Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Offline Book "Lending" Costs US Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the oh-the-humanity dept.

Books 494

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a tongue-in-cheek blog post which puts publisher worries about ebook piracy into perspective: "Hot on the heels of the story in Publisher's Weekly that 'publishers could be losing out on as much $3 billion to online book piracy' comes a sudden realization of a much larger threat to the viability of the book industry. Apparently, over 2 billion books were 'loaned' last year by a cabal of organizations found in nearly every American city and town. Using the same advanced projective mathematics used in the study cited by Publishers Weekly, Go To Hellman has computed that publishers could be losing sales opportunities totaling over $100 billion per year, losses which extend back to at least the year 2000. ... From what we've been able to piece together, the book 'lending' takes place in 'libraries.' On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange for a 'card.' But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons. Although there's no admission charge and it doesn't cost anything to borrow a book, there's always the threat of an onerous overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle of not paying for copyrighted material."

cancel ×

494 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Dammit... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821848)

Don't give them any ideas.

The copyright circus is stupid enough already.

Re:Dammit... (2, Insightful)

zeridon (846747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821940)

I really wanna see them trying on this.

As a minimum it will be completely hilarios

Re:Dammit... (0, Troll)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822020)

Yes, completely [usf.edu] hilarious.

Yeah, but it costs 10 cents a PAGE to copy it, and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822284)

the copy ain't so hot. Compare with digital movies, music, books, software, where the copy IS identical to the original, and you NOW see why this is bananas vs apeshit.

Re:Dammit... (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822080)

Not only hilarious, but it might open the eyes of a few "what should I care, doesn't affect me" people. Libraries are a cornerstone of learning. If they start trying to crack down on them, I'd guess the anti-copyright front gets considerably larger.

Re:Dammit... (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822278)

not exactly - many of them would see library vs. unauthorized download as a completely different beast.

Amongst other things, you can't load the same book out twice at the same time. Waiting lists could enough to get someone to buy something they wouldn't have gotten already.

Re:Dammit... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822542)

You don't lend a book out more than once at a time, but a popular book may be lent several hundred time by a library before it's replaced. I own books that have been borrowed by over ten people. If I lend a book to ten people, then copyright law considers that fine. If I put something on a P2P network and two people download it, I get a statutory fine of several thousand dollars (well, I would if I lived in the USA). There seems to be some disconnect there.

Re:Dammit... (5, Insightful)

qengho (54305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822706)

If I lend a book to ten people, then copyright law considers that fine. If I put something on a P2P network and two people download it, I get a statutory fine of several thousand dollars (well, I would if I lived in the USA). There seems to be some disconnect there.

Not defending the publishing industry, but there is a material difference: your copy lent to ten people remains a single copy and returns to you (you hope), but the one you uploaded to two others has become three copies. Still, I don't doubt the publishing industry is inflating the losses.

Re:Dammit... (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822548)

That is one thing that irks me with my library. They have downloadable books on mp3 but there are waiting lists for them until the person "returns" it (aka there DRM license expiring). They even have the ridiculous restriction of "i-pod compatible" so if it is not you are not allowed to send it to your ipod

Re:Dammit... (1)

Velorium (1068080) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822066)

Agreed.

Re:Dammit... (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822092)

Libraries already pay a fee to the author each time a book is loaned out.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/jan/07/public-lending-right-library [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Dammit... (1, Informative)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822462)

You should probably read things before you link to them. The article makes no such claim.

Re:Dammit... (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822590)

Only in a small group of countries [wikipedia.org] for a small group of authors, primarily non-US authors. Since paying US authors seems to stick in the craw of most non-US governments.

Re:Dammit... (5, Interesting)

mrcaseyj (902945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822110)

In related news it has been discovered that the contents of textbooks, which often sell for $200 or more, are largely made up of information and ideas developed by previous authors. The previous textbook authors are starting to complain that they aren't getting any royalties from new textbooks and are now calling new textbook authors "seagoing murdering thieves" (pirates). Others are wondering why books mostly inspired by previous works, have more than a hundred year copyright, when the Constitution only authorizes copyrights for limited times, not a trillion years.

Re:Dammit... (0)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822214)

No kidding. Book publishers would lose almost any money they get from me if they tried to kill libraries.

