PDA

View Full Version : Kindle=E-Books=Piracy...Is this the beginning of the end for books?



MagicMan
03-28-2009, 01:56 AM
Make a book electronic and theft is simple, fast, and profitable. Keep it paper, theft is just too much effort.

Yes the book readers are pricy, in 2 years you will be buying them for $50 or less, just like the $8,000 plasma tv that sells for $699. When the 64k PC was released at $8.000 from IBM, Commodore came out with a $1,500 version one year later. All electronics nose dives in price...like the price of books will nose drive when electronics supporting them take off.

The long and short...writing will no longer be a career path, since you can't really make a living from writing today, and in five years you might be able to fill your gas tank once a month from book revenues. Electronics and piracy will make writing a hobbyist activity. The quality will suffer and the future contributions will gradually fade. I guess we always have what has already been written.

Are Kindle and the Sony Book Reader the rats carrying the pandemic that will eradicate the production of new books?

Smiles
Bob

I just found the new Koontz novel (not even in MM paperback...still HC) free...the whole book on the internet.

blacbird
03-28-2009, 02:08 AM
I'll add this problem to my list of things I'll never need to worry about.

caw

donroc
03-28-2009, 02:31 AM
Kindle -- as in kindle wood, kindle the fire -- a metaphor for Bradbury's classic?

Hildegarde
03-28-2009, 02:32 AM
Make a book electronic and theft is simple, fast, and profitable. Keep it paper, theft is just too much effort.


I just found the new Koontz novel (not even in MM paperback...still HC) free...the whole book on the internet.


Eh - people are still going to buy books, just like they still buy music and videos (and yes, even still go to movies). Yes, DRM is going to be an issue. Yes, some people are still going to pirate them all.

I can't spend too much time worrying about this.

Zoombie
03-28-2009, 02:40 AM
The trick is, WRITE GOOD BOOKS!


Seriously. There are a percentage of people who will always steal if they can. This has been shown by the gaming industry. PEople who slap more DRM on their games just end up pissing customers off, losing business, and creating more piracy. The people who have light or non-existent DRM sell just as well as those who don't, and in some cases better. And people LIKE them a LOT more cause they don't have to fucking jump through goddamn hoops to get their games!

So, boo! No DRM on our books!

I'll buy them, cause I'll want to see more of them. Some people will steal. Those people are called assholes for a reason.

Clair Dickson
03-28-2009, 02:46 AM
Few people will bother stealing books by authors they don't know. If no one knows you, they're not likely to steal your works. And not very likely to buy it.

Also, if ebooks are so dangerous, why are many published authors (with support of their publishers) giving ebooks away for FREE? There was a whole slew of them recently.

Ebooks being stolen is as great a threat to writer's profits as library rentals are. If you're selling so few books that you're counting pennies and individual readers, you're already in bad shape as an author. Most authors just want to get their books into as many people's hands as possible. This includes giveaways (which is sometimes done with real books too-- like contests that give away books-- oh no a lost sale!!) because that can build word of mouth.

If I like the book, I'll tell my friends. They may go buy the books. If three of them do and each tells three people who buy the book... that's now 12 people who bought the book because I read a free copy and loved it so much I was free marketing for the author. Word of mouth is one of the best things a writer can have.

So, I hope someday that I am popular enough that people want to steal my stories. Someday!

Kathleen42
03-28-2009, 02:49 AM
In my opinion, many of the people who pirate are probably not people who would have bought the book in the first place.

And I do agree to an extent with Zoombie on the DRM issue. In some cases, they have made it bloody hard to use things you legally pay for. Before I got my iPod, I used Napster. My iPod won't play a single track that I downloaded from Napster.

CheshireCat
03-28-2009, 02:51 AM
The long and short...writing will no longer be a career path, since you can't really make a living from writing today, and in five years you might be able to fill your gas tank once a month from book revenues. Electronics and piracy will make writing a hobbyist activity. The quality will suffer and the future contributions will gradually fade. I guess we always have what has already been written.

You know, part of me wishes people would quit saying what MagicMan says in his first sentence about nobody being able to make a living writing today.

I have made a very, very nice living writing for more than twenty years. I have many friends who also support themselves and various numbers of family members with their writing. We work hard, we sell to traditional publishers, and we make good money. Most of us have been at this a long time.

So part of me, as I said, wants to deny this "truth" I see so often written that it's impossible to make a living at this.

Another part of me figures if you haven't done the research to show you writing can, in fact, provide a nice living, then ... okay.

As for the latter bit about technology and piracy making writing a hobbyist activity in which nothing of quality will ever be published again ... if you really feel this way then, hey, don't quit your day job.

I happen to believe my life's work is worth a living wage, and though I have a decidedly cynical view of the "business" end of publishing, I do not subscribe to all this doom and gloom about the future of writing.

Storytelling has always been a part of humanity. It always will be. The forms and venues may change, but the ability to tell a story, and tell it well, will always be valued.

And best of luck to those of you starting your careers now.

:D

narnia
03-28-2009, 03:26 AM
I can write fast, I'll just pick up the pace a bit. Five years? lotsa time, lotsa time .... :whip:

In my travels over the past two years I have met many authors who write for a living and do very well, and not all of them are 'big names'.

And thanks for the good luck wishes, CeCe! ;)

:Sun:

Mr Flibble
03-28-2009, 03:40 AM
You know people steal books from book shops don't you?

E-books - cheaper to sell yes, but I'll make almost exactly the same amount per book print and e-book. There is a big piracy problem currently, true. There probably always will be and it'll be factored in - in exactly the same way my local library has a set amount in their budget to replace stolen books. The only difference being - the print author makes money off the replacement, so the theft might earn them something!

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 03:45 AM
People say that about music... digital music will be the death of the industry. And for a while, they really believed that was true.

Well, the industry is still thriving. People are still buying. People are still making music. In fact, more and more people are making music and using the digital media as a viable distribution channel.

I mean, we can have free books now -- just go to the library. And people do steal books from the library or stores.

Theft has existed since the beginning of time. Still, by and large, people are going to want to buy and keep the music they love. They will do the same with books.

In fact, the advancement of technologies would make it easier to acquire content, and that means reaching a much wider audience and become more convenient to shop (oooh, now they don't have to go to damn store 50 miles away to buy the book -- just order it online and have instant access to it on your reader), and that means more $$$ and wider distribution... That's the whole idea behind mass market paperbacks anyway -- large volume, cheap production (and people do steal them at the Kroger), cheaper prices and wider availability. Digital distribution is going to be even larger, cheaper and wider.


I've heard this talk forever... digital music is going to kill the industry... TV is going to kill movies... P2P is going to kill the software industry... etc. etc. etc. Well, they seem to all be doing very well, still.

Write a good book. Provide great content. And people will gladly open their wallets for it. Those who want to steal would not buy anyway, so they're not your potential buyers to begin with.

KCathy
03-28-2009, 03:49 AM
I'm not that old, but I can remember when the VCR was going to put home video out of business because everyone would just copy their movies. Yeah, there are more bootleggers out there, but I still paid $14.95 for Barbie Dum-belina last week. The home video market seems to be doing just fine, and I don't think Dean Koontz is chewing his nails at night because his latest is floating around cyberspace.

Kathleen42
03-28-2009, 03:55 AM
Actually, if it weren't for bootlegs, I wouldn't have spent hundreds of dollars on anime. Fans subbed it and passed it around. When series I liked were eventually released in North America, I bought them (even at the scary price of $50/dvd).

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 04:07 AM
WOW...that's my problem...the people who should be concerned are advocates or apathetic.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 04:07 AM
There are always thieves, and digital media does make it easier to steal. But the question of the OP is based on the assumption that everyone is a thief, and we will steal whenever we can. That's a pretty grim view of the world. True, sometimes it's true, and human nature kicks in and people want their free lunch. But our economy and capitalism is based on the fact that if you make something people want, they will pay for it. This doesn't change whether you're selling a box of cereal or a book or a music file.

Besides, there are copy protection stuff that would make it more difficult for 90% of the population. But is it worth it? Apple doesn't seem to think so, and they're taking off the DRM stuff from their iTune catalog.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 04:10 AM
WOW...that's my problem...the people who should be concerned are advocates or apathetic.

It's your assumption that people like us should be concerned. However, you have no basis for your concern except certain fear of what might happen because you assume everyone is a thief. We've given you prior examples -- TV didn't kill movies; digital movies didn't kill home video sales; and digital music didn't kill the music industry.

