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Last post Author Topic: Why ebooks are bad for you  (Read 21027 times)

Deozaan

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2011, 10:14:14 PM »
The lion's share of the money still goes to the publishers - who used to justify their percentage because of the mechanical reproduction costs they incurred by printing, binding, and shipping books. But now that most of that has gone away (save for the relative low overhead of maintaining licensing and distribution servers) they justify their percentage by...I'm sorry - exactly how do they justify their share?

For providing the DRM of course!


Renegade

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2011, 10:34:11 PM »
No-one likes DRM, but at least it means authors get a few bucks for their work.

Unfortunately, that's pretty much all they get.

The lion's share of the money still goes to the publishers - who used to justify their percentage because of the mechanical reproduction costs they incurred by printing, binding, and shipping books. But now that most of that has gone away (save for the relative low overhead of maintaining licensing and distribution servers) they justify their percentage by...I'm sorry - exactly how do they justify their share?

Oh...I see...they don't feel the need to justify it.

Ok. Now I got it. :-\


+1

Or maybe it's because the publishers and their stakeholders have invested significant resources into securing distribution channels that empower authors to reach end-users through efficient marketization which facilitates monetization of intellectual properties and brings increased value to works and content that otherwise would require individual artists to maintain ecommerce infrastructure and complex systems which would detract them from their artistic pursuits and feed them better, which could lead to food-coma, thus reducing their productivity in global markets and reducing their facetime with prospective buyers looking to enrich their lives through content consumption for which publishers can charge a premium to ensure the viability of authors, artists and content producers that can thankfully take full advantage of publisher channels and relationships that extend their reach beyond what they could hope to achieve by setting up a PayPal account, spending $25 a month on a web site, and doing the marketing that they would have to do anyways because they will only ever become a part of the long tail in the publisher's value-chain.

Ooops... That last little bit kind of blew it...

Never mind.

:P
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zridling

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2011, 05:38:14 AM »
On a related note, technology is forcing the music industry to reinvent itself -- or embrace annihilation:
http://www.economist.../digitallyremastered

Similar take:
http://www.zdnet.com...=mantle_skin;content
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 05:41:23 AM by zridling »

Deozaan

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2011, 04:23:07 PM »
EDIT: Erm, I guess this is off topic for this thread. Oops!

On a related note, technology is forcing the music industry to reinvent itself -- or embrace annihilation:

Responding to the Economist article:

It will search devices for tracks purchased from the iTunes store, and automatically give customers the rights to download the music to any Apple device. That puts Apple’s service ahead of recent offerings by Amazon and Google, which require users to upload music to the cloud.

That only puts Apple's service ahead of Amazon and Google if you own an Apple device and use iTunes. Whereas for me Google Music is much way ahead of iCloud because I don't use iTunes and I don't own an iDevice.

Even if I did use iTunes, not all music is available on it so just putting tracks I purchased from iTunes in the cloud doesn't help me get my entire collection on the cloud. I owned music before iTunes even existed. What about those songs?

Oh, here's Apple's solution for those songs:

Quote
Apple also announced a service, not available even in America until later this year, which will scan computers for all music tracks and offer cloud-based access to them for $24.99 a year. Apple will take a cut of sales and give the rest to the record companies. Whereas the iCloud is simply better than the competition, this is a breakthrough. In effect, it will allow music companies to levy an annual fee for the use of their music, whether ripped from CDs or downloaded illegally.

So they're going to charge me money to access music I already bought or got for free (e.g. CC licensed music or otherwise free tracks) to get cloud access to it. Meanwhile Google Music lets me access all my music on the cloud for free? Oh yeah, Apple is definitely way ahead of Google. :huh:

The ZDNet article seems to get it, though. Speaking of Google Music:

If a user can put 20,000 tracks from an iTunes collection into the cloud and stream to any device, the company takes all of those Android devices out there and turns them into music players. Sure, we could always play music from those devices, via the SD card in the phone, but exponentially intensifying that with a cloud-sync offering raises the stakes - and kind of makes me wonder why I need an iPod.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 04:25:02 PM by Deozaan »

johnk

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2011, 05:38:30 PM »
The lion's share of the money still goes to the publishers

Not true -- the biggest share goes to the retailer.

who used to justify their percentage because of the mechanical reproduction costs they incurred by printing, binding, and shipping books.

