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Amazon To Let Libraries Lend Kindle Books

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-won't-give-it-back dept.

Books 135

Last month we reported that Amazon was confronting lenders of Kindle e-books. Today, thebian writes "Amazon announced yesterday that it would allow 11,000 libraries in the US to lend ebooks. The press release doesn't say exactly when this will start. Amazon is trying to speed the adoption of the Kindles. If people are slow to flock to the device the reason is the high prices the publishers cling to. Amazon itself sometimes undercuts Kindle prices, and almost always some booksellers on the Amazon Marketplace undercut the Kindle. There's no indication about what books might be offered through this program."

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135 comments

Nook Color vs. Kindle (2)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892358)

My wife bought me a Nook Color for Christmas. One factor was the ability to download books from our library. For me, it's took late for Amazon; I will never buy a Kindle.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892544)

Hey, thankfully there are pros and cons for each device and people have a choice between the two major competing devices.

Some people like the openness of the underlying Android OS on the Nook Color and some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.

To each their own. Glad you are enjoying yours and you find it the superior device. Me? I prefer old-school books and will continue to do so until they pry my entire library from my cold, dead hands.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892982)

[quote]some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.[/quote]

That's why you purchase a Nook Classic. It's supported library books and user-to-user lending from day one. It also supports "ease of downloading" from several different e-book stores, because it uses EPUB instead of some dumb format Amazon made up. There's never really been any comparison between the two. The only thing the Kindle ever had going for it was it's market lead and slightly better battery life (no bottom LCD to contend with).

The Nook [i]Color[/i] really isn't competition. If you want a tablet it's a good choice, but it's certainly not an e-book reader. No e-ink display? No thanks.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893506)

Have you tried a Kindle?

Yes, for a long time I thought they would need to pull my books from my dead hands. Then I got my wife a Kindle. ANd after giving it a try, I fell in love with it and got my own.

Now? I don't even want to pick up a paper book. IN fact, I am considering replacing my favorite books with eBook and then selling my paper books.

The question seems to me to be: Do you like reading stories? or is it the idea of reading you really like? Because holding onto paper just to hold onto paper is an emotional decision that has nothing to do with reading. Not that there is anything wrong with that, just be honest with yourself.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893540)

Yeah I've tried a Kindle. They're great devices. In fact, I'd love to own one. Unfortunately the books cost $10 and I'm more of a $1/book from the local bookstore type of guy.

I want to be able to resell my books to others when I'm done with them so that I can buy more books for $1. When the Kindle lets me do that while smelling, feeling, and touching a nice book while turning its paper pages I'll be all in.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35895750)

Since I got the Kindle a month or two ago, I've accumulated a collection 4 to 5 star highly rated free eBooks. No, not the classics like Dickens, etc. But modern authors. What they usually do is give away the first book in a series, hoping you'll buy the next books in the series. Also, often they will fluctuate their price from free, to 0.99, to 10 bucks, over and over. Apparently it's some attempt at increasing their ratings. When a ton of people post great ratings for the free book, then others will buy it at 10 bucks.

I would not be concerned about price of eBooks, if that is what is stopping you from getting a Kindle. You can continue your $1 book buying on the Kindle with good, highly rated, modern books.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35893924)

> Do you like reading stories? or is it the idea of reading you really like?

I like reading factual books, not novels.

These are seldom available for Kindle, unlike the made-up stories that you apparently enjoy.

There, was that honest enough for you?

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

jonamous++ (1687704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896012)

Really? Not available? That's funny. I have a few reference books on my kindle, and a few books written by scientists. There are thousands of non-fiction books available for Kindle.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894054)

Me? I prefer old-school books and will continue to do so until they pry my entire library from my cold, dead hands.

Man, you got some big hands. ;)

Of course, you gave me the perfect opportunity to explain how with an arbitrary e-reader you could literally have your library in your hands, But I'm sure you've heard all that, and as you say: To each their own.

So I'll just ask this: Why do you (and dozens of others, but I don't ask you to speak for them) post in an article that's about a specific change in a specific e-reader's DRM policy, just telling us your preference for paper books? Do you think the whole of /. is waiting to hear your opinion? Or that we'll change our minds, not because of your reasons for choosing dead-tree (which you don't deign to share), but the conclusion itself? Or is this just a subtle troll? (If the latter, *hat-tip*; well played...)

I'm genuinely curious, because as I've said, I've noticed a lot of this, and I simply don't understand the point.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894892)

I didn't just tell you my preference for paper books. I explained to the OP that there were plenty of reasons why the Kindle was superior to the Nook for some and that his choices were great for him but not for everyone.

My aside was simply to point out that I don't care for either device and thus have no bias towards one or the other.

But hey, go ahead and pounce on one part of my post and blow it out of proportion--I wouldn't expect anything less from an AC.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

slyrat (1143997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896150)

Hey, thankfully there are pros and cons for each device and people have a choice between the two major competing devices.

Some people like the openness of the underlying Android OS on the Nook Color and some people prefer the e-ink and Amazon ease-of-downloading on the Kindle.

