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Monday Midday Links: NYTimes Ethicist OKs Illegal Downloading of Books in...

DA Industry NewsLuisa sent me to this article by Rose Fox at Publishers Weekly about the folly of windowing. * Some movies (and some books) are meant for the big screen but many others are not.    Uma Thurman’s Motherhood opened in theatre release to dismal numbers but the production company noted that the movie had been made available via DVD, Video on Demand, and pay per view and that DVD sales outstripped theatrical sales.

*windowing is the practice of releasing different formats at different times such as the hardcover first followed by a trade or mass market release.

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Speaking of Publishers Weekly, the magazine was sold to George Slowik, a former publisher of PW.   The magazine, website and something called “Publishers Weekly Show Daily” are all part of the deal.

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And Apple is already censoring content.   Right now, it’s just blurbs that are getting bowdlerized.   Some sharp eyed iPad owner noticed that “sperm” is too dirty of a word for the iBookstore.

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Rich Adin at Teleread suggests that avid readers who prefer digital may not warm to the Agency pricing model and that by doing so, publishers may find themselves in a much weaker bargaining position with Amazon and other retailers should publishers decided to backtrack.

Publishers are largely relying on two things with the Agency model. First, they want to slow down the growth of ebook adoption while at the same time increasing the entry price for books for those entering the ebook market.   BISG says the digital market grows by about a third every six months. Publishers see this as an opportunity to create a higher price point on a digital product.

What puzzles me is that publishers are now absorbing the digital book revenue loss under the Agency model rather than the retailer.   If the publishers are dependent on the hits to make their books look black rather than red, I don’t really understand the strategy unless they believe that they will be able to drive all the disenchanted ebookers back to paper books.

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This article from the Harvard Business School is really good.   The reporter did an interview with Peter Olson   who used to run Random House and is now a professor at the Harvard Business School.

“Traditional trade book publishers are scared,” says Harvard Business School professor Peter Olson. “The world that they have known, of print books and brick-and-mortar bookstores-’the whole fiscal distribution system-’is on the cusp of changing fundamentally.

Olson notes that no one focuses on the reader! and that a “  disproportionate amount of publishers’ resources are dedicated to the manufacturing and physical distribution of books, when in fact their key function is editorial in nature. In a sense, many book publishers are trying to buy time, to postpone a reckoning with reality.”   Olson says that increased prices make sense if the ebook to paper is a one on one trade off.   Of course, this presumes that ebook readers will return to print books instead of buying digital.

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An article which is bound to make the top of authors’ head blow off is the NYTimes Magazine column by Randy Cohen, the Times’ ethicist.   He argues that if you buy the print version of a book, the digital download is ethically appropriate even if legally wrong.

Buying a book or a piece of music should be regarded as a license to enjoy it on any platform. Sadly, the anachronistic conventions of bookselling and copyright law lag the technology. Thus you've violated the publishing company's legal right to control the distribution of its intellectual property, but you've done no harm or so little as to meet my threshold of acceptability.

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Apple’s pricing is upon us and for books from Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Harper Collins, this means your digital books in mass market cost the same as the print books.   No reason why publishers think that mass market readers, some of the most price sensitive of all the consumers who read books, will go for this.   Alas, I restrained myself from buying three books yesterday.   I am walking over to the library today to have lunch and pick up the books I reserved online.

Amazon has noted which publishers are setting their own prices:

Amazon's pricing disclaimer

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

66 Comments

  1. hope
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 11:23:45

    Randy Cohen’s argument was pretty thin. I wish he would have explained why he thinks that buying something on one platform entitles you to enjoy it on any platform. That’s a big assumption.

    I think he’s mixing his business models. He wants to take what’s in his favor from the old business model and what works to his advantage in the new business model and say that’s what’s “ethical.”

    I think I am still in the camp that says that illegally downloading a book is wrong. But also in the camp that says it’s wrong like going ten miles an hour over the speed limit is wrong. I don’t care if you speed, but I don’t want most drivers to disregard speed limits entirely. I think if the cop nails you, you should pay up, but I don’t think your fine should be a hundred thousand dollars.