Not true -- it's always been a small part of publishing costs (10-15 per cent)

+1

Or maybe it's because the publishers and their stakeholders have invested significant resources into securing distribution channels that empower authors to reach end-users through efficient marketization which facilitates monetization of intellectual properties and brings increased value to works and content that otherwise would require individual artists to maintain ecommerce infrastructure and complex systems which would detract them from their artistic pursuits and feed them better, which could lead to food-coma, thus reducing their productivity in global markets and reducing their facetime with prospective buyers looking to enrich their lives through content consumption for which publishers can charge a premium to ensure the viability of authors, artists and content producers that can thankfully take full advantage of publisher channels and relationships that extend their reach beyond what they could hope to achieve by setting up a PayPal account, spending $25 a month on a web site, and doing the marketing that they would have to do anyways because they will only ever become a part of the long tail in the publisher's value-chain.

Any time these forums discuss the marketing of books/music/tech there is a general tendency to kick the big companies involved who want to make money. Add to that a general loathing of DRM without offering any idea as to how content creators are supposed to make any money. I have no illusions about big bad corporate life (I've done my time there) but putting two fingers up to the money-making machine without offering any alternative doesn't advance the argument.

Book authors face a serious problem making money from ebooks. No DRM, no income. It's that simple. I'm sure the good folk here will happily sponsor their favourite authors by sending them a few dollars a month direct. But the vast majority won't. And writers will just stop writing.

I used to be a local newspaper journalist and editor. The industry's income has vanished. Few people will pay for online news. The paper I worked for employed 35 journalists in its heyday. It now employs a handful. The story is repeated in countless papers across the UK. More importantly, the news they used to provide has vanished. Detailed analysis of local government spending, for example, or the performance of local schools and hospitals. And no-one has stepped in to do the same thing. Sure, all this information is out there, somewhere, if you know how to dig, and how to make Freedom of Information requests to government/official bodies, and how to analyse the data. But the average punter doesn't have the time or the inclination. Many local government officials and politicians are delighted to see local newspapers vanishing. And at its essence it's the same debate as books. If no-one will pay for the information, the writers and skills will simply disappear. And our lives will be the poorer for it.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2011, 05:50:01 PM »
Oh yeah, Apple is definitely way ahead of Google.

Yes, but that's only because their User Experience Probe sticks out farther. ...As it has to be that long when they stick it up your ass to read your mind (or re-program it as necessary).

 :D

wraith808

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2011, 06:04:03 PM »
The lion's share of the money still goes to the publishers

Not true -- the biggest share goes to the retailer.

Depends on the publisher and the market and whether you are considered a distributor or not.  I know that in most science fiction/fantasy and gaming books that's not true from experience.

40hz

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2011, 06:15:26 PM »
who used to justify their percentage because of the mechanical reproduction costs they incurred by printing, binding, and shipping books.

Not true -- it's always been a small part of publishing costs (10-15 per cent)

You and I both know that. But it hasn't prevented the big publishing houses from crying on any shoulder that will allow about their spiraling costs of production. Check the trade rags. Justifications made by industry groups don't have to be true - or even make sense. ;D

The lion's share of the money still goes to the publishers

Not true -- the biggest share goes to the retailer.

I wasn't speaking of the percentage of the retail sale. Publishers have little control over retail price. Especially now that 800 lb. gorillas like Amazon, WallMart, and Ingram have so much to say about what the sell price (and their seller's cut) will be. I don't hold publishers accountable for that.

I was speaking of the ratio of money received by the publisher for a book in comparison to the amount of royalty paid to the author out of it.

Add in the borderline-deceptive accounting practices employed when calculating royalties that most publishers employ and it's small wonder most authors have so little to show for their efforts.

And that was the case long before the first digital books were even envisioned, so it's not e-pub pirating that's solely to blame for it.


« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 06:19:15 PM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2011, 06:17:16 PM »
Any time these forums discuss the marketing of books/music/tech there is a general tendency to kick the big companies involved who want to make money. Add to that a general loathing of DRM without offering any idea as to how content creators are supposed to make any money. I have no illusions about big bad corporate life (I've done my time there) but putting two fingers up to the money-making machine without offering any alternative doesn't advance the argument.

I think you anytime people discuss the topic of DRM. That's real people. Normal people. People that are outside of the corporate machine. What was it something like 4 billion dollars these clowns pissed down the drain on the protection scheme some college kid "cracked" with the Shift key?!?

They cry about piracy making them lose their shirts, but I haven't seen record execs driving rusty Pintos yet. Back before the infernal inter-web, there was always a guy in every neighborhood that had a dual cassette deck that would happily dub you a copy of what ever albums were current if you showed up with the blank cassettes (and a 6 pack). It was simple enough to do. And nobody ever even raised an eyebrow. But then again there was a lot of really good music back in the 60's and 70's.

Gas prices, unemployment, inflation, and the simple fact there really hasn't been a real flood of truly great bands in the last decade have a hell of a lot more to do with declining sales that piracy ever did or will.

In my time I've purchased 4 copies of U2's The Joshua Tree on cassette...because they kept breaking. I finally pirated the last copy, so now I have one that I know I can keep. Does that make me a bad person? (Do you think I care...? :) )

zridling

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2011, 06:21:30 PM »
EDIT: Erm, I guess this is off topic for this thread. Oops!
Related in that I'm not buying any one company's devices -- Apple or Amazon at present -- just to read or access books on their service. You've got a handful of mega-corporations that are working night and day to wall off the internet; that is, you must buy their devices and buy in to their EULAs, their online services, their proprietary formats, their pricing schemes (pay PER-view?), and so on. Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google are working this angle hard. As Deozaan referenced, most these companies would be more than happy to maximize every dime by charging you for the rest of your life to listen, view, read anything and everything through their networks.

In return, you get the privilege of every keystroke being spied on. (Next up, facial recognition!)

...for me Google Music is much way ahead of iCloud because I don't use iTunes and I don't own an iDevice.
And that's why I've purchased a few books from the Google eBookstore. For now, it allows me to read books on the widest number of devices, though they won't let me save my puchased .ePUB books to my own HD.

johnk

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2011, 06:45:15 PM »
Gas prices, unemployment, inflation, and the simple fact there really hasn't been a real flood of truly great bands in the last decade have a hell of a lot more to do with declining sales that piracy ever did or will.

I can't agree. Do you know anyone under 30 who pays for recorded music? I don't. But they listen to music all the time. They love music. They just won't pay for it. They don't think it's in any way wrong not to buy it. They think "old people" are odd because they pay for music. But at least musicians can earn a living from live performance. That's the deal now. The money is spent at the gigs and festivals. No one pays for the recorded stuff. Except us old people.

I don't like DRM either. As I said above, I still buy printed books because I don't like DRM, but I do want books. But I don't have a solution. And I can't see one, apart from putting the clock back 200 years and "sponsoring" writers directly. And to be honest I can't see that working. I hope I'm wrong.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2011, 07:26:10 PM »
Gas prices, unemployment, inflation, and the simple fact there really hasn't been a real flood of truly great bands in the last decade have a hell of a lot more to do with declining sales that piracy ever did or will.

I can't agree. Do you know anyone under 30 who pays for recorded music? I don't. But they listen to music all the time. They love music. They just won't pay for it. They don't think it's in any way wrong not to buy it. They think "old people" are odd because they pay for music. But at least musicians can earn a living from live performance. That's the deal now. The money is spent at the gigs and festivals. No one pays for the recorded stuff. Except us old people.

I think that is an unfair generalization that reflects quite badly on the angst of youth. My son, and many of his friends, spent a good deal of their income on music. They also pirated some of the rest. All in all however I'd say they bought considerably more of their music collection then I did at their age back-in-the-day. Because back then I knew, and then was the guy with a dual cassette deck.