To each their own. Glad you are enjoying yours and you find it the superior device. Me? I prefer old-school books and will continue to do so until they pry my entire library from my cold, dead hands.

Well there is a third, though admittedly everyone seems to ignore it in the press. There is the Sony prs e-ink reader still. You also seem to have ignored the e-ink version of the Nook.

Audio Books (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896788)

And I don't care at all, I listen to audio books. The device makes no difference what so ever. And libraries have supported audio books longer than books have had batteries. Most people don't even realize the wealth of recordings, cds, and movies at their local library. They think all they have are old dusty encyclopedias.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892546)

Unless the Kindle starts supporting EPUB, which I guarantee will happen in the next year or three. But, I'm like you, went ahead and bought a Nook for this very reason.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893942)

It's amazing what Calibre does, isn't it.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894330)

I was just thinking about that. I use Calibre to convert EPUB to the Kindle format.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894802)

You shouldn't have to convert a book published in a standard format into a proprietary format and risk screwing up or losing formatting in order to read a book. It would be a relatively simple matter for Amazon to support EPUB but they choose not to. After all EPUB is after all basically XHTML content, CSS and some meta data zipped up and not far removed from what the device is already capable of supporting in random HTML files or even Mobipocket.

I expect eventually they'll be compelled by market forces to do it. Though I doubt they'll implement any DRM such as Adobe Digital Editions or if they do it will be proprietary. I certainly see no reason to give them a pass for a blatant attempt to lock people into their own format until it happens.

The interesting part will come when Amazon shoves out an Android tablet as they're undoubtedly intending to do. Will they stop rival ereaders appearing on their app store? Will Amazon become another Apple dishing out the same kind of control freakery and anticompetitive hurdles to the competition? If this comes to pass will Amazon recognize the blatant hypocrisy considering the boo hooing when they received similar treatment at the hands of Apple?

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (2)

Sechr Nibw (1278786) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892552)

If you're having any doubts, the Nook Color can be rooted to become an Android tablet, and have the Kindle for Android app installed. That means the device you have could still be used that way, if you were so inclined.

Personally, I've been using Kindle on my iPhone, and have collected a library of about 125 books already - so I understand if you've got a Nook library already and wouldn't want to switch!

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892634)

A Barnes & Noble person told me that there's going to be major upgrade this month which will allow the Nook to shop at an app store. I expect more of the Android OS to be apparent at that point. I don't plan to root mine; I will let B&N make the improvements.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894882)

Yes B&N have plans for an App Store but they don't seem very advanced. I applied for their program 2 weeks ago and heard nothing back yet. If they try to charge a fee to enter as Amazon do then I hope they fail. Amazon charges $100 to be on their app store which is ludicrous even if they waive it for the first year. I suspect they're only doing it to keep free app / open source scum away their app store, and ensure only profitable / popular pay apps appear there.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892560)

My wife has a Kindle, and we've been planning on me getting a different reader because of the library issue. I either read junk popular books very quickly that I don't want forever (so don't need to buy) or technical books that I want a hardback that I can write in. If this works, then we'll be happy to get another Kindle.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (3, Interesting)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892680)

For the very reason that you noted, Amazon has allowed this feature. People were going to other e-readers because of the Kindle lacking library lending. Now they are taking away one of the main reasons to buy from the competition. It may be too late for you, but there are a lot more people that were on the fence that were waiting for this feature before making a purchase.

I like the Nook color, a Coworker has one, but for reading I prefer an e-ink display instead of the Nook Color display.

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (1)

Majin Bubu (455010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892814)

For reading fiction I will take an e-ink over an LCD every day, and the lack of color doesn't matter. The Kindle is not a tablet, but it's very good at what it does. Current LCD screens just don't cut it, if you read outdoors (as I often do).

Re:Nook Color vs. Kindle (2)

gotpoetry (1185519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893286)

The Nook E-Ink reader is really good as well and it allows library downloads too.

Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (5, Interesting)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892440)

As it stands now savvy users can simply check out a epub library book to their PC with Adobe Digital Editions, seamlessly remove the DRM with calibre, then convert and upload to their Kindle with one-button via your Kindle's free email address. If Amazon doesn't make their service work without a PC I've gained nothing.

I almost died of the analysis-paralysis suffered looking for an ebook reader, and finally settled on the Kindle as the best bang for the buck today. While I feel epub is the future (especially now that google has weighed in) with calibre I Just Don't Care.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892516)

FYI : calibre has nothing to do with DRM, it's an external script that removes DRM.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1, Insightful)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892646)

Sorry, what you've proposed is at best unethical and at worst illegal. I'll pass.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892732)

Not sure how that's unethical. Also not sure it's illegal. But I'm not a lawyer, so I'll leave that one be.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892828)

Not sure how that's unethical. Also not sure it's illegal. But I'm not a lawyer, so I'll leave that one be.

The ethics side is certainly up for debate. However, it is absolutely without a doubt illegal under the copy protection circumvention clauses of the DMCA.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35893182)

If you live in the US, it's better to have a friend who lives in a civilized country do your DRM stripping for you.

Right to Read [gnu.org]

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35893330)

The DMCA is ineffective outside of the USA.