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  2. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 11:33:03

    He argues that if you buy the print version of a book, the digital download is ethically appropriate even if legally wrong.

    Excellent! So now I know it’s ETHICAL to torrent a movie I saw once in a theater.

    Since I saw The Fugitive* 63 times in a theater, does that mean I can torrent it 63 times now?

    *Yeah, I did. Tommy Lee Jones. Need I say more?

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  3. Castiron
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 11:50:12

    @hope: Do you also consider it wrong to rip your legally-bought CDs so you can listen to them on your iPod? Or if you have an ancient car stereo, to record your CDs on cassette tape so you can listen to them in your car?

    @Moriah Jovan: No, because a theater ticket is only good for one viewing of the movie. A better analogy with Cohen’s argument would be that if you bought the VHS of the movie, then you’d be ethically fine torrenting it. (Now, if you bought the theater ticket but had to leave the theater before the movie started and couldn’t get a refund, then maybe Cohen would argue that it’s ethically okay to torrent the movie, watch it once, and delete it.)

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  4. itsK
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:05:47

    I’m siding with the Ethicist. If I’m paying for a book, I’m paying for the ideas contained within it, not the paper it’s written on. I’d love it if there was a way that I could get a digital copies of my books without having to pay the same price twice. It’s legal for me to make copies of movies and music that I pay for for my own use, why should it be any different for books?

    It’s especially ridiculous when you consider than an e-book costs the same as the physical book so you’d end up paying twice the price for the same product. I don’t understand how the prices can be the same since with a paperback, I have a tangible product made up of natural resources that cost money. Until the cost of a paperback e-book is less than the physical book itself, I won’t be buying.

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  5. Stephanie
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:05:56

    Can I ask? Taking the CD onto an iPod analogy that “The Ethicist” uses in the article. What if a person who has purchased a book decides they want to scan it into an ebook for their own use? Isn’t that the same as with the CD/iPod? As long as its for your own use?

    I’ve not done this by the way, as I don’t know what software you would use and I assume this is what some of the pirates are doing when there isn’t an ebook version available (like the Stephen King example) – scanning every single page – so the person who scanned over 1000 pages of the Stephen King book must have nothing better to do!

    My scanner that I use to scan book covers for my book database (using collectorz.com) software takes an eternity to scan one cover so that book scanned by hand must have taken about a minute a page!

    I know I don’t have the time to spend scanning a book – I would rather do extra hours at my day job to earn enough to get the ebook versions of books that I really like. One day I hope to have every JD Robb in ebook format since I have the hardbacks, paperbacks 1st and 2nd editions!! :)

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  6. Seressia
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:08:55

    Huh. I’m not spending $500 on en ereader or whatever the iPad supposedly is. But if I had the disposable income for such a device, the price point for ebooks seems reasonable in scale.

    I don’t think the iPad is for voracious readers or even mmpb readers, or people for whom $500 is a major investment. I’m still sticking with my I-can-do-everything-on-it-in-whatever-format-I-want netbook, though I have been eyeing the nook and that kobobooks reader.

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  7. Tabby
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:14:19

    The publisher isn’t selling what he wants to buy so he buys the closest thing to it–the hardcover–and then downloads what he really wants. I totally get that because I download DRM free copies of all the ebooks I buy. I can and do strip the DRM off myself if the book hasn’t been pirated yet (very rare btw) but it’s quicker and easier just to pirate. Especially if I bought an epub or kindlepc version of the book because then I would have to convert the book into a different format and proof read just so I can highlight and copy text.

    The publishers raising prices on what I consider a defective and useless product in the first place is REALLY making it hard for me to stay honest when it’s already a pain in the ass to buy their books now. Well, honest enough by my own personal ruler for measuring right and wrong at any rate.

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  8. itsK
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:15:11

    @itsK:
    Upon rereading my comment, I just want to clarify (since I couldn’t edit the comment), I understand that the cost of a paperback includes the cost of materials in addition to the overheads involved with producing what’s written. I guess publishing companies are taking a larger profit margin on e-books, which is something I’m uncomfortable feeding into when there’s a much better alternative (paper books that don’t require expensive hardware to be read.)Once I’ve paid for the content, however, it should be mine to do what I want with it for my own personal use.

