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Publishers vs. Libraries

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the stormclouds-gathering dept.

News 397

John Thacker was the first to submit this news about American publishing companies preparing to wage war on the idea of reading books for free. You see, libraries loan books, and publishers don't get paid -- that's stealing. And libraries even do inter-library loans -- that's stealing too. "We," says Schroeder, "have a very serious issue with librarians."

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What other country has problems this lame? (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#449725)

I mean really!
How can someone even begin to say this? Fuck americans are greedy.
I need to get another citizenship somewhere else, anyone got any ideas?

Fight censors!

They do get paid (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#449726)

in the u.k. at least. Think its 2p per borrow.

No Unauthorized Transfer of Knowledge (5)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 13 years ago | (#449727)

Wow. It's a good thing I'm already smart and know everything because if I didn't there's going to be no place for me to look up anything. Except for the Net and we all know it's only good for finding bomb recipes and pron. It's a good thing I'm rich enough to buy every book I need.

Let's just concentrate knowledge and power around wealth and keep the heathens from ever learning anything.

Conflicting goals (1)

Howie (4244) | more than 13 years ago | (#449728)

She's adamant that the country needs to focus more on reading to children under the age of 5.

But presumably not in groups, or schools where they don't have to buy their own book.

Librarians (2)

milgram (104453) | more than 13 years ago | (#449729)

I find it interesting that librarians have been used in metaphors for information sharing on the internet, and now they too, are being attacked. I would hope a battle against the white haired woman who likes to keep books in order would finally gain the attention of the mainstream media and point out the insanity of the legal departments of certain large corporations. I have pantented the idea of having an idea to patent a common idea.

So tomorrow Ford will demand royalties from Hertz. (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 13 years ago | (#449730)

So tomorrow Ford will demand royalties from Hertz.

Re:So tomorrow Ford will demand royalties from Her (1)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 13 years ago | (#449731)

Ford owns Hertz

What the fuck? (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#449732)

"Technology people never gave their stuff away,"
Who the fuck is that?
Clearly she doesnt mean the FSF or any of the open source geeks right?

Man, and I thought Janet Reno was a fucking cunt!

Fight censors!

I can see why the publishers are worried (4)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#449733)

When a library buys a book or a paper journal they it can only be read by one person at a time. So if it is a popular title they will buy several. And each library will buy a copy of major journals. And while you can get it via inter library loan it is still a limited resource. And for each copy the publisher and author get paid.

Now go to a digital world where you can duplicate content with a few presses of a button and suddenly a library no longer needs 30 copies of the most recent Harry Potter book, they just get 1 and copy it. There needs to be a ballence here. The libraries need to be able to distribute information, but there also needs to be a way to compensate those who created it.

Free Books=Stealing=Laugh Now Please (2)

nitemayr (309702) | more than 13 years ago | (#449734)

From the Floor of the Secret Corporate Conspiracy Building (Downtown Redbank New Jersey)

Ah yes, libraries helped to bring the joy of reading to the poor who and uneducated. Now, because the poor are becoming as "smart" as everyone else it's about time we start charging them for their education again. Who has the right to education? No one who can't afford it. What a step in th right direction, how about we start to charge for all of the other stuff that those pleebs take for granted. First, health care, oh, we've already done that? Good Job people. Safe Streets, done that too, uh... Private security firms that have better trained staff than actual city police forces, GREAT STUFF! The internet, BWAAAHAAAAA. Broadcast Radio, we owned it before it was born. Air? Hmm, how about we choke the enviornment with polutants then create a "clean air dome" where people come to breate "clean air" And then we open "Oxygen Bars" where people come for air, oh, doen that too...shucks, lets just start charging for tickets at birth...

And uh, oh yeah (From me) The idea that Libraries are stealing is BAD

All sorts of media (3)

hoegg (132716) | more than 13 years ago | (#449735)

I'm surprised this hasn't come up before, what with the Napster mess. I have been able to check out music for over five years at my local library. The same goes for videos, e-books, magazines... libraries have always distributed all sorts of media.

The question is, do the authors care? Both kinds too. For one, I'm sure Stephen King isn't at the forefront of the movement considering he's making more money than God. However, smaller authors might really stand to gain a lot. Curiously, it's the DIYs that seem to be against the whole copy protection thing in the first place.

The bottom line is, if libraries go, book piracy will emerge. Just like Scour, Napster, Gnutella, and every other P2P out there.

That must be some gooooooood chemistry.... (1)

Cubic_Spline (211139) | more than 13 years ago | (#449736)

"The reason we're in a bind," says Kranich from her office at New York University, "is that the price of some of the materials has skyrocketed, without any explanation." She cites one chemistry journal, Tetrahedron Letters, that costs $14,000 a year.

Now lets see.... do I buy that quad-processor dream computer or 12 issues of Tetrahedron Letters?

Wasn't this originally a cartoon? (5)

garethwi (118563) | more than 13 years ago | (#449737)

Didn't Salon [] originally run this idea as a cartoon [] ?

The publishers do get paid already (5)

sharkticon (312992) | more than 13 years ago | (#449738)

But currently libraries already pay royalty fees for items that they lend out to people. See this article [] for details. So this isn't quite a hot topic as it seems, it's more about the exact details of how it will work...

The real problem is that by changing to digital content the publishers have seen a way to inflate the amount that they get from libraries. Libraries don't traditionally have huge budgets with which to purchase new materials, and if they end up having to pay on a per-use basis then many of them will have to stop stocking as many items. And because libraries have traditionally been free to use, they can't pass their costs onto the public.

However in this case the libraries have something in their favour that Napster users don't - an unbeatable public image. You can't tarnish libraries as thieves and pirates, not without ruining your cause. It may well be that this issue is the single most important thing in deciding exactly how fair use and payment models will apply to digital content.

Today on NBC... (1)

DamienMcKenna (181101) | more than 13 years ago | (#449739)

a story of how Federal Agents had to restrain protesters from outside a library because patrons were "allowed to borrow books" and "read books they had not bought". Up next, Fred talks to the owners of Blockbuster and their experience with protestors who thought it was wrong to rent movies...

Do you even read the articles you summarize? (1)

grytpype (53367) | more than 13 years ago | (#449740)

Slashdot's summary bears no resemblance whatsoever to the article.

The article is not about loaning copies of books.

As far as I can tell from the article, which is very poorly written, the publishers' beef is that libraries are distributing electronic copies of journal articles (or large portions of the articles) without compensating the publishers.

This is just another GNUtard "information wants to be free" button-pusher. Slashdot sucks. It really, really sucks.