I do not live in the USA.

You insensitive clod.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

GGardner (97375) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894314)

I couldn't tell you if it is illegal or unethical, but emailing the DRM-stripped files to an amazon-hosted email server seems ... ill-advised.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35893710)

It's unethical because:
you're taking a "loaner" book, and converting it to a book you can "own". This is similar to "borrowing" your neighborer hammer, and being intentionally evasive when they ask for it back.

It's Illegal (in any country that has copyright law) because:
You've made an unauthorized copy of a protected work. You were given a limited licence to make copies of the document for the purpose of borrowing it from the library. When you removed the DRM which prevented you from making copies under other circumstances you exceeded the privileges granted to you by the rights holder.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (3, Insightful)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892830)

No it is only unethical if you don't delete the book from your kindle when your check out period expires.

Illegal is a gray area because it is being done solely for compatibility reasons.

The reverse is possible too. I buy amazon ebooks, strip the DRM, convert them to ePub, and load them only my Nook. I use the nook heavily for library reading as well. If this lending program had been in place a couple months ago I would have kept the kindle I won (instead a sold it and bought the Nook).

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

shidobu (672566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895376)

the DMCA specifically makes format switching to remove DRM illegal as it falls under the umbrella of "Circumventing access-control technologies." It provides for this kind of format switching only under explicitly enumerated conditions, none of which is device compatibility.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (3, Informative)

CaptBubba (696284) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896478)

Bullshit:

MGE UPS Systems v. GE Consumer Industrial

"Merely bypassing a technological protection that restricts a user from viewing or using a work is insufficient to trigger the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. The DMCA prohibits only forms of access that would violate or impinge on the protections that the Copyright Act otherwise affords copyright owners."

If you stripped the book's DRM then SOLD IT, you will get nailed. Bypassing DRM to use the work is (currently) legal.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893168)

I'd say it's about as unethical as appropriating the right to decide which libraries get to lend books bought in your store. You wouldn't accept that from a brick-and-mortar store, why is OK for Amazon to ? There's no honor among thieves, which is something all tech companies should consider before stealing away a users' rights.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893628)

did you miss the part where there moving in the right direction?

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894044)

they're, not there.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894198)

They are acting as feudal lords granting privilege to some by decree, privilege that shouldn't be theirs to grant. On Amazon's terms, subject to Amazon's goodwill.
"There are an estimated 122,101 libraries [ala.org] of all kinds in the United States today." Amazon today has granted less than 10% of those libraries the right to do with their digital books what they have always had the right to do with physical books bought from Amazon. In the process they are binding these libraries to Amazon ebooks to be read on the Kindle or through Kindle apps. Hell, they are probably making the libraries pay for the infrastructure to do the lending, or part of it. The internet and digitization of media was supposed to eliminate the middlemen, not create new, more powerful ones.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893612)

Please explain what's unethical about converting data you legally acquired into another format?

Please explain how that can be illegal as well.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35895006)

DRM is unethical. FACT: DRM effectively prevents a work from entering public domain. Well-reasoned and well-informed (and not-so humble) OPINION: Enriching the public domain is the entire point of copyright. Inevitable CONCLUSION: DRM is not compatible with copyright because it's cheating in the copyright social agreement.

However, taking something you didn't pay for without the owner's permission (even if they still have it) is also cheating.

So the question becomes, is it ethical to cheat a cheater?

In my opinion, yes (at least in this case). The instant they put DRM on their stuff, they forfeit their moral right to claim copyright on it because they're not living up to their end of the copyright agreement. As far as I'm concerned, at that point it's public domain and therefore up for grabs to anyone who breaks the DRM. I know the law disagrees with me, but simply put, the law is wrong in this case.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895228)

Sorry, what you've proposed is at best unethical and at worst illegal. I'll pass.

It's ethical to manipulate content that you own into any format that you wish. The question is whether you "own" an ebook and unfortunately the answer is no you don't. You own a licence to view the ebook and therefore obtaining unauthorized access to the book (e.g. for the purposes of stripping the DRM) is probably a violation of whatever local anti-circumvention laws exist in your jurisdiction, be they DMCA or something else.

Personally I think the definition stinks and it's not helped by the fact that ebooks cost virtually the same as a regular book but with none of the rights of ownership. So I pay Amazon $10 or $15 for a "book" that I cannot sell, loan, destroy or otherwise do what I like with. So while it may be illegal to format shift I think morally / ethically it is defensible fair use. They sell an ebook like a book so it's reasonable for someone to regard it like personal property to some extent. Obviously someone who then shoves said book on IRC or P2P and distributes it others loses even that defense.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895276)

I should clarify I'm talking about DRM stripping books that someone has purchased outright not books received on loan from a library.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892704)

Or, you know, plug your Kindle into your computer, copy the Kindle book and use DRM removal scripts to remove the Kindle DRM (http://apprenticealf.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/ebooks-formats-drm-and-you-%E2%80%94-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/).