Amongst other things it's very rare for me to buy a book if I've not already borrowed a copy of that book (or a book in the series) from the library first.

Yes, it's anecdotal, but I know a lot of other people who are the same way.

Re:Dammit... (5, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822236)

Don't give them any ideas.
The copyright circus is stupid enough already.

Too late. The publishing industry has been thinking and talking along this line for a long time already. There's a conventional statistic among publishers, to the effect that every book sold is read by four people. This is usually mentioned in a context that makes it clear that there's a problem. Often they don't bother mentioning how this multi-person readership happens, but it doesn't take much questioning to learn: libraries. And the point is always that the publishers are "losing" 3/4 of their potential sales to the multi-reader "problem".

One of the reasons that a lot of publishers have developed an interest in e-books is that they see it as a way of limiting readership. After all, people won't much loan out their e-readers, and so far, few libraries have experimented with supplying electronic copies of books to their members.

(I wonder why this is? Are they such Luddites? Or are they just ignorant of the technology? Or perhaps they don't see a way to collect overdue fines. ;-)

They're fighting it with an "educational campaign" (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822594)

Book publishers today announced that they are launching a new educational campaign targeted at the people who steal their intellectual property by reading books they didn't buy.

Their "Campaign to Promote Illiteracy" will be mandatory in most schools in the next semester. Students will be treated to videos with titles such as "Johnny Can't Read"; older classes will be subjected to aversion therapy with pop-up books such as "My Pet Goatse" and "Animal Farm-sex".

They'll also be promoting their new android-based phone, which enables illiterates to send "text" messages using only pictures, so that texting becomes a game of rebus [wikipedia.org] . For example, he message "Can I see you tonight?" becomes
"picture of a tin can" = "can", +
"picture of an eye" = "eye", +
"picture of waves" = "sea", +
picture of a female goat" = "ewe", +
"picture of dog poop" = "number 2" +
"picture of a knight on a horse" = "knight"

"can eye sea ewe 2 knight" = "can I see you tonight"

Re:Dammit... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822554)

Actually, Libraries often pay MORE for copies of the same book than you do.
They pay a premium for the right to loan out multiple copies.

So the copyright circus is already aware of this loophole, and have plugged it before you made your joke.

-:)

info source: my wife has a MLIS degree

Excellent satire (2, Interesting)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821852)

Really, too often what's funny is what is true, or at least points at facets of reality that other methods of communication cannot manage to talk about as easily.

Re:Excellent satire (5, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822362)

The only problem is that it isn't completely accurate. It portrays libraries as quiet places where people will glare at you if you make too much noise. In the past, that used to be true, but not any more, at least here in Arizona. Now, kids run wild, and people chitchat on their cellphones at full volume in library common areas, and librarians don't do anything about it because it's become futile.

It'd be nice to live in a civilized city where people really were quiet in libraries.

I've been saying this for years! (5, Insightful)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821862)

Libraries are nothing but effete businesses designed to rip off the publishing industry and fill innocent victims' minds with confusing, dangerous propaganda! A. Hitler, spokesman, RIAA

In FreeMarket America ... (2, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822252)

It's not the socialist "public authorities" you have to worry about. It's the "peer to peer lending" perpetrated by individuals with no state intervention or support!

Re:I've been saying this for years! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822266)

No no, Mr. Hitler, you've got it all wrong. Libraries are meant to drown the average American in mindless dribble - it has worked very well. And, believe me, it's far better to have everyone focused on censoring porn and IP rights then to have the masses notice they don't actually have anything to read that is of real value. This is the information age, where there's 50,000 channels and nothing on - and there's a reason for that. So, please remember to wake up and watch your morning celebrity/disaster news and be numbed to the bone to work for someone else while the banks and corporations figure out some way to extract money from you.

Mr. Hilter, would you be interested in our excellent my neural-feedback enhanced marketing package (mental behavior reinforcement of commercialized buying tendencies) that utilizes the latest in fMRI and psychology research to make your customers buy your fabulous products? (I mean, why would anyone need all your fabulous products or ever wish to pollute their future with your toxic waste in a shine package? Better make sure they have to buy it with our demographically and neurally targeted commercial marketing tests!)

P.s. propaganda is so 1940s & 1980s, today we have brain imaging technology and decades of research into behavior shaping that allows us to dominate social and cultural objections to calm the masses.