The thieving children boogieman is nothing more that RIAA propaganda trying to candlelight people into surrendering more of their rights in the name of "Protecting the Author's IP Rights. ...Which of course they haven't ever given two shits about.

Apple is making a boatload of cash with the iStore ... Do you really think it all only and just from people over 30?? That's not really a good demographic for getting fads started now is it? No the kids today have got money, and now that drugs are out of fashion, they spend most of it on media based entertainment.

steeladept

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2011, 07:34:11 PM »
Any time these forums discuss the marketing of books/music/tech there is a general tendency to kick the big companies involved who want to make money. Add to that a general loathing of DRM without offering any idea as to how content creators are supposed to make any money.
Okay, I have issue with several things you say and at the end I will provide my solution which I think is obvious but overlooked.  Taking a page from your book - Not true.  Many have offered solutions, just none that have been accepted by the proponents of DRM.

Book authors face a serious problem making money from ebooks. No DRM, no income.
Again false. See above.


I'm sure the good folk here will happily sponsor their favourite authors by sending them a few dollars a month direct.
Further proof damning your previous argument.  While DC'ers are great people in general (I am sure some are like me and merely average), this is not the only group of good people willing to pay for their consumption.

I used to be a local newspaper journalist and editor. The industry's income has vanished. Few people will pay for online news. The paper I worked for employed 35 journalists in its heyday. It now employs a handful. The story is repeated in countless papers across the UK. More importantly, the news they used to provide has vanished. Detailed analysis of local government spending, for example, or the performance of local schools and hospitals. And no-one has stepped in to do the same thing. Sure, all this information is out there, somewhere, if you know how to dig, and how to make Freedom of Information requests to government/official bodies, and how to analyse the data. But the average punter doesn't have the time or the inclination. Many local government officials and politicians are delighted to see local newspapers vanishing. And at its essence it's the same debate as books. If no-one will pay for the information, the writers and skills will simply disappear. And our lives will be the poorer for it.
This gets at the crux of your argument and misses the biggest point of the issue.  Just because the data is there and can be gotten more efficiently by analysts doesn't mean anyone is willing to pay for that content.  As they say, content is king, and if you don't create content the people want you won't make money.  It isn't that this service isn't valuable to someone, it is that people (masses) are not willing to pay the price for content they can get themselves or are not willing to pay that high a price for information that is only marginally valuable to them.  

In your example, the paper industry died not because there wasn't news or that people didn't want the news, what they wanted was the news in an easier fashion to consume.  It had very little to do with the internet if truth be told (though that hastened it a lot!).  The industry was dying long before due to television getting in on the action.  The internet did a one-up on TV by making it available anytime the user wanted it.    Industry players that had the foresight and wherewithal to move with the changing market instead of fighting against it are still thriving and, indeed growing, today.  Just as an example, take the Wall Street Journal.  Like other papers, their print division has taken a beating and the subscription rate is only a fraction of what it used to be.  But they moved to the Wall Street Journal Online in conjunction with the paper, and are growing steadily.  You can argue that it is because they are a niche reporting group, but I argue that makes them MORE susceptible to loss due to the changing tide instead of less susceptible due to the significantly smaller user base.

The "simple" way to make money is to create content people want and sell it at a price they are willing to pay.  Are people going to steal it and/or copy it or otherwise devalue the full amount due?  Sure - they always have and always will.  But do authors stop writing?  Nope.  Looking for proof?  Do you see people still writing games?  Are they selling them, or giving them away for free?  They are authors who have created content and are able to sell it - most often without some form of DRM.  They often employ copy protection (NOT ALWAYS), but this is a far cry from the intrusiveness of DRM.  The key is that people (read corporations and producers) MUST change with the times.  Many times people don't want to or are unable.  Sorry - that is the price of competition.  Are companies going to go bankrupt because of it?  Well not with the current political environment around most of the world (at least not large companies.  Small companies are on their own - unfortunately); but they should.  That is what competition is all about.  Is it necessarily painful?  Maybe, but you can argue necessity - it will definitely be painful and many innocent people will get hurt.  Again it is the nature of a changing world.  