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  9. Carly
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:53:24

    I have a monthly book budget. Scanning my Amazon Kindle wishlist, I will likely be buying 2-3 fewer books a month. And scanning individual prices, those 2-3 books will be published by Avon/HarperCollins.

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  10. DS
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 12:57:17

    I don’t think the problem is when one downloads a book one already owns. It’s when the person who downloads a book participates in the sharing.

    There was a European case that I read about a while ago where the person charged had a modified torrent client that did not allow the torrent to participate in uploading.

    I haven’t thought this through any further because in general torrenting is not something I think a lot about.

    Turning a paper book into an ebook is dead easy with basic scanning and OCR software. The worse part is checking the scanned text against the hard copy for OCR artifacts.

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  11. Missy Ann
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 13:17:44

    And this is my response to the publishers’ pricing:

    http://ebooksiwouldhavebought.blogspot.com/

    Like you I will be making full use of my local libraries (I have cards for my county & the neighboring county) too.

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  12. Chicklet
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 13:52:49

    The interview with Olson is great. What the publishers don’t seem to realize is that by angering ebook readers, they’re pissing off the most dedicated readers, the ones who buy way more than 1-2 books per year. Most industries try to please their most dedicated customers. I mean, for a bunch of companies that are owned by international business conglomerates, they don’t have much of a head for business.

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  13. Ridley
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 15:00:23

    Ha! That NYT article is amusing. I had that same thought a few days ago. I mean, why not? I can rip my CDs to put on my iPod and burn my MP3s to CD to listen to in the car. Why not turn my paper books into bits to read on my reader.

    I will totally be doing that. Until agency goes away, I’m buying used then torrenting the ebook, unless the ebook is a non-agency or otherwise cheaper than the mmpb.

    Sorry, authors. I will promise I’ll only leech, though.

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  14. Darlynne
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 15:40:28

    … I don't really understand the strategy unless they believe that they will be able to drive all the disenchanted ebookers back to paper books.

    Nope, not going to happen. I am one of those disenchanted ebookers, armed at all times with two library cards. The only book that I will buy in a physical format this year (and for the foreseeable future) is J. R. Ward’s Lover Mine and that’s because of my addiction to this series. Any discretionary funds I have will go to publishers who act as though we matter. Sadly, I still have to figure out who they are.

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  15. Jane
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 15:50:05

    @Darlynne: Currently that would be Random House and Harlequin. I’m unsure about Kensington and Dorchester but their ebooks appear to be discounted in the Amazon store. (they don’t appear in iBooks at all). Also the epublishers.

    I think, though, that as long as readers continue to buy the front list, either in digital and paper, the publishing industry can truck along as it always has.

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  16. Suze
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 16:23:21

    Argh. Windowing and geographical restrictions. Here I am at home on a long weekend, with the house to myself because my roomies are out of town. I can do anything I want. What I want to do is read Patricia Briggs’ Silver Borne.

    It’s not available where I shop for e-books, so I registered with the Sony bookstore and downloaded the library app. It’s available in the US only.

    I checked with my local library, and it’s not even listed as being on order.

    I googled for other e-book options, and came across a LOT of free download, torrent websites, but I’m technologically stupid, and those sites kind of scare me.

    I love Patricia Briggs’ work with a deep and abiding love, and she’s one of the few authors I’m willing to buy in paper, and even in hardcover if there are no other options. I’ll do whatever I need to do to support her ability to keep on writing. If that means buying hardcover, or buying multiple copies of her books, or lending, gifting, and recommending her work to everybody I meet, I will. And do.

    So I actually got up and showered and dressed today (on a long weekend, with nobody else at home) and went to the only bookstore in my town to buy the flipping hard cover. Not in stock yet. We’re too pudunk of a town to have new releases.

    If there are any publishing people out there, tell me: what do I need to do to convince you to take my money and give me the damned book?

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  17. Kerry
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 17:00:59

    @Suze:
    I totally hear you. I want Silver Borne. Ideally, I want it in ebook. Between geographic restrictions and no Agency 5 content where I shop (if they’ll even sell it to me due to location) I simply can’t get it.