In other news... (5, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821884)

Sunlight costs lightbulb makers nearly 100 bazillion dollars!

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822046)

Sunlight costs lightbulb makers nearly 100 bazillion dollars!

Only if you invest for the short term. Personally, I invest for the long term. I'm quite sure that my lightbulb investments will prove profitable in 5,000,000,000 years.

Re:In other news... (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822116)

Don't forget about the power companies. Of course, Mr. Burns has a solution for all of this...

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822118)

I'm starting an oxygen supply company- I wonder if there's anything I can do about this 'atmosphere' that people are currently getting their oxygen from?

Re:In other news... (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822164)

they're all thieves, and you might have to use force to stop them from using your oxygen supply.

Re:In other news... (2, Interesting)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822524)

You would need to put everyone in a suit filled with inert gas like Argon and then charge them for both the noble gas and the o2.

Re:In other news... (1)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822150)

LOL. Love it. We'll all be in trouble when they figure out how to blanket the world and then charge you to reveal portions of the sun to paying populations.

And the PORN!!! (3, Informative)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821916)

Voyeur and amateur stuff abounds! How they came up with the names like "National Geographic" still confuses me, though. Ask for that or the "medical journal" sections. Don't forget to wink knowingly.

Re:And the PORN!!! (0, Redundant)

MaXintosh (159753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821992)

People who peddle such filth as this "National Geographic" should be arrested for distributing pornography to minors! These "Libraries" are nothing more than smuthouses for the underaged! Think of the children!

Re:And the PORN!!! (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822210)

It's the parent's fault! They need to be monitoring their kids more. 1984 was 26 years ago, but have we reached that utopia yet? No! Everybody's a terrorist, watch us all!

And back to the porn. *fap* *fap* *fap*

Re:And the PORN!!! (5, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822140)

That's nothing. The Economist once had a cover with two copulating camels (the female didn't look to happy). For a brief moment in history, economists figured out that 1 + 1 = 3. If you don't know where the extra one came from, you haven't spent enough time in the "medical journal" section.

Re:And the PORN!!! (2, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822258)

"National Geographic":

National - its initial distribution was throughout the US, (since Europe already had way better porn), hence it was "National".

Geographic - Only slightly cryptic. "Graphic" is right there in the word - I don't know how much plainer they could have made it. They are telling you that if you buy their smut, you will have the most graphic scenes you can imagine of African villagers gathering crops and herding cattle while wearing grass skirts and codpieces. The origin of "Geo" is more mysterious. However, given that NatGeo was initially formed at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., it seems obvious that it is a nod to George Washington, who certainly would have approved.

only surprise is what took so long? (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821918)

I always thought books would have been "liberated" first in the digital world because text has a lower bandwidth than music or video. However there is a high entry cost of converting to text. So the system had to wait until it had enough bandwidth to support photos of text which are easy to make.

Blog from a New Jersey "Internet Technologist" ? (1, Flamebait)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821936)

What happened... the bartender you wanted to interview for his opinion on the latest Ubuntu distro didn't return your call?

Coming clean (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821958)

I have been loaning books to friends for years. I am posting anonymously to avoid the repercussions.

Re:Coming clean (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822468)

Nevermind lending. Sometimes I will just plain give books away after I am done with them.

I might even pay the hefty premium for not waiting on the paperback version and then hand it off to someone else with no strings attached.

Re:Coming clean (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822574)

My mom read me bedtime story books that she "borrowed" from my aunt. I guess it is time for mom to go to the slammer.

As a mathematician (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30821960)

I am irked by the phrase "advanced projective mathematics." This to me is a red flag warning me of some business school BS coming up.

Re:As a mathematician (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822232)

I am irked by the phrase "advanced projective mathematics." This to me is a red flag warning me of some business school BS coming up.

Well said. These kind of "mathematics" are what the RIAA and MPAA use to project losses on shared digital media... completely ignoring the fact that just because people get something illegally doesn't mean they would've gone out and bought it had they no other option.

Same with book exchanges. I've done those a few times, but that doesn't mean I would've payed money for the books I got.

Publishers just need to suck it up and learn how to run a business in the 21st century.

Re:As a mathematician (4, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822240)

I am irked by the phrase "advanced projective mathematics." This to me is a red flag warning me of some business school BS coming up.