I do that all the time with the books I buy from Amazon just as a matter of backup.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35893884)

The idea of "lending" a book that can be infinitely reproduced at no cost is ridiculous. If a library can lend it why can't they just give the books away? What difference does it really make if someone has 'checked out' a book or if they keep it at that point? From the publisher/author's point of view it shouldn't matter in the least. After all they don't keep track of how long someone has checked out a physical book because that would be just silly.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894436)

The difference is, there is some reasonable assurance that when a library lends out a physical book, another doesn't magically spring into existence. And most people don't have a real-time, easy-to-use scanner to turn a physical book into an ebook in a trivial manner (not that more than one person needs one). While they might not be entirely happy that books are being lent, at least that one sale did occur.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895764)

Yes, it is problematic. Given a new technology that is unburdened by the physical limitations of the past, why should we shackle it with rules so that it is effectively just as burdened?

If we invented a Star Trek style replicator, we could solve the problem of hunger pretty much overnight. Unless we required that only farmers could have replicators and they could only use them if they paid Monsanto.

While it might significantly change how much of am incentive a copyright is for an author, we really ought to consider changing copyright to better accommodate new technologies and new soctal mores that develop in response to those technologies. It's not a good idea to try to make us all live in the past, with a blindfold on to keep us from looking around or ahead.

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (1)

SHaFT7 (612918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896512)

you might solve hunger temporarily, but then you'd run into the next shortage: energy. I bet those replicators aren't super efficient for the Mark I and II versions.... so you might have the ability to make all the food, but can the poor / 3rd world people afford the energy to run the replicators?

Re:Better hurry before the horse leaves the barn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894188)

The email is free? I thought there was a charge each time it was used...

Be more like MS (3, Interesting)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892466)

This is a great thing. Amazon is learning. In the past Amazon has been too much like Apple, with their being a controlling dick about everything upfront.

They should learn from MS, and be kind upfront, only to be a controlling dick later after they have huge market share.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892558)

Right, that's why they gained so much market with DRMless mp3s... They are sooo controlling..

Re:Be more like MS (2)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892678)

Actions in a market with an already established leader and have to compete on merits are much different from greenfield markets where you want to be the market leader.

Yes, I do like Amazon more then my comment implies, but I am highly skeptical about how DRM and ebooks will play out. By the time Amazon started selling DRM-free mp3s, it was already certain that that was the only winning strategy. Not so yet with DRM ebooks.

I don't think Amazon is evil, but then again I don't think Microsoft is (or was) evil. They are both just trying to do their best to maximize their market share and stock price, which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company.

No matter your feelings on the issue, you must read Seth Godin's post about market forces:
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/04/the-free-market.html [typepad.com]

Re:Be more like MS (2)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892850)

which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company.

How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out? IANAL, but my understanding is that in the preamble of the ruling for the Dodge v Ford case (meaning not the legally binding part), the judge included a line finding that companies were for designed for profit and not charity.

"Among non-experts, conventional wisdom holds that corporate law requires boards of directors to maximize shareholder wealth. This common but mistaken belief is almost invariably supported by reference to the Michigan Supreme Court's 1919 opinion in Dodge v. Ford Motor Co."[1]

"Dodge is often misread or mistaught as setting a legal rule of shareholder wealth maximization. This was not and is not the law. Shareholder wealth maximization is a standard of conduct for officers and directors, not a legal mandate. The business judgment rule [which was also upheld in this decision] protects many decisions that deviate from this standard. This is one reading of Dodge. If this is all the case is about, however, it isn’t that interesting."[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodge_v._Ford_Motor_Company [wikipedia.org]

For the record, I agree with the rest of your post.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893250)

Because there is honest debate about whether your point of view is correct or not.

The statutes largely do require corporations to act in the best interest of the shareholders, and in a relationship where the transactions are almost strictly monetary, that is largely taken to mean they must maximize stock value. There is debate as to whether other goals are allowed, and they are allowed mostly due to their potential impact on long term stock value.

See this paper for a much closer look at the issue:
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/26568445/Corporate-Law-Profit-Maximization-and-the-Responsible-Shareholder [docstoc.com]

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I may be wrong about legal matters, which is why I quote more scholarly articles.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893404)

There is no law or ruling that obligates companies to "maximize their market share and stock price" that I'm aware of. If you know of one, please cite it. Otherwise, my refutation of that part of your post stands.

Scholarly papers are not legally binding.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894702)

There's plenty of citations in the paper I linked to.
Here's a few:

See, e.g.,CAL. CORP. CODE tit. 1, 309(a) (2004) (“in the best interests of the corporation and its
shareholders”); NY CLS BUS. CORP. art. 7, 717(b) (2004) (“the long-term and the short-term interests of
the corporation and its shareholders”); NRS tit. 7, 138(1) (2004) (“interests of the corporation”); Illinois
Business Corporation Act of 1983 8.85, 805 ILCS 5 (2004) (“best long term and short term interests of the
corporation”); N.J. STAT. tit. 14A, 14A:6-1 (2004) (“best inerest of the corporation”).

As I stated above:

The statutes largely do require corporations to act in the best interest of the shareholders, and in a relationship where the transactions are almost strictly monetary, that is largely taken to mean they must maximize stock value. There is debate as to whether other goals are allowed, and they are allowed mostly due to their potential impact on long term stock value.