I do see the problem and it is big... (2)

funkman (13736) | more than 13 years ago | (#449741)

Print media and libraries are not an issue today. Why? Once something is checked out, it cannot be used by anyone else until it is checked back in. If multiple people want the same item, they either have to wait or the library will need to buy multiple copies.

With digital media, I can check something out but I am getting a copy. So someone else may also check it out even though I am still using the resource. The library doesn't need to buy multiple copies anymore. Sales drop(?) for the media comapany but readership is drastcially up. But the media company is not making less money on more readers. A new business model needs to be made to keep the media company in business, otherwise the media company will stop printing the widely read item and everyone will be pissed.

What will compound this problem more is libraries will (want to) place content on line for free including their digital media they subscribe to making it accessable to everyone (or at least the patrons for that library). This scenario would be very scary for media outlets because content is being given away for free from a gov't entity. That is a hard competitor to fight in market driven by capitalism.

The issue (1)

adjensen (58676) | more than 13 years ago | (#449742)

Well, they have something of a point. Does letting people use something for free stifle production? Obviously. The number of people who have the means to set aside a significant portion of their life to produce books, music or art for free is pretty small.

Does that mean that libraries are a bad idea? No -- there is a sale, albeit a small one. I'm not sure that that's the thrust of the article,'s more about how the free flow of information and how people can make money in the new economy. (And in case, at least around here, libraries are not patronized to the extent that they were 20 years ago...the one next to my office is rarely busy.)

Someone (RMS maybe?) once said "Information wants to be free." That may be true, but who's going to create the information in the first place if they aren't going to see anything for their efforts?

This applies to the free software movement in that someone who works on an open source project has their own reasons for doing so, but they are generally not financial. Even so, where does the money to pay the rent, food and cable teevee bill come from? I don't know too many programmers who can afford to work full time on something for free.

The solution might be patronage, where those who do have money (gov't, Bill Gates, etc) fund the development of books, art and other stuff that can be given away for free. However, they will generally reserve the right to pull the strings of what's being developed and what it says. What kind of solution is that?

How many other countries have free libraries? (4)

Hairy_Potter (219096) | more than 13 years ago | (#449743)

As far as I can recall, free lending libraries were invented in Philadelphia, by Ben Franklin.

Prior to Ben starting one, libraries were typically privately owned, or member supported. Back in the 18th century and earlier, the idea of a citizenry who could educate themselves with open libraries scared the shit out of the governments, books and literacy were fine for the nobles, but they would give funny ideas to the hoi polloi.

Sadly, this idea that common people can't think for themselves is still too common, we've all heard too much about governments that won't allow their citizens to browse certain auction sites because they may contain disturbing historical artifacts.

Re:I can see why the publishers are worried (4)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 13 years ago | (#449744)

Have you ever tried to read something on a monitor? Well before 30 pages your eyeballs will start to bleed. Printing out while sometimes a good option just does not cut it. The simple fact is to duplicate a book you need a bunch of real world stuff. Those who create it do get compensted they get to make that first sell everything that happens to it after that as long as one person in one place has it is fair use. The simple fact of the matter is Pat and her gang just would like to get every penny they can out of everyone. When they try to come after my local used book shop I *will* be there. This is evil.

Western Civilization (2)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 13 years ago | (#449745)

As far as I can tell, the free reading of books has been a part of western civilization since writing was invented, and books were scrolls. Yes, there have been private libraries where you paid a fee, or had have to be a student at a university, or some other type of member, etc.

But this type of thing is really just a power grab.

It also opens the door to freedom of speech issues. in that is speech free if you can stop or impede people from listening, reading, etc because you need your cut of the pie.

It is a the death of freedom by a thousand cuts.

Her Salary (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#449746)

She makes $370,000 a year. "A lot less than Jack Valenti," she's quick to say.

well cry me a fucking river, I never thought I would hear of a person that wanted to be Jack Valenti matterial.

Sometimes I wish this was rome as I am sure they are christian....

Fight censors!

Re:That must be some gooooooood chemistry.... (1)

Deanasc (201050) | more than 13 years ago | (#449747)

Why do you think drugs cost so much to develop? They need to subscribe to organic chemistry journals to continue their research. Or why does one year of a chen journal cost so much? Because they know they can nail the billion dollar drug companies who need to subscribe to their journal.

RMS seeming less and less far-fetched (5)

petard (117521) | more than 13 years ago | (#449748)

Reading the post article called some of Richard Stallman's writing to mind, specifically The Right to Read [] . This must be stopped. Now.

I, sez me have problems with utter morons. (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#449749)

Apparently individuality, the art of not buying every bloody thing in sight is having a downtrodding effect on artis... er publishers.

You have so pissed off the wrong people.

You people are hereby obsolete.

publishers have belifes (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#449750)

"The publishing community does not believe that the public should have the same rights in the electronic world," Kranich says.

Is there presidence for this?

Dont we have the same rights?

Cant we make a copy of a book we own with OCR software as a back up?

Next she will say that if your learning to speak german from a book from a publisher she represents you wont be able to say anything over the internet in german. That would be giving away information, and you dont want that.

Fight censors!

ummm, you're off target on this one (1)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 13 years ago | (#449751)

If you read the article a little more closely, the publishers are concerned about "electronic" books and journals (ie more new media hysteria) NOT the classic "wood and hide" versions.

Re:The publishers do get paid already (1)

beff (135968) | more than 13 years ago | (#449752)

>But currently libraries already pay royalty fees for items that they lend out to people. See this article for details. I'm certain that this is a minor oversight, but the charges discussed in the article are for "copies" made of materials, not materials loa ned. The loaning of the physical printed matter is not a royalty bearing event.

What about the flip side? (1)

Ereth (194013) | more than 13 years ago | (#449753)

For every Stephen King blockbuster there's hundreds of authors whose books barely sell. Many of those sales (maybe even most?) are to libraries. Won't this cause the libraries to stop buying so many books and wouldn't they most likely stop buying the lesser known, untried authors, and isn't this going to eventually hurt the book publishers more than they gain by it?

Stick with books (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 13 years ago | (#449754)

All the more reason to keep using books. Online material can be easily locked down (Napster, Magazine subscriptions, etc.). Books, on the other hand, never can be. Buy one, and it's yours. You can do what you want with it. Burn it, give it away, piss on it, loan it to other people, read it over a loudspeaker from the back of your van, whatever. Don't bother with electronic books. They're expensive, hard to use, and you never know if what you're getting is the real thing.