DRM is an old methodology view of dealing with new circumstances.  It works, sometimes, for a while; but people don't like beholden to other people.  It will change.  Solutions will come and go until someone can find a solution equitable to all involved - and that doesn't mean the consumer will change.

johnk

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #38 on: June 14, 2011, 08:17:46 PM »
Many have offered solutions, just none that have been accepted by the proponents of DRM.

What are these solutions? I've never defended DRM, but I still don't see an alternative for ebook authors. How do you generate a reliable income stream for ebook authors without some form of DRM (and copy protection falls under the banner of DRM)?

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #39 on: June 14, 2011, 08:44:21 PM »
I still don't see an alternative for ebook authors. How do you generate a reliable income stream for ebook authors without some form of DRM

Take one example - the publisher SitePoint.They seem to do pretty well selling print and electronic books in simpel PDF format (as well as electronic courses etc). Some of their content is really rather expensive.

Can you torrent the files: yes, can you give a copy to your friend: yes

Should you: no

No bother the company is still selling out of print runs on new books and the big retailers are still stocking and selling their books.

The eBooks are simply labelled with the name of the owner of the book on each page (which would be pretty trivial to remove) but nevertheless the model seems to work for them.

copy protection falls under the banner of DRM

No it doesn't - I can give away my CDs, DVDs and BluRay disks or lend the to a friend or sell them on eBay and the other person can use them as normal. DRM doesn't allow you to do anything with YOUR property outside the rules imposed by the corporation.

I don't buy DRMed books any more (or music) simply because I have bought books and music in the past (including eBooks from Amazon) that I can no longer read because I have bought a new computer and they have lost the right to activate my content because they no longer sell it or no longer have a contract with the publisher to sell it. Did I get a refund: NO.

DRM is legalised robbery and intimidation aimed at the consumer. The artist still gets ripped off even with DRM and that has always been so even before digital content (ask Queen who made NO money from their first 3 albums or the Osmonds who pretty much went bankrupt in the 80s - both because of corporate greed and exploitation).

I don't know about other parts of the world but in the UK I hate it when I put a DVD I purchased in to play and get 5 minutes of garbage about how piracy funds terrorism, and then another 10 minutes of adverts for chocolate and trailers for other DVDs. As far as I can see the only terrorism is the intellectual terrorism of the RIAA who impose this garbage on legitimate customers when pirates simply strip the crap and watch the film!
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 08:46:52 PM by Carol Haynes »

wraith808

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #40 on: June 14, 2011, 09:11:57 PM »
Many have offered solutions, just none that have been accepted by the proponents of DRM.

What are these solutions? I've never defended DRM, but I still don't see an alternative for ebook authors. How do you generate a reliable income stream for ebook authors without some form of DRM (and copy protection falls under the banner of DRM)?

Manning.com and Oreilly.com have done away with DRM, and they don't seem to be hurting...  Also DriveThruRPG.com and IndiePressRevolution.com.  I think you can make money, you just have to be willing to take the chance.  And that's what it comes down to IMO.  Be willing to trust your potential customers, or hold on to the fear that you won't make money.

steeladept

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #41 on: June 14, 2011, 09:13:00 PM »
Take one example - the publisher SitePoint.

Excellent example, and incidentally excellent site.  I checked it out when you mentioned it elsewhere and ended up getting the new HTML5 and CSS3 book they are currently touting.

Renegade

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #42 on: June 14, 2011, 10:18:41 PM »
Any time these forums discuss the marketing of books/music/tech there is a general tendency to kick the big companies involved who want to make money. Add to that a general loathing of DRM without offering any idea as to how content creators are supposed to make any money. I have no illusions about big bad corporate life (I've done my time there) but putting two fingers up to the money-making machine without offering any alternative doesn't advance the argument.

There's a good reason to give them the thumb:

They add zero value.

None. Nadda.

I said that above as a tongue in cheek sort of silliness, but it's basically bang on true.

As a content producer, publishers do nothing for you unless you are already at the top. They are ONLY interested in selling the top few products, because that's where all the money is. The long tail is only valuable in that the publisher can state that they have a bajillion different titles... of which they are willing to present 10 to visitors to purchase. (Ok, some hyperbole there, but close enough.)