Pff- you elitist ivory tower eggheads and your fancy-schmancy degrees think you know everything! If you had any sort of street-smarts, you'd realize that there's a reason people with MBAs run the world!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my MBA meeting - we've decided to solve the financial crisis by making the leaf the standard unit of currency - everybody will be rich beyond their wildest dreams!

Re:As a mathematician (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822304)

I am irked by the phrase "advanced projective mathematics." This to me is a red flag warning me of some business school BS coming up.

I suspect that this was part of the satire. (But I could be wrong.)

Should be a red flag that it was a JOKE (3, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822368)

Now you're just adding to the stereotype that mathematicians have no sense of humor.

Re:As a mathematician (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822586)

Plato divided math into two distinct areas: "arithmetic" and "logistic" (now number theory and arithmetic, resp.)

The former being appropriate for philosophers and the latter being for businessmen and generals.

In logistic/arithmetic, all that the person cares about is putting numbers into the "black box", and getting a number out.

In arithmetic/number theory, the concern is what happens inside the box, and what happens to the box if you take away certain parts, etc.

I have news for you... (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821972)

Where I am they have Videos and DVDs too.

Re:I have news for you... (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822596)

That's not really news since it's actually in the summary.

will Apple be the "game changer"? (2, Insightful)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821974)

Apple convinced people to pay for some of their music and cellphone apps with low prices and convenience. I am hoping for a "three-peat" later this year in the ebook world. $10-$15 ebooks are still too pricey.

Re:will Apple be the "game changer"? (2, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822250)

$10-$15 ebooks are still too pricey.

I should note that Baen Books sells eBooks for about $6.

Re:will Apple be the "game changer"? (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822584)

Any ebook that's more expensive than the corresponding paperback is INSANE.

Not-for-profit (1)

proslack (797189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821982)

...you can't sue the government.

And then (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821984)

They tore down the libraries. Because lending books is evil.

Re:And then (4, Funny)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822538)

You wouldn't steal a car! You wouldn't steal a DVD! Don't steal books either!

Think of the libraries! (1, Funny)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821994)

Just think how much the libraries are costing publishers, OMG!

And with the ability to actually borrow a book for free, nobody will ever need to actually buy a book. That's nothing but the liberals, err socialists trying to take nationalize both the publishing and retail book industries!

Re:Think of the libraries! (1)

God_Likeish (1417781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822034)

Just think how much the libraries are costing publishers, OMG!

And with the ability to actually borrow a book for free, nobody will ever need to actually buy a book. That's nothing but the liberals, err socialists trying to take nationalize both the publishing and retail book industries!

They did think of them

You just made a fool of yourself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822228)

Do you realize that you did nothing more than re-state the summary, in fewer words, as if it were your own idea?

Apparently, you fail at reading comprehension.

And they keep secrets! (5, Insightful)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30821996)

When the authorities have requested copies of patrons borrowing records, the libraries almost always refuse to provide it without a search warrant!

Re:And they keep secrets! (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822052)

When the authorities have requested copies of patrons borrowing records, the libraries almost always refuse to provide it without a search warrant!

Actually I believe you'll find that libraries now tend to delete all records after the books are returned, so a search warrant is useless. Hence the publishers can't even find out who the evil 'borrowers' might be.

Re:And they keep secrets! (3, Interesting)

mystik (38627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822416)

One System I've seen (Small high school system) kept track of the last borrower on an item, so that if it was damaged, they could find out who did it.

It wasn't an item in the primary menu, and you had to know the 'secret keystroke' to get to that screen.

Re:And they keep secrets! (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822516)

I believe you'll find that libraries now tend to delete all records after the books are returned, so a search warrant is useless. Hence the publishers can't even find out who the evil 'borrowers' might be.

Didn't this practice start just a few years ago, when the US Government started asking libraries for their borrowing records? I suppose it shows that the librarians are on our side, though I'd guess some people might see it differently.

The government can still demand a list of everyone with a library card, but that's probably not very useful information. About all it tells you is who in the area might be literate. That might make you suspect in some social circles, but probably not to government agencies. (After all, government employees need to be able to read and fill out forms.)