When a statement like the following is published without correction in a scholarly journal, the burden of proof is on the disbeliever:

In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

I won't quote the entire article except to say he's somewhat arguing for your side, and if you do want to make a case it's a good place to start ;-)
Better link:
http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2238&context=expresso&sei-redir=1#search= [bepress.com] "Corporate-Law-Profit-Maximization-and-the-Responsible-Shareholder"

Another similar discussion:
http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/elhauge/pdf/sacrificing_corporate_profits.pdf [harvard.edu]

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895390)

Thank you, I'm not generally inclined to read 32 page scholarly papers posted in a comment thread unless there's more guidance to the info that proves a point than "it's somewhere in there". Page numbers would have been nice.

CAL. CORP. CODE tit. 1, 309(a) (2004) (“in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders" NY CLS BUS. CORP. art. 7, 717(b) (2004) (“the long-term and the short-term interests of the corporation and its shareholders”) All of these from the same footnote that quotes "the interests of the corporation." Referencing someone else's reference isn't citing anything. Page 4, footnote 7 for anyone else reading.

And you stated - "They are both just trying to do their best to maximize their market share and stock price, which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company" which is substantially different in meaning than "the best interest of the shareholders". While it's obvious that those might generally align, there's no obligation for them to. The issue is substantially more complicated than "maximize market share and stock price", as you yourself noted.

Also, a dominant view is not a legal precedent, law, ruling, or anything other than a generally held view. The dominant view also is that colds are caused by the cold, yet it still isn't true. Scholarly journals are also not legally binding, as I stated before, particularly when it's an exploratory article that doesn't take a definitive position.

if you do want to make a case it's a good place to start ;-)

I'm not making a case. I'm refuting your statement.

Thanks, but throwing another 130-page document without citing anything in it to prove your point just seems like you're trying to bury your false statement under false references. Unless you were just including it for general reading.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895768)

Let's recap.
You said:
"How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out?"

I said: This "nonsense" keeps getting trotted out because there is honest debate on whether you are right or not.

Even a paper that tries to disprove the point states as it's first sentence:

In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

If as a non-expert, you wish to dismiss as "nonsense" an opinion that is the dominant opinion of experts in the field, you must put forth overwhelming proof. That's the way it works, sorry.

If you say wish to say you "disagree" or "are not sure" you can get away with that. Calling something "nonsense" is a much stronger claim, and you are obviously not qualified to make that claim or willing to put forth the effort to support it.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895912)

Oh, we're arguing semantics. Let me change it then.

How do these blatantly incorrect statements keep getting trotted out as fact? Does that work better for you? Or would you like to read more into words to try to justify your false statement?

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896080)

If you're claiming the truth of your statement, you need to tell me either:
1) Why I should believe you have a better grasp of corporate law then most subject matter experts
or
2) What proof you have that most subject matter experts agree with you.

I am not a legal expert nor do I wish to devote my life to becoming one which is why I appeal to legal experts to back up my claims. I suggest you either become an expert, or listen to them.

Otherwise, you're just some loon with delusions of grandeur giving his opinion.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896204)

Okay, you're missing the point here.

1. YOU claimed that there is a legal obligation for corporations to maximize market share and shareholder profit without offering any proof or citations.

2. I call BS and ask for a citation.

3. You offer up 3 links to 2 papers written by "experts" (who, again, do not determine the law in papers written for journals) that shows your statement is incorrect and in fact, your experts side with me.

How does this prove your claim again? Who's not listening to experts?

Re:Be more like MS (1)

tater86 (628389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894840)

You cite Wikipedia, and you think you've refuted something? Until you're a judge presiding over a trial, your refutation of anything is worthless. Scholarly papers are a lot more likely to be cited and considered in a court decision than Wikipedia.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895446)

Oh, excellent! You must have something to cite that shows that corporations are legally obligated to maximize market share and shareholder profit then?

No?

Well then...

Re:Be more like MS (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893766)

The article does not state or conclude that corporation on maximize profits. Did you even read and understand it?

Did the author even look into other cases? pretty much every cane where a large corporation is investigate, its really clear that more is taken into account then maximizing profit. In fact, some corporations have gotten into a lot of trouble for making maximizing their profit the only goal.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894838)

Yes, I read it and was struck that someone making a case for the opposite admitted it was not the majority opinion, and that much caselaw can be construed to point to that goal.

Did you read the first line?

In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

This is my backing up of my case: Even the critics of the theory say that the majority of corporate law schools teach the view I espoused in my original post.
For me , this means at minimum that JasperHW is misleading with his statement, "How does this nonsense keep getting trotted out?"

It keeps getting trotted out because most experts believe it, and even those who want to argue against it admit that.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895686)

And since schools *always* teach factually correct information and *never* spin it based on erroneous majority views or political agendas, we can take that as meaning that there's a law or ruling stating that maximizing marketshare and shareholder profit is an obligation of all corporations? And experts (not judges) are who determines legal precedent?

Where was the misleading statement again?

