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Author Topic: Does anybody seriously think an e-book is still the better option most times?  (Read 4551 times)

40hz

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storia.png


Read all about it over at Techdirt. Article here.

Quote
DRM Performs Another Miracle, Turns Purchased Childrens Books Into Nothing At All
from the the-magic-of-technology,-in-Biblical-terms dept


An anonymous Techdirt reader sends in the now-unsurprising news that another publisher and its DRM are declaring customers' purchased e-goods null and void. This time it's Scholastic, publisher of many youth and teen titles, as well as the long-running host of numerous parental wallet-emptying book fairs.

According to Scholastic's 2012 press release, Storia (the DRMed ebook collection currently affected) allowed students and teachers to purchase ebooks and share them with up to 10 family members/students via its proprietary app. (The app is the DRM. Scholastic purchases don't work outside of it. To quote its now-vanished FAQs page: "Storia eBooks are designed with unique learning features and enrichments that make them readable only while using the Storia eReading app.") It also included enhanced content to encourage readers to dig deeper into unfamiliar subjects and allow teachers to connect with downloaded books via Smartboards and other computers. All in all, not a terrible product and one that comes from a particularly trusted name in academic publishing.

Quote
At least Scholastic is being upfront about what's happening to people's purchases.

    The switch to streaming means that eBooks you've previously purchased may soon no longer be accessible.

Quote
But Scholastic is at least trying to mitigate the damage. Some purchases will stay active in users' accounts if customers follow this one simple trick. (Sorry.)

    You may be able to continue using your eBooks by making sure to open them on a bookshelf at least once by October 15.

Unfortunately, there's that troublesome word "may" stuck right in the middle of the damage control. Scholastic's site offers no odds on which books will still work and which purchased items will simply vanish. This is likely due to further licensing agreements behind the scenes -- those between Scholastic and authors/other publishers. (Scholastic handles book fair distribution for high-powered franchises like Harry Potter and Goosebumps.) Chances are, the bigger the title, the greater the likelihood of this maneuver not working. Just as Netflix streaming is 90% stuff no one wants to watch, a switch to an unlimited access streaming service will likely result in a.) the disappearance of titles whose upstream publishers are asking for increased licensing fees or b.) the increased upstream licensing fees pricing Scholastic out of many schools/parents' budgets.

But Scholastic is going further than most companies in the same position would, and doing it proactively (rather than waiting for the angry wisdom of the crowd to shame them into acting like they care).

    Upon your request, we will refund the cost of all Storia eBooks you've purchased. Call Customer Service at 1-855-STORIA1 by August 1, 2015.

I'm sorry, the e-book publishing model, as it currently works, simply sucks :down:.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2014, 03:01:34 PM by 40hz »

superboyac

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Well, aren't there two issues here?
DRM ebook vs. non-DRM ebook
ebook vs. physical book

in the former, of course DRM is a problem.  DOn't know what the good capitalist solution to it is, other than some form of honor system.
In the second case, they both have pros and cons.  I do enjoy being able to read a bunch of books on a tablet or phone.  It's not the most pleasant experience, but it hasn't bothered me too much yet.  Of course, reading a real book is much more comfortable, but I really hate carrying books around.  (I'm really looking forward to reading on a surface pro this weekend.)

as far as this article, i never was a fan of the DRM.  In fact, when I buy a kindle book, I immediately convert it in calibre and use the open version, because I'm picky about the apps I use to read.

Deozaan

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eBooks are the better option if they don't have DRM deleting them or making them inaccessible.


app103

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Glad I work for a company that doesn't believe in DRM in their ebooks. :)

Vurbal

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eBooks are the better option if they don't have DRM deleting them or making them inaccessible.

Exactly! The problem in that story isn't the ebook. It's the fraudulent use of the word sale when what they were offering was really a license, which in practical terms is more like renting.

After reading the story earlier, though, an evil thought popped into my head - I know, hard to believe. I'm sure all of Scholastic's executives own homes. Since sale can equal rental, whoever sold them their houses should be allowed to change their mind and take them back without any repayment.

I'm not saying it's reasonable, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fair.
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wraith808

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^ You've got it! :)  And a great idea too!

40hz

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I'm not saying it's reasonable, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fair.

Since when does being reasonable enter into the formula when you're dealing with two-faced slimeball companies? Especially the ones that sre supposedly in business "For OUR children!!!" <*evil grin*>

Vurbal

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^ True, but not a legitimate reason for me to compromise my morals - no matter how satisfying that might feel.
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
Before they beat me bloody down at the station
They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
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It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

app103

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After reading the story earlier, though, an evil thought popped into my head - I know, hard to believe. I'm sure all of Scholastic's executives own homes. Since sale can equal rental, whoever sold them their houses should be allowed to change their mind and take them back without any repayment.

I'm not saying it's reasonable, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fair.

You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

40hz

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^ True, but not a legitimate reason for me to compromise my morals - no matter how satisfying that might feel.

The only problem with that is that there's a legion of abusers of trust and decency who are counting on the rest of us "to not be like that" or "be better than that." Truth is, their continued existence absolutely depends on it.  :-\

But whatever works best for each of us. Morals are a very personal thing. At the end of the day you still have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. And there's no putting a price tag on a good night's sleep.