Make eBooks Cheaper! (4, Interesting)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822008)

If I could "own" (even with DRM) a book for $2.50, I would never bother making a trip to a library. Even at lower prices, publishers could increase their profits substantially by bypassing the libraries.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822056)

100% agreed, although I think $2.50 might be a bit too cheap....I think $5 is a good price point for a digital copy of a book. Still, you have the right idea...lowering prices substantially on e-books would net publishers a massive increase in sales, especially with the emergence of e-readers going mainstream.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822256)

The correct price is max( demand($price) * $price )

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822708)

Mostly. There's not one magic demand for everyone.

Look at how airlines price seats. Some people pay less than $200 for the same seat a business traveler will pay $600 for.

If you want to maximize your profits, you have to find out how much each person will pay for the book, and charge separate amounts. One way to do this is to offer the book in different forms, gold bound, hardback, paperback & book club editions. That's very inefficient.

If you are a big seller like amazon, you look at a customer's past buying habits, and categorize that person. Then you offer trial discounts and see how much you have to discount a specific book to get a specific category of buyer to buy, right now. Then, you have determined what the price of that book is today for that type of buyer.

Note. Always start at a price and offer discounts. People like that. Never start at a price and charge categories of buyers more. People hate that, even when the math works in their favor.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822276)

$5? When I can get it used for $1 or borrow from the library for free? $5 per book will definitely pay my way to the used book store. I'd say $2 or even $1, like music is about right. You get way, way less bits of data with a book than with a song.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822390)

True, but writing a book also takes a tremendous effort...I'm putting up the $5 price point as a possibility due to the number of copies a book has to sell for the author to make decent money and for the time investment required.

As someone who writes (working on a book, although I don't expect it will ever be published) and does music production (http://www.livingwithanerd.com/music if you are interested in what I'm currently working on), writing takes considerably longer. Charging the same amount for a book as you do for a single music track is shortchanging the author.

Still, your point does make a lot of sense...storing and transferring a large number of e-books requires very little in the way of hardware, but looking at it strictly from the author's point of view, charging only $1 for a book would really suck.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822640)

Well, $1 is better than someone getting it from the library for $0. It's irrelevant how much work was put into it. The question is what maximizes profit, which may be at a price point of $1 and it may be at $5.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822418)

True, but most songs don' t have a lot of "information"* in them - so their bits can conceivably be considered less valuable then book bits.

*Where here we don't mean the technical mathematical meaning of the term, but rather an ill-defined usefulness or length of enjoyment parameter. I can listen to song in much less time than I can read a standard sized book after all.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822572)

$5? When I can get it used for $1 or borrow from the library for free? $5 per book will definitely pay my way to the used book store. I'd say $2 or even $1, like music is about right. You get way, way less bits of data with a book than with a song.

Personally I'd rather get a used book for dirt cheap. Treated well book can last well beyond your lifetime, they don't need batteries or extension cords, and provide a tactile experience.

However some do favor the concept of digital books, and they have perfectly valid reasons. You can get the book right now instead of having to hunt it down. You can fit an entire building of books in a device the size of a single hardcover book, saving a fair amount of room/organization/cleaning/etc. Some local libraries aren't well stocked in the material you enjoy (or perhaps overall).

To me, the biggest pain is hunting down a book. Sometimes I have a craving to read something specific but none of the nearby towns' libraries carry it and sometimes none of the nearby bookstores even carry it. Meaning my choice is to either drive 1-2 hours each way, or wait for it to be delivered (which puts me past the weekend).

Even still I've only purchased 1 e-Book, and that was for an IT function that I needed that specific day.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822286)

If I could "own" (even with DRM) a book for $2.50, I would never bother making a trip to a library.

I can't argue with that. In fact, I agree.

But some publishers have indeed been making noises about libraries==piracy, and as far as I'm concerned they can go get fucked. The institution of the public library is well enough established by now to be regarded as a right. If publishers can't find a business model that is just, then they can go jump on their heads.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

Z1NG (953122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822328)

Indeed. At such a price or even twice as much, I would be buying far less books second-hand.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822456)

Another good point. Either they are losing money by not catering to the low end of the market who use libraries and buy second-hand books, or they are making more money by charging a premium for those that want their own hard copy. They can't have it both ways.
 
Actually, I could imagine a good book being purchased at $40 hardcover, even when there's an ebook available at $2.50. It just depends on how valuable and how futureproof you want your purchase to be.