Kathleen42
03-28-2009, 04:25 AM
WOW...that's my problem...the people who should be concerned are advocates or apathetic.

You believe we should be concerned. Obviously, not all of us feel the same way.

From a personal perspective, I think it sucks that people pirate. I myself purchase content legally (college anime days aside) but I don't think pirating is as dangerous as some people would like to believe. The assumption that all of these people would be purchasing the content if it were not available online just doesn't make sense to me.

It's a bit like the worry over the Kindle's text to speech feature. On paper, it can be made to look like a threat. Many people, Neil Gaiman included (and I'm just adding him in because he has books which could be impacted whereas I'm unpublished and easy to shrug off), think the worry over it was blown out of poportion.

mscelina
03-28-2009, 04:53 AM
People buy my books for their Kindle or their Mobipockets or their laptops all the time. Because I run daily Google searches for my titles, I can find--and report--pirates to the appropriate places and have their sites removed and/or shut down. Saying that e-reader technology will kill off the publishing industry is akin to saying that second-hand bookstores or book swapping groups or the people who sit in B&N drinking their lattes reading an unbought book will kill off the industry. Sure--there are plenty of thieves out there who pirate novels, movies, music and so forth. But as Maestro and the others have said, these aren't people who would be part of the buying public anyway.

Storm Dream
03-28-2009, 04:54 AM
I don't see this happening within the next five years. I think the folks on the world right now have been brought up with books, magazines, etc, tangible things they can hold in their hands and read.

It's that next generation that is the problem. Don't know what to call it, but it's the group that will be brought up with these inexpensive Kindles and other eBook readers. They may cause trouble for printed books because they'll be so used to seeing things on a screen, holding a book will feel alien to them.

Or it may not. Who knows?

I won't get started on DRM. I ripped a CD to one computer and it wouldn't let me move it to another computer. I bought the CD and both machines, but evidently DRM didn't believe me. :P

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 07:03 AM
Maestroworks....

The music industry has alternate streams of income...tours, movie/TV appearances, radio play time payments. But still, look at the industry revenue totals, a decline of 20% over the last five years with experts pointing a finger directly at piracy.

The 2007 Academy awards got the big boo for pleading with the public to go to the movies. That indicates financial problems as well as a number of specialty production companies closing down in the last two years. Again the finger points to piracy. This industry has alternate streams of revenue with DVD sales and rentals, cable broadcasts, and television rights.

What alternate streams of revenue outside of television and movie (if your really lucky) revenues does the mid-list author have to draw upon? What happens if piracy causes the majority of publishers to go out of business? Do we publish ourselves on the internet with a hope and a prayer that it wont be pirated...good luck. Or do we sit on a street corner with a hat, a notepad and a sign "Help this starving author?"

Smiles
Bob


PS: Has the recent piracy of books hurt this industry?... Borders is facing real financial problems. The discounted Walmart and grocery store best sellers are chopping royalty payments and profit for the publisher. The publishing house are merging at an astonishing rate to cut costs and people who get books onto the streets. But then why should we be concerned. We don't need to make money from our hundreds of hours of effort. We are just too kind hearted to expect to get paid...aren't we?

Claudia Gray
03-28-2009, 07:11 AM
Ebooks being stolen is as great a threat to writer's profits as library rentals are.

Quoted for truth. Just today I got an e-mail from a reader who said (I am paraphrasing), "I checked your book out of the library twice, and then I just had to buy my own copy." There was some EVERNIGHT piracy in Spanish more than in English -- but that was largely by Latin American readers who could not yet buy the book in stores. A couple of them wrote, apologetically, to explain -- and added that they bought the book once they could find it, because they had enjoyed it.

I'm sure some people pirated my novel and did not buy a copy afterward. I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled about that. But I also know it hasn't stopped the royalties from coming in, so I'm not doomsaying yet. As others have pointed out, piracy has yet to destroy Hollywood, and while it has changed the music industry, it certainly hasn't killed it. Why would books be different?

blacbird
03-28-2009, 07:18 AM
What alternate streams of revenue outside of television and movie (if your really lucky) revenues does the mid-list author have to draw upon?

The mid-list author largely draws revenue from teaching and flipping burgers, even now. I draw revenue from scientific consulting and teaching, and I ain't even made the mid-list. I have never witnessed anybody sitting in a comfy chair, or at a picnic table, or on the beach, or at a cafe, reading from an e-reader. When I start seeing lots of those, I'll get concerned. Meantime, I have drinking to do.

caw

mscelina
03-28-2009, 07:18 AM
Maestroworks....

The music industry has alternate streams of income...tours, movie/TV appearances, radio play time payments. But still, look at the industry revenue totals, a decline of 20% over the last five years with experts pointing a finger directly at piracy.

The 2007 Academy awards got the big boo for pleading with the public to go to the movies. That indicates financial problems as well as a number of specialty production companies closing down in the last two years. Again the finger points to piracy. This industry has alternate streams of revenue with DVD sales and rentals, cable broadcasts, and television rights.

What alternate streams of revenue outside of television and movie (if your really lucky) revenues does the mid-list author have to draw upon? What happens if piracy causes the majority of publishers to go out of business? Do we publish ourselves on the internet with a hope and a prayer that it wont be pirated...good luck. Or do we sit on a street corner with a hat, a notepad and a sign "Help this starving author?"

Smiles
Bob

E-piracy will not put Random House or Penguin or even a small independent e-publishing company out of business. Do you know anything about the e-publishing industry at all or are you basing this off your assumptions? Standard e-publishing contracts give authors from 35-40% royalties generally. Why is that? Because the overhead is substantially lower. The ease of the technology will appeal to some readers--hell, we do everything else on some sort of screen these days. True fans of literature--or of a specific author--are going to continue to buy their hard copies. The analogy you're drawing here is ridiculous.

blacbird
03-28-2009, 07:22 AM
E-piracy will not put Random House or Penguin or even a small independent e-publishing company out of business. Do you know anything about the e-publishing industry at all or are you basing this off your assumptions? Standard e-publishing contracts give authors from 35-40% royalties generally. Why is that? Because the overhead is substantially lower.

. . . and the sales are minuscule.

caw

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 07:25 AM
Claudia,

Most people don't even know that books can be pirated...yet. Book piracy is still in it's infancy. When Kindles drop (like all other electronics) to the $50 price range, book piracy will skyrocket. Tools to add drm to pirated copies so they work on Kindles are already out there...the future will bring better hacker tools.

If the publishing industry gets a similar hit as the movie and recording industries...it WILL collapse.

Sad but true. I'm just sorry I have been in finance and management consulting for decades. The picture is clear from the financial pov.

Smiles
Bob

mscelina
03-28-2009, 07:27 AM
. . . and the sales are minuscule.

caw

Bull pookey. That's a huge generalization to make. There are several authors on this site who make a living from e-published books.

Kathleen42
03-28-2009, 07:47 AM
The 2007 Academy awards got the big boo for pleading with the public to go to the movies. That indicates financial problems as well as a number of specialty production companies closing down in the last two years. Again the finger points to piracy.

Perhaps they should look to the rising cost of ticket sales and concessions. The adult ticket price at my local theatre is $11.75. The cost of a regular coke is $4.00.

I love going to the movies but I often end up waiting for DVDs because the cost for my boyfriend and I to go to a movie often runs to more than thirty dollars. Many of my friends and coworkers have expressed that they would also love to go to the movies more often but they find themselves only going to movies which they are really enthusiastic about.



But then why should we be concerned. We don't need to make money from our hundreds of hours of effort. We are just too kind hearted to expect to get paid...aren't we?

It's not a matter of being kindhearted. People simply have a different viewpoint than you do. It doesn't mean that they don't care about the industry or their own royalties.

mlhernandez
03-28-2009, 07:48 AM
. . . and the sales are minuscule.

caw

Depends on the epublisher. Sure, some epubs have shockingly low sales, like two digits, but the top three or so have respectable high three digit and four digit sales. My titles at EC out a year or so have sold one to two thousand copies each. Lots of EC authors meet the RWA PAN requirements ($1000 in royalties) on their first checks. Heck, I know an author who qualified for PAN status 4 times on her first month's royalties.

adarkfox
03-28-2009, 08:28 AM
Claudia,

Most people don't even know that books can be pirated...yet. Book piracy is still in it's infancy. When Kindles drop (like all other electronics) to the $50 price range, book piracy will skyrocket.

If the publishing industry gets a similar hit as the movie and recording industries...it WILL collapse.

Sad but true. I'm just sorry I have been in finance and management consulting for decades. The picture is clear from the financial pov.