(FWIW I myself sleep like a baby! ;) ;D )

mwb1100

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You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

Except one difference is that the bank can't just say, "we don't want to service this loan anymore so we're foreclosing".  You have to actually not pay them for some period of time before they can kick you out.

Of course, there's the government, who will be wanting you to pay property taxes in perpetuity... or else.

wraith808

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You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

Except one difference is that the bank can't just say, "we don't want to service this loan anymore so we're foreclosing".  You have to actually not pay them for some period of time before they can kick you out.

Of course, there's the government, who will be wanting you to pay property taxes in perpetuity... or else.


Since when?  I've seen more that a few people lose homes since the bank crisis that were paying in good faith.  Some got them back.

Vurbal

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You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

Except one difference is that the bank can't just say, "we don't want to service this loan anymore so we're foreclosing".  You have to actually not pay them for some period of time before they can kick you out.

Of course, there's the government, who will be wanting you to pay property taxes in perpetuity... or else.


Since when?  I've seen more that a few people lose homes since the bank crisis that were paying in good faith.  Some got them back.

You are correct. Pretty much every mortgage includes language allowing the bank to demand the remaining balance at their own discretion. They don't do this, as a rule, because it would be bad business.

I first heard about it from an acquaintance who happens to own several rental properties. He suggested that smaller banks would start doing this once the credit dried up completely - exactly what happened btw. Not by coincidence, he had also spent about 3 years moving all his investment money away from the US (he's from New Zealand and currently lives in Denmark) because he saw the collapse coming.
I learned to say the pledge of allegiance
Before they beat me bloody down at the station
They haven't got a word out of me since
I got a billion years probation
- The MC5

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ''crackpot'' than the stigma of conformity.
- Thomas J. Watson, Sr

It's not rocket surgery.
- Me


I recommend reading through my Bio before responding to any of my posts. It could save both of us a lot of time and frustration.

40hz

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Not by coincidence, he had also spent about 3 years moving all his investment money away from the US (he's from New Zealand and currently lives in Denmark) because he saw the collapse coming.

JOOC - which collapse are you referring to? :huh:

MilesAhead

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You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

It would be nice if the mortgage could include some kind of annuity so that when it was paid off the annuity would automatically pay the property tax for the life of the owner.  If you sold the place then some prorated portion could be credited etc..

I wonder if any other countries have something along that line?

Edit:  On DRM it seems they are getting into more than just cancelling access to the media.  From posts I've seen(on DC I think) Winston Smith is there changing content dynamically.


wraith808

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Not by coincidence, he had also spent about 3 years moving all his investment money away from the US (he's from New Zealand and currently lives in Denmark) because he saw the collapse coming.

JOOC - which collapse are you referring to? :huh:

Real Estate and Banking, I'd assume... though it was more of a bubble bursting than a wholesale collapse.

40hz

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Not by coincidence, he had also spent about 3 years moving all his investment money away from the US (he's from New Zealand and currently lives in Denmark) because he saw the collapse coming.

JOOC - which collapse are you referring to? :huh:

Real Estate and Banking, I'd assume... though it was more of a bubble bursting than a wholesale collapse.

My thought too, although I wasn't sure. A genuine market collapse is such a major event that it's impossible to not feel it. Even when you're as semi-conscious as I usually am. In any financial market periodic corrections, as they're called, are not an automatic cause for panic. Unless you yourself were playing the odds and banking on the bubble.
 8)

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After reading the story earlier, though, an evil thought popped into my head - I know, hard to believe. I'm sure all of Scholastic's executives own homes. Since sale can equal rental, whoever sold them their houses should be allowed to change their mind and take them back without any repayment.

I'm not saying it's reasonable, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be fair.

You mean like when a bank forecloses? Yeah, you don't actually own your home until you have finished paying the bank for it, plus interest. In essence, as long as you still have a mortgage, you are renting the house from the bank, who is the real owner.

^ THIS!

However, I would like to clarify some general misconceptions about property ownership and knit the example even closer together.

If you "own" your home, you don't own your home. Period. The state owns your home. You are merely "renting" it.

Land titles are almost exclusively fee simple, which is not actual ownership --- it's more akin to "stewardship".

If you live in Canada, the Queen (royal family) owns "your" property. The same goes pretty much everywhere.

Now, in some places like communist Viet Nam, people lease land from the state and then transfer those leases. This is relatively common around the world with leases being generally up to 99 years.

The difference in places like Canada is that the leases are perpetual.

The state gets around this minor inconvenience by taking the value of the land back over a period of time through property taxes. i.e. A slow exercise of eminent domain or expropriation.

Software licenses work similarly - you don't own the software, but you have the right to use it. (There is a very broad spectrum of licensing, so it is a bit tough to talk in general terms here for the purpose of the property rights metaphor without getting overly specific.)

DRM is like the perpetual shadow of eminent domain/expropriation looming over your rights to use software. At any point the company can flip a switch and violate your rights to use what you paid for. Amazon famously did this when they deleted everyone's copy of "Nineteen-Eighty Four".

It all boils down to a few factors:

  • Ownership vs.
  • Rental vs.
  • Right to use? -- Who owns it?
  • The spectre of the right to use being violated.

Today property rights are very weak for people, but strong for government and for corporations.

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