No bullshit, no popups, 100% free porn added daily! []

Move to Amsterdam Holland (2)

REALMAN (218538) | more than 13 years ago | (#449755)

You can smoke till you choke in their coffee shops. They respect human rights. Most of Europe does.

Re:They do get paid (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#449756)

No, the publishers get the money. The author gets 2p, not sure what the publisher gets actually.

Yes, borrowing books here is free, cds and other things cost up to 2 pounds, reserving is usually the cost of a stamp, but can be up to 1 pound.

You can actually order stuff (including cds) that isnt in stock, though i believe theres a block on them getting anything in the first six months of release. It all depends on the local council though.

This debate happened in France a few months ago (3)

El Cabri (13930) | more than 13 years ago | (#449757)

Public Libraries are free in France. Publishers claimed that it was hurting them. They wanted a symbolic fee (around 0.5EUR) on each book that was loaned.

The proposal of the culture ministry is the following (if I remember correctly) : a fee will be actually paid, but will not be charged to the user, instead it will be paid on a local government budget, and also partly by the bookshops who provide public libraries.

Everyone seems content with that, so it will probably pass as a law.

Amusing quote from the article (4)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 13 years ago | (#449758)

"Technology people never gave their stuff away," Schroeder says.

Bzzt, go and read some of those books rather than litigating over them and you'll find pretty much anything thats good software wise has been given away.

Does anyone get the impression that most cases like this have more to do with lawyers talking up cases to get cash rather than actual legitimate concerns?


Farenheit 451 - Ring a bell? (1)

Muerte23 (178626) | more than 13 years ago | (#449759)

How many years until firemen are burning "unauthorized" books?

Will I have to insert some sort of smart chip to unlock paper books I own at home?

Nowhere in any book have I seen the publisher write "Not Intended for Distribution or Rental". Would their suit apply if I tried to sell old books at a garage sale?


Well, if they're going to be that way... (1)

BennsArrow (16432) | more than 13 years ago | (#449760)

I think I will start charging publishers for the CO2 I produce complaining about thier bullshit. That CO2 is being used in the production of trees which in turn produce the paper the publishers use to print their books. So far, they have used this resource I provide them for free. Gone are the days when they can use my air and not pay a residual for the privilege.

Of course, it's all a bunch of hot air anyway...
Sean Brown
Linux Evangelist
"I'll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours." - Bob D.

Re:Do you even read the articles you summarize? (1)

dilip (211779) | more than 13 years ago | (#449761)

In trying to decipher the article I realized that the issue at hand was the fact that libraries are carrying the interlending attitude to electronic media.

When a university library is missing in issue of a rare journal it can be borrowed from another library. With electronic publications the libaries are starting to just share subscriptions.

These journals are expensive because there is a limited subscription base (how many people would subscribe to Tetrahedron Letters if the cost was $1 /issue? probably not many more than currently subscribe) which makes the per item cost high. Moving to an electronic form is meant to supplement the print copy with searchability etc. But it is starting to be passed around as a replacement.

People may have the right to give away their work, but it doesn't mean that you have the right to take their work without permision. The article was scarmongering, and the summary just perpetuated the problem.

Ask to be paid for gardening your own garden? (1)

Rares Marian (83629) | more than 13 years ago | (#449762)

Do you really think people would stop coding if they had a job?

WIPO (1)

Garry Anderson (194949) | more than 13 years ago | (#449763)

WIPO would never have allowed libraries to be started in the first place. They would claim copyright infringement. [] - no connection with, and wishes to be totally disassociated from, the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO.ORG - part of UN, payed for (owned by?) by big business.

I love this (1)

RonaldPasko (313084) | more than 13 years ago | (#449764)

I've always felt that one of the greatest things about this country was its access to free information through the library. It didn't matter if you were a 5 year old or a 50 year old; if you wanted to seach the electronic archives for articles and journal reports relating to topics like "Missile Defense Policy," Goddamit, you could do it... and for free.

Now we're getting to the point that publishing companys are being represented by people making six figure salaries and whining about how they (publishers) aren't being compensated enough to pay their mortgages.

Next art museums are going to make you "pay by use"... putting money into jars in front of each painting. Historic Monements like the Jefferson Memorial are going to have huge fences around them and you'll have to slide your credit card to gain access. Let's throw a huge black tarp over Mount Rushmore and little kids donate their piggie banks so they can see it...

Why don't we just cover all the bases. Put a $500/year Universal tax for every man, woman, and child to cover EVERYTHING that ANYONE could write, do, say, publish, create, or interpret for ANYONE else.

Re:Do you even read the articles you summarize? (1)

fwr (69372) | more than 13 years ago | (#449765)

Well, that's pretty idiotic since you can get "large portions of the articles" or the whole thing via the Internet right now. Heck, we saw on the TV that the next Newsweek issue was going to have an article we were interested in and were planning on purchasing it. But, my wife went on the net and within five seconds found the complete text of the article, along with additional information not available in the print version. So, we are not going to be purchasing the print copy.

And if you don't link Slashdot leave, without replying.

An alternative (1)

programic (139404) | more than 13 years ago | (#449766)

I know this isn't as convenient as a public library, but if there were no more free libraries, here is what I would do: A) read the book at the library (don't check it out); or B) just hop on down to your local Barnes and Noble. They have plenty of seating, tons of books, and a coffee shop to boot. Believe it or not, when I was in school, I used to go to Barnes and Noble to study instead of the university library because I found the atmosphere more conducive (I think B&N was actually more quiet!). Just a thought.

This could almost be a good thing... (2)

Paladin128 (203968) | more than 13 years ago | (#449767) a perverse sort of way.

Maybe if this gets enough publicity, and people fight it violently enough, it might wake everyone up to the whole shitstorm that's happenning due to the DMCA. This totally sickens me, in some way more than the attack of Napster, more than the whole DeCSS case... because Libraries have been around and available freely in this country for over 100 years. No one has challenged our right to free learning via books until now. This truly angers me!

"Evil beware: I'm armed to the teeth and packing a hampster!"

From the library techies... (1)

SetarconeX (160251) | more than 13 years ago | (#449768)

I do tech services in a medical library. The majority of my time is spent doing assorted things with online journals. Here's the problem. Print journal publishers are producing the absolute most terrible online journals possible.

The average online journal is nothing more than a posting of a list of abstracts and a table of contents, usually with a note from the publisher which states "More to Come!" In addition, many major publishers are completely ignoring most of their smaller journals. Those tiny bits of journals that DO get posted usually are fuzzy, terrible scans of the pages of the journal in PDF format. The publishers often go on to charge the library extra fees for the right to get to these, sometimes adding a few hundred dollars to the subscription.