Meanwhile, you are stuck in the LONG TAIL where you will never be seen, and you will never sell anything more than enough to pay for a cheap meal once a year. If you're lucky.

This is a systemic problem across more than the digital world though; it extends to the physical world as well.

Retails and distributors will only take on products that are already in high demand. Take a walk through any store and you'll be bombarded with miles and miles of the same old, tired stuff.

If you have a valuable product, you are unlikely to make it into retail except perhaps at pro shops, and then only with massive investment/payoffs. (Prices start at $50,000 to 'have a look' at your product.)

The channel system is like proving that you're tough as nails by jumping into a wood chipper.

The pattern so far has been for "mega" stores (or chains) to open up, fill their shelves with all the bread & butter wares, drop prices below what smaller shops can afford to sell for, and thus drive the smaller shops out of business.

The consequence at retail is that you now have a massively reduced selection of what you can purchase. Everything is generic and manufactured in China, with the odd other over-priced product beside them to set a baseline, which allows the justification of setting prices 5x or 10x or 20x or more higher than things would be if products were priced by costs and reasonable margins.

Just for a simple example, I need to spend $15 for a part here in Australia that I would have spent maybe $2 or $3 on in Korea. Those are the same generic parts with no significant differences. Shipping doesn't cost $10+ for small parts shipped in bulk as many Australian retailers seem to insist. I've seen that pattern again and again and again. (Both here in Australia and in North America.)

(I'm obviously ignoring the problem of over-competition, but that's really getting off topic.)


The point there about retail is that it is only those few extremely high margin items or "best sellers" that will ever make it into retail, and that is analogous to the behavior of online publishers in the way that they really only put the best sellers up for sale, with everything else buried very deep in the dark recesses of their sites where nobody will ever find them.

They add no value.

If they do add value, it's only in the form of a lottery ticket.

Heck, they don't even carry any inventory! Their risk is absolutely zero! None. Zero risk. Nothing. They have no vested interest in the success or failure of their content producers! Some will make money for them, and most won't. What do they care?

To justify a 30% commission, they need to do some work.

The long tail doesn't justify 30%. Maybe 5%... Maybe...

They could work to auction off promotional space with higher commissions getting better placement, but I don't know if that would work or not.

If you produce content, you will make more money by doing all the marketing and promotion yourself. That is, until you hit a critical mass, when the publishers will finally take an interest in you because they see that you're making lots of money, and they can have some of it... Wow. What a wonderful value proposition...  :-\


In my time I've purchased 4 copies of U2's The Joshua Tree on cassette...because they kept breaking. I finally pirated the last copy, so now I have one that I know I can keep. Does that make me a bad person? (Do you think I care...? :) )

I think you're driving at the problem of these guys wanting their cake and wanting to eat it as well.

Are they selling a physical product? An EULA? A license? What is it?

If it's a physical product, then that's one thing. If it's a license, then that's another.

How many copies of Ride the Lightning or The Wall do I need to buy for them to be satisfied?
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

johnk

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #43 on: June 15, 2011, 07:35:37 AM »
There's a good reason to give them the thumb:

They add zero value.

None. Nadda.

I said that above as a tongue in cheek sort of silliness, but it's basically bang on true.

Again, I can't agree. In the broad sense, you are right. Big business is full of greed, and waste, and middlemen who add little. But over the history of books, say, or music, I am grateful for the A&R men and the publishing editors who sifted the rubbish and brought us great talent. I am not convinced the wisdom of the crowd would have achieved the same thing.

Neither do I share the optimism most of you have about the future of the DRM-free book market. But I can see I am outnumbered on this one and I will retire to my corner.

copy protection falls under the banner of DRM

No it doesn't - I can give away my CDs, DVDs and BluRay disks or lend the to a friend or sell them on eBay and the other person can use them as normal. DRM doesn't allow you to do anything with YOUR property outside the rules imposed by the corporation.

But before I retire to my corner, just a technical point. My understanding of DRM is that any form of file protection where you would have to "edit" the executable file directly to use it on another device is DRM.