Smiles
Bob


I'm just curious Smiling Bob... why is it YOU care so much about it, and why is it YOU care so much that we are not crapping our pants and heading for the bomb shelters yet?

When *giggle* the entire publishing industry collapses I'll be sure to say you told me so. Despite the fact that PUBLISHING has been around hundreds of years longer than the movie and recording industries (which, to my knowledge, are actually still functioning), I'm SURE it's just going to crumble and die like a sandcastle at high tide.

But anyway, thank you for informing us (who apparently are unawares of such travesty brewing) that the book pirates are raising their sails and headed our way. Once I stop giggling at the phrase "book pirates" I'll be sure to do something about it. *end sarcasm*

Zoombie
03-28-2009, 09:47 AM
New technologies don't destroy industries. They reinvent them.

Sometimes BUSINESSES will go out. But the industry, at heart, stays the same.

The guys selling buggies and horses either stuck to doing that and went out of business...or started selling cars.

Music industry people are exploring digital distribution and some of them are making it big, medium, or small. Just look at Jonathan Coulton. He's carved out a niche entirely on writing nerdy songs for nerds. He got his music out there on youtube and by playing in bars at SF...and people liked it. So they bought the albums. Why? Well, he's a bleeding genius and we want to hear MORE songs from him. Which means he needs to eat. Which means we pay him!

There have already been attempts to change up the book format with multi-media story telling. See the "video novels" coming from Japan (and no, they're not ALL pornographic! Just...mostly). Jasper Fforde has entire websites set up around his books to give you "special features".

Rather than predicting doom, try and imagine the forms stories will take in the future. Try and figure out how to survive in the new markets that are being created, so that you won't be back there with the laser disk and eight tracks and Walkmen.

In the end, as Chesire said...its still writing, and more than that, its still storytelling and more than THAT...its still absolutely vital.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:48 AM
The book industry had $37.3 billion in revenues in 2008. Ebook sales are 53 million for 2008. Ebook sales have skyrocketed in 2008. Can anyone tell me the value of pirated books= sales lost. The forecast tends to indicate a drop in revenues in excess of $200 million, some of that could be from Sept to December jitters, but most of the shortfall has been attributed to piracy. So to make $53 million, you lose $200 million. This is not a good business practice.

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/daily-brief/2008/04/28/music-sales-grow-music-industry-shrinks

Now if the book industry follows the same path as the music industry with a 29% drop in revenues...lets see that would be hmmm 10 billion dollars out of the pockets of book sellers, publishers and authors. Nothing to worry about. The industry can handle that...sure.

A good chunk of the drop in mass market sales is due to piracy...see the following..

"Sales of mass market books, the smaller-size paperback format in which thrillers and romances are typically published, fell 5.8 percent, to 541.8 million copies, down from 575.1 million a year earlier. These once-popular books seem to have fallen out of favor, even in the romance segment, whose readers are typically very loyal." From the NY TImes http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/30/business/media/30books.html


Smiles
Bob

Just want people to be aware...we have a lot to lose. And I don't have the chance to say I told you so, because it is already happening. It will escalate if the problem is not addressed quickly.

CoriSCapnSkip
03-28-2009, 11:57 AM
Few people will bother stealing books by authors they don't know. If no one knows you, they're not likely to steal your works. And not very likely to buy it.

Award-winning author Neil Gaiman has said the biggest threat to writers today is not piracy but obscurity.

Cassiopeia
03-28-2009, 12:08 PM
MagicMan, it isn't that people can't make a living at writing today. It's that not everyone can. That's the way it always has been. As Maestrowork says, write well, provide good content and people will buy.

*cue narrator's voice whispering*

If you write it, they will come...erm I mean buy it.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 12:27 PM
So true Cassiopeia, I just hope that last line doesn't change to "write well, provide good content and people will " pirate.

Smiles
Bob

By the way, I sent an E-mail to Koontz's publisher informing them of the bootleg copy on the internet.

Cassiopeia
03-28-2009, 12:30 PM
Bob, you gotta not worry about such things. Focus on writing and making it happen. Improve your skills, learn how to network, go to conferences, learn the art of query letters and synopsis writing. Now see there, that's far more scary than any old pirate. ;)

Virector
03-28-2009, 01:06 PM
I see what you're saying MagicMan, but are you unaware that books have been available for free on the internet for years? Everything from novels to comic books to text books; they've been all over the internet illegally for ages. Book piracy is by no means a new phenomenon. But I do get that the Kindle thing may make more people want to download books, but they're out there already.

Variously
03-28-2009, 05:26 PM
As an aspiring author myself, I've been having exactly the same thoughts as the opening poster. The publishing industry seems to have learnt nothing from the huge crash in sales that the music industry has experienced as a result of mp3/iPods. The recent article in The Bookseller seems to indicate that the only strategy in place is a hope that DRM will work, when in fact it'll be cracked in no time, and 'educating' people that stealing is bad. But most people don't see downloading as stealing, and it's just too enticing to be able to get all the titles you want at a click for nothing without even leaving the house.

At the moment books are the only entertainment media that are a real pain to convert into a digital file - scanning a book takes forever, whereas ripping a CD takes a minute or two and your PC does all the work. Also, even once you have that scan, reading it on your laptop isn't very convenient. But with the arrival of the Kindle etc, that portable iPod equivalent now exists, and every title will be handily digitised into a small file that will barely take a couple of minutes to download, for free, off a torrent site.

If people think this isn't going to have a huge impact on book sales then they're nuts, as far as I can see.

Kathleen42
03-28-2009, 05:34 PM
If people think this isn't going to have a huge impact on book sales then they're nuts, as far as I can see.

Well, if I'm nuts then I'm in good company. Maybe Neil Gaiman and I can have tea parties. I'll be Alice, he'll be the Mad Hatter and we'll take bets on whether or not the sky is falling.

DamaNegra
03-28-2009, 06:14 PM
Heh, I've got a pirated e-book on my harddrive. I wanted to read a book but not pay for it, since I didn't have any money, and I recalled a friend mentioning she had read it. I asked to borrow the book from her, and she sent the illegal copy. Meh, reading a whole novel on the computer is so annoying next time I'll make sure an actual paper copy exists before asking.

I don't think people really have to worry about pirating books. Most people don't ready, anyway ;)

Alitriona
03-28-2009, 06:30 PM
Nothing beats the sound and smell of a new book when you turn the first page. E-readers just aren't the same.

Cath
03-28-2009, 06:37 PM
The recent article in The Bookseller seems to indicate that the only strategy in place is a hope that DRM will work, when in fact it'll be cracked in no time, and 'educating' people that stealing is bad.

You can see DRM two ways. The most common interpretation is that it 'prevents' the user from pirating the book. Or you can see it as acting as a deterrent - discouraging the user from copying and reminding them that what they are doing is illegal.

DRM systems are probably hackable, with the time, software, knowledge, and incentive. Then again, I could take a book out of my library and scan it into my computer if I had the time, software, knowledge, and incentive to do so. Honestly, I'd rather just buy the damned book.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 07:03 PM
J...and people liked it. So they bought the albums. Why? Well, he's a bleeding genius and we want to hear MORE songs from him. Which means he needs to eat. Which means we pay him!

Exactly. When you like/love someone's work, you buy it, so they can make a living on it so they can continue to make the stuff you enjoy. That's why people buy albums and go to concerts, etc. not only because they get their enjoyment, but also to support the artist.

True fans don't steal from the artist.

And those who choose to steal are not fans to begin with. And they wouldn't have bought that stuff anyway.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 07:05 PM
Bob, you gotta not worry about such things. Focus on writing and making it happen. Improve your skills, learn how to network, go to conferences, learn the art of query letters and synopsis writing. Now see there, that's far more scary than any old pirate. ;)

Or worry about it when you're as big and famous as Koontz. :)

Small fries like me would never get pirated.

Variously
03-28-2009, 07:10 PM
DRM systems are probably hackable, with the time, software, knowledge, and incentive. Then again, I could take a book out of my library and scan it into my computer if I had the time, software, knowledge, and incentive to do so. Honestly, I'd rather just buy the damned book.

The impression I got from the article I read is that DRM is now seen as making the publisher/record company the bad guy after the bad publicity with Sony's CDs that mess with your PC.

You could scan a whole book but it would take forever, which is why book piracy barely exists now. But once the whole e-reader thing takes off, if it does, then a single file containing the book will be available for legit download - and then up on every torrent site five minutes later. It'll be as easy as mp3 sharing is now, which is very easy.