I don't know about elsewhere, but my library refuses to pay more than 20% more than the print subscription to add e-journal access. It's a fair price, but one that many publishers are unwilling to meet.

First Sale ... (1)

LL (20038) | more than 13 years ago | (#449769)

I thought that the copyright/publishing industry was governed by the doctrine of first sale? That once a customer purchases a book/video/whatever that they are then free to do whatever they want with it (including resell it) provided they don't breach copyright? The movie industry has adapted by staging releases of block-busters first through cinimas, then video sales, then TV reruns, then cable, then free-to-air. By staggering the release dates they progressively market to segments with smaller disposable income (which is probably why TiVo scares them). Now this works with movies because the upfront capital costs is high but with books it is almost the reverse direction. It is much easier to write a short-story/novel/fan-fiction than it is to produce a film (though with professional cams and software nowdays you can do a half-decent job). IMHO this creates a surplus of low-quality reading material (steoretypical pulp-paperback) which depresses the overall market (why do you think formula-plots are so popular with publishers?, boy-meets-girl,etc...). Now libraries serve a useful purpose in that they tend to concentrate topics of a particular interest. Whetehr university research, corporate technical reference, or children magnet, they serve a social purpose quite distinct from Amazon which is essentially a catalog service. Perhaps a cluebat is in order in that business apply some critical think (yeah MBA and thinking don't seem to mix well) and really understand the role of libraries/collections and stop treating everyone as a single business model. This might actually force them to *gasp* work for their cushy executive perks instead of brow-beating the techs and firing the editorial-grunts to put the fear o god into them. I suspect that the concept of libraries / archives is going to be radically differnet as museums/galleries/science centres muscle in onto the multimedia scene and start competting for attention with books.


Re:I do see the problem and it is big... (1)

mr_tails (255378) | more than 13 years ago | (#449770)

Sales drop(?) for the media comapany but readership is drastcially up. But the media company is not making less money on more readers. A new business model needs to be made to keep the media company in business, otherwise the media company will stop printing the widely read item and everyone will be pissed.

How much money does a publishing house need? When dealing with physical media, there is a cost associated with the paper, the binding, the manual labor involved in producing it. But with digital media, about the only thing required is the computer to distribute the copies and someone to spell check (which I don't think even gets done that often.) Digital copies should have VERY LOW publishing costs. This means the profit margin is higher on a book, doesn't it? Shouldn't that higher profit margin offset a library who buys 1 copy yet can allow 30 users to read it at once?

Re:ummm, you're off target on this one (1)

BLAMM! (301082) | more than 13 years ago | (#449771)

Yes, but this is going to set a precedent. How long before books don't come out on "wood and hide". When, ala Star Trek, books are stored electronically and read from a Padd(TM). Sure, right now it's not easy to read an entire book on a computer screen. How long will that last? What happens now affects our future. Saying it doesn't matter because it doesn't really affect us is the wrong attitude. Publishers have to know this. That's why they want to get everything in place now to make sure they get their pound of electronic flesh.

Re:What about the flip side? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#449772)

"For every Stephen King blockbuster there's hundreds of authors whose books barely sell."

For every Stephen King blockbusters there`s hundreds of good books!

Re:They do get paid (1)

llauren (80737) | more than 13 years ago | (#449773)

Yup. Same goes for Finland. It's not much they get paid, but they do. I have it that a significant amount of book authors' income here in Finland comes from getting paid for loans at the library. Same goes for CDs, CD-ROMs, videos and anything else you can loan there.

Same goes for the radio, btw. We play, what we pay. Isn't it so, that in the USA, you can play music on the radio and the station doesn't have to pay anything for that. Now how does that compare to Napster? :)

Both the public library and the public radio (which is BIG here in Finland) are mostly tax-funded. I can listen to all the radio i want and borrow all the books i want, and i've already paid for it!

  • ~llaurén

WIPO - wrong link (1)

Garry Anderson (194949) | more than 13 years ago | (#449774)

Sorry was updating pages on WoolwichSucks site at same time. I will preview posting next time ;-)

Obviously should be: []

Re:The publishers do get paid already (3)

wulfhere (94308) | more than 13 years ago | (#449775)

Of course, you can always ruin the image of the people who frequent the library (i.e. "I've heard that TEENAGERS sometimes use the library for their own nefarious purposes. And you don't need a poll to know that teens like their books free")

It would be easy for this conglomerate to accuse people of borrowing books from the library only to pirate them...

I grew up very poor, and would not have made very much of myself if not for libraries where I could read for free.

And one more rant. Am I the only one who thinks it should be illegal for someone who currently holds office to be a PAID LOBBYIST?!? I am terribly disappointed to learn that it is possible to buy back one of our basic liberties for only $370,000 a year.

Oh freddled gruntbuggly thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee
Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don't!

Electronic books... (3)

Obasan (28761) | more than 13 years ago | (#449776)

Hmm. Electronic books. No printing fees. So, the stages are down to content creation, editing, layout, electronic distribution.

Ask any author besides Michael Crighton how much they get paid for their work. Diddly, for the most part. Editing and layout can be a reasonable amount of work/expense, but the fact of the matter is the actual printing press side of books is still a significant expense.

If these guys are planning on publishing books electronically, I don't suppose they were considering passing along some of the savings to the consumer/libraries? I mean, after all I'm not getting as much when I receive a bunch of bytes as when I receive a bound paper/hard back. With journals you have indexing/search capabilities, but that isn't much of a value-add for a novel. What's that, publishers are charging _more_ for electronic versions of books? For some reason sympathy for publishers is not exactly welling up inside me.

Publishers do render a real service both to authors and readers, I don't object to their being paid for it, but I don't see how the 'electronic revolution' is a big threat to them. When people check things out of the library, they still want to get something on paper. Unless libraries suddenly build their own printing presses their still going to have to buy these paper copies from publishers. The only exception to this is electronic journals, and these have been licensed per seat ever since they were invented.

You have no idea how much fun it is trying to complete a biology research project along with 2000 other undergrads and finding out the library has only enough licenses for thirty computers to access the electronic bio journals at once. :(


If a tree falls in the forest, and kills a mime, does anyone care?

In the UK the libraries *do* pay the publishers (2)

Stelmsind (119787) | more than 13 years ago | (#449777)

It's not a particulary great amount of money, but AFAIK the library does pay the publishers based on the number of books they lend - that's on top of the cost of buying the book in the first place.

