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Are We About To Enter The Age of Book Piracy?

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the ebooks-are-for-me-books dept.

Books 494

theodp writes "The speed with which the 4MB e-mail hoax purporting to be the new cookbook from the Naked Chef streaked across the Internet suggests to Slate that a new, disquieting era for the publishing world may be in sight. Indeed, the latest Harry Potter tale made the rounds on the Web just hours after the book went on sale, its 870 pages apparently scanned in and distributed by rabid fans. The old argument that no one likes reading on a computer has pretty much eroded. Just because publishing people can't conceive of book piracy doesn't mean it can't happen."

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just look up (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653986)


Re:just look up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654011)

< alt.shit.on.your.head >
\ ^__^
\ (oo)\_______
(__)\ )\/\
||----w |
|| ||

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653987)


0wned (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653994)


But still.. (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 11 years ago | (#6653989)

I'd much rather pirate these things if I didnt have to read them on a non-passive surface. Come on, Pirates, come to my aid!

Re:But still.. (3, Interesting)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654055)

the main reason books on computer suck is because of the way computers are set up by default. when most people think of books on computer, they dont immediately think of putting a book on a PDA. also, it kinda strains the eyes after looking at the screen so much, because of the default colors. change the colors to white text on black background, and youll feel much better after a night of reading when you should be sleeping. which would be an advantage for computers, as you dont need an external light source for that. of course, there was an older slashdot sotry about electronic paper. looks just like regular paper, but when you send an electrical signal to it, it prints a new image on the paper. the image stays for something like 10 years when the power is taken away, but a new signal will re-write on the paper. i imagine ebook piracy will become a bigger problem once they start making ebooks out of those.

Dup (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653991)

This is another dup. Somebody please look up the original story... thanks

this is old news... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653995)

reading converted fiction ebooks on handhelds is better than reading them on paper.
Lots of advantages like being able to read on the go or in bed with the lights out and than being awoken by the Handheld in the morning...

Re:this is old news... (3, Interesting)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654018)

For sure. MemoWare [] has thousands of free ebooks for handhelds. Reading on a PDA instead of, say, a laptop also doesn't hurt as much when you fall asleep and drop it on the dog laying next to the bed.

Comics too. (4, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6653996)

Not only books, but comics too. Already I've seen complete archives of all X-Men, Spiderman, etc. I think that might actually become a bigger problem, because comics are easy to scan and distribute, and their readers probably fit very well the profile of your typical "downloader".

Spidy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654046)

For those wondering, the scans of Amazing Spiderman issue #0 through #214 fit on one CD

Tell me that's not handy :-)

I'm a moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654077)

Sorry, read my list wrong. That's three CDs. Still handy enough. The issues aren't tiny.

Actually I think that maybe the comic industry should look into some way to make vector-versions of their comics available. Searchable text. Small footprint meaning they're easy to sell online.

Re:Comics too. (4, Insightful)

gatzke (2977) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654069)

I cannot pay hundreds of dollars for classic comic books.

Having these online so that people could read from the start of the series would be wonderful.

Having them online so that you don't have to pay a couple of buck for a recent issue is silly.

Plus, comics are about collecting. I doubt this would hurt the industry too much.

Re:Comics too. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654110)

How many collect and how many simply buy and throw away?

Also, Where I live comics are freaking expensive! Especially so the marvel ones of which there are _plenty_ coming out each week AFAIK (I don't read or buy comics any more).

They're still "story-hopping" between comics? If they "force" people to buy four magz a week just to get to read the whole story, then yes, I think that some people will see huge savings in downloading.

Re:Comics too. (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654151)

It has been years, but I swear that I remember having comics at the local library kids section. I know they have traditional periodicals.

Just like they have CDs at the library you can take home and read (or copy). Maybe the libraries should make them available?

When you post content online for free download to anyone, you probably cross a line.

If you scan the new Harry Potter and send it to a friend that can't buy it, is that across the line?

What about 10 friends?

What about your buddy list of a couple hundred?

I think you can share content with people that you have a personal connection with. I could lend you any of my books or hundreds of CDs, or I could just give you my smb share password. (I am still paranoid about P2P).

Putting content on an open download is still a bad idea, but Freenet is trying to make it possible.

BTW, if comics are too expensive, get a real job! ;-)

Re:Comics too. (1)

el_gregorio (579986) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654078)

but comics are often less about "reading" and more about "collecting". downloading the first issue of superman isn't anywhere near as valuable as owning the paper copy. in fact, it would be nice to see comic publishers offer downloads as a service to their collectors: so that when they do feel like actually reading their collection, they can do so online without risking damage to the physical assets. someone looking for the latest Stephen King book, on the other hand, just wants the content. the hardcopy itself doesn't usually hold any particular intrinsic value.

Re:Comics too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654137)

Speak of comics, I'd like to take this opportunity to recommend following authors and titles:

Check out Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Frank Miller and titles such as "Sandman", "Ronin", "Watchmen", "Sin City", "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns",...

You'll not see comics in the same light after you've read these masterpieces. In particular, "Watchmen" (basically superheroes having a bad time) was a revelation in how a well authored comic book may rival any high-brow book.

article -1 Troll (5, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#6653998)

Book piracy is too much of a pain in the ass. Plus, people want to own the book and feel it in their hands.

Like someone wants to have a stapled stack of recycled copier paper in a fuzzy inkjet font. Even worse is the suggestion of reading it off the screen. The whole concept is just silly.

In the case of music, I seriously doubt most people get the mp3 and then buy the CD. I would suggest in this case that anyone interested in reading an 870 page book would go out and buy it, or at least borrow it from the library.

Re:article -1 Troll (1)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654033)

I fully agree.

The only thing worse than reading a stapled bunch of laser print paper is trying to read a book on a 96 dpi screen. Hello, people! Reading a book with great, aesthetically pleasing professional typeset and even the feel of a quality print book is an experience in itself.

But then again, there are hordes of people who think that a great movie experience means: downloading a 1200 MB ripped movie and watching the compressed video/audio stream full of artifacts on a shitty 17" monitor and low-end stereo speakers. Maybe, if you're a really 3133t, you'll even buy a "subwoofer".

Re:article -1 Troll (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654045)

I've read a number of books off the screen - mostly on my laptop, a few on the desktop pc. I used my own ebook reader (ybook - freeware) which shows two pages, textured paper, turns the pages like a real book etc etc. It's a windows app but I also run it on Linux using Wine.

Oh, they weren't pirate books, I got them from Gutenberg (yBook has a downloader in it.)


Re:article -1 Troll (1, Troll)

blincoln (592401) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654057)

Never underestimate what a cheap-ass will put up with to keep from paying for something.

mp3s are basically the audio equivalent of "stapled stack of recycled copier paper in a fuzzy inkjet font," but that hasn't stopped them from becoming incredibly popular.

Re:article -1 Troll (2, Interesting)

jesser (77961) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654065)

I like having a copies of (fiction) books on my computer while I'm reading the dead-tree versions. I do not enjoy flipping through previously-read pages trying to find something, knowing what side of the page it's on but not what chapter it's in.

Re:article -1 Troll (1)

reynaert (264437) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654103)

Book piracy is too much of a pain in the ass. Plus, people want to own the book and feel it in their hands.

You'd think so, huh? But this has going on for years now. In the beginning the only SF and technical books were available, but by now you can find anything that's reasonably popular.

Reading of a CRT screen is doable, if you pick a good font and set your refresh rate really high (> 100 Hz), but it stays uncomfortable. A laptop is much better, and many PDA's are just as good as a real book.

Re:article -1 Troll (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654114)

Books too can be too much of a pain in the ass

Ever tried flying somewhere, awaw for a couple of weeks... DO you carry 10lbs of books or one memory stick / cf card / whatever your palm/pocket pc takes.

Books are big, heave and inconvenient. Palmtops are small, multifunctional, light and their screens are getting better all the time. Battery life on all bar the ones with Pocket PC is good enough for a transatlantic flight.

Anyway, the fact they are being distributed means there is a demand. Look at the facts, if someone can be bothered to scan an entire book and then distribute it with no hope of recognition or reward they must be doing it for the satisfaction of themselves and others enjoying their efforts.

The book industry doesn't make every book available in an ebook format. Whyever not? It's not like they don't have the work in a computer? They can sell it for a bit less than a paper book, but he savings must be astronomical - no distrobution chain to run, no bookshops to pay... If they don't see the advantages they'll be left behind just like the music an video industries.

Re:article -1 Troll (1)

Frambooz (555784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654118)

Book vs. eBook = CD vs. MP3

Simple as that. It's cheap, easy, and people who don't want to spend money on stuff (students...) don't mind the lesser quality.

If it really becomes popular, portable ebook readers (PocketPC, ...) will become more popular too, just as portable MP3-players. Which will result in more portable devices to choose form, for a lesser price.

It's just a matter of time till a PIAA gets founded. The Printing Industry Association of America. Boy o boy.

I'm not so sure (4, Interesting)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654158)

I own the Harry Potter book but I read the whole thing on my laptop.

I like to read in bed and I found the 766 behemoth unwieldy (or I would if I tried it, I've found shorter books unwieldy).

With my laptop I just stuck it on my bedside table, turned down the brightness, chose acceptable font and background colours in Acrobat, flipped the page 90 degrees and went full screen.

A pleasant reading experience in a comfortable position with no book to support and reposition with every page turn.

My only fear was that some joker might edit the book and interject with a spoiler part way through. With a song if a track is spoiled you can chuck it and still enjoy the track from other sources. If you get a book from an untrusted source and it spoils it then it could ruin your enjoyment of the book completely.

I'm back slashfucks! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6653999)

< The Brain is back! >
\ ^__^
\ (oo)\_______
(__)\ )\/\
||----w |
|| ||

Re:I'm back slashfucks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654067)

slap me around the face with your sexy udders

Let's call it what it is (3, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654000)

It's copyright infringement, not a bunch of people sailing around with their swords in the air looting the natives and stashing thier booty (ARRGH!) []

Re:Let's call it what it is (1)

Kappelmeister (464986) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654014)

Language evolves, my friend. A word is defined by its usage, not by the dictionary.

The trick is knowing when to push back and when to let go. I think "piracy" has passed into the latter.

It's Piracy (2, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654026)

That's the common term for it. You're annoyed at that? Tough. I'm annoyed at people that use cold, clinical words like "infringment" so that it won't sound as bad; the implication being that since they don't agree with the notion of copyright in the first place, they'll try to make piracy sound as harmless as possible.

It's copyright infringement (5, Insightful)

Sardonis (596687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654105)

That's the correct term for it. You're annoyed at that? Tough. I'm annoyed at people that use the suggestive and emotional word "piracy", so that it will sound very unethical; the implication being that since they argree with the abuse of copyright in the first place, they'll try to make copyright infringement sound as harful as possible.

Freely adapted from the parent post.

Re:It's copyright infringement (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654149)

Freely adapted from the parent post


Re:It's Piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654130)

I'm annoyed at people that use cold, clinical words like "infringment" so that it won't sound as bad;

Tell that the the United States Code of law.

Re:It's Piracy (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654142)

Piracy used to carry the death penalty in the UK until a few years ago.

No, it's copyright infringment. (3, Insightful)

l'Abruti (7394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654159)

And if you agree with copyright, that's exactly how you should call it.
Unless you want to be a dope promoting the big publisher's propaganda [] .

Once again, the FSF tells it as it is...

It's all about having it (5, Interesting)

Hwatzu (89518) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654005)

It's been my observation that sites that distribute pirated books have far, far too many to read -- and many of the books there are obviously scanned through OCR, with no attempt made at legibility. And yet they're still offered.
For most book pirates (and pirates in general, really), it's not about getting books to read for free -- it's all about having the book. To these pirates, if you don't have a bigger collection than everyone else, you're nothin'.

Re:It's all about having it (1)

Tirel (692085) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654028)

Sir, I dunno where you get your intel, but I can asure you that most people involved in "bookwarez" actually read a very large part of what they distribute.

Re:It's all about having it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654106)

This is true... downloading books is like crack for me. I read about 5% of what I have. The idea is that I have a 40 GB virtual library of my own which I can categorize and search through anytime I want if a particular topic suddenly piques my interest. The instant availability and presence of esoteric subjects beats county public libraries hands down.

duh (5, Interesting)

Tirel (692085) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654010)

I get all my books from #bw (hi guys!). sure, it's sort of illegal, but you could similarly get it for free from the library, and if I really like the book I buy it anyway.

IMO, more interesting than the fact that book "piracy" happens is the fact that with todays "electronic entertainment systems" people are actually willing to read a book instead of playing repetative action games.

Scannned? (3, Interesting)

waffle zero (322430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654013)

I was under the impression that some of the pdfs were made from the printer's source postscript file or something to that effect. I know a guy who pull D&D manuals off KaZaa that are perfect copies. I think he's the reason that the campus computer labs instituted printer quotas.

Re:Scannned? (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654160)

I also know these D&D manuals; there are insane amounts of RPG books available on IRC, and the most common ones use to appear on Kazaa. As far as I know they're not directly from the source, but either simply scanned in (the most common) or scanned in with the text transformed to actual text with an OCR program, then using the proper D&D manual fonts to create a very high quality digital copy of a book. If done by a skilled person with a decent scanner, the copy should be almost indistinguishable from the original. The fonts that are used by Wizards of the Coast are well-known [] . So it's basically a matter of someone scanning the art at high quality, removing the text and applying the OCR'ed text using proper fonts.

Fake books (3, Interesting)

marcopo (646180) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654017)

A couple of friends of mine who received a book purporting to be the new Harry Potter a couple of days before the original release have read it. Their conclusion is that while it would have benefitted from a good editor going over it, it was basically better then the real one (which they read a few days later), with more character developement. The fake also did not ignore the effect of hormones on behavior.

It was also remarkably similar in plot, probably due to both authors reading fan discussions on what will happen for the last couple of years.

'About to Enter'? (5, Informative)

jonathan_ingram (30440) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654019)

Book piracy has been around for hundreds of years.

In the 16th and 17th century actors and stenographers would conspire to rush off unlicenced copies of popular plays. The most famous example of this is the 'Bad Quarto' of Hamlet. This appeared in print several years before the authorised edition, and was based on the memory of two or three of the principal actors, with much filling from other popular works.

In the 19th century the USA was the piracy centre of the English speaking world -- bootleg editions of every popular British work would be printed, with no money getting back to the original British writers. You can read many complaints from English authors of the time about this situation.

Even if we restrict ourselves to illegal distribution through the internet, this is not a new phenomenon. The alt.binaries.ebook newsgroup has been around for many years -- the only thing which has changed is the mass availabilty of scanners which would have cost thousands only ten years ago. So, instead of having to manually type a book to copy it, we can now scan and OCR.

Just as with music distribution, we need to emphasise that there is an incredible amount of *legal* book distribution on the internet. The standard bearer is Project Gutenberg [] -- creating free electronic copies of out of copyright texts since 1971.

New Piracy Software (4, Insightful)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654020)

So instead of Kazaa, Gnutella and Napster, book piracy will be by email? God help us! Just when I'm trying to convince my higher-ups that emailing that graphics-laden instruction manual (10 MB) to everyone in the company is NOT a good idea.

Hey! Maybe then they'll outlaw email and it will give us a chance to revamp SMTP!

Re:New Piracy Software (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654111)

Books are tiny, assuming you're just distrubuting the text of the work, and ascii bzip2s real well.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654021)

Books have been pirated for years and in just as wide distribution as any of the other illegal obtained pirated items, such as games and software. I have seen them in pdf, text, and even help file formats. I just don't see how this is news at all, maybe it might have been five years ago, but now it is just a waste of front page space.

Re:Nothing new (1)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654081)

While the idea of book piracy may not be new the "age of book piracy" is.

Perhaps it's because their is a generation so cheap that it is willing to suffer the reading of heaps of text on a screen, especially a non-CRT screen, or there is a generation that is on the rise that has read significantly more on a computer screan than they have on paper and thus have no qualms about massive reading, as in the case of the most recent Harry Potter, on a computer. Once a generation like that is in place, and assuming they like to read, then there will be just as much ado about it as there is about other piracy and rightly so.

Copy protection (1)

PyromanFO (319002) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654023)

What's worse is that the printed word has no recourse for copy protection at all. There is no way whatsoever you can discriminate between a human eye and a scanner, so how can you say it's okay for one and not the other? They'll have to jump straight to cease and desist letters.

Can be turned to the publisher/author's advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654024)

At the end of the day when I read some pirated book I simply equate it to borrowing it much like I would from a library (but without the effort of actually going there of course).

Publishers can also turn this to their advantage such as which had released many free published sci-fi books. As a result of this I am actually likely to be purchasing further books in the series I have read because I like them and want to give something back to the author - especially when they have been so kind as to release a lot of their books for free.

Re:Can be turned to the publisher/author's advanta (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654073)

"At the end of the day when I read some pirated book I simply equate it to borrowing it much like I would from a library (but without the effort of actually going there of course)."

Ahem? If you borrow a book from the library you paid for it...out of the taxes that maintains the library hance you have a reasonable expectation to be able to read the book.

Borrowing the book from someone you know who has bought it is another thing, you're borrowing the book from someone who paid for it and you'll give it back to them and either never read the book again or consider buying a copy for yourself (as what happened to me when I got into the Harry Potter Series)

Downloading a copy from a group of pirates means that there is an extremly good chance that the person you downloaded it from isn't the one who paid money for it. Plus there's the fact that you're not likely to get rid of your copy when you're done...if you like it you're going to put it onto a CD-R or other long-term storage media...all without paying for it.

There *is* a difference

I read on the palm but don't pirate (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654025)

I'm sure I'm in an extreme minority, but I read books on my Palm but only after buying the book. I get a lot more book reading done if I always have a book with me, and the only way that happens is if I put a couple on the Palm. However I always buy a copy of a book if I'm going to read it, just to stay legal.
Since I get my books from usenet, I have to grab anything that I might someday want to read when it's passing through, so I do have thousands of books on my machine that I haven't paid for. However, if I decide to read one, I go to the used book store and grab a copy (most of what I read is older SF).

It may have already started (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654027)

I've already seen people who are trying to do raw text versions of the Harry Potter books. (The link on Geocities is gone anyway.) What's there to stop people from otherwise OCRing (or for those with buckets of spare time, typing) large books such as the HP series?

Re:It may have already started (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654085)

Just go to #bookz on any major IRC server... you'd be surprised by the availability of HUGE libraries... I got my first copy of potter from IRC a few hours after the official book launch, and it's been improved since... You can find it if you want it. :)

Book Piracy (2, Insightful)

Hamfist (311248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654029)

Is a very old thing. It has been going on for a very long time.

An illegal translation of Harry Potter was being sold here (Chile). They regularly decommision tens of thousands of books at a time here.

Books suffer the same type of overcharged price fixing as CD's, so most people here can't afford them. Does that mean that the poor are denied the right to read? Libraries are basically non existent here too. Book piracy is not bad in the developed world because of fairly good libraries and greater affluence. One cannot expect a person making 200 bucks a month (or less) to buy a 10 dollar (minimum) book. Pirate copies sell for around 2 bucks. An affordable price. Your 10 dollar paperback could still make decent profit if sold for 3 bucks.

hmm (1)

miruku (642921) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654030)

computer storage could easily store the full text file of a book years ago, so why didn't it take off like movie piracy did when computers got powerful enough?

yes, book piracy on some scale is inevitable, but given the fact that its incredibly time consuming to 'rip' a book, compared to the time and effort it takes to rip a movie or music track, and given the fact that for many many people the charm in reading a book is that its on paper and it can be taken literally anywhere without them worrying that the batteries might run out, i don't think its going to impact that much on the book industry.

Self-correcting problem (1)

genessy (587377) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654031)

From the quality of most of the books scanned in that way, the problem will be self-correcting. Those that spend hours reading low quality novel images may end up blind, and not able to read at all. 'Sides, if you drop a book in the bathtub, you set it out on the porch to dry for a few hours. You drop a laptop in the bathtub, you're out a grand or two. Is that really worth the $30 you didn't want to spend on a hardcover book?

Now it's getting pointless (5, Insightful)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654032)

Piracy against the RIAA is still ilegal, but considering the way that the RIAA screws everyone (the artists included), it's understandable.

Piract against the Movie Industry is again ilegal but it can be rationalized when you consider some of the dodgy things they want to try and pull against the consumers.

Piracy against the book publishing firms makes no damn sense. They don't screw the customers, price increases for books have been very slight and can be explained by the normal rate of inflation (my personal average is $1.50 over the past 10 years) and if you really want to read the book for free there is a *legal* way to do it. Just go to the local library and check it out

There is no "robin hood" rationalization for this, there is no way to justify it, this is just a bunch of cheap fuckers who can't be bothered to fork over $18 on for a pre-order.

In my opinion it's *now* a case of the consumers (the ones sharing the books on the web) screwing the authors. Remember, JK Rowling was a starving single mother when she wrote HP:ATSS...Think about *that* when HP #6 comes out

Re: Now it's getting pointless (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654068)

> Piracy against the book publishing firms makes no damn sense.

Regardless of what they're pirating, they're going to spoil it all for the rest of us. The net's a less free place now that it was before music sharing got popular, and you can bet that it will be even less free in the future as governments continue trying to crack down on pirating.

Pirating is a "Tragedy of the Commons" on a global scale.

Re:Now it's getting pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654119)

Hi Phoenix,

I am one of these cheap fuckers. And I am
a computer geek too. I like to read books
on my Palm Pilot. I don't want to carry
dead trees with me whereever I am.
Lets have a look at legal ebooks available
now, should we?! Project Gutenberg, ...
some crappy DRM shit I can't use
how I prefer, nothing more.
Give me an ASCII-download (or even an
unencrypted PDF-one) of the books and I will
pay for it!

Cheap Fucker

Re:Now it's getting pointless (1)

NevermindPhreak (568683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654120)

i really dont think anyone is losing money over this. like you said, if someone wants to read it for free, they can just go to the library. the only reason i would grab a book off the internet is because its just eaisier in some situations. if someone honestly thinks theyre "sticking it to the man" by pirating books, then they should rethink their whole strategy of fighting the machine whatever the hell theyre trying to accomplish.

Re:Now it's getting pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654136)

Have you ever paid $120 for the newest edition of a college textbook that sucked? This technology will make sure that we never have to again.

Heh (1)

Crasoum (618885) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654161)

"If you really want to read the book for free there is a *legal* way to do it. Just go to the local library and check it out"

Ironically this is the same place you can get movies, and CDs legally; the problem is people have to return them.

You don't have to return pirated copies.

"no one likes reading on a computer" (1)

mercx (316918) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654035)

perhaps... but PDAs on the other hand, are very compelling platforms on which to read ebooks...

Hopefully, no (5, Insightful)

JimDabell (42870) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654038)

Hopefully, "book piracy" won't suddenly catch on. I suspect it will slowly rise, but a sharp increase will only prompt publishers to have a knee-jerk reaction and jump towards some kind of lock-down attempt. A slow increase will give publishers time to think about the most sensible way of altering their business model in the face of copyright infringement. Some have found that giving away electronic copies is profitable [] .

Re:Hopefully, no (1)

AsmordeanX (615669) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654157)

What can a book publisher do? Unlike software, you can't copyprotect a book.

Reading on PDA's, not computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654039)

I don't think there are many people reading books on their computer screens. Many of my friends got their hands on the latest Harry Potter book, but used it only to show off, nobody's going to sit behind their screen for hours to read a book.
On the contrary, I love reading on my PDA. I haven't touched a paper book in years (heavy, no backlight etc.), my Sony Clie is just fine for reading ebooks.

The old argument... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654040)

The old argument that no one likes reading on a computer has pretty much eroded.

I dont think it has eroded. I cant stand reading books or long articles/essays on screen. Although I do have numerous books in electronic form its just not the same...

I read when I go to bed. I can curl up with a book as they say, I can hardly do that with a crt screen :)

Besides the people that buy books will still buy books. The recent harry potter book proves that. Even though it was on the internet people didn't wait for a 0-day warez copy. They went out en masse to purchase a real book

Solution. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654042)

Print all the books in X11 fonts. Those font suck so bad that my OCR program segfaulted when trying to read in a chapter.

Re:Solution. (1)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654084)

Print all the books in X11 fonts. Those font suck so bad that my OCR program segfaulted when trying to read in a chapter.

Haha! Excellent.

Re:Solution. (1)

hype7 (239530) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654135)

Well, at least let the "association" that springs up to "protect" book writers have an appropriate acronym this time. RIAA/MPAA doesn't translate to something easily spoken...

how about BwRAA... aka BRAA, or the Book Writers Association of America. Least that way they'll sound like the idiots they are.

or maybe BITCH - Book Industry Technology Control and Harmonisation

I'm sure people can come up with better names :)

-- james

Getting books for free is easy (2, Insightful)

waffle zero (322430) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654043)

Although my method involves going to the local public library and signing them out.

Encourages kids to read (2, Insightful)

BillsPetMonkey (654200) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654052)

is the official reason the Harry Potter phenomenon is labelled A Good Thing.

The other reason is that it also encourages adults to read. I've got few objections to literature being pirated on the internet, and although they wouldn't admit it in public, I'd imagine the books authors don't object much either. If you really love a book, you'll want a hard copy.
It makes a change from all the "How To Drive a Woman Wild in 30 Seconds.pdf" crap circulating on Kazaa anyway.

Would you object to your kids downloading Shakespeare's sonnets from th'Internet?
Then what's wrong with downloading modern literature from a personal development point of view?

No substitute for the real thing (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654053)

I love books. Always have. I can hang out in a bookstore all day long. I love the smell of them (even the musty smell of older books), the feel of good books in my hand. When you find a book with really nice paper and binding, you've found a treasure. This even goes for paperbacks.

There is no substitute for holding that book in your hands, and having the pleasure of turning the pages. It's slow, perhaps (unless you're one of those heathen speedreaders; reading was meant to be enjoyed), but it's a satisfying expirience.

As much as I love computers and all things gadget-like, no electronic contraption with a small sreen will ever replace my books. And having a personal library is just plain damn cool.

Re:No substitute for the real thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654109)

That smell is mildew.

digital paper (1)

Councilor Hart (673770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654123)

As a frequent bookreader, I can't imagine either reader a book on a computerscreen or a pda, or whatever.
But I am trying to hold back on my buying habits, because I hope that digital books (made out of digital paper) will come around soon.
I don't mind buying books, but they do take up a lot of space. And taking several books with you is also not very interesting.

So I am hoping that I can buy that digital book soon, and buy, download, store on HD, load up in digital book all those books I want to read sooner rather then later.

The old argument still holds.. (1)

Fuzuli (135489) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654054)

The old argument that no one likes reading on a computer has pretty much eroded.....

Why ? Maybe for some lucky guys with a laptop, and a fine LCD screen, this is true, but for me, especially when reading non-technical material, like a good science fiction book or my favorite magazine, holding paper, while reading is much more better than sitting in front of a monitor. Even if with a fine LCD screen, paper gives the feeling of reading like no other medium can.


grug0 (696014) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654056)

Avast, me hearties! I'll slice your throats unless you give us Seriously, why use the term "piracy"? What's wrong with IP theft"? Not sensationalist enough?

Now, academic texts aren't likely to fuel a roaring black market trade.

Of course they will! Textbooks are one of the few types of book that people are forced to buy. And students are usually both pov and tech-savvy. The added benefit of having an electronic version of a textbook on CD rather than lugging around a textbook would actually be a big advantage.

Jamie Oliver.. Metallica of our time? (1)

Woxbert (315027) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654060)

I managed to get a few copies of Jamie's latest book in a Word Doc sent to my work account - none to my personal accounts which I get about 50 times as much email to.

Firstly, it seems that particular "book" primarily propagated itself through company email addresses - most of the old email addresses left on the email were from investment banks, consultancies or PR agencies.

Talking to people about it, I was surprised how completely oblivious all these highly paid executives were to the concept of copyright and IP law. Firstly, there was no moral conundrum of "should I take it" and secondly there was never really any thought about whether it was copyright infringement or not.

This is worrying for groups like the RIAA who want people to be as afraid of copyright infringement as they are of saying to their friends that they'd like to murder the President of the US.

It's also positive from the point of view of people who would like to see a better definition of "fair use" and impose a slightly greater burden on the IP owner to actually retain the copyright to the products (for example that the product has to be available to purchase for them to stop the product from going into the public domain).

First SCO-related post! (1)

pwroberts (600985) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654062)

SCO wi... oh, never mind.

Seriously though, I think that as new generations are increasingly accustomed to reading stuff on a screen, perhaps today's teenage MSN junkies will be tomorrow's book pirates? That is, if reading survives as a pastime against competition from trashy, lowest-common-denominator TV and (as someone said) video games.

I still love the feel and appearance of a shiny new book, though. A PDF is much harder to cherish and try not to get all dog-eared.

BIG difference... (2, Funny)

403Forbidden (610018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654063)

Books don't ALL cost 20 bucks (in fact much much less normally) and there isn't just one page that is good.

Dead tree editions are the best protection... (1)

gearmonger (672422) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654071)

...for preventing book piracy. While scanning and OCR'ing isn't all that tough, it usually takes a while and is more trouble than your average citizen is willing to go through. Plus, the resulting quality sucks most of the time -- lots of OCR errors and the occasional missing page. Once digital distribution becomes the norm for books, and it will (just like movies and music), then piracy will take off (just like movies and music). So when we see the major publishers dragging their feet on digital distribution models, you know they think they're staring at their own funerals (just like movies and music). Too bad there aren't any real visionaries in that industry.

We have standards (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654075)

I download quite a lot of books. Now, most (if not all) are books I already own; this goes for fiction as well as non-fiction. I have also considered getting a scanner and OCR software to scan all those books I don't already have in machine-readable form (no good OCR scanning software for Linux as far as I've been able to tell, though). I also have several directories filled with papers downloaded from databases or from the authors' homepages.

So, if I already own the books, and books are nicer to read on paper (and they are), why have them? Convenience. Say you are going on a two-week trip. You could bring one, maybe two, books with you before it gets cumbersome. If I have my laptop with me, on the other hand, I have more or less my entire library available. This is great, both for having reference litterature with me, and for whiling away a few hours with a novel in some hotel.

The benefit is not only when traveling either. WHerever and whenever I have my computer, my books travel along. And they are searchable - this is absolutely invaluable.

A small note to other researchers: if you are putting up your papers for download, would you _please_ not just have them as PDF:s of scanned images of the pages in the paper?! They become utterly opaque to searching and indexing, and when I search through my collection for relevant stuff, I will miss your paper and you will miss a citation.

no, "we" don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654096)

I just dl'ed the entire D&D 3rd edition, for example. I only own the player's handbook!

Re:We have standards (0, Flamebait)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654156)

And they are searchable

It's called an index. My god are people really this stupid? I want to know what euclids algorithhm is, I flip to the back, look for euclid and goto the page.

I mean honestly how do you think people read texts before computers? Read every page looking for one particular element?

As for convenience, with a laptop you have to worry about batteries dying, software working properly and generally a laptop is hella bigger than a few paper back books.

As for your comment about researchers. I'd think most don't just scan paper anymore. LaTeX is fairly popular for academic submissions. LaTeX documents can be converted to many popular formats such as html, PS and PDF.


Whatever happened to ebook readers (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654076)

I remember seeing some articles about 2 or 3 years ago saying how they were working on ebook readers. The "paper" had dipole magnetics - if polarized one way, they would appear black; otherwise, they would appear white. The only time it needed power was to switched the paper -- IE, load a new book. Whatever happened to those?

eCopies of books have been known to increase sales (4, Interesting)

Hungus (585181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654086)

Baen [] has make a point of releasing its books free online. [] Their reasoning [] includes such as this "Losses any author suffers from piracy are almost certainly offset by the additional publicity which, in practice, any kind of free copies of a book usually engender. Whatever the moral difference, which certainly exists, the practical effect of online piracy is no different from that of any existing method by which readers may obtain books for free or at reduced cost: public libraries, friends borrowing and loaning each other books, used book stores, promotional copies, etc." and they note that "After all, Dave Weber's On Basilisk Station has been available for free as a "loss leader" for Baen's for-pay experiment "Webscriptions" for months now. And -- hey, whaddaya know? -- over that time it's become Baen's most popular backlist title in paper!"

Books on audio & college textbooks (1)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654092)

With books, the price isn't so high - really. The price of printing out a whole book for convenient consumption would be high for most individuals already. And no one wants to show up anywhere with a huge pile of large black-and-white pages binded together, complete with scanning artifacts and no cover. The effort and time to wait for the book to print would be prohibitive also. And books still have the advantage of being easier to use than an handheld electronic device while sitting in, um, random places. The only advantages to an electronic device is searcheability, backlight, and weight - most of the time, those aren't needed.

The only real role I could see for "piracy" for literature is:

1. Books on audio - those things are EXPENSIVE. And because they are mostly just a golden voice over a work you can get for much cheaper, the price seems a bit silly to most people. The most appropriate way to semi-legally "pirate" such a work would be to have individuals form an online community to make their own recordings, as a media transfer mechanism. After all, if reading a book to a group of friends is legal, and reading a book over a phone to a friend would be legal, why would not reading a book over a network to many friends be legal?

2. College textbooks - also very expensive. Here, searcheability and weight would be the key issue. If it were available, expecially at a cheaper cost than real textbooks, I'd definetly prefer to have my textbooks on laptop. I definetly wouldn't be surprised to see a community of textbook scanners spring up eventually if online books are not made available.

3. Archiving. Already being done. See Project Gutenburg [] and other sites.

4. Translating works not available in other nations/languages. Also known more popularly as "scanlating". See ToriyamaWorld [] , and many, many others to find sites that generally respect the copyright of authors, but want to share works that have not been licenced in the U.S..

Ryan Fenton

Re:Books on audio & college textbooks (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654164)

I think you've hit the nail on the head with TEXTBOOKS, because of the factors you mentioned:

1) weight
2) searchability
3) high cost

and I would add:

4) Most textbook purchases are involuntary
5) Most students don't read the textbook from cover to cover - mainly they need the assigned problems, and whatever is necessary to complete them
6) Many students are file-swappers
7) College students are younger and not hung up on having a paper copy - no need for expensive & time consuming printing

8) Laptops are perfect for college students and arent' prohibitively expensive anymore
9) Many college students are poor
10) Hand-scanning a 400 page textbook is so crazy a college student would probably do it

It seems to me like all the factors are there. As students, how many of us purchased wrecked copies of textbooks just to save $15? How many waited hours in line to sell back those books we never really wanted for pennies on the dollar?

publishing books is tougher than publishing music (1)

castellan (123741) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654095)

As tactile, hi-rez, analog and relatively inexpensive, books resist wide scale piracy. Blockbuster content will always be shared: photocopied, scanned, loaned, resold. But blockbuster revenue powers publication of low run books. Piracy of blockbuster titles limits the profits with which low run books can be published.

I worry more about the near-death of small, independent book stores, at the hands of large chains (Borders, B&N, Chapters) and the retail giants (WalMart, Costco). So I buy books from small independent booksellers when possible.

many reasons for downloading books. (1)

blanks (108019) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654097)

I think some readers are missing some of the benefits or reasons for downloading books off the Internet.

How many people here have read spidermen #1? Or an out of print first edition book.

It gives people the ability to read books/comics that they would never be able to find, or own. Plus, if you're in need of a book for a school project, (or a book for collage) you now have access to many resources off the net.

And finally, what about libraries? Sure the library did buy the book, or received it through a grant, but their are many ways to get books for free, or near to nothing.

I'm not saying that stealing/downloading copyrighted material is right, but I'm pointing out the reasons why some people would.

Re:many reasons for downloading books. (1)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654115)

"It gives people the ability to read books/comics that they would never be able to find, or own."

That I blame on the publishers. If they were to put them online and charge a *reasonable* fee (say monthly/unlimited use) then they can make money off of the out of print comics with a minimal amount of investment (Minimal opposed to the costs of re-release). People could still collect the comics and a mint condition Spiderman #1 would still command a huge price, but the rest of us who could care less about having it sitting in thier closet could read the story and enjoy it.

Where's the scam? (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654100)

Oliver's publisher, is warning people that the e-mail is a scam and the recipes and images contained in it are stolen from old Naked Chef cookbooks.

How is the originator making money out of the deal? Unless its the ISPs charging by bandwidth...

Book piracy may become reality??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654102)


furst (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654104)

I am the first fucking post daddie-o!!!

It's simple (1)

Muttonhead (109583) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654121)

Methods of distribution are changing. There is no way to hold back the tide. It is that simple. This isn't about morality or hurting someone's business. It's about a sea change that is overall beneficial, eventually to all. What is the alternative? Shutting down the Internet?

How much Harry Potter has sold? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654129)

If piracy is so widespread how it can make tens (or hundreds) of millions in sales?

Besides, you can always go to your local library and borrow books for free.

Fun facts about SPEWS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654143)

FUN FACT NUMBER ONE: Usenet advocates of SPEWS write anti-spam erotic fanfiction. You thought nothing could top those Pretender/Stargate SG-1 slash crossovers you've read, well time to reconsider. Keep in mind that every single one of them combines sadism with a healthy dose of self insertion. Here's a sample from "Dalliance Hosting" by
Sara rang the doorbell nervously. She couldn't believe that just yesterday she had been sending out bulk e-mails promoting her webcam. Now that she had seen the truth she wanted nothing more than to show her gratitude to Peterp however he demanded.
"Kneel before Fenris," said the leather clad man who answered the door.

She obeyed him and he attached a leash to her neck.

"Now you shall service my mighty staff," he sat in a Stanheyser ergonomic leather executive chair, his legs spread, and he unbuckled the clasp on his codpiece.

She was in awe of the sheer size, she had never seen a doohickey so big and as her lips parted to touch his thingy she could hear the cronjobs clicking softly away in the background. They were a hypnotic lull.

"Yes Sara," murmured Fenris/Peterp, "soon you will be mine entirely."

His thing was really, really big. Like at least twenty inches.

I don't know about you but if I had a gasket you could consider it fully blown. I don't think I even have to tell you how much steam is emerging from my starched collar as I pull it away from my neck with my index finger!

FACT NUMBER TWO: SPEWS.ORG was founded and financed by seven men in Southern Russia who formed a sort of commune near the Caucuses. All of them were wealthy American expatriates who fled the country for child molestation in the early nineties. From their bizarre cult-like home they founded two newsgroups and their supposedly anti-spam system in an effort to slowly erode e-mail traffic on the internet until only their own private server remained unblocked. Once every other server on the internet is shut down the seven men plan to begin spamming all e-mail addresses around the world with advertisements for their "Preteen Russian Brides" service. Desperate to receive any e-mail whatsoever, nerds will finally embrace the cause of child molestation completely and the seven will return to America as conquering heroes.

FACT NUMBER THREE: Network admins who use the SPEWS.ORG blocklist are seven times more likely to die unloved and alone than those who either use no blocklist or one of many less draconian SPEWS alternatives.

FACT NUMBER FOUR: Network admins who use the SPEWS.ORG blocklist are thirty eight times more likely to attempt to hot glue a realistic latex vagina to a skateboard and call it by their mother's first name while having intercourse with it than those who either use no blocklist or one of many less draconian SPEWS alternatives.

FACT NUMBER FIVE: One in three people who have permanently blacklisted someone for complaining that SPEWS is unfair have also been arrested for attempting to coerce sex from zoo animals. Nine out of ten of these people have also been imprisoned for failure to pay child support to sea turtles.

FACT NUMBER SIX: The anti-spam people on the SPEWS related newsgroups don't just post social security numbers and credit card numbers of suspected spammers, they also post photos of suspected spammers going to the bathroom. That doesn't seem that bad until you realize that they could not have possibly had a camera there, bringing me to the next fact.

FACT NUMBER SEVEN: Proponents of SPEWS to a man worship dark powers and perform occult rituals in the privacy of the basement apartments they are renting from their parents. SPEWS supporters have also participated in no less than 800 leprechaun abductions over the past decade and it is suspected that they can astral project.

FACT NUMBER EIGHT: If you run a network with any significant number of people using the SPEWS blocklist will cause them to be murdered one after another by a mysterious black cloaked vigilante called The Night Shadow. No matter how hard you attempt to track him down he will always be one step ahead and will taunt you by posting photos of the victim on hot-or-not and then e-mailing you through anonymous proxy.

FACT NUMBER NINE: One thousand monkeys on one thousand typewriters are significantly better at differentiating spam from legitimate e-mail than SPEWS is. In fact SPEWS is so horrible that tests run at our Loc Cruces facility indicated Wil Wheaton's severed hand, while completely motionless, is still better at picking legitimate e-mails out of blocked spam.

FACT NUMER TEN: SPEWS supporters are intensely interested in Dungeons & Dragons but they make really shitty players because they always power game barbarians and roleplay their characters by screaming whenever the dungeon master is describing a monster. They also keep up constant pressure to have adventures revolve around rescuing unconscious female elves and demand first pick on all treasure. Hey, don't look at me like that, I'm just telling you what I found out.

Re:Fun facts about SPEWS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6654162)

Mod parent up it's fucking hilarious!!!

Excuse me, I think I'm stuck in a time warp... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#6654165)

...because I seem to remember that text were some of the first things you could download off BBSs in a reasonable amount of time, even before porn .gifs became the latest fad.

Sure it happened, and I'm sure it still happens, but compared to actually reading a book, e-books are terrible. Tell me when they make some good electronic paper, and maybe I'll change my mind...

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