Variously
03-28-2009, 07:14 PM
And those who choose to steal are not fans to begin with. And they wouldn't have bought that stuff anyway.

But in the past, how could they not? If you wanted to play a whole CD/LP at home, you had to buy it - unless you knew someone who had it to tape it for you, or you could borrow it from a library maybe. Now you can get it off a torrent in five minutes from someone anywhere in the world, which just didn't exist as an option in the past.

Claudia Gray
03-28-2009, 07:29 PM
But in the past, how could they not? If you wanted to play a whole CD/LP at home, you had to buy it - unless you knew someone who had it to tape it for you, or you could borrow it from a library maybe. Now you can get it off a torrent in five minutes from someone anywhere in the world, which just didn't exist as an option in the past.

I taped singles off the radio as a teenager. Made tons of cassette tapes of the pop hits of the 80s, with the first few seconds cut off. It didn't stop me from buying cassettes.

And, as I said in the part of my post that nobody seems to acknowledge, lots of people who get the product for free will buy the superior copy later, or will purchase later products from the same writer/recording artist/etc.

Do I think it's possible some publishers might collapse? Of course. But individual businesses always collapse from time to time, for different industry shakeups or just internal reasons. As long as people want books, there will remain a way to provide those at a profit.

maestrowork
03-28-2009, 07:34 PM
But in the past, how could they not? If you wanted to play a whole CD/LP at home, you had to buy it - unless you knew someone who had it to tape it for you, or you could borrow it from a library maybe. Now you can get it off a torrent in five minutes from someone anywhere in the world, which just didn't exist as an option in the past.

It certainly is easier to pirate now, and many people are tempted to do so (but how many people know about bit torrent, for example? Meanwhile, almost everyone knows how to copy a cassette tape). Still, the mindset is the same. If you like and support an artist/musician/writer, you buy their work, even if you can "get it for free." Just because someone can do something doesn't mean someone would. Like I said, if people bit-torrent a Rush song and give it to everyone they knows and say, "How clever I am -- I didn't pay for the darn thing" chances are he's not a Rush fan anyway.


I record stuff off radio (and Internet radio), too, but if I like something, I buy it on iTune. I just don't buy the whole damn album anymore -- I only buy the songs I really like. The great thing about digital media and channels is that I get introduced to new stuff all the time and I buy stuff from artists whom I've never heard of before and stuff I wouldn't have bought otherwise. So if they had lost business elsewhere, they sure got mine in return.

Same with writers. I have someone who have already read my book in draft stage and also had a PDF copy of the final thing, but she still ended up buying two copies because she wanted to support me, so I could continue to write. She gave her copy to her family not because she wanted to rip me off, but to introduce my writing to them. And if they like it, you know what? Hopefully they will buy my next book.

Not to mention, most people still won't want to read a novel on a computer/e-Book reader screen. Most people, as of now, still prefer to hold a paper book.

I'd say, worry about the state of the industry and the livelihood of writers when e-books finally cross over to mainstream.

Clair Dickson
03-28-2009, 08:32 PM
So, if internet piracy is so big, how are the computer application companies doing? Microsoft doesn't seem to be hurting for money... (well, excluding the people not buying Vista and Office2007, but that's not a piracy problem, IMHO, that's a resistance to upgrade.)

Are there any companies that went under because their applications were pirated so much that they were unable to stay afloat?

linton
03-28-2009, 08:36 PM
Maestroworks....

PS: Has the recent piracy of books hurt this industry?... Borders is facing real financial problems. The discounted Walmart and grocery store best sellers are chopping royalty payments and profit for the publisher. The publishing house are merging at an astonishing rate to cut costs and people who get books onto the streets. But then why should we be concerned. We don't need to make money from our hundreds of hours of effort. We are just too kind hearted to expect to get paid...aren't we?

So? What are you going to do about it? Snivel and whine. Nothing in life stays the same. Life is about the survival of the fitest. Those who want to survive have to learn to deal with it.

Zoombie
03-28-2009, 08:39 PM
Video game companies love to blame piracy.

To few of them realize that, hey, maybe the reason why people don't buy their games...is cause they SUCK!

KCathy
03-28-2009, 09:21 PM
Maybe I missed it, MagicMan, but is there a specific reason that you feel the drops in sales in various entertainment industries lately isn't simply caused by the fact that we're in a recession and books, music, and movies are luxury items? I have heard a lot about the demise of the music industry, actually, and just read a Salon article about Virgin closing its music stores because they can't sell CDs, but are music files that are purchased online included in that financial estimate or just hard copies? I'm not being sarcastic or argumentative; I'm honestly curious.

My family makes almost exactly the official average yearly income for United States citizens, and I can't afford to buy new books, new movies (with the exception of my recent Barbie Dum-belina purchase, which was a birthday gift), or movie tickets lately. Car sales are down and my husband is having more trouble suggesting that brand new Explorers are the way to go, lol.

Nivarion
03-28-2009, 09:26 PM
Piracy isn't done by a lot of people to steal. Just enjoy.

By definition, when i beat a game and lend it to a friend its "Piracy."

I can go onto the pirate bay and pirate a game in about an hour and a half flat, Not only that I always get a laugh out of TPB's legal page. Now, I also find Daemon tools quite annoying. Even though i can pirate a game in about an hour and a half flat, I would like you to explain the four foot pile of video games sitting next to my desk.

Another reason video game sales might be dropping is that they sell you a $600 console with no controller, power wires, video cables and have such high minimums on the graphics that graphics take up most of the disk, leaving no space for game play.

I mean, hell the last FF was i swear 90% movie scenes. They took all the game play out of it, you just moved from cut scene to cut scene.

Oh, and by the way, last game i pirated was Baldur's gate 1, a game that is more than ten years old now. And i only pirated it because my disk 2 of my real physical set took a dive down the stairs.

ETA, come to think of it, I don't have a pirated game in my possession that i don't own a physical copy of somewhere. Not a one. My little barbie doll hard drive is just easier to carry around than a four and a half foot pile of games. And Daemon isn't really that bad.

ETA2: I call it the barbie doll hard drive because it's pink. I got that one because it's thirty bucks and 250 gigs.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 09:33 PM
What to do about it? Get on your agent, ensure you do not allow e-publishing of your book. Get your agent to escalate concerns about piracy to the publisher. Get the industry to put pressure on the governement, the international copyright committe, and the search engine providers (Google, Yahoo, MSN) to put the tools in place to allow legit websites to continue and illegal website to be found and shut down. The music industry is losing 4 billion a year to piracy, the book industry was sheltered until the Kindle and the Sony Book reader. As the price of the readers drop the rate of piracy will increase. If you want those billions to go to illegal operators, do nothing and starve.

Pirates wouldn't buy? Bull. 4 Billion in lost sales in the music world mean people who bought no longer do...they take for free. I'm sorry, but a good chunk of the population of this wonderful world we occupy are not upstanding individuals. A friend who loves music and spent $10,000 a year on CDs ... yes I know he is nuts ... now downloads and burns his own, claiming the downloads are better quality. Yes, sure and that's why you have a new car in the driveway, the $30,000 you didn't spend on legit CD's.

If the writers do not take the initiative, the writers will suffer. I have dealt with several executives of large publishing houses and they (Gods that they are) say and I quote Neil Nyren of VP Putnam...."Every year since I've been in this business, some publication or other has run a "sky is falling" article about publishing, based upon whatever the issue of the day is. I understand, it's a sexy thing to write about -- but we're still here (which is not something I can say about some of the publications that ran those articles!).

Sounds to me like he either doesn't care, is too busy having dinner with the Emperor of Japan (last week), or totally blind to what has happened to music and will happen to books.

Open your eyes, do you not hear that horn blasting, the screeching from the tires? Do you not see that bus rapidly approaching? OH, you have the right of way and your not moving. I'll relay that you were "right" to you're widow.

KCathy
03-28-2009, 10:28 PM
Piracy isn't done by a lot of people to steal. Just enjoy.

I'm thinking you must mean that most people don't pirate with the intent of re-selling and making money, just with the intent of enjoying something they didn't pay for. Unfortunately, if you slip a DVD into your pocket next time you're in Wal-mart and then tell the security guard you were just going to enjoy it, not steal it, you'll probably still end up with a mug shot.


Sounds to me like he either doesn't care, is too busy having dinner with the Emperor of Japan (last week), or totally blind to what has happened to music and will happen to books.

Well, he's the VP of an enormous publishing house (a job I assume requires quite a lot of business savvy) with a vested interest in worrying about this problem. Maybe he just knows more than the article writers, who have a vested interest in freaking people out by writing doom-and-gloom articles writers will jump to read.