Re:Make eBooks Cheaper! (1)

nick357 (108909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822506)

I think they are using the wrong model with ebooks. I think they should be using the rental model. I'd happily pay a few bucks a week for a book. If I don't have time to finish it, charge me a couple bucks more to renew. If in a few years I want to read it again, I'd happily pay that again to have it "instantly" at my fingertips. Probably there are some books I would think about purchasing in ebook format - but in most cases, renting would be fine with me. (And of course, there are still some books that I would like to own hard copies of). I think music, video and books all need slightly different business models in the internet world.

Hackers (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822032)

Notorious hacker group "The Librarians" thumbed their collective noses today at the intellectual property industry as they investigated new ways to channel IP into the hands of teenagers.

"I got this great new bag today," said one student, "and realized I needed a few novels to put in it." [Editor's note: we believe the term "bag" is street for a memory storage device.]

One self-proclaimed member of this criminal organization stated "The biggest challenge with kids today is getting access to reading material. Many come from poorer families and depend on the free availability of reading material to supplement their school-provided education." She continued, "That's why today we're announcing a reading competition, with the winner awarded a really wonderful bag to store their materials in."

When pressed for clarification, this member stated "Of course all the reading materials would be provided for free. That is the whole purpose of what we do." Upon further research, it is believed that local and federal funds are being diverted for these activities.

Organizations representing intellectual property owners did not immediately answer calls. [Editor's note: we let the phone ring once, then hang up. If they can't answer their calls in less than one ring, it's not immediate enough for us.]

Re:Hackers (1)

gfreeman (456642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822434)

Notorious hacker group "The Librarians" thumbed their collective noses today

Ook?

oh, when will the 'socialism' end?? (5, Interesting)

AB_Rhialto (1490817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822082)

While funny, the point of the article is quite saddening. People have been involved in 'socialist' activities since before we were human and only just recently, has it become something of a curse to help one another out (sharing) at the expense of a Corporation potentially losing a sale opportunity.

Don't get me wrong, Corps have to make money, but there has been an amazing full court press of propaganda that has twisted the case for helping and sharing the burden to some degree as socialism or communism (and for the Republicans out there, I'll add Fascism, since it ends in an ism).

We won't even talk about all the infrastructure that government puts in place because, well, that is a form of socialism too, and its far better to little to no government so everyone can look after themselves.

I wonder who would be best able to take care of themselves in such a scenario, individual voters and their families or large corporations (since they have most of the benefits of being a 'person' but none of the responsibilities)?

Re:oh, when will the 'socialism' end?? (0)

Surt (22457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822316)

I'm actually not clear that I believe corps have to make money. I think we could have a perfectly functional economy with everything run non-profit, with an exception for capital investment repayment at an appropriate rate of interest. Any additional profits should go to the employees (you know, the ones who actually do the work), or into price reduction. It would be a far more fair system, and would discourage the rampant exploitation we have now.

Re:oh, when will the 'socialism' end?? (1)

AB_Rhialto (1490817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822588)

The problem with that is incentive. Capitalism provides a means of incentive and score keeping for those with the desire to create (whether what they create has some 'objective' value is certainly up for debate). Those with the desire to create often bring jobs along for those who don't have the desire or propensity for risk taking.

Things will get very interesting when capitalism has to move from the non-zero sum environment it has been operating in (i.e. constantly requiring the overall market to grow) to a sustainable zero-sum environment.

of course, the other side of the equation is the governance model, and it would sure be nice if we all operated in a true democracy where the needs and desires of the voter were foremost in the governing bodies minds. Instead, since the election cycle is so long and requires so much money, that has put the lobbyists and the their corporate employers in the drivers seat. We have more of a Corporatist model of governance with a veneer of democracy.

Re:oh, when will the 'socialism' end?? (1)

Quantumstate (1295210) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822630)

Indeed, and this has been successfully implemented in several companies. I the UK, at least, there are supermarkets (Coop, Waitrose), department stores (John Lewis (same as Waitrose)), Building societies and many more. Building societies are an especially interesting one because recently a lot of building societies converted to banks. Since early in the recession none of the converted building societies have survived on their own, they have all been bought out.