    I will be getting the hardcover at my import bookstore later this week because that’s the only way to get it and, like you, I want to support Patricia Briggs.

    But I would have bought it twice if I could get hold of an ebook as well.

    Those torrent sites are getting more tempting by the day.

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  18. Tina M.
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 17:19:54

    Three books that I wanted to get around the beginning of the month are subject to the “new and improved” price change: (Changeless, Mage in Black and Hell Fire) I managed to preorder two of the books on the 31st before the price changed and I’ll be VERY surprised if I still get the low price once the books drop. Unfortunately, I cannot get Hell fire unless I want print–and I don’t.

    I’m glad Amazon is noting those books that have increased in price and why. Publishers are absolutely out of their minds if they think consumers are going to pay a paperback/hardcover price for a digital file. I refuse to and if that’s means certain authors/books stay permanently on my wish list because of this, then so be it.

    I have always loved reading, but with this refusal to understand technology and consumer expectations, it’s becoming more difficult to continue to love books and reading like I used to.

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  19. romsfuulynn
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 17:30:04

    What’s profoundly screwed up is that ebooks that I already paid for and pre-ordered at fictionwise have been withdrawn.

    I’m getting a refund, but I’m really really annoyed.

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  20. Bonnie
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 17:43:36

    Since this whole ebook thing has gone to hell in a handbasket, I haven’t read more than 10 pages in over a week. This is insane for me. I usually read two ebooks a week.

    It’s really left a foul taste in my mouth. And that’s too bad. I hope they figure it out soon.

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  21. Eva_baby
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 18:59:47

    I was so looking forward to Changeless. But not only is the e-book version the same price as the paper version, through Amazon it isn’t being released until April 8th. This was a pre-order for me, which I cancelled and put myself on the library wait-list.

    To add insult to injury, if you look at Soulless, which was originally published last September, the price I bought the e-book for was 6.34. Now it is also 7.99. At Barnes and Noble, the mass market paperback is eligible for a member discount but the e-book is not. Full price only.

    Man, stuff like this makes me feel stabby.

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  22. Sarah
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 19:24:52

    @Stephanie: Modern scanners are much faster. Pirates are probably using something similar to my office copy machine which scans documents to PDF. It takes less time to scan than it does to run copies. I believe I ran across someone saying once that after they chop up the book to get the pages to run through the scanner, it takes a couple of hours tops to get a file up, and that’s if they proofread what the OCR software (converts the scans into editable text) puts out.

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  23. Angie
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 20:07:27

    He argues that if you buy the print version of a book, the digital download is ethically appropriate even if legally wrong.

    I’m fine with that, personally. If someone buys a hardcopy of one of my books (when I ever get one out in hardcopy format, but we’re being theoretical here) I’d have no problem with them downloading an electronic copy, or getting an electronic copy from a friend. He’s paid his money — and in a sane world, he’s paid the larger of the two prices — so if he wants to be able to read the book he bought on his e-reader as well as on paper, that’s fine with me. My publisher will probably complain, but personally I don’t mind.

    Angie

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  24. SonomaLass
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 21:29:13

    MoJo, how did I know that you would love Tommy Lee Jones?!

    My local paper put this headline on the Cohen piece: “Downloading pirated copy of book regarded as theft.” It made following the discussion of it on Twitter this morning very confusing.

    It amuses me that Amazon is pointing out that certain ebook prices are set by the publisher, but at the same time they are listing the “savings” you get. They base that on the ebook price in comparison to the full list price of the print version (not their discounted price).

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  25. Has
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 22:24:19

    @Suze:

    The UK edition ebook of Silver Borne (I think you are in the UK?) is available via Waterstones and Booksonboard UK site. I know someone from Holland had no probs getting it but I am not sure if its geo restricted in other countries. But it’s available and cheaper than the US ebook!

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  26. sao
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 22:59:03

    I thought the most interesting comment from the Harvard b-school professor of strategy was:

    “I don’t know of many successful examples of pricing a product based not on what it costs or what people want to pay for it, but based on another format that is completely different, just because you want to keep that format alive,”

    Also that the publishers have focused more on physical distribution than editorial decisions (what to buy, editing) which are the heart of book quality, not video interviews with authors or other gee-whiz extras that can be grafted onto e-books.