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895876)

The misleading statement was the fact that you called it "nonsense". You didn't call it "debatable" or "murky" like the scholarly papers attacking the idea do. You made a knowledge claim against expert opinion, with no substantial proof.

If you wish to call the majority opinion "nonsense", the burden of proof is on you. If you want to say "I have evidence that that is not the majority opinion of exports" or "I'm not convinced" that's one thing. Calling things you are not an expert on "nonsense" when most experts disagree with you puts you in the same camp as cryptozoologists: The burden of proof is on you.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

JasperHW (710218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896038)

It is nonsense. You presented it as a clear and legal obligation for corporations, and your very own references dispute that fact. A dominant view or opinion is not a legal precedent and therefore doesn't mean jack, surely you understand that.

You want me to prove that there is no law? Uhhh, it went this way -

You make a claim that there's a law or ruling obligating corporations to maximize market share and shareholder profit.

I call BS and ask for a citation. You throw out inconclusive articles without referencing anything in them and cling desperately to "dominant view" without ever showing a law or ruling that confirms YOUR claim.

Why don't you try proving that there is one.

Oh right, there isn't.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896248)

My assertion:

They are both just trying to do their best to maximize their market share and stock price, which is the legal obligation of a publicly traded company.

Expert opinion:

In the corporate law academy today in the United States, the dominant view is that corporate
law requires managers to pursue a single aim: the maximization of stockholder profits.

If you're claiming the truth of your statement, you need to tell me either:
1) Why I should believe you have a better grasp of corporate law then most subject matter experts
or
2) What proof you have that most subject matter experts agree with you.
or
3) What disconnect you see between my statement and the majority subject matter expert opinion.

I am not a legal expert nor do I wish to devote my life to becoming one which is why I appeal to legal experts to back up my claims. I suggest you either become an expert, or listen to them.

Otherwise, you're just some loon with delusions of grandeur giving his opinion.

Re:Be more like MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892844)

True, but they don't allow re-downloads of your MP3s even though they have a record of you buying it

Re:Be more like MS (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893020)

The general impression I get is that most big companies control when they get away with it and are open only when external forces (either market, regulatory or otherwise) force them to be.

The record labels decided that they would rather sacrifice DRM than let apple keep their lockin*. Amazon wasn't in the digital music market previously so they had nothing to lose from joining the DRM free move and once one retailer was selling DRM free everyone else had to follow or be selling an inferior product. The major book publishers are still paranoid about piracy of ebooks** and this hands the vendors of ebooks and ebook readers an opertunity for lockin.

* While i'm not a huge fan of the record labels in general I think they made the right choice here both for themselves and for their customers.

** Of course the pirates will get copies anyway (if nessacerry they will take a paper copy, cut the spine off and feed it through a scanner) rendering the whole excercise rather pointless but the book publishers don't seem to have grasped that yet.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892792)

Perhaps you're not aware of this, but Amazon already has the huge market share. This is a move to introduce feature parity with competition while they are still the runaway leader in the industry, rather than when someone has closed the gap to 50% or something.

Re:Be more like MS (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893268)

I own a Kindle DX.

It's a great hardware device. Top notch.

It doesn't ready industry standard epub format. If they wanted to "close the functionality gap" they would be supporting the industry standard format which would allow people to get their content from anywhere. They want to close the gap *as little as possible* and still grow their market share, and there's no telling which way they will go next.

What I wonder... (2)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892570)

...is will Amazon allow other devices to check out these books as well? That's one good thing about the existing EPUB/Overture system -- it doesn't restrict to what device you can download your books to.

Amazon isn't supplying the books (2)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893932)

The books (and the check-out system) are being supplied by an existing ePub-based libary book lender, OverDrive. One can guess that libraries will not have to buy Kindle-specific books separate from the ePub-lendable copies of the books they already get from the same vendor. As long as the number of copies outstanding at any one time is consistent, I can't imagine the publishers really care which format they are in.

Re:Amazon isn't supplying the books (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896666)

Oops -- I mean OverDrive. I always type Overture instead, for some reason.

what books? fake god 'math science religion' again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892594)

we can look stuff up in the fictionary?

disarm. you have the right to remain silent. thermal thursday heating up? thanks again.

Re:what books? fake god 'math science religion' ag (0)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892636)

Begone, useless Russian AI-bot! Back to Moscow with you until you reach actual sentience!

fake history is better than what really happened? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892736)

that's the thinking, but it leaves out the body & spirit, which continue to crave the truth. better or worse? once we get over ourselves, it will be much easier to even record current history, let alone trying to figure out the origins of hymenism, & other fictional deity based absurdities, after we all voluntarily disarm. it gets much easier (exponentially) right away. good intentions for fallout free friday?

Amusing DRM restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35892894)

I looked into the ePUP format books which are handled through the same distributor. The DRM restrictions are, to say the least, a little extreme. Though they get really strange when they attempt to apply DRM to the physical world. The list of allowed/disallowed actions for the book I was looking at was:

Digital Rights:
Adobe EPUB eBook Rights
Copying not allowed
Printing not allowed
Lending not allowed
Reading aloud not allowed

What - you're not allowed to read the book aloud! Holy shit. I think my soul just died a little. A corporation can make a claim like that with a straight face and they are seen as appropriate people for libraries to work with?