So some forms of copy protection are DRM, as I see it. For example having to use a serial number to activate a software programme is obviously not DRM, whereas an executable that is linked at purchase to a "machine ID" is DRM (and I would call that copy protection). Have I got that right?

40hz

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #44 on: June 15, 2011, 07:53:43 AM »
The one overlooked contribution publishing houses used to provide was editorial input on an author's work. Was a time when they even went so far as to sign less polished writers. They'd sign them on, and then help them develop their writing skills if they showed talent but lacked the necessary craftsmanship.

They don't really do that any more.

And the unfortunate result is the spate of poorly written books we're seeing released by publishers who should (and do) know better.

The good thing about the absence of gatekeepers is that anybody can release his or her own book. the bad thing about it is that anybody can release his or her own book. Because in the absence of standards and craft development, amateurs have taken much of the stage away from professional writers. And what you're seeing in bookstores lately is proof. Poorly written books on mediocre themes. With poorly developed storylines.  And loaded with typos...

Apparently even the publishers have become convinced most people don't care any more.

Sad day for books and literature.  :(

  



« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 07:55:58 AM by 40hz »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2011, 12:39:35 PM »
So some forms of copy protection are DRM, as I see it. For example having to use a serial number to activate a software programme is obviously not DRM, whereas an executable that is linked at purchase to a "machine ID" is DRM (and I would call that copy protection). Have I got that right?

Grey area IMHO - someone like Adobe who lock software to you machine but allow you to unlock it I don't really consider DRM. Microsoft lock it and then don't let you unlock but they are fairly liberal if you need to call them (unless it is an OEM copy which is specifically licensed to one new machine and heavily discounted because of it).

If book publishers said to me: Hardback £25, Paperback £10, eBook (without DRM) £10, eBook (with DRM) £1 I might be convinced. WHat usually happens is Hardback £25, Paperback £10, eBook £12 or similar on Amazon. Often paperbacks are cheaper than the eBooks (and the same is more often than not  true for physical CD and MP3s - especially on iTunes where DRMed downloads are usually more expensive than the more flexible CD equivalent).

zridling

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2011, 01:42:09 PM »
What are these solutions? I've never defended DRM, but I still don't see an alternative for ebook authors. How do you generate a reliable income stream for ebook authors without some form of DRM (and copy protection falls under the banner of DRM)?

The simple answer is: "by writing the next book." Consider that historically, authors make most of their money from a book soon after it's released, and that by how many hardcovers it sold. However, DRM is self-defeating and this is proven over and over. Gaga recently sold over a million copies for 99 cents of 'Born This Way' on Amazon (mind you, Amazon paid for the privilege), but I found this old Slashdot link in my bookmarks:

"Electronic copyright infringement is something that can only become an 'economic epidemic' under certain conditions. Any one of the following: 1) The products they want... are hard to find, and thus valuable. 2) The products they want are high-priced, so there's a fair amount of money to be saved by stealing them. 3) The legal products come with so many added-on nuisances that the illegal version is better to begin with. Those are the three conditions that will create widespread electronic copyright infringement, especially in combination. Why? Because they're the same three general conditions that create all large-scale smuggling enterprises. And... Guess what? It's precisely those three conditions that DRM creates in the first place. So far from being an impediment to so-called 'online piracy,' it's DRM itself that keeps fueling it and driving it forward." (Yep)
__________________________
One key property of printed books is that it is very hard to modify them. However, digital books are easy to rewrite, provided they are released under a licence that permits that. Back to Richard Stallman. He was unhappy with some of the misleading and incorrect things in the interview book "Free as in Freedom," but since he had published it under the GNU Free Documentation License, he was able to go back last year and offer his own take on the text and facts (PDF). Now it's "Free as in Freedom 2.0."

As 40hz says, forget the publishers for now. Authors have control if they will only exercise it. Making a living off of book writing is a very recent --- and still rare -- phenomenon (19th Century).


40hz

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2011, 01:43:23 PM »
I think what it ultimately comes down to is that neither the content creators nor the content consumers are being well served by any of this.