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  27. Suze
    Apr 05, 2010 @ 22:59:44

    @Has:

    No, I’m in Canada. I had always assumed that, in publishing terms, Canada was geographically conjoined with the States, but apparently not. Colour me puzzled. And frustrated.

    I did try the Books on Board UK site, but they didn’t like me either. AND it converted my cart to UK prices, and then when I switched back to dollars, it CLEARED my cart. That’s 20 books I’m not going to buy tonight after all.

    I’ll just have to suck it up and wait. Or order the hardcover from Indigo, but I don’t wanna.

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  28. RachelT
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 04:06:54

    The cheapest price I have found is at WHSmithebooks (£6.39)

    http://ebooks.whsmith.co.uk/C17DA18B-7911-4CE6-ABEF-A430F329F00C/10/132/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=904620AA-6B1E-496B-BE28-8F20DC1789BF

    However, it does say limited availability, so it may be that geog restrictions apply. I know how frustrating that is.

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  29. Bronte
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 04:24:57

    @Suze:
    Try diesel books. Its a little more pricey than other locations but I managed to buy it and I am in Australia.

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  30. ShellBell
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 05:29:03

    I don't really understand the strategy unless they believe that they will be able to drive all the disenchanted ebookers back to paper books.

    I’m one who won’t be going back to buying new paper books again – it will either be the library or second-hand bookstores for me. The geographical restrictions debacle has already reduced my ebook spending from around $200 – $300 (UD$) to around $50 per month so my favourite authors have already lost sales revenue from me.

    Try diesel books. Its a little more pricey than other locations but I managed to buy it and I am in Australia.

    I’m in New Zealand and I still get pinged for geographical restrictions from Diesel!

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  31. Kathleen Dienne
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 06:18:46

    Mmm… Fugitive… Harrison Ford… mmm.

    What? Oh, right, books.

    I don’t think the Ethicist is being convenient. Stealing intellectual property harms two people – the creator of the property (who can’t continue to create the property without being paid) and the person who helped make the property worth a reader’s time (the editor/cover artist/copy editor/distributor, aka “the publisher”).

    If neither of those two people have been harmed, there’s no problem. Someone buying a hardback can download her pants off for all of me.

    Harrison Ford… pants off… mmm…

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  32. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 08:06:12

    I’m only now getting back to the discussion because I had to go watch The Fugitive a few more times…

    @SonomaLass Who DOESN’T??? *le sigh*

    @Kathleen Dienne Oh, I’m sorry. Did I distract you?

    I’m of two minds on the subject: writer and author. The writer wants you to read her and she doesn’t care how. The author wants to be paid, and that includes paying for each format. The author would feel far more strongly about that if her career rode on her sales numbers, and if her career was almost solely in someone else’s hands.

    As a reader, I totally get the frustration and the feeling that I paid for the content, not the format. Because I did.

    @castiron I was being totally flippant about the whole thing because I’m so torn philosophically. But generally, when ethicists say, “under certain conditions, X illegal activity is okay,” I twitch.

    Now. Back to my September-December fantasies (cuz I ain’t no May no more).

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  33. Castiron
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 08:34:57

    @Moriah Jovan: Understood! And your writer vs. author distinction makes sense.

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  34. Tasha
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 10:45:50

    So according to Randy Cohen, it may be illegal for me to go into a record shop and steal CD copies of everything I own on LP but can’t afford to replace, but it’s perfectly ethical? Or is it just those “fake” digital downloads that I’m entitled to?

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  35. Kathleen Dienne
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 11:06:45

    Saw this on another blog. He puts it well, although I am not convinced: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/04/matter-of-ethics.html

    I’m not convinced because scanning a book is a bazillion times more labor intensive than ripping a CD to my iPod. Fancy equipment would help but I’m a writer. No way can I afford anything besides my current arthritic scanner, which does about a page an hour.