Those awful libraries! (1)

sz_loki (313692) | more than 13 years ago | (#449778)

How dare they!!! How dare they actually let anybody read without paying for it. I bet you probably right now the writers of Tetrahedron Letters are sitting in the gutters, shivering over the 286 laptops as they type.

"Sorry Tommy, Mommy would read you a bedtime story, but the eBook screen says I am out of Read Aloud End User Licences (RAEUL).

or another:

Sitting down on a nice raining day next to the fire place with a good eBook (TM).

We're sorry, but it appears that you have exceeded your Private Read End User Licences (PREUL) Please click on the Purchase Licences to buy more Private Read End User Licences (PREUL) or Erase Publication to erase this publication.

Probably good news - man bites dog (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 13 years ago | (#449779)

This situation is probably good news for the debate about access to information and pricing of information generally.

Bunch of computer guys waving their arms about electronic information and data flow doesn't make a media story. The little white haired lady down the road who does under 5's story time, after school homework classes, books for your granny and gets in everybody's favourite scifi novel, if she is getting political and upset about something, that makes news. That's a great story to run.

This issue could get the whole issue of freedom of information out and discussed by a very wide audience (including your local politician). People who really don't give a damn about what makes geeks angry may get get curious and want to find out more when the local neighbourhood librarian is getting upset.

Re:Do you even read the articles you summarize? (1)

IAmATuringMachine! (62994) | more than 13 years ago | (#449780)

We're not talking newsweek here. Think more along the lines of a journal like nature. It costs $100 a year for a student to get it, and it costs exponentially more (well, a small exponent) for a library to get it, because they share. It is the sharing tax, I suppose. Nature will not put their full articicles online, for most of the people who read the journal are e-savvy and e-cheap. They would gobble it up. Science news is a weekly thing but it is free on the net. So I didn't subscribe. But I still donated to the Smithsonian. Nobody is going to "donate" to nature.

Re:All sorts of media (2)

BLAMM! (301082) | more than 13 years ago | (#449781)

The bottom line is, if libraries go, book piracy will emerge.

You hit the nail on the head. Someone mod him up.

The situation is not quite the same as prohibition, but the result will be the same. Take away something that people really want and they *will* find a way to get it. And no government or business can stop them.

I know there's a Fahrenheit 451 parallel here, but I'd have to reread it to make it coherent. Anyone?

This is sick (1)

Zara2 (160595) | more than 13 years ago | (#449782)

This entire article is absolutely sick. First off the spin on this is incredible. Most of the article was written as a "good girl" piece showcasing thier new lobbyist. If anyone has heard Jello Biafra speak you will know what I am talking about. The conglomerate owned media doing a carefully spin controlled piece on the conglomerate owned lobbyist who is trying to get more money for the conglomerate owned publishing company. The lines at the end are the most chilling.

No one, she says, wants to go up against libraries.

"That," Schroeder says, "is why we are here."

The entire article is trying to spin away the core issue which it crowds in after a nice little showcase piece on thier sexy little lobbyist. Hidden most of the way down in badly written language that most people probally wouldnt read to far into anyways we find that the publishing companies have a right to kill libraries because ""The publishing community does not believe that the public should have the same rights in the electronic world," Kranich says." What is wrong with me going to the library to read a book. I am not stealing. I gaurentee that I spend more time in the library than 90% of aamericana. I also will gaurentee that I spend more money on books that my library system doesnt have that anyone out there except bibliophiles and college students.

The entire idea of "right to a profit" is scary and seems to be getting more and more of a stranglehold upon our legislatures. Worse, the major media companies seem to take it as a matter of course. This is a big change from years gone by when people had to compete agianst each other. God I need to move to another contry that doesnt have a gun to its head held by corperate interests.

Do they think nerds are getting week eyes? (1)

ishrat (235467) | more than 13 years ago | (#449783)

Why on earth have they used such large fonts. I thought writers knew the importance of words and not their size or are all their ideas of wrong and right are getting merged?

I buy books for the packaging (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 13 years ago | (#449784)

When I look around at the shelves at my home, I don't see 3 ring binders labeled Steven King - The Stand. I don't take pride in a print out of my e-books....a directory list just doesn't do justice to shelves of books.

So What if Libraries are passing around e-books. It's free (or near about.) What the publishers seem to want is for me to pay for BAD books...'cause if I like it, I'm going to buy it.

"Politically," Schroeder says, "it's the toughest issue. Libraries have a wonderful image."

Hello? There's a reason why they have a good image! It gives the poor a place and a chance to read and learn!

"No one, she says, wants to go up against libraries."
"That," Schroeder says, "is why we are here."

Now that you're here, Please leave. Here's the door, get lost...

This is stupid. (1)

Strangely Unbiased (313686) | more than 13 years ago | (#449785)

This doesn't make any sense, and it looks too much like an evil New World Order than anything else.Fortunately,hopefully they're much too late to accomplish this evil ,erm, thing.

Relax relax... (3)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 13 years ago | (#449786)

Lets not get out panties in a bunch. Check this [] link out.
108. Limitations on exclusive rights: Reproduction by libraries and archives
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title and notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement of copyright for a library or archives, or any of its employees acting within the scope of their employment, to reproduce no more than one copy or phonorecord of a work, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), or to distribute such copy or phonorecord, under the conditions specified by this section, if-
(1) the reproduction or distribution is made without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage;
(2) the collections of the library or archives are (i) open to the public, or (ii) available not only to researchers affiliated with the library or archives or with the institution of which it is a part, but also to other persons doing research in a specialized field; and
(3) the reproduction or distribution of the work includes a notice of copyright that appears on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section, or includes a legend stating that the work may be protected by copy-right if no such notice can be found on the copy or phonorecord that is reproduced under the provisions of this section.

Of course, it then goes on to say that libraries can only have digital copies for backup reasons, not to lend. But I think its fairly blatant that the publishers do not have a legal leg to stand on if they decide to go after the librarians. Beware of the wrath of Conan the Librarian.

The next thing that will happen (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#449787)

will be something like this.
After libraries are forced to pay royalties each time a book is 'loaned' out, manufacturers of childrens toys, clothing, and everyh other good will start referring to their product as a 'physical manifestation of the creative work of the designer' and start referring to it as information, rather than a tangible good. Then they'll say that they are being 'ripped off' by the Salvation Army and all those second-hand stores.

Re:So tomorrow Ford will demand royalties from Her (1)

glgraca (105308) | more than 13 years ago | (#449788)

Well, you got the point. If things keep evolving the way they are now, well soon be paying royalties to breathe. Its obvious that copyright laws are no longer written in the interest of society, as all laws should be.