It's actually mad...

Re:Amusing DRM restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894674)

In case you're not trolling, that's about text-to-speech, not about you reading aloud, and came about from a kerfuffle with publishing companies that want to offer audiobook publishers exclusive audiobook rights to a work, and saw ebook readers with text-to-speech as devaluing those rights by making the exclusivity.

Unless you agreed to a contract before the purchase forbidding you to read the books aloud (this would be the big terms&conditions you pretended to read when signing up for an account, though I doubt it has such a provision), there's no attempt to stop you from reading the book aloud in private.

Note that "public performances" of copyrighted works are magically different, so that's probably forbidden -- but that's a whole other issue.

Am I the only one who misread this as... (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892910)

... Amazon To Let Libraries Kindle Books

I have always been suspicious of the name (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893836)

reminds me of book burning~

book prices too high (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#35892916)

They really need to reduce prices on ebooks. high price on new books is ok but if they don't drop the price it is not like they are getting part of used book sales. that or they need to enable ebook resale. preferably both. I love my kindle and this is pretty much its only down side that I really have a problem with.

Re:book prices too high (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893906)

Even some of the new books are way too high for a digital copy. 15 bucks for an eBook? no thanks.

And some older book are also way to expensive, I wanted to red Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett. It was written in 1929. 10 bucks. WTF?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Harvest [wikipedia.org]

eBooks should be 4.99 or less. I suspect they will be. Too many authors starting to self publish for 99 cents and making a lot more then if they had gone through the traditional route.

Re:book prices too high (1)

Buelldozer (713671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895500)

Blame Apple.

When iPad came out and forced Amazon to use the Agency model e-book prices shot through the roof. E-books from Amazon were commonly priced at 4.99 before this happened.

Huh, what's that again? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893260)

Amazon is trying to speed the adoption of the Kindles. If people are slow to flock to the device the reason is the high prices the publishers cling to.

Okay, I agree e-book prices are set artificially high. But where, exactly, did the rest of this come from? The Kindle 3 is Amazon's best-selling item ever [webpronews.com] - more people bought it than bought the best-selling Harry Potter tome. And we've all read the news that Amazon's e-books are already outselling hardcover books [mediaite.com] , which isn't too shabby given the few years Kindle has even existed.

And while I am happy there are competing products out there... I see a lot of Kindles on the train, and quite a few iPads (although fewer iPads than Kindles I'd guess). If there are riders with Nooks and Sony Readers, they're keeping them well-hidden. So it seems unlikely the article was drawing a more narrow distinction, say between the Kindle and some hypothetical better-selling competitor.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893968)

My hacker* inclined friends usually by the Nook. Everyone else buys a kindle. IN fact, even my hacker inclined friends by a Kindle for their spouse.

*I think as a group, we need to adopt the term 'Maker' for what hacker used to mean. Yes it sucks to have to change terms, but that battle has been lost.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35894460)

Do you really think that they have sold more Kindles than, say, USB cables? Or

Notice how Amazon neither release Kindle sales figures, nor the category in which the Kindle is the best-selling. For all we know it could be the best-selling item in the category of "Things called Kindle".

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

m5brane (322163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894532)

Why do you think ebook prices are artificially high? Amazon's pricing is perniciously low: they intentionally undercut other retailers, accepting real losses in the short-term to gain market advantage. This convinces consumers that the market value of an ebook is lower than the real production costs. All the services that go into making a book are still required: editing, design, PR, etc. These things cost money. Except now, with Amazon forcing prices (ebook and otherwise) to artificial lows, the publishers can't afford to pay the employees that used to be responsible for those aspects of producing a book. Your "artificially high" prices have put lots of people out of a job. (I mean that literally. Publishers farm out their copyediting to freelancers now, instead of doing it in-house. And most books receive a fraction of the editing they used to get.)

A common argument goes like this: "It's an ebook! It costs so much less to make! None of the costs are there! No warehouses! You don't have to pay for paper!" You could call that specious, but it'd be more honest to call it stupid. (I am not accusing any particular person in this thread of making that argument.) Does an ebook need to cost as much as a hardcover? No. But while $25 is too high, the $8-$10 range is definitely too low. Unless, that is, you favor a market with one or two distributors and one or two large publishers. And hundreds of thousands of self-published authors, of course, all fighting for spots on Amazon's Kindle charts. Have you read many self-published authors? Think of how hard it is to slog through the comments for a typical Slashdot article. How many do you read before you find one that seems worthwhile? Can you imagine doing that -- times a hundred -- just to find a book to read?

P.S. I'm sure that Amazon will keep their prices this low once they have all the market share. You can totally trust them.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896072)

Why do you think ebook prices are artificially high? Amazon's pricing is perniciously low: they intentionally undercut other retailers, accepting real losses in the short-term to gain market advantage. This convinces consumers that the market value of an ebook is lower than the real production costs. All the services that go into making a book are still required: editing, design, PR, etc. These things cost money. Except now, with Amazon forcing prices (ebook and otherwise) to artificial lows, the publishers can't afford to pay the employees that used to be responsible for those aspects of producing a book.