    On a related note, I do think that buying an ebook means you should own and be able to do what you like (well, not post it online for thousands of people to steal). It’s not like hardback vs. paperback where both cost money to produce. I should not need to buy two copies of a digital file because someone, somewhere decided that they wanted to make me stay loyal to a device. Sorry, no.

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  36. Kathleen Dienne
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 11:20:37

    @Tasha: I think the analogy fails if pushed too far like most analogies – I don’t think is LP to CD – I think this is like CD to MP3 player.

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  37. Stephanie
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 11:57:52

    Must confess though that if there was a “copy” in ebook format of Nora Roberts’ HTF Promise Me Tomorrow – I would download in a flash (and then maybe send $10 in the mail to Nora) :)

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  38. MaryK
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 12:06:52

    This has been on my mind lately. A few of my supposedly DRM-free ebooks are glitchy and can’t be converted. I’m able to copy them like crazy (from dead computer to future dead computer) but can’t convert them to put them on my Sony reader.

    Should I suffer with a defective product or torrent a “clean” copy?

    If it were a physical product, I could exchange it, or because it’s been a while since I bought it, I could buy a used copy to replace it. With an electronic product, my options are limited.

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  39. areader
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 12:59:40

    @Kathleen Dienne:

    Actually it’s not. My workplace has copier that will scan in duplex mode and converts into pdf in under a minute. (It’s just taking a picture, it is not convert to text for editing) If I was doing a book I would say it would be done in fifteen minutes if that. I could have the file uploaded to the internet in less than half an hour. Not that I would but it’s easy. I’m sure I’m not the only person with access to one of these types of copiers.

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  40. areader
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 13:02:30

    @MaryK:

    I lost books when adobe forced me to upgrade. If I could find the books on a torrent site, I would download them. I paid for them. Through no fault of my own I was FORCED to change software and this caused me to lose them. Seriously irritating. Put me off adobe DRM’d ebooks.

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  41. MaryK
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 13:18:45

    @areader: I avoid DRM’d ebooks for exactly that reason. So I’m kind of ticked to encounter restrictions on my supposedly unfettered ebooks.

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  42. Kathleen Dienne
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 13:33:16

    @areader: Eeeeeehhhh, yeah, I see what you’re saying. But unlike my ripping a CD to my iPod, which I can do at home on any machine with a CD drive with the software that came with the iPod, ripping books to ereaders isn’t that simple.

    I do not own, and can’t afford, such a scanner/copier. If Kinko’s had one, they’d charge me by the page to use it. If I had a job at a workplace with such a machine, using it to convert my own library might be frowned upon by the boss :)

    I don’t think the Ethicist was saying it’s okay to be the pirate or the one posting the book in the first place – but rather that simply downloading a copy for a book you’ve paid for is ethically neutral. I admit it’s a hair splitting discussion, but I am kind of a giant nerd who loves semantics.

    Now I’m wondering if any clever publishers are going to start offering codes for PDFs with hardback books to help justify the $20+ price!

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  43. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 13:44:17

    Let me clarify generally: When I say “format,” I mean hardback versus trade paperback versus mass market paperback versus audio versus digital.

    I do NOT mean the various digital formats. If there was a universal format that worked equally well on all devices (analogous to mp3), then I’d start differentiating digital formats.

    I also want to say that IMO, until there is a universally accepted ebook format that is as easy to purchase, download, and put on any reader, at a reasonable price, as are mp3s, these conversations will continue.

    The way to reduce piracy is to make it easier for the customer to purchase than to torrent.

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  44. Kerry
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 14:32:34

    @Moriah Jovan: The way to reduce piracy is to make it easier for the customer to purchase than to torrent.

    EXACTLY!

    What is so hard about grasping that simple concept?

    Right now it is so damned hard to purchase that it’s driving me insane.

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  45. FD
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 15:07:26

    Seriously, the two comments above encapsulate my frustration. In the last two weeks alone now, there have been literally a dozen books I can’t buy, and yet could have torrented.