I'm not saying piracy is okay. I've downloaded music in the past myself, but even then I had to eventually admit that it was stealing. But I think we should stop it because it's unfair to writers, musicians, and moviemakers, not because it's going to put them out of business.

PeeDee
03-28-2009, 10:31 PM
I just can't get all "the end is near" for books because of Ebooks. It's a delivery method. It may affect the publishing industry. It in no way affects me sitting down and telling someone a story. It only affects, potentially, how that story gets to them.

And even if it DOES mean the end to books as we know them, I think any student of history will agree with me that this is not the end of the world. The world continued after the end of the era of bards. It continued after cheap printing. It continued after television.

Not to get all mythic about it, but stories are pretty eternal, only the delivery changes.

And if it brings about the end of writing as a career and a sole source of income...so much of that is a strange myth anyway, that doesn't matter. So many of the great writers were working jobs while they wrote. All through the ages. We've lived in a brief period in which writers could sustain themselves on writing and achieve a certain modicum of celebrity, because that's something our society is very caught-up in. It may go away, and I say that if it does, well, fine. There is no harm in painting houses and then coming home at night and writing your book -- which is delivered in whatever method is available.

And as for the WE MUST STOP PIRACY thing...pretty typically, that hasn't been the answer. Strong-arming against pirates does very little. When you get out of the upper-strata of the music world and into indie artists, or at least artists who have good connections with their fans (and are apparently people and not just records-released through a monolithic record company) you tend to find that the fans go out of their way not to pirate, but to buy and support someone.

Works for me. I know a couple writers -- who are not NYT Bestsellers -- who make their living by posting their stories on the internet. I can name plenty of web-comic artists who do the same. That work is out there, and even more easily pirated than a Kindle file (it's all in my browser, I can just copy & paste).

...

I don't know. Maybe the failing is mine, for not having the concern about the issue. I just quietly suspect it's the wrong issue, and that the issues are the same as they've ever been (how can I tell the best story possible and get it to my readers? is there a chance I can make money off this? where's my tea? etc etc.)

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 10:47 PM
Maybe I missed it, MagicMan, but is there a specific reason that you feel the drops in sales in various entertainment industries lately isn't simply caused by the fact that we're in a recession and books, music, and movies are luxury items? I have heard a lot about the demise of the music industry, actually, and just read a Salon article about Virgin closing its music stores because they can't sell CDs, but are music files that are purchased online included in that financial estimate or just hard copies? I'm not being sarcastic or argumentative; I'm honestly curious.

My family makes almost exactly the official average yearly income for United States citizens, and I can't afford to buy new books, new movies (with the exception of my recent Barbie Dum-belina purchase, which was a birthday gift), or movie tickets lately. Car sales are down and my husband is having more trouble suggesting that brand new Explorers are the way to go, lol.

Hiya,
Didn't mean to ignore you. The drop in sales I mentioned is from 2002 to 2007 for the music industry. The drop on MM paperback sales is for the boom year of 2007.

I, like you, go from day to day hoping another bill collector does not pound on my door and threaten legal action. I run a few bookstores. Our costs have exceed our revenues for almost 20 years, but I had a good income as a computer consultant and subsidized the shortfall. Now that I am retired, it has been hard to trim the fat and try to operate the book stores so they don't lose money on an annual basis. If e-books, the Kindle and piracy which are just leaving the starting gate, take off ... then my bookstores will close and the 7,500 regular customers will be left to selecting from 40 different titles at the supermarket instead of the 45,000 different titles at my stores.

PeeDee
03-28-2009, 10:54 PM
If e-books, the Kindle and piracy which are just leaving the starting gate, take off ... then my bookstores will close and the 7,500 regular customers will be left to selecting from 40 different titles at the supermarket instead of the 45,000 different titles at my stores.

<pedantic> Well, technically they'll be left selecting from several hundred thousand titles on the Kindle/Sony Reader/iBook/whatever else. The readers aren't going to vanish. They just adapt. </pedantic>

That said, I'd like for bookstores not to vanish. I prefer 'em. And books.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:10 PM
I just can't get all "the end is near" for books because of Ebooks. It's a delivery method. It may affect the publishing industry. It in no way affects me sitting down and telling someone a story. It only affects, potentially, how that story gets to them.

And even if it DOES mean the end to books as we know them, I think any student of history will agree with me that this is not the end of the world. The world continued after the end of the era of bards. It continued after cheap printing. It continued after television.

Not to get all mythic about it, but stories are pretty eternal, only the delivery changes.



In days gone by, intellectual property was supported by sponsors. Those days are gone.

If the delivery method changes to electronic ... and with the pitiful lack of copyright control... it will be free. You are turning a blind eye to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the industry.

Yes, people will still write, but with thousands of tripe novels hitting the internet every month, the reader will eventually give up trying to find good new material and turn to other activities.

Will it sort itself out? Yes...after the realization that we blew it becomes obvious. By then, we will have lost the majority of great authors to other careers. It's like the housing and stock market. Now that we are in the middle of the fallout from the greed mongler's time bomb, people are taking notice...duh...too little notice too late...it has already hurt millions of people and their livelyhood.

PeeDee
03-28-2009, 11:22 PM
Right.


In days gone by, intellectual property was suppoerted by sponsors. Those days are gone.

Some were. Not everyone had a sponsor. I'd love that to be so now, or to have ever been so, but that's pretty idyllic. And even in Recent Times, there are plenty of famous authors I can think of who were writing, and also driving cabs, or working as editors, or reporters, or whatever you like.


If the delivery method changes to electronic ... and with the pitiful lack of copyright control... it will be free. You are turning a blind eye to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the industry.

I am not turning a blind eye. I am being sensible. I'm sorry, but industries rise and fall. ANd when they fall, the people find another line of work. Or they adapt, which is something human beings are prone to.

Copyright laws are a valuable thing and are not always the last line of defense between your work and a slavering hoard of thieves. Honest. People DO like paying for things that they like. Given the right amount of content and the right price, they'll shell out.

Giving stuff away has been warned against wildly for ages, but has thus far failed to do a spectacular amount of harm. Baen Books gives away lots of stuff. Cory Doctorow gave away "Little Brother" (and reading it online was what made me buy it, and made me strong-arm friends into buying it). Neil Gaiman gave away The Graveyard Book, and it did all right. And I can hear the argument "These are major authors with huge fanbases already," and that's true enough. But big authors start out as little authors, with little fanbases. The facts remain. Only the scale changes.


Yes, people will still write, but with thousands of tripe novels hitting the internet every month, the reader will eventually give up trying to find good new material and turn to other activities.

They said that with the invention of the Gutenberg printing press. EVERYONE can now print ANYTHING! How will we know what to read? What if people read the wrong thing?

And the answer is, again, people mostly just adapt. Furthermore, there is ALWAYS a need for editors and flagship names, whether in the world of pulp paper printing, or digital press. There will still be editors who sort through the pap and the chaff, and there will still be names to which people can point for good stuff. Right now, we look at HarperCollins, or TOR, or Bantam, or whomever you like. In the future, there might be different names, different shapes of companies, but they will still be places you can point and say "The stuff they put out is pretty good."


Will it sort itself out? Yes...after the realization that we blew it becomes obvious. By then, we will have lost the majority of great authors to other careers. It's like the housing and stock market. Now that we are in the middle of the fallout from the greed mongler's time bomb, people are taking notice...duh...too little notice too late...it has already hurt millions of people and their livelyhood.

Look, writers don't always write because they enjoy the orgasmic feelings of golden words pouring out their fingertips. It's hard, and it's painful, and it's a lot less fun some days than going outside and making a wall out of bricks, or digging a ditch. We can't help but write. And the good days pay for so many bad ones.

Writers work. If they eventually support themselves by writing, it is because they spent a long time working day jobs and writing at night, or on lunch hours. Go read biographical material on authors like, to be random, Harlan Ellison (worked a bookstore; hung up-side down and painted Brooklyn bridge; cab-driver) Gene Wolfe (engineer; soldier) Terry Pratchett (public relations for a nuclear power plant) Stephen King (lots of shit grunt jobs) Alan Moore (likewise). You work and write. And maybe it's not as glamerous as making millions and retiring to an island to write...but you work and write, and somewhere, you make some money and someone reads what you put out, and maybe some of it endures.

Writers are not going to go "Random House is gone? Then I will stop writing!"