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822122)

This is pretty pathetic, they want to shut down libraries now? Libraries have existed for hundreds of years, this is one of the most rediculous things i've ever heard from the publishing industry, yes let's kill libraries, make poor families pay for books that may be their only chance to escape their harsh world or to learn things.

Re:Sad (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822552)

Burn the Libraries down, it worked oh so well in Alexandria Egypt!

Damn Papyrus Copytheft Jackasses from 2,000 years ago!

LMAO (1)

thechemic (1329333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822126)

This is hilarious and serious all at the same time. Love it!

this is what is wrong: (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822132)

His adventures in books, plays, television shows and movies continue to pay dividends for the heirs of his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes's latest appearance on film, directed by Guy Ritchie, has sold more than $311 million in tickets worldwide, and on Sunday won a Golden Globe award for its star, Robert Downey Jr.

At his age, Holmes would logically seem to have entered the public domain. But not only is the character still under copyright in the United States, for nearly 80 years he has also been caught in a web of ownership issues so tangled that Professor Moriarty wouldn't have wished them upon him.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/books/19sherlock.html [nytimes.com]

dear all creators:

no, it does not make any fucking sense that your grandchildren should profit from a story you wrote, a song you sang, a movie you directed, whatever

it simply does NOT make sense. it is an intellectually and philosophically corrupt concept

intelletual property law only deserves to be disrespected, fought, and subverted. intellectual property law is a parasitical drain on our culture. intellectual property law must be destroyed. it is not of any benefit to anyone except certain entrenched well-connected, well-lawyered interests

Re:this is what is wrong: (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822374)

While I agree in part with your sentiment, it's worth noting that Doyle's actual writings *are* in the public domain [gutenberg.org] .

yes, in the uk (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822460)

but not in the usa

not that that is supposed to mean anything morally, intellectually, or philosophically valid

anything made before the year 2000 should be in the public domain, and that's the way i'm going to act. there is no reforming ip law, it is too broken and too securely in the pocket of deeply vested interests

the only morally valid thing to do is to completely ignore, circumvent, and undermine ip law

Re:yes, in the uk (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822714)

but not in the usa

Yes, in the USA. While Sherlock Holmes movies and such are still in Copyright, the original Conan Doyle stories are in the Public Domain, with the possible exception of the "Casefile of Sherlock Holmes", which I believe was published late in the 1920's, and thus may still be under copyright as a result of the various extensions of same.

But what if they weren't there? (1)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822178)

People can borrow books without violating laws. This is what libraries facilitate. Without a way to read books without paying for every one of them, people would either not read as many books, or make a bazillion copies as a matter of course, rendering copyrights useless.

So libraries are not taking away profits (aside from imaginary money that will never be realized). In fact, they facilitate the money that the publishers make now.

*sigh* (2, Informative)

Zaphon (13837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822184)

What blows my mind is that this guy doesn't seem to know that Libraries just like Video Rental stores pay MORE for the items than normal retail. And I'm not talking a little more either, it's usually pretty dang ludicrously expensive.

NEWS FLASH! Hardback books can be loaned!!! (1)

biskit (55311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822198)

I don't see where this is going - I borrow books from my family members to read, go to the library to read, go to used books store to purchase. All of these events had only one original purchase - and I going to have to come up with money because I read someone's original first purchase book???

Get over it already. /end of rant/

Cause and Effect (4, Interesting)

DarKnyht (671407) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822344)

This is what happens when a government runs the value of their money to the ground by over-spending/borrowing. The purchasing power of the average family goes down and they start making tough choices about where their money goes. Things like overpriced cable television, unnecessary luxury trips, entertainment purchases (books, movies, music), and other non-essential items don't get purchased. Instead of the Corporations facing this reality and coming up with quality products that have value, they instead blame 'piracy' for their woes.

Sorry Corporations, food and gas to get to work is more important than a $30 Blue-Ray movie, especially when I is delivered a few weeks later at my door via my Netflix queue. Used video games are more attractive (even bargain bin ones) than $60 for the latest greatest, and if I am desperate I can rent for $3 at Hollywood Video. Radio is free and generally will play something worth listening to, so that song better be really good for me to spend even $0.99 on it (Ke$ha need not apply).

These days I use the library, netflix, rentals, borrowing, ebay, or any other legal means to save a buck on entertainment these days. Even if that means just playing cards with the family or going to the park.