Right now, big publishers are typically keeping around 50% of the price of an ebook sale, and giving a whole 20% to the person who actually wrote the book. If they can't make money from taking $2.50 of a $4.99 ebook sale then they're doing something very wrong.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896076)

And most books receive a fraction of the editing they used to get.

The following statement is not meant as an argument, just an observation - I think you make a number of excellent points.

I think the drop in editing did not start with e-books - I've been noticing it with most books over the past 20-30 years. Especially with pop books like the Harry Potter series - a good editor could've pared those down by 40%-50% easily, and made them better.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35896152)

I think the drop in editing did not start with e-books - I've been noticing it with most books over the past 20-30 years. Especially with pop books like the Harry Potter series - a good editor could've pared those down by 40%-50% easily, and made them better.

I've seen a number of published authors complain that their publishers have significantly cut back on editing and marketing for their books, and that it started well before ebooks became popular.

Re:Huh, what's that again? (1)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895304)

Numbers, please, not "best selling item ever." Oh, Amazon doesn't release numbers. Wonder why?

Copyright (1)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893584)

Will all these books be ones that are too old to be copyrighted.

No. (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 3 years ago | (#35893962)

These aren't free books; they are in-copyright books already supplied to libraries for limited-copy-checkout by an existing vendor, OverDrive.

Too Little Too Late (1)

Obyron (615547) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894390)

I'm in the market for an ereader right now. I've considered everything from the Kobo (I'm in Canada) to the iPad; weighing the pros and cons of LED screens versus eInk, etc. I've decided to buy an eInk device for a few reasons (I'm a heavy reader so I benefit more from the specific pros of those devices), and I'll do so in the next month. I mention this in case Jeff Bezos is trolling Slashdot, because I won't be buying a Kindle, and the reason is almost 100% because of the lack of ePub support. I don't want Amazon telling me that they will deign to allow me to borrow Kindle books from libraries. I want to be borrowing the ePub books that my library is already lending anyway.

I've pretty much ruled out the Kobo because of the difficulty of entering text (which I don't see myself doing very often, but it's plausible), and so I've decided I'm most likely going to be getting a Nook. I'm in Canada. There are no Barnes & Noble stores here, but the device works fine if you don't need 3G support. This means I'm willing to make a 6 hour round trip to buy a device from Amazon's competitor (to skip dealing with high shipping fees and Customs crap) because of one feature that could have easily been added in software updates by now, and which they seem to be totally obstinate in not adding. You don't need a partner program with 11,000 US libraries when you can just add ePub support and, poof, suddenly your device can work with what thousands of libraries are already doing.

I think Amazon is suffering from Not Invented Here syndrome, and if they're not careful they're going to get thrashed in the market they invented. They'll end up like Diamond and Creative, who were early to the MP3 player market right at the time when the demand had bubbled up to that magical point where a device can really take off, but got destroyed because another company did it better.

Re:Too Little Too Late (1)

brianerst (549609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895498)

Amazon is partnering with OverDrive, which is the major market leader for library lending. What all those libraries "are already doing" is generally linking with OverDrive (that's what my local library does).

According to one version of the press release, any book currently offered by your library via OverDrive will be available on the Kindle at no additional charge to the library. What is unclear is whether that means that OverDrive will have two copies of each book (in ePub and MOBI/AZW format) and allow you to check out the book in the format of your choice or whether Amazon is quietly adding support for ePub but calling it "library lending". If it's adding ePub to Kindle, I'd bet that they would at least initially limit it to the library feature, as Amazon doesn't want you to buy ePubs from Barnes and Noble and read them on your Kindle. (To be fair, Barnes and Noble doesn't want the converse - it's widely assumed that when the Nook Color app store opens, alternate reader apps like Kindle will not be allowed.)

I really like the Kindle hardware but I chose to get an iPad instead so I could use the eBook reader and format of my choosing. So far, I've been using ePub and Stanza while organizing my library with Calibre - which can convert to/from several formats (and even remove the DRM if you know where to look and don't have a problem with that). Actual ePub support would probably get me to buy a Kindle as well (for more portable reading - I like the weight/eInk Pearl) - but I might pick one up anyway and just use Calibre to reformat.

Re:Too Little Too Late (1)

garrobon (790884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35895908)

I don't think they're adding ePub support to the Kindle. See: http://overdriveblogs.com/library/2011/04/20/kindle-library-lending-and-overdrive-what-it-means-for-libraries-and-schools/ [overdriveblogs.com] "Your existing collection of downloadable eBooks will be available to Kindle customers. As you add new eBooks to your collection, those titles will also be available in Kindle format for lending to Kindle and Kindle reading apps. Your library will not need to purchase any additional units to have Kindle compatibility. This will work for your existing copies and units."

Between this and taking down Reddit (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35894846)

Amazon are doing great things for culture at the moment

( http://i.imgur.com/rgo9M.png [imgur.com] in case they fix it before you read this )

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