    Latest being Kelley Armstrong’s The Reckoning, which I could actually buy from BooksOnBoard, if I wished to pay £2.50 over the Amazon price (for a paper copy, shipping included in price) and deal with the delights of the DRM’d AdobeEPub format (the only option available).
    I haven’t looked for a pirate version, but I’m very sure it’s out there. (Looking would only make me angrier.)
    What I have done, is scratch Kelley Armstrong and the other authors that this has happened with OFF my to-be-bought list and resigned myself to the long wait at the library.
    Although not so much resigned as fuming to be honest. If I didn’t personally have people who are authors as friends, I would be pirating by now.

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  46. Estara
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 15:38:36

    @Suze and Kerry right below:

    Suze and Kerry, I don’t know where you’re from, but I was able to buy the UK edition of Silver Borne at W.H.Smith’s UK ebook shop. I’m from Germany and they had no problem with my credit card at all.
    Silver Borne – you do have to pay at UK prices, though.

    I bought Elizabeth Moon’s Oath of Fealty there as well.

    They can’t sell that version in the US, but in lots of other territories as described here: Limited Availability

    And Canada is explicitly included.

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  47. Kerry
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 17:31:23

    @Estara: Thanks, yes they’ll sell it to me. Hooray, a place I can buy from; thank you very much for the information.

    But can I read it on an iPhone? I don’t know that I can, but I’ve never been quite sure with Adobe ePub. Can anyone explain to me? The barriers just keep on coming, don’t they?

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  48. Tabby
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 19:17:50

    @Kerry: I don’t have an iPhone so I really don’t know but after a quick search–”reading epub on iphone”–it looks like you can with the Stanza app. but I’m not sure if DRM impacts that at all?

    What you’re doing right now is what I avoid by pirating. I buy the cheapest format I can find and then just pirate a DRM free file in a format I can actually use. From what I see Silver Borne is available on file share sites in mobi, epub, html, lit, and pdf–no muss, fuss or geographic restrictions. The drawbacks of doing it that way are that it’s still illegal even though you bought the book. And even a nice lady like Patricia Briggs will call you a scumbag and tell you not to read her books. Pretty depressing when you think about it.

    I think I’ll play WoW or watch Hulu so I won’t be tempted to buy (or pirate!) any new releases from the Agency 5. Good luck trying to buy and read your book–and isn’t it pathetic you need to luck to make that happen? lol

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  49. Angie
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 21:13:12

    @Kathleen Dienne: I’ve bought hardcover books in the Honor Harrington series from Baen, and each one came with a CD containing e-book versions of all the books in the series published to date. I haven’t noticed Baen filing bankruptcy or anything, so I’m guessing this didn’t torpedo their sales.

    Angie

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  50. Mischa
    Apr 06, 2010 @ 23:45:13

    @Tasha: Do you really not see any difference between physical and non-physical goods? If you take a physical good from someone then they have less then they had before. If you copy a digital good from someone, no one has less then they had before.

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  51. DS
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 05:58:08

    @Angie: Yes, I’ve bought hardcover books from Baen in the Gellis/Lackey series that had attached CDs with digital files for the books on them. It’s not just their most popular books like the Honor Harrington series that get that treatment. And the book did not cost any more.

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  52. Kathleen Dienne
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 07:08:50

    @Angie & DS – I didn’t know that, but Baen seems like they are always at least trying to find ways to stay ahead of the digital curve. Their free download stuff has in in the past inspired me to buy some of their books. Thanks for letting me know about the CD thing, I can think of a couple of their titles I’m going to grab now!

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  53. hapalochlaena
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 08:15:17

    Baen also allows you to download the CDs (or individual books) from fan-run The Fifth Imperium. From there you can also follow links to alternative sources (torrent sites, another web site).

    I still pop over to Webscriptions to buy the books I actually want to read.

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  54. Estara
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 12:37:11

    @Kerry: That’s our problem as early adopters of the technology, I think. But the Internet helps find answers to all sorts of questions. The MobileRead Forums and their wiki are very good places for answers to detail problems:

    http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/IPhone

    That might help you. By the way if you buy Adobe .epub and need it drm-free, there are possibilities to do that yourself (not too difficult if you are on Windows) without having to torrent a file. This link has helped me find my way.