Fundamental difference (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822350)

This is a bad analogy, as there is a fundamental difference between ebook piracy and library lending...
A library has a single copy of a book and it can be borrowed by only one individual at any given time. Pirating an ebook results in new copies of the same material.
Seriously, is it so difficult to understand the difference between copying and lending/borrowing?

A modest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30822364)

Background: In the "war on piracy", the xxAA organizations attack people who share files. Or at least those who do their file sharing online and can be identified. Many believe that encryption and other anonymization technology will be the next step, making the transfers harder to trace.

But there are other alternatives.

I was at the library recently, perusing their collection of CD and DVD media. And then it occurred to me... The library accepts donations. What happens if I donate EVERYTHING I HAVE? Not that I'm suggesting anyone do this, but how hard would it be to keep a backup copy of everything before donating it? Instead of sharing files online, what if I share them with fellow library patrons? What if everyone else does it?

Digital Library (3, Interesting)

organgtool (966989) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822402)

Several years ago (before the likes of Rhapsody and other services), I considered writing an application that would allow you to share your music library by allowing anyone using that software to search for songs and stream that file so long as no one else was streaming that same song. Essentially you were just borrowing the song the same way you would borrow a CD from a library. In order for this software to be considered legal, I would have had to implement DRM and I did not trust my software engineering skills enough at that time, so I just let the idea pass, but it was interesting because I'm sure the members of the RRIA would have hated it, yet legally it would be analogous to a public library. I wonder if there will be digital versions of public libraries for books in the future.

You think this is a joke? (5, Informative)

phliar (87116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822534)

Here's Pat Schroeder, then the incoming president of the Association of American Publishers, in the Washington Post of Feb 7, 2001. She was interviewed at the meeting of the AAP, hence the "brie-eating mortgage holders".

"We," says Schroeder, "have a very serious issue with librarians. ... Technology people never gave their stuff away, but now folks are saying, 'You mean the New England Journal of Medicine is charging people?' ... Markets are limited. One library buys one of their journals," she explains, pointing to the Brie eaters. "They give it to other libraries. They'll give it to others." If everyone gets a free copy, she says, the publisher and the writer and others involved in making the book go unpaid. "These people aren't rich," she says of those in the room. "They have mortgages."

These are the people arguing against making publicly funded research publicly available. Here's the full article: Pat Schroeder's New Chapter [washingtonpost.com] .

The First Book Is Free. (4, Funny)

TheWizardTim (599546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822558)

When I was growing up, my family did not have a lot of money. Almost all the books I read were borrowed from a library. As I got older, my mom and dad moved in to better jobs, and some of my books were purchased. By the time I was in high school and college, the only time I went to the library was to do research for school papers.

Now that I make good money, I never to go the library. I buy all my books (from independent book stores if I can).

Like any good drug dealer they need to keep the first "hit" free.

Re:The First Book Is Free. (1)

phliar (87116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822662)

Like any good drug dealer they need to keep the first "hit" free.

Except that these "drug dealers" aren't doing it for money, they're performing a public service. ("Public service"? Isn't that something commies do?)

Stop it. Stop it, stop it, stop it, stop it. (1, Informative)

Alistair Hutton (889794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822608)

Comparing making unauthorised copies of an item and lending copies of items that have been paid for is the STUPIDEST COMPARISON THAT CAN BE MADE.

It's hair rendingly stupid. It serves no purpose other than to make people who make the comparison appear brain crushingly thick and who don't understand the first thing about the purpose of copyright.

Just to sum it up for the terminally thick.

Library: pays for one copy. Lends that copy to 1 person at a time. One copy paid for, one copy made. Making unlimited copies of things: One copy paid for (if that). Infinite copies made.

So, just, stop!

What Was And Is No More (2, Insightful)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30822610)

there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons.

Cut the crap grandpa, it's obvious you ain't been in a library since one of the wheels fell off your walker a decade ago. Libraries now are a cacophonous din emergent from the cross talk between cell phones, online chatter and wailing of ankle bitters jettisoned by their mothers into a free for all day care centre. Librarians caved years ago and carry on loud conversations with all and sundry. I live 3 blocks from Vancouver's main library, I time my foray, plan my entry and exit strategies, and run it like a half back with the game on the line and time running out.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?