The recessions and economic troubles are a problem for everyone, writers and publishers and bookstores all alongside everyone else. But it is hardly the eBook, or the Kindle, which will bring the world of words crashing down around us. And if there IS a Paradigm Shift coming to the publishing industry, I really don't believe it'll be eBook Readers that cause it, or play the cataclysmic role. They are just a piece.

Travis J. Smith
03-28-2009, 11:33 PM
I am admittedly jumping into the middle of the discussion. I read the original post, but, other than that, all I've read are the posts on this page.


Another reason video game sales might be dropping is that they sell you a $600 console with no controller, power wires, video cables and have such high minimums on the graphics that graphics take up most of the disk, leaving no space for game play.My Wii came with the controller (both Wiimote and Nunchuck) as well as a game which happens to be one of everyone's favorite Wii games. All this for less than half of the mentioned $600.

As well, I cannot think of a system that has not come packaged with at least one controller and your average cables (not including specialty cables).



I'm thinking you must mean that most people don't pirate with the intent of re-selling and making money, just with the intent of enjoying something they didn't pay for. Unfortunately, if you slip a DVD into your pocket next time you're in Wal-mart and then tell the security guard you were just going to enjoy it, not steal it, you'll probably still end up with a mug shot.The problem with this sort of argument which I have seen utilized time and time again is that it is a faulty comparison, by at least one account. Pirating, if the sharing aspect is taken out of the equation, is analagous to borrowing the product, whatever it may be, from someone which is, as of now, is "legal."

No tangible item has been stolen, just the intellectual property, meaning that the people behind said intellectual property are not put out of potential income. The nucleus of piraters, no matter the medium in question, pirate as a sampling and/or gauge whether or not to buy the product based on the pirated copy. If pirating were somehow taken out of the equation those piraters would most likely never take the risk of purchasing without first previewing which they obviously deemed unnecessary based on their pirating habits; however, with piracy in the equation, the artist either breaks even, or wins, seeing as the person will either like the product and purchase it or their plans will remain stagnant and they will not purchase it. These people simply want to be able to try before they buy, and recognize that thirty second snippets of an hour long album or an excerpt of only a couple pages from a 500 page book is not nearly representative of the whole, so they sample. Both this sampling and the sampling of borrowing someone else's copy of whatever the item may be open up potential for purchases further down the road, or the grand scheme of things remains unchanged with the people not buying the item.

EDIT: The listed items I purchased as a result of illegal activities are, truthfully, all I've been able to afford. Those I deem worthy of my money get, or will get, my money.

---------

To give a more personal argument, even though this thread is littered with that sort of argument:

My proper introduction to Stephen King came thanks to my friend letting me borrow her copy of his short story collection Everything's Eventual. My interest grew due in large part to a similarly dry (money wise) venture for King: checking his books out of my public library. Since then, I have purchased Duma Key and the entire Dark Tower series.

The musician I now proclaim to be my favorite, Devin Townsend, was introduced to me, illegally, thanks to a person I met online that shared with me, and only me, Devin Townsend's album (under the Devin Townsend Band moniker) Accelerated Evolution. I shared the album with no one, so here is a prime example of downloading being the mirror image of the legal alternatives that are borrowing and renting. Since that first listening, I have purchased the following: an autographed copy of Ziltoid the Omniscient and Synchestra and plan to buy the 8 CD box set he will release, including all four of his upcoming albums, and a ticket to one of the shows on his shortlived return to touring with the group he's recording those albums with. Another of my favorites, Dream Theater, was given a chance by me thanks to downloading on a true whim when I was still listening to the popular consumerized crap, such as Puddle of Mudd; people belittled me for my listening habits, all the while putting Dream Theater on a pedestal, so I downloaded Train of Thought and the rest is history. I own three Dream Theater shirts, two of which were bought at a respective concert, Octavarium, a signed copy of Octavarium, Systematic Chaos, Score (the DVD) and a signed lithograph.

Here ends my anecdotal argument.

---------

Very few members of the pirating community that now runs rampant are entirely without morality and go the way of real thieves: stealing and retaining. Even that small segment of the pirating community provides distinct and positive possibilities for the artist from which they have stolen. This segment, the same as the other segments, would sooner forget entirely about the item in question than buy it if piracy were not an option, and this attitude is prevelant moreso in it. Yet, like with the legal avenues of spreading one's word, such as sampler CDs provided to street teams, promo CDs provided to radio stations, free books provided to a select few (as has been mentioned in this thread), etc. it is a calculated loss more than anything. The inherent nature of these inherently immoral and thieving people cannot be changed by the laudable threat of persecution, the frequency of which is akin to being struck by lightning in the grand scheme of things, or most anything, but those that are more level headed and just can be swayed by those unswayable few via word of mouth.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:36 PM
Great post. I think we are saying the same thing. I just wan't to ensure people are aware...the potential harm of rushing into new tech without the proper safeguards can cause disasterous results...ie the Hindenberg, the Titanic. With the perseption that all is well which seems to abound in the writing community, the stark reality when it hits (and it will) may cause many to redirect their energies to other mediums.

PeeDee
03-28-2009, 11:39 PM
Great post. I think we are saying the same thing. I just wan't to ensure people are aware...the potential harm of rushing into new tech without the proper safeguards can cause disasterous results...ie the Hindenberg, the Titanic. With the perseption that all is well which seems to abound in the writing community, the stark reality when it hits (and it will) may cause many to redirect their energies to other mediums.

I agree with the idea that technology can be very dangerous. And detrimental. And I think a lot of the time, we don't see it happening, because it's seductive and not doing any overt harm straight away. And I think it IS important, with technology, and everything really, for there to be people standing in the road and saying "Be careful!" to the crowd going by.

But the solution to eBooks and piracy and the publishing industry is never barriers and getting Metallica-like on people (just as an example). It's always to take the direction the people are already going and working smartly with it, to your advantage.

Also: tea solves everything else.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:43 PM
Travis, all excellent points.

Unfortunately the perspective that intellectual property should be free for all to see and use is growing at an alarming rate. If there is no renumeration for the creators of intellectual property, we are then doing what has been done throughout history, allowing the most brilliant minds to wither away in poverty.

Zoombie
03-28-2009, 11:44 PM
I agree that copyright laws need to protect our intellectual property.

Soooo, lets get cracking. Its a representative system we're all working under. Bug your representatives.

Mr Flibble
03-28-2009, 11:47 PM
we are then doing what has been done throughout history, allowing the most brilliant minds to wither away in poverty.

No change to the status quo then. Everything will be as it was. So what are we worried about again?

PeeDee
03-28-2009, 11:50 PM
If there is no renumeration for the creators of intellectual property, we are then doing what has been done throughout history, allowing the most brilliant minds to wither away in poverty.

It's not piracy that causes that necessarily. Hell, there are plenty of great writers and brilliant minds, even now, who are impoverished, or scraping by. Brilliance and intellectual accomplishment, for the most part, are things that are recognized in hindsight best of all. It's not necessarily piracy. It's just who gets remembered, and who gets forgot, by the march of time. (Some people, we forget, even in their lifetimes. There is an organization built to help provide aged authors with medical assistance, for when they need it...and I doubt that it has to exist because of piracy. Just time and forgetfulness.)

mscelina
03-28-2009, 11:52 PM
We're worried because Magic Man thinks that e-publishing means the doom of the industry. In other words, sensible people aren't worried at all.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:56 PM
My caution is piracy will simply make the poor renumeration for the average author even worse.

As a mathematician, when I calc the number of hours spent by published authors, strip the top 10% jackpot winners from the mix. The average hourly rate for authors is $8.00 and hour. Now stir in the effort spent on unpublished works and unpublished authors and this profession earns less than $1 an hour. And people are spending thousands on creative writing coarses, hundreds on writers conventions and tools. The only people making money from writing (outside of the bestsellers) are the vultures feeding on the writer's desire to get published.

MagicMan
03-28-2009, 11:58 PM
mscelina,

Talk about turning a blind eye. Such a closed minded attitude must allow you to walk on water.

Travis J. Smith
03-29-2009, 12:01 AM
Travis, all excellent points.

Unfortunately the perspective that intellectual property should be free for all to see and use is growing at an alarming rate. If there is no renumeration for the creators of intellectual property, we are then doing what has been done throughout history, allowing the most brilliant minds to wither away in poverty.There is the idea that music, movies, books, etc. should be, "Pay what you can," or, "Pay what you want." In theory, it squeezes some loose change out of the people that would otherwise only go the pirating route, the general populus will find it refreshing and continue to pay, and those that really buy into the person's work will throw in some extra to give the person an extra boost. Though the pitfalls are too obvious to even spend time noting and numbering and it falls in the same, "It sounds good in theory," category as things such as Communism, I thought I'd introduce it to the argument just as a general interest item and a natural extension of the growing attitude you brought up.