Another dangerous idea from ... (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 13 years ago | (#449789)

Are not public libraries [] another dangerous idea of that revolutionary type Benjamin Franklin [] ?

Re:Made up notions of Western Civilization (3)

stevens (84346) | more than 13 years ago | (#449790)

As far as I can tell, the free reading of books has been a part of western civilization since writing was invented, and books were scrolls. Yes, there have been private libraries where you paid a fee, or had have to be a student at a university, or some other type of member, etc.

What's your source? Literacy was always the badge of the elite: of citizens in Greece (wealthy men only), clergy in the middle ages, etc. It's only been relatively recently that universal literacy has been a goal, and only in parts of the world.

Likewise, in an increasingly literate and wealthy society, public libraries are less important. At one time they were the only way for most people to get books, now they are mostly just a (taxpayer-subsidized) cheaper alternative.

In an increasingly wealthy society, they should try to fit a modern niche. There are subscription libraries for certain types of specialized information. This is a great idea for those who want to share the cost of many $14,000 subscriptions, for a $20 per month fee.

Same in France, right-to-read push (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 13 years ago | (#449791)

Publishers have been pushing the french government to establish a right-to-read in public libraries. Nevermind that many library users could'nt afford the books they read there. Of course, they expect the government to cover those fees instead of the users.

The sickening part of it is that the fee they request is absolutely outrageous: they want 5 FF, or abour $0.80, per loan. Now compare this to the cose of a pocket book, or even of a hardcover, factor out the printing and distribution cost ... and with that kind of fee they would make MORE money per single loan than per book *sold*!

Their request is being received with rather unsympathetic responses, but you never know how lobbying can go ...


Pat Schroeder should talk (1)

sphere (27305) | more than 13 years ago | (#449792)

At a December 2000 charity event titled "The Funniest Celebrities in DC," Pat Schroeder was asked to do some stand-up comedy. Well, Ms. No Fair Use decided to read the Revocation of Independence [] joke email as part of her set.

And without any attribution either.

I heard it all on C-SPAN [] Radio over the holidays.


"Deep in the ocean are treasures beyond compare,

Re:The publishers do get paid already (2)

jimhill (7277) | more than 13 years ago | (#449793)

"Am I the only one who thinks it should be illegal for someone who currently holds office to be a PAID LOBBYIST?!?"

No, but since Mrs. Schroeder does not hold office there's no conflict here. Well, save for the inherent conflict of former Representatives drawing huge paychecks to get their still-serving friends to help 'em out a little. Or Senators, Presidents, appointees, etc.

Wow. (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#449794)

It's amazing how nowadays the recurring theme is 'if the law made after-market sale of XXX or lending of XXX illegal, then we'd make more money, therefore, by not having that law, the American Public is ripping us off.'.

It's like.. sure. How about a law that says everyone in the US has to pay my Canadian ass every time they buy something? I mean, by not having that law, I'm being deprived of money I could have otherwised earned if such a law existed.. I should sue!

PLR, etc (1)

Bassthang (78064) | more than 13 years ago | (#449795)

Reading books isn't free. In the UK the public libraries effectively contribute to the PPublic Lending Right [] scheme, which compenstates authors according to how often their books are checked out of the libraries (similar to the system that exists for music played on the radio). I beleive there are reciprocal arrangements with various other countries with similar schemes.

Of course the cost of this is subsumed into the total running costs of the library, so the user pays via taxes and not at the point of service.

Electronic books provided via libraries don't really fit into the existing scheme very easily. But some arrangement could be made, and of coude it would probably be EASIER to administer, as you could collect data on exactly what was being read rather than just doing a sample.

Re:I can see why the publishers are worried (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#449796)

Actualy I much favor reading from paper. Now there is no legal way under US law that they can go after used book stores. Thay may not like them, but they can't do much about them.

Good (2)

Dick Richards (307933) | more than 13 years ago | (#449797)

I'm going to get moderated to (-50, asshole) for saying this, but it's about time.

Publishers have a right to profit from the works they manufacture and distribute, and libraries have had a free ride for too long. Libraries can charge small fees for issuing library cards to recoup costs. The only objection one can have to this is if they want a free (as in lunch) ride. The information would still be available and free (as in speech).

Re:They do get paid (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 13 years ago | (#449798)

I have it that a significant amount of book authors' income here in Finland comes from getting paid for loans at the library

You say the money paid when you borrow a book goes to the author, but I'm very curious as to what percentage of library fees goes to the author him/herself and what percentage goes to the publisher and government... Also radio stations in the U.S. do pay royalties for the music that is played on the air. However there's a cutthroat industry among record labels as to who is going to get the free promotion via radio play. Essentially, stations are 'bribed' into playing music by big labels (ever wonder why you don't hear NOFX or Ani DiFranco on the radio?)

Re:They do get paid (1)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 13 years ago | (#449799)

Isn't it so, that in the USA, you can play music on the radio and the station doesn't have to pay anything for that.

No. Stations have to pay ASCAP royalties each time they play a song.

Well I know how to fix this (1)

rosewood (99925) | more than 13 years ago | (#449800)

Quite simply let us start now by burning all books! I guess since libraries also have tapes, cds, films, magazines, and more - we just need to get rid of all media that holds ideas since ya cant always charge for it. No wait ... we can get a police department to check up on our ideas to make sure we dont have any that we didnt pay for ... we can call them the thought police ...

nm ... its been done

The Onion (1)

Tiamat (25392) | more than 13 years ago | (#449801)

Does anyone else have the sense that this was ripped from The Onion and printed in the Post? Right down to the glaring irony of the statement: "Those technology people never give anything of their's away!" Huh? Let just hope that the books don't begin to come with shrinkwrap agreements that explain to us that we're really purchasing an individual license to the abstract text, which just happens to be manifested on pulp -- and that handing the book to someone else constitutes a crime.

Re:I can see why the publishers are worried (1)

p0six (23324) | more than 13 years ago | (#449802)

Playing devil's advocate here, but you and I (and definately the publishers) both know that it will not always be the case that reading 30 pages on a screen will make your eyes bleed. It's all a matter of the correct technology becoming cheap enough so that eventually reading material on screen will be BETTER for your eyes than on paper.