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  55. Mireya
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 14:03:30

    I know I am kinda off topic here, but I was looking at fantasy releases or my husband. Jim Butcher’s latest installment in the Dresden Files came out on Tuesday (hubby likes his work a lot). Amazon has the hardcover version listed at $9.99. No Kindle version. I am looking at the electronic version sold via Sony (it was made available on release day by their Reader Store). The price of the ebook at Sony: $12.99.

    Talk about pricing wars…

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  56. Kerry
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 14:13:08

    @Estara: Thank you for the links. I really appreciate it and will go and investigate.

    As I said up the thread, it’s just crazy that I have to go to so much trouble to get people to take my money.

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  57. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 07, 2010 @ 14:46:06

    @Estara: Have I told you lately how awesome I think you are?

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  58. Estara
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 09:35:59

    @Moriah Jovan: Awww, don’t tell me you didn’t know this already….

    But thank you ^^.

    If anyone needs some related script, drop me a line at Estara_DELETETHIS_ @ gmx.net (also delete the spaces in front and after the at-sign)

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  59. Mireya
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 10:08:37

    Regarding scripts, the pdf ones need to be kept up to date. I had to get 7.4 yesterday as the version I had did not work. Additionally, I had to rename the file to pdf. Other than that, works more often than not.

    Now I have to really learn how to use Calibre for something other than converting to other formats… but I guess that will have to go to the backburner now that I will rejoin the workforce. Sorry, I am too excited and had to say I am not unemployed any longer =)

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  60. Estara
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 10:52:42

    @Mireya: Congratulations on the job!!

    I haven’t bought pdf since .epub became the de-facto standard and all the Adobe DRM epubs I own I have been able to decrypt with the inept version that decrypts a whole folder (for some reason the single file version sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t).
    So I can’t say anything about .pdf-conversion in the scripts there.

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  61. Mireya
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 12:40:20

    @Estara: thanks!

    I mostly use epub too, and the script does work most times for me as well, but I was dying to get my hands on a Karen Ranney title earlier this week (A Scotsman in Love) and it was only available on pdf at the e-store from which I was finally able to get it without problems (no epub available at all in any of the places I visited). Kinda weird, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at anything any longer the way things are going re: ebooks.

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  62. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 13:43:38

    @Estara: Surprisingly, I don’t bother to convert much. I just go curl up with my netbook for the formats I can’t convert in more than about 1 step.

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  63. Estara
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 19:09:19

    @Moriah Jovan: Ah, well I’ve found that monitor reading hasn’t been good for my eyes the last two years, so either a book or an e-reader works better for me.

    I thought you wanted to compliment me in that comment above, because you also had been looking for drm-stripping software, heh ^^.

    So what brought that comment on then? Also, just checking to make sure you know that I think you and your books are awewsome, too!

    @Mireya: Well there is an inept-pdf script, but I don’t think I’ve used that more than five times…

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  64. Estara
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 19:12:24

    @Mireya: Also, I’m not sure at which shops you look, but AddAll Ebooks search engine may not have every store, but seems to have a very wide search and does find epubs for that particular book…

    http://ebooks.addall.com/Try/RefineEbooks.fcgi?id=100408181044478895

    On second exploration, it may be because this is one of the five publishers with the new pricing: when I follow those epub links for BoB for example, I can’t buy it in that format.

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  65. Moriah Jovan
    Apr 08, 2010 @ 19:15:01

    @Estara:

    I thought you wanted to compliment me in that comment above, because you also had been looking for drm-stripping software, heh ^^.

    No, I DID mean that. I should’ve expounded. Lately I’ve had to buy a few books in non-optimal formats, and so I’ve been collecting DRM-stripping software tips so I can sit down and work my way through them.

    IOW, too many books are piling up on the netbook now, faster and faster, and yes, I do prefer my e-reader (eBookWise). I’m racing to my tipping point.

    So I’m in scavenger phase and you threw a shiny object out there for me. ;) My Inner Magpie was delighted.

    And thank you for the compliment. :D No, you still can’t have Magdalene early.

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  66. Estara
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 14:22:12

    @Moriah Jovan: No worries, I’m not a good beta reader. I want the shiny when it’s all polished and you’re happy with it ^^.

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