBook copies of her work from hurog.com?

As I've just finished reading this deep thread (hitting 7 pages now, and started a while back), Radiohead comes to mind. A couple years back, they released their latest album from their website. Fans could download their latest album from their site for "whatever price seemed fair" to the fan. Some fans paid $2, others paid $10, but in the end, it seemed like a win for them (Radiohead and the fans) because the money went direct to Radiohead and they didn't have to filter through all the middle men to get the penny or pennies on the dollar that they would have with a traditional release. Radiohead ended up getting the mother load of what some fans perceived the artist got the loin's share of (Yes, some fans still live under the delusion that if you pay $14 for a CD, that $14, or a REALLY BIG CHUNK of that, all goes back to the artist(s)). Interestingly enough, they just did the same thing with the album they released a couple weeks back. However, now, you can get the CD, mp3, or wav format direct form them as well.

It just seems like it would be a huge win to be able to buy direct from your site via PayPal or whatever other secure, encrypted transaction form you could support and allow readers direct access to Patty's work. If there is concern about the "honor system" with that readers would pay for the work, then set a price to it, or set a "Reserve" on the purchase, like on eBay, such that all costs are covered, plus an honest profit. I see this as a great way to generate instant income. You can put it towards the roof, or new carpet, etc.

This would also allow you the control it seems you so desire to have and potentially, give to readers. You can offer the works DRM-free. I really think it would be a great option for all involved. If there's a concern about selling the "pretties" (Nice, shiny hardcovers, which I want/buy, btw) then have a time limit set on when you will over a given work in eBook form. I for one would jump on the opportunity to be able to have both the Hardcover for my physical library and the eBook for my virtual library of all of Patty's current works, especially if I knew the funds would go direct to hurog.com. Something just rubs me the wrong way about paying and additional $13 to amazon or b&n on top of the $20 I just paid for the hardcover (all while never knowing how much of those purchases actually makes it to Patty's bank account). However, if I could get the eBook from hurog.com for say, $5-10, knowing all the margin goes direct to the bank account, then I'd be all over it!

Just adding my couple coppers to the discussion...
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Avarel on April 06, 2011, 09:17:14 pm
One of the mods might weigh in on this, but I think Patty signed away rights to the paperback, hardcover, audio, movie, and ebook rights with her contract.

It is standard these days for publishing companies to want all of the rights.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Gerd D. on April 07, 2011, 07:46:34 am
Quote
I for one would jump on the opportunity to be able to have both the Hardcover for my physical library and the eBook for my virtual library of all of Patty's current works, especially if I knew the funds would go direct to hurog.com. Something just rubs me the wrong way about paying and additional $13 to amazon or b&n on top of the $20 I just paid for the hardcover (all while never knowing how much of those purchases actually makes it to Patty's bank account).

Yeah, I always thought that a model would make sense, that gives us dead tree buyers (we are a dying race anyways, I feel) an opportunity to get the eBook version at a discount price. I don't actually read eBooks, but I find them to be handy to quickly look up single passages in a book.
Title: Re: Piracy of E-books
Post by: Patti L. on April 07, 2011, 08:04:57 am
It's going to take someone with more knowledge of the publishing world than I have to give a definitive answer on this, but I think that Avarel has covered the basics.
First - Emphasis on this, FIRST - rights for visual production (meaning dead tree or e-book) of the material, in the "home territory" of the publishing house are probably automatically included in the contract these days.  Audio, graphic novel, movie/TV rights, RPG rights, they would be specified as well, if the publishing house has any connections with any of those media, I think.  As in, Time-Life books I believe are in the same mega-corporation as Paramount or one of the other big studios, which may have bought Marvel or DC comics, for example... I have no idea what audio facilities they may have.
Moving to different "home territories", as for British rights, or Australian, European, bits of Asia or Africa, the publishers in that territory would negotiate the rights for what is allowed in those zones. 

The author would need several things to do as suggested regarding making the e-book version available through their own web site, starting with a way to scan or type it into an electronic version that was essentially error free and had coding to work with various e-reader devices, which does cost some money.  They would have to have some way of collecting the payment, and of making the ... software? ... accept variable payment for the same product.  They would have to have (I suspect) some human to keep watch over it to transfer payments to main corporate account and set up collections for bounced payment, resolve issues of corrupted files, etc.
I don't think that's likely to happen for a "mid list" author as easily as it will for rock stars, the amounts of money they get aren't enough to support it, and in a Catch-22 fashion, they can't get there until they ARE there, that is, until they have the money to set it up, they can't get the money to set it up.
Title: Re: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: Patti L. on August 16, 2012, 07:49:36 pm
Interesting article I was directed to from Sharon Lee's blog:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120814/06084420017/hachette-tells-authors-tor-to-use-drm-because-it-is-awesome-something.shtml
Title: Re: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: Patti L. on December 11, 2012, 10:47:56 am
http://rolanni.livejournal.com/  Important for other authors than this pair; All Baen e-books will be affected by Baen's new deal with Amazon & other ebook publishers/device proprietors.
Title: Re: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: Patti L. on September 05, 2014, 07:36:50 pm
I thought they were talking about the cafes, but it's a (printer) machine brand:  http://publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/63863-b-n-testing-espresso-book-machines.html
Title: Re: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: Varg on September 06, 2014, 07:10:52 am
Strange, but interesting.
Title: Re: Combined musings on ebooks and publishing
Post by: ironkitten on January 01, 2015, 06:18:59 am
I still like a good traditional book. I buy the series that I love in book form so I can read anywhere power or not. But church on Sunday I like my ebook bible it's not so bulky. I mean ebooks save space but power dies on the device or you can't get the device anymore your stuck. Although I have seen a lot of companies like Kindle have put out a free reading app so not completely stuck unless power outage.