Reading aloud (5)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 13 years ago | (#449803)

She's adamant that the country needs to focus more on reading to children under the age of 5

provided, of course, that you have purchased and can produce a receipt on demand for a "5 listener license pak" for groups of 5 children or less, or, ir you act now, librarians, school teachers and qualified parents can get a 20 pak for the low low price of 10 if you send in the rebate coupon (allow 4-6 weeks for rebate processing). Some restrictions may apply.

Re:This debate happened in France a few months ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#449804)

I bet you anything this idea was cooked up by some unqualified affirmative action nigger. You know, the kind that has an IQ which in an honest world would only qualify it for a job as a shoe-shine boy.

Re:This debate happened in France a few months ago (2)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 13 years ago | (#449805)

Huh, no, I never heard that 0.5EUR figure. It was more like 1EUR (5FF). And that is NOT symbolic. A softcover costs around 80FF. Deduct printing, paper, distribution and what gets back to the publisher is probably around 5 to 10FF. See the problem? They will make MUCH MORE money with this tax than by selling books. It's out of whack. And the response was'nt THAT sympathetic, with many authors opposing it.


Re:I do see the problem and it is big... (3)

clifyt (11768) | more than 13 years ago | (#449806)

When dealing with physical media, there is a cost associated with the paper, the binding, the manual labor involved in producing it. But with digital media, about the only thing required is the computer to distribute the copies and someone to spell check (which I don't think even gets done that often.)

Jeez another /.'r that just doesn't get it. The cost of publishing has LITTLE to do with the paper its printed on. Do you really thing the Journal of Tetrahedrional Chemisty (or whatever that reference was to in the article) really costs $14000 to print up??? Do you really think it was printed on Gold Leaf by monks slaving over each and every word?

Its like Music...everyone thinks that the musician looses NOTHING by having a MP3 distributed...its just a few bits...yeah there are advantages to using these things as advertising, but it still costs to produce that.

Do you think the people publishing the the journals are doing it for free? Its a prestigious role to be publisher, and it can make or break someones academic career. If you allow someone to publish something with less than credible methods or results, then yer career can be down the tube as well. As such, these people need to get paid and you are paying for their opinions, much in the way that we pay for the opinions of /. -- we don't and thats why I normally don't complain about the lack of journalistic integrity here...this is the geek equivelent of People Magazine or something...Dammit I just want to know why it cain't work out between Tom and Nicole!!! I would expect a lot more integrity and correctness in reporting from someone I was paying quite a bit of money to...especially if my job depended on it.


What I want to know.... (1)

carlos_benj (140796) | more than 13 years ago | (#449807)

.... is how much longer it'll be before I can turn my neighbor in for borrowing my tools!

Perhaps this is what we need (2)

edibleplastic (98111) | more than 13 years ago | (#449808)

in order to finally come to some decisions about copyright in the digital age. Libraries are *not* going to go out of business, and we are not going to change the system that they have been using for so many years (lending, etc). Therefore, there must be a decision made about this that will legally allow multi-copy useage of material, and perhaps (*perhaps*) this will be extended to other copyright domains.

Re:What other country has problems this lame? (1)

hedgefrog (215010) | more than 13 years ago | (#449809)

Canada, application is here []

Re:They do get paid (1)

Confound (214049) | more than 13 years ago | (#449810)

p = pence, dumbass!

Re:This could almost be a good thing... (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 13 years ago | (#449811)

libraries have been around since babylon... (remember the big fire about 4000 years ago ?)
These people are starting to really piss me off...

Political Affiliation (1)

NullGrey (46215) | more than 13 years ago | (#449812)

I thought it was interesting that neither the article or the Slashdot post mention that Pat Scroder is a former Democratic Congresswoman. Only the democrats could come up with something this lame. It seems that both /. and the Washington Post (both liberal news sources) were ashamed to admit this.

mourn the publishers? (2)

drfireman (101623) | more than 13 years ago | (#449813)

What would happen if it became impossible to make money publishing books? We'd lose a lot of good and bad books by people who only write for money. But we'd gain a lot of books written by dedicated authors, books that were previously buried under the Grisham/Oprah piles.

I self-published a book. It wasn't a thousandth as hard as it would have been fifteen years ago. I don't expect to make a ton of money from it, but with companies like Amazon, I can probably recoup my investment. If there were no competition from big publishers (actually, in my case there isn't), I wouldn't need to sell a zillion copies to make writing the book worthwhile for me.

To be sure, there are lots of authors I enjoy who would find it difficult or impossible to put their books on my shelves without big publishers. But there are also lots of authors whose work I haven't had the opportunity to enjoy because of those big piles of Grisham. Publishers have been shirking their editing responsibilities anyway. So I'm not ready to get too upset about all the book publishers going out of business.

Technology people never give it away? (2)

not_cub (133206) | more than 13 years ago | (#449814)

From the article:

"Technology people never gave their stuff away," Schroeder says.

Perhaps not the greatest example. If I remember correctly, both linux and BSD are given away.

Perhaps a different example would be Blockbuster and the MPAA. The MPAA don't seem to have a problem with video rental, since it actually increases their video sales (how many of us would actually buy every latest release they want to see?). Maybe they should stop being so short-sighted. I am certainly not going to be able to buy every book I want to read. If I borrow it from a library, and say, 30 other people do, they have effectively sold 1/30th of a copy to each of us, against a like 0 if we each had to buy it.

Moving into electronic distribution, things are going to have to change, but for now, I don't think pressing against dead-tree libraries is a reasonable move.


Re:I can see why the publishers are worried (1)

joe52 (74496) | more than 13 years ago | (#449815)

I can see where you're going with this, but fair use currently does not allow a library to buy one copy of the latest Harry Potter book and make 50 copies to loan out. Libraries cannot simply send a photocopy of a book in response to an interlibrary loan request (at least I don't think they can). They send their original copy of the material. It's the same thing as loaning it to a patron. Nobody in their libaray can use that copy while it is loaned out.

Fair use would, however, allow me to go to the library and copy a passage from that book, put it into a paper I write (attributing it to JK Rowling) and comment on that text. The increased ease of duplication is definitely troubling for them, but I'm not sure that a change in what is viewed as fair use is needed.

Re:Wasn't this originally a cartoon? (3)

Ian Wolf (171633) | more than 13 years ago | (#449816)

So when did Salon get into predictions?

Seriously, I bet Mr. Dewey is rolling in his grave.

Re:Well, if they're going to be that way... (1)

Ares (5306) | more than 13 years ago | (#449817)

Actually, this is possibly the best rant I've heard here in ages, and a quite applicable one at that. And let's not stop with the co2 produced complaining about their bs, they benefit from all co2 production. we may all be able to retire :)

We're not talking about books.... (2)

signe (64498) | more than 13 years ago | (#449818)

Michael, I really wish you'd read the article before delving into making comments on it. The article is not talking about paper books. It's talking about electronic materials (journals, e-books, etc.). And it's not talking about one library loaning it to another library. They're talking about one library purchasing it and then giving it to other libraries (ie. making lots of copies).

Now, granted this is a step down a slippery slope, as in Richard Stallman's Right to Read piece, however that's not the topic of the article, and you shouldn't attribute these things that you've made up to Patricia Schroeder, because she didnt' say them.

You know, as much as we beat up on copyrights around here, people do deserve to get paid for their work if that's what they want. It's just like software licenses (even open source). If you like the program, but you don't like the license, then find another program. If the program is one of a kind, or there are features that you really need, then you have to decide whether this outweighs the cost of a license you don't like. Same with published materials. If you like a particular author/artist's work, but they want to get paid for it and you don't want to pay, then find another author/artist or decide whether you wanting their work outweighs the cost of paying for it.

Open source and free software are a great idea, but it's not the One True Path (tm). If all sofware were free, a lot of us would be out of jobs, or at least not living in the manner to which we have become accustomed. Society's not going to instantly jump to some idyllic state where everything's free, a la Star Trek. The right of people to get paid for their work is a neccessary part of the way things are. Now I'm not saying that the systems by which we protect these rights are perfect, or the systems by which people get paid are without grift. But you can't do away with these systems.

Yes, fair use is disappearing. Yes, the DMCA steps way over the line. Yes, companies like the MPAA and RIAA are trying to erode our freedoms more and more by making us pay and repay for things and then still not letting us access in a way that would be legal. But the key is not to fight the system and have it eliminated. The key is to reform the system. If you try and get rid of it completely, you won't win.


I'm surprised that no one has linked this yet... (3)

Snard (61584) | more than 13 years ago | (#449819)

... of course, there was that Tom the Dancing Bug [] strip from last August.

Re:How many other countries have free libraries? (1)

gibson_81 (135261) | more than 13 years ago | (#449820)

Sadly, this idea that common people can't think for themselves is still too common

Even sadder is the fact that so many people prove that idea to be true ...

We fear change (3)

Borogove (95793) | more than 13 years ago | (#449821)

There seems to be a strong belief that 'capitalism' implies that it is illegal to do anything that might threaten someone's income. So if someone is making a living out of selling books, the law should come down swiftly against anything that might make books redundant.

But is it such a bad thing. Take an extreme example: imagine if copyright laws didn't exist at all... would the world be too horrible a place for people to live in? Is copyright law the only thing that stops civilisation from descending into chaos? Would all artists stop producing works?

Sure, things would be different: some people might not be able to earn 'slightly less than Jack Valenti' salary by keeping their current jobs. Lots of things might change. But I don't the world would end. I definitely think people would continue to write songs, books, software and make films. There will always be ways to make money from them...

A few years ago, it was looking like the Internet might threaten newspapers. Nowadays, you can get copies of most newspapers online for free. They are voluntarily giving their stuff away, and yet people still go out and pay for the printed versions. Sure, it's not $10,000 for a year's subscription; but the point is, rather than crying about it and demanding news laws, why not try to go with the flow and see where it takes you.

Computers have always brought the threat of redundancies and unemployment, but they've also tended to create new jobs and new opportunities. I strongly believe that the threats to society created by the Internet will prove just as non-existent, if we give it a chance. The more worrying threat in the current climate is that those crying for new laws will get their way, and the people will suffer.
-- Andrem

libraries pay through the nose! (2)

Confound (214049) | more than 13 years ago | (#449822)

i work at a library, and occasionally have the dubious pleasure of filling out order forms for books. here in Canada libraries don't pay a borrowing fee for each time the book is used, they just pay a higher price to buy the book initially.

libraries pay through the nose already! even though they are ubying from te publisher directly, canadian libraries pay exobirant prices for books. i've seen soft cover, 80 page books with a price tag of $50 or $60, just because they were written by some big-name post-modernist.

admittedly, movie rental stores pay a fee every time a movie is rented, but putting movies on the same level as books is ridiculous. if pulbishing companies want to start charging for books, make the charge apply to crap like danielle steele and all authors in the 'bored-mentally-challenged-housewife' market. that way universoty libraries, that have *real* books, and real financial problems, don't get shafted.

This has to do with the displacement of profit (1)

Big Torque (196609) | more than 13 years ago | (#449823)

The issue is one of displacement of income. As long as libraries do what they do it will displace income and thus profit. This is the issue with copying software not that I am stealing from the company but that if is displacing a sale that might other wise happen. IF I have a library of movies on my network and let anyone see them over the network as long only one sight sees the movie at a time. That is what libraries do. With napster one can see this happing soon, and the library argument may make it legal to do. One can sees what they are trying to stop. What things are really going to boil down to is do publishers have the right to profit greater than our right to read and loan books.

Re:I can see why the publishers are worried (4)

cascadefx (174894) | more than 13 years ago | (#449825)

When a library buys a book or a paper journal they it can only be read by one person at a time. So if it is a popular title they will buy several. And each library will buy a copy of major journals. And while you can get it via inter library loan it is still a limited resource. And for each copy the publisher and author get paid.

The problem, as is stated in the article by Kranich, is the amount of money involved. Schroeder says that the Libraries have spent all their money on technology and have nothing left for content. Having worked for an Automation Department in a university library, I can attest that BOTH these statements are true. However, the crux of the problem is that libraries have been forced to spend the money on technology in order to keep up with the formats/delivery methods of the content! On top of that, in this digital age, prices should be dropping, or at least staying the same. Since many of the middlemen are being cut-out, the distributors and printers at least, there should be more left over for what is left... mainly the writers/publications. Instead, the price digital access to journals is skyrocketing! By adding minor value to the resulting materials, publishers see this as a reason to jack prices WAY up and pull in more than their fair share.

On top of these issues, the interfaces to these elctronic services suck. I have repeatedly been on committees that were deciding which services to buy and which to dump. Time and again, the librarians chose the cheaper services (which weren't necessarily that cheap) over those that had invested some money in development. Luckily, our state (Indiana), saw this problem too often and pulled together a consortium to provide proxied centralized access to the better materials for a fraction of the cost (called the Inspire Database). Schroeder and the AAP would seriously jeopardize this relationship...which has only come about because libraries have been forced to by the skyrocketing cost of subscriptions and the lack of funds due to technological upgrades of necessity.

It's a vicious circle.

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