And 90% of the arguments, dog & pony shows, posturing, testimony before government, threats of legal action, actual 'legal' actions taken, white papers, disinformation, outright lies, accusations, and "prayers for relief" don't serve any constituency or interest other than those of industry middlemen.

Unfortunately, these middlemen have so alienated the buying public that circumvention and bootlegging have gradually come to be seen as legitimate responses to an entrenched and backwards facing industry long overdue for a complete overhaul. And the content creators have been tarred with the same brush by their association.

I write. I also compose and perform music.

There was a time when people like me only got to experience the dubious pleasure of being raked over the coals on every deal we made with either a publishing house or record company.

Not any more...

Content creators no longer get ripped-off exclusively by their publishers. Today they also get ripped-off by a large percentage of their fans. In short, they get burned going in and burned going out.

No wonder so many people have given up on copyright and are now looking at coming up with something they can patent or license. At least patents (even those that should never have been issued) are more enforceable than a copyright.

 :-\



« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 06:33:56 PM by 40hz »

Renegade

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2011, 04:26:14 PM »
The one overlooked contribution publishing houses used to provide was editorial input on an author's work. Was a time when they even went so far as to sign less polished writers. They'd sign them on, and then help them develop their writing skills if they showed talent but lacked the necessary craftsmanship.

They don't really do that any more.

And the unfortunate result is the spate of poorly written books we're seeing released by publishers who should (and do) know better.

This is a core problem. It's virtually impossible to read the news today and not have a WTF moment with rubbish writing. Spelling errors. Wrong word. Missing articles. Incorrect terminology. The horrors go on and on.


Anyways, "Go the F**k to Sleep":

Screenshot - 6_16_2011 , 6_37_28 AM.png

And the book's main site:

http://gotheftosleep.com/

And the pissing and moaning...

http://www.baycitize...leep-case-viral-pdf/

Quote
And Akashic been doing what they can to control distribution of the document by asking people to take down any posted PDFs. This may not be much. "As the publisher of this book, our responsibilty is to tackle instances of piracy when we become aware of them," Ahmad said, "That's just doing a service to our authors, ourselves, book sellers, distributors, to everyone involved in the successful making and promotion of a book."

The book was sent off BY THE PUBLISHER through email and it went viral.

The Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia....Go_the_Fuck_to_Sleep

Would the book be the #1 best seller BEFORE ITS RELEASE without the ebook circulating by email? Highly unlikely.

Piracy helped this book!

But the only thing they can think about is "piracy", which without, the book very well could have been relegated to obscurity.

Sure, piracy sucks. If I had a nickel for every time my software was pirated, I'd retire. Wah. Boo hoo. Suck it up and move on.

Piracy in the "Go the F**k to Sleep" case has made the book a #1 best seller, and I assume, highly profitable. It's raining money, hallelujah!

You can either focus on making money, or you can focus on money that you didn't make. Should'a, would'a, could'a. Move on already. Do the "best effort" thing to prevent piracy then turn your attention to something productive.


Now, I think that is a very rare case. It doesn't happen every day, and it's not the norm. But, it illustrates how "piracy" isn't the end of the world, and can in fact help.

Why did Microsoft not enforce any licensing for Windows until Windows XP? Or for Office? Because piracy helped Windows and Office become dominant.


I really like Carol's take there:

  • Hardcover $35
  • Paperback $15
  • Digital with no DRM $10
  • Digital with DRM $2

Or whatever pricing, but that kind of range.

I can live with DRM like that. I could even go for "rental" with reasonable prices. But I'm not going to pay $40 to $80 (the normal range for books I buy) to get screwed with DRM (been there and done that). Luckily, there are publishers for the stuff I want that do DRM-free books.

DRM *can* work. But it needs to be reasonable. I'll pay for something that's locked down, chained up, and restricted... but not much...


Now... I can go the f**k to sleep... :D :P

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

40hz

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Re: Why ebooks are bad for you
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2011, 06:37:26 PM »

Now... I can go the f**k to sleep... :D :P


Nice touch that. Loops back to an earlier comment and ties it together nicely. Full points!  ;D :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: