e-Book piracy

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e-Book piracy

Postby AndyBaxman » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:56 am

the Metro had this on its front page this morning:

Ebook Piracy "is collosal threat"

But award-winning crime writer David Hewson believes the number is the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

He said: ‘It’s colossal. It’s really got big over the last year, I guess because so many people are buying ereaders. Everything I have ever had published is out there now.’

He added: ‘We all saw the damage this did to the music industry. It isn’t a bunch of Robin Hood geeks – it is very organised. You can call it file sharing or piracy or whatever, but they are thieves.’


Oh, really:-

I see we are expected to pay almost the hardback price for Fallen Angel, when the comparative publishing and distribution costs must be minuscule.

Clarkson's latest and greatest is an even bigger rip-off.

So, it seems, the publishing industry is making the same mistake as the music industry. Rather than offering eBooks at reasonable prices, they assume, incorrectly, that people equate a purely electronic version with a paper version and think they can charge the same (or more) for it.

The problem is that people see this as pure profiteering and, hence, see nothing morally wrong with downloading a dodgy (free) copy.

The trouble, then, is that once someone has decided they don't want to pay the rip-off price for one book, then looked around and discovered they don't have to, they are much more likely to get dodgy versions of other, more reasonably priced, eBooks.

Like the music industry, the publishers are failing to understand the digital marketplace. Lets hope they wise-up before its too late.
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Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:23 am

Well put Andy :)
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:50 am

Love the line "‘We all saw the damage this did to the music industry."
Rather, the damage the Music Industry did to itself by failing to adopt new marketing models and charging the same or more for DRM-infested electronic copies, which can't be lent or resold like a physical copy.

Looks like the paper publishing industry is making all the same mistakes.
Interestingly enough some authors like Cory Doctorow reckon that they sell more physical copies if they give away the electronic ones.
Not sure how long that will last now the Kindle is so popular.
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Postby AndyBaxman » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:05 pm

The thing is, with regard to the Kindle, the publishers aren't just shooting themselves in the foot. They are machine-gunning them clean off.

Getting books on the Kindle is just so damn easy. Go to Kindle store (on the Kindle), pick book, click buy, 30 seconds later start reading.

Personally I don't mind paying a few quid for that convenience and, again personally, will generally pay the paperback price for a Kindle version. Compared to music and movies, the Kindle's sheer convenience offers a massive hook to get people to use the Kindle Store rather than farting around finding a book, downloading it to your PC, connecting the Kindle and uploading the book to it.

Yet the idiot publishers push the monetary value of the convenience beyond breaking point. They try to charge prices where money saved via the aggro of obtaining gash copies of books outweighs the convenience of the Kindle Store.

Another thing the publishers need to wake up to is that pirates don't just offer single books, they offer an author's whole portfolio (and more) in one download. So a single overpriced eBook can result in the author losing, not only the sale of a single overpriced eBook, but of everything he/she has ever written.
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Postby pastychomper » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:47 pm

I wonder how long it will be before some large publisher tries to buy up and shut down Project Gutenberg... :roll:
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Postby AndyBaxman » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:51 pm

Here's another one:-

Surface Detail

Kindle £8.99
Hardback £8.83
Paperback £6.02

Here's a comment posted under the Metro article (online)
you are absolutely spot on regarding publishers and the costing of ebooks. As a publisher who produces some of our catalog as kindle editions we naturally have access to our own set files, artwork, blurb and ISBNs. This makes creating Kindle versions so easy as to factor in our own time making them would be a dishonest act. Hence we price our kindle edition at around 70p which is ten times cheaper than their printed counterparts.


Which, if this person is for real, shows the scale of the profiteering racket run by some publishers.
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Postby heiowge » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:19 pm

What's weird is they think that sharing books is wrong. Does that mean every library across the country is destined to close due to sharing of copyrighted media?

If I read a book and like it, I share it. I lend it to my mum or my mate. When I've finished with it, I may give it to a charity shop.

I can't do this sort of thing nowadays with music (ok, maybe giving a cd away) as it's not legal to share.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:06 pm

pastychomper wrote:I wonder how long it will be before some large publisher tries to buy up and shut down Project Gutenberg... :roll:


Wouldn't matter if they did. The books on Gutenburg are public domain in most countries, so anyone could republish them. Google were the big threat to the publishing industry as they were trying to put books which are not in the public domain on-line.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:11 pm

heiowge wrote:What's weird is they think that sharing books is wrong. Does that mean every library across the country is destined to close due to sharing of copyrighted media?


Library lending is supposed to result in authors getting a modest financial return.

If I read a book and like it, I share it. I lend it to my mum or my mate. When I've finished with it, I may give it to a charity shop.

I can't do this sort of thing nowadays with music (ok, maybe giving a cd away) as it's not legal to share.


The point of difference between the old type of lending of books, CDs and such like compared to passing around digital copies is that I can lend my one copy of a book to one person at a time, then they have to give it back if I want to lend it to someone else, if they want their own copy, they are probably going to buy one, as it's easier that photocopying and binding the copies themselves. If I distribute digital copies, then I can do so to as many people as I can get the bandwidth to upload them, and with bittorrent that's very little problem, and then each person has his/her own copy as good as the original.
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Postby Ram » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:27 pm

AndyBaxman wrote:Here's another one:-

Surface Detail

Kindle £8.99
Hardback £8.83
Paperback £6.02



I was going to get the eBook of MS Visual C# 2008, blah blah, but at only £2 more @ £17.45 I decided on the real thing, low and behold it as a pdf of the book, on the accompanying CD.

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Postby heiowge » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:13 am

Ram wrote:... low and behold it as a pdf of the book, on the accompanying CD.


Any chance of upping a copy to The Pirate Bay :lol: :lol: :lol: :twisted:
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Postby AndyBaxman » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:31 am

Rhakios wrote:The point of difference between the old type of lending of books, CDs and such like compared to passing around digital copies is that I can lend my one copy of a book to one person at a time, then they have to give it back if I want to lend it to someone else, if they want their own copy, they are probably going to buy one, as it's easier that photocopying and binding the copies themselves. If I distribute digital copies, then I can do so to as many people as I can get the bandwidth to upload them, and with bittorrent that's very little problem, and then each person has his/her own copy as good as the original.


You can't lend, sell, give (or copy) a Kindle edition of a book. Its tied to your Amazon account, and that's that (though, obviously, there are ways and means). This restriction makes the high price of certain Kindle editions (compared to the paper editions) even more obscene. If I buy a hardback (for less then the Kindle edition in the case of Surface Detail), once I have read it I can sell it on, lend it or give it away. I can do none of those things with the Kindle edition.

IIRC, the OFT is investigating the e-Book pricing cartel operated by certain publishers. Lets hope they slap them down. Hard. I would imagine that eBook distributors (like Amazon) will want this situation resolved as well as it can only be bad for their business.

Kindle editions can be leant to another Kindle user in the US, but not in the UK (again, the publishers throwing their weight around) and a Kindle lending library operates in the US for a number of titles (again, not in the UK, again because of the publishers).
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Postby Rhakios » Tue Apr 19, 2011 7:32 pm

Kindle is not the only ereader. Come to that, it isn't the only one with ridiculously over-priced books, or specious reasoning being used to "excuse" the fact.
I wasn't attempting to justify high prices by pointing out the problems inherent in electronic publishing, I was merely mentioning them.
As has already been observed, the greatest encouragement to piracy is the current high price level of ebooks.
I wonder how long it will be until a "Kindle Jon" makes it possible to read any Kindle book anywhere?
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Postby heiowge » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:41 pm

My wife has a hanvon one we got from ebuyer. She thought it was great. Until we charged it first time. Now we're getting a replacement after the screen refused to change.
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:35 pm

I personally object to the Kindle mechanism, and I refuse to pay extra for a digital copy.
I never read books more than once, unless they are reference books or manuals.
I see no point in carrying around every book I've ever read, as I will probably never read them again.
I no longer buy DVDs, I rent them, watch them once and return them.
And no, I don't copy them or rip them to disc.
I realised that I had a hundred or so DVDs that I had watched once, and felt no desire to watch ever again.
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