Anywho, my stance on matters is that every medium should have a try before you buy approach. Think libraries and video rental places, but on a larger scale and supported by the recording industry and Hollywood and with all of the industries using a similar model. Musicians have tinkered with this through relatively piracy free (as free as you can get in the current climate) streams of their music, or the option to listen to an album the whole way through once (or a chosen number of times) before they either have to pay up or stop listening.

I would also go on a rant and say that the industries should be removed from the equation, putting the rights and process all in the hands of the only person it should be in: the artist. I would, but the likelihood of that is too minute to bother. Although I will say this: no matter the medium, its respective industry takes more money out of the pockets of the "brilliant minds" of which you speak than the pirating community as a whole. Those "brilliant minds" could still use help with marketing and the like, but it should be on a basis of need, not rule. The idea was a novel one, but the umbrella nature that resulted took it and bastardized it.

EDIT: On the "brilliant minds withering away" bit, I second what PeeDee and IdiotsRUs had to say. That's the nature of the creative beast.

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:01 AM
Well, I think anyone who gets into writing thinking "THIS will be the sure-fire way for me to get rich!" is probably in for a short, sharp shock soon enough anyway. Money IS important. But the work is more important. Piracy IS an issue. But you finding your readers and saying "I have something to tell you" is perhaps more important.

Here. Youtube links, which are perhaps of use.

THIS is a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-ozWI-Ls9Y) of Harlan Ellison talking about creative piracy. Very skillfully and aptly, and I urge you to listen all the way through it, because he is a very wise (and very funny) man.

And THIS is a video of Alan Moore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGq-9X3ho7U), talking about being a young writer of any sort, and the value of money and fame and the importance of the work, and I REALLY urge you to listen all the way through this. It's very wise. And he has a lovely accent.

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:03 AM
We're worried because Magic Man thinks that e-publishing means the doom of the industry. In other words, sensible people aren't worried at all.

Now now...


mscelina,

Talk about turning a blind eye. Such a closed minded attitude must allow you to walk on water.

Now now...

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:06 AM
I would also go on a rant and say that the industries should be removed from the equation, putting the rights and process all in the hands of the only person it should be in: the artist. I would, but the likelihood of that is too minute to bother. Although I will say this: no matter the medium, its respective industry takes more money out of the pockets of the "brilliant minds" of which you speak than the pirating community as a whole. Those "brilliant minds" could still use help with marketing and the like, but it should be on a basis of need, not rule. The idea was a novel one, but the umbrella nature that resulted took it and bastardized it.

Personally, that's my view too. I have no great love for industries or corporations in ANY part of the world, be they producing my adhesive bandage strips, or my SF novels. I think they are frequently middle-men, and I think part of the trouble is that the role of the middle-men is breaking down, and shifting wildly, Now That We Live In The Future.

But mostly, I leave that out because they're a fact of life, and so I grumble and think of ways of intelligently dealing with 'em and talking them, instead of just saying "kill 'em all!"

I just mutter that as I go to sleep instead. :D

Mr Flibble
03-29-2009, 12:08 AM
As PeeDee says, most writers that I know don't do it for the money, but because they love to write. Oodles of money would just be the icing on the cake.

Would I rather have a book people love or one that makes lots of money - I'll go for the first, every time. Both would be nice, but then again I may be loopy - but I'm not unrealistic either. It is very unlikely I'll get both. So I'll go for love over money. Same as the rest of my life.

As a percentage of people who write ( including the unpubbed but trying) how few make a comfortable living? How many ever have? The means may change, but the song remains the same ;)


Although I will say this: no matter the medium, its respective industry takes more money out of the pockets of the "brilliant minds" of which you speak than the pirating community as a whole.


OFT

And Peedee, please don't mention tea - my doc has said it's a no no. *cries*

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 12:09 AM
Ok if I'm not good enough...listen to Harlan Ellison

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:10 AM
Ok if I'm not good enough...listen to Harlan Ellison

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

lol. Well, do I at least get points for posting a Harlan Ellison video a little bit BEFORE you? ;)

Travis J. Smith
03-29-2009, 12:14 AM
Well, I think anyone who gets into writing thinking "THIS will be the sure-fire way for me to get rich!" is probably in for a short, sharp shock soon enough anyway. Money IS important. But the work is more important. Piracy IS an issue. But you finding your readers and saying "I have something to tell you" is perhaps more important.I concur wholeheartedly.

My first attempts at writing in elementary school were my desire to spin a yarn like those dozens upon dozens of authors I read, seeing as I was a very avid reader in those days (and still am, but school, writing and other matters have made it impossible to give it such undivided attention nowadays), and to be, at the root of it all, creative, because I found a particular joy in all creative outlets and had a particular distaste for the other outlets promoted by school (formal writing in particular, because, to me, writing is meant to be creative and formalities pigeonhole writing, but that's another story for another time). I also drew, though it was more a form of copying because I'd take a picture, place it beside me, and draw a copy of it without tracing; that was what my skill was limited to, but it was worth exploring because it was more creative than the other avenues my schooling presented me. Similarly, with music, I have the raw talent on both piano and guitar (guitar to a lesser extent), but that talent is not a refined talent and I do not exactly have the drive to strive for anything more than raw talent. I, to tell the truth, strived just enough to gain sufficient talent to make music a worthwhile and enjoyable venture and still take that approach to it till this day.

Writing I clearly take more seriously, but I still had a similar attitude toward it in the early stages. When, in high school, we were told to write a play for an Honors English class I jumped at the opportunity, even though all I was versed in was the verse (poetry) at that time. A new opportunity. One creative and fun.

Only recently have I thought about the financial side of writing, and only because of the attitude of most people when it comes to writers: you're not a writer unless you're published and/or making an income from it. Otherwise, it's just a passing fancy or hobby.

Mr Flibble
03-29-2009, 12:18 AM
Only recently have I thought about the financial side of writing, and only because of the attitude of most people when it comes to writers: you're not a writer unless you're published and/or making an income from it. Otherwise, it's just a passing fancy or hobby.

Odd isn't it. If I painted for a hobby, or played cello in an orchestra and was not too shabby, pretty good in fact, no one would say 'Oh well you can't be any good, you haven't had an exhibition / concert tour / been paid in some way'

Why is it we don't feel 'proper' writers till we are published?

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:18 AM
I hasten to add: I don't think you should just give all your work away for free, or shrug if someone pirates your whole body of work. I think that if you do give stuff away for free, it should be deliberate on your part. I have stuff that I give away for free. And I have stuff that I expect payment for. And I have reasons for both. I am a working writer. I want to be paid when I do an article, or a short story. And I am. But I am also just a writer, and so I do serial works and occasional short stories and just put 'em on the 'net, because I can.

Money is important and valid. But not as important and valid as the work.It's why both what Harlan Ellison says, AND ALan Moore says, is true. The work comes first, and the money ain't worth much...but as a writer, you SHOULD be paid, or you should have a deliberate reason for why you chose not to.

Complicated stuff, sometimes. S'why I just stick to making things up and putting them on the paper.

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:20 AM
Odd isn't it. If I painted for a hobby, or played cello in an orchestra and was not too shabby, pretty good in fact, no one would say 'Oh well you can't be any good, you haven't had an exhibition / concert tour / been paid in some way'

Why is it we don't feel 'proper' writers till we are published?

It IS odd, isn't it? it's a strange stigma. And it goes further than that. I know that if I am paid good cashy-money...but the place that bought the story is an online-only magazine (for example), there are people like my parents who aren't especially excited. It's not REAL publishing.

And I just shrug. Maybe not, but it's REAL cashy-money, and I know what to do with THAT.

Writing has a level of importance, and celebrity, and mysticism about it that occasionally gets in the way of the writing, if we're not careful. Hence, the attitude you mention.

Virector
03-29-2009, 12:21 AM
And THIS is a video of Alan Moore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGq-9X3ho7U), talking about being a young writer of any sort, and the value of money and fame and the importance of the work, and I REALLY urge you to listen all the way through this. It's very wise. And he has a lovely accent.

Thanks for posting this PeeDee! Alan Moore is one of my writing idols and I found it really inspiring! :)

PeeDee
03-29-2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks for posting this PeeDee! Alan Moore is one of my writing idols and I found it really inspiring! :)

Glad you liked it. On really grim writing days, I watch it and then stomp off and work and hope that HE knows something *I* don't. :)

Travis J. Smith
03-29-2009, 12:47 AM
It IS odd, isn't it? it's a strange stigma. And it goes further than that. I know that if I am paid good cashy-money...but the place that bought the story is an online-only magazine (for example), there are people like my parents who aren't especially excited. It's not REAL publishing.

And I just shrug. Maybe not, but it's REAL cashy-money, and I know what to do with THAT.

Writing has a level of importance, and celebrity, and mysticism about it that occasionally gets in the way of the writing, if we're not careful. Hence, the attitude you mention.Yes, it is odd.

I have found that emphasizing that I've written *insert number here* novels kind of validates me somewhat in the eyes of the public, even if I have yet to get published (though I did go about self-publishing my first novel and tried to get people to buy it; luckily, I was a failure in my advertising and the personal copy of it I had was borrowed by someone for long enough for the people asking to read it did not get the chance to read that abomination). At least it's something. I'm not all that special, so if I'm asked, say by a teacher, what people would not know about me or what is noteworthy about me, I have but three things to list: I write (and have written multiple novels), play the piano (and some guitar) and speak (some) Japanese. Sometimes I bore myself . . . but not when I'm writing. :tongue

Come to think of it:

I imagine writing has that stigma associated with it because it's not as big an industry as, say, music, which you mentioned. Music, too, has notable lower-levels of popularity when it comes to every "ladder" music has. When it comes to touring bands, you could at least be a little known band playing locally in small bars and the like. If you sing, you can be a backup singer. So on and so forth. With writing, the lower levels of that "ladder" are behind the scenes by nature. That and people as a whole show little interest in writing as a rule, making non-published writing barely worth a care to them.

blacbird
03-29-2009, 01:05 AM
It IS odd, isn't it? it's a strange stigma.

Well, no, it isn't, really. The analogy isn't that exact. Visual artists and musicians have a lot of options for showing stuff and getting to play music in front of an appreciative audience that writers simply do not have. My son is a jazz pianist, currently honing his skills at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He plays gigs at every opportunity, occasionally paid, more often not. But he gets tons of feedback and interaction. Without getting something published, a writer has damn few such opportunities; it's like the musician sitting at home playing only for himself.

Or, put another way, if a musician plays in the forest, and no one's around to hear, is there really any music?

caw

Mr Flibble
03-29-2009, 01:18 AM
The analogy isn't that exact. Visual artists and musicians have a lot of options for showing stuff and getting to play music in front of an appreciative audience that writers simply do not have.

True enough. But why do we feel the need for public validation, in a way that many people in other creative forms don't necessarily? I mean it's nice, but not strictly vital.

And of course with the internet, you DO have the opportunity for showing stuff, whether paid or not. I've put a couple of free reads on my website for instance. There are forums etc where you can show off your writing - but still you aren't considered a proper writer until an editor has said 'Yes, I'll take it'.

blacbird
03-29-2009, 01:28 AM
But why do we feel the need for public validation, in a way that many people in other creative forms don't necessarily?

First, regards "other creative forms", I'm not sure this is as strictly true as your statement makes it sound. But other than that, I don't know exactly.

Except that I've found that the writers who tend most to downgrade the issue of public validation via publication are those who have already achieved some of it.

caw

Mr Flibble
03-29-2009, 01:40 AM
Hey, I'm not saying I didn't want to get published. I did. It was the validation of my effort - but why should it be? I am saying that why is it that, as writers, that is our goal? That we ( and others) value our work ( not all of us obviously, but it seems a trend) on what editors think?

I know a couple of guys who have a great little band. They play to lots of pubs etc. No one has ever said to them 'Well you've never played Wembley, or got a record contract so you aren't proper musicians'

Whereas, among writers, that is seemingly the badge of honour. Which is a shame because I've beta read some stuff that hasn't been published that I've enjoyed FAR more than some stuff that has. Which is better? The published one, just because it's made a few bucks? Because someone else 'validated' it?

I just think we don't give ourselves enough credit for the actual writing itself, rather than what comes after. I never wrote for that - I wrote because it was fun and I enjoyed it.

Excuse me, just musing aloud really :D

Virector
03-29-2009, 02:33 AM
I disagree with the thread title. "Is this the beginning of the end for books?" Certainly not. When mp3 players started hitting the scene some years back, a lot of people were thinking the same thing of the music industry, but its still thriving and though musicians are earning less revenue now, many of them are still earning a lot more than *you* (without referring to anyone in particular ;) )-- unless you're a rich/famous somebody who just happens to be checking out the AW forums.

Besides, I think this Kindle thing might actually get more people reading. I mean, if people start thinking it's 'cool' to have this great piece of technology for reading books with (in the same way it suddenly became cool to own an iPod or whatever, at a time when many people were swearing by their CD players and stereos), then a lot of people who would otherwise never set foot in a bookstore may end up purchasing a book they would have never come across, because they found it through Kindle (which only works to an author's advantage-- duh).

So if anything, this is the beginning of a new era for books that a lot of people will embrace (especially the younger generation of potential readers.) I mean, you can carry around a library books without having to carry 'books.' How cool is that? The Kindle is actually a good thing for books, not a bad thing as MagicMan is implying, because it makes books more accessible.

As for piracy? Pshh, you can get any book on the internet right now if you were looking for it, period. Why make it seem like this is some new, big future threat when just about any book you can think of (*save for some of the more obscure ones*) are already all over the net for anyone who feels like downloading them? And yet honest people are still buying books, as they shall continue to do with or without Kindle.

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 03:25 AM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers. It must be nice to Pshh away 200 million dollars so easily. The 2008 numbers are not out, but expected to be bigger, and the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly...once it's price drops you will see billions in revenues vanish. Pshh, I wish I had you spare billions.

And yes this is a drop in purchases from the previous year. Downloaded free instead of being bought.

veinglory
03-29-2009, 03:34 AM
I know a couple of guys who have a great little band. They play to lots of pubs etc. No one has ever said to them 'Well you've never played Wembley, or got a record contract so you aren't proper musicians'

The equivalent would not be an unpublished writer, but one with a small press who sold the same number of books as that band had listeners. And in my experience garage/pub bands *do* get the same put downs as semi-pro writers.

A book without a reader is like a song without a listener. That isn't validation so much as communication. No many people want their book to be the tree falling in the forest.

Bartholomew
03-29-2009, 03:41 AM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers. It must be nice to Pshh away 200 million dollars so easily. The 2008 numbers are not out, but expected to be bigger, and the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly...once it's price drops you will see billions in revenues vanish. Pshh, I wish I had you spare billions.

And yes this is a drop in purchases from the previous year. Downloaded free instead of being bought.

Increases of piracy are to be expected when you start reaching more readers, with a more convenient (or cooler) format. I have a feeling that, while the revenue being lost may well increase, the number of people actively stealing from us is proportionately normal, compared to other industries. In other words, those industries aren't dead. We'll be fine.

maestrowork
03-29-2009, 03:43 AM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers. It must be nice to Pshh away 200 million dollars so easily.

First of all, I don't know where you numbers came from.

Second, you're assuming that people who pirated those 30 million ebooks are going to buy the books to begin with. One doesn't really translate to another, man.

You're assuming $200 million of revenue lost, but in reality, this may only translate to $2 million because most of these people wouldn't buy those books to begin with. You know what I mean?

OK, so $2 million is still a good chump change. But I wouldn't worry about the state of the "industry" because of that.

Trust me, DVD and movie pirating has been fierce for years, and they're everywhere, but people continue to pay to see movies (either on DVD or at theaters). Netflix is not going to kill the movie business -- in fact, studios embrace them.

I understand your concerns, but your doomsday scenario is nothing more than speculations and paranoia, if you ask me.

You have a choice, then, as an artist/writer -- do it or don't. Some people actually don't put "money" on the top of their list when they pursue their dreams as a musician or artist or writer.

maestrowork
03-29-2009, 03:45 AM
My feeling is this: the industry will die when people stop reading altogether.

I don't see that happening any time soon. If anything, I think piracy only means people are still reading, and they want content. And people are reading e-Books... I mean, when was the last time you hear people trying to find "free" cassette tapes? Like someone said, Dean Kootnz is not going to sweat about it because some free copies of his ebooks are floating around.

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2009, 03:48 AM
I'm making a living off publishing ebooks. I know there are copies of my books all over the Internet. Nothing I can do about it. I'm still getting nice royalty checks every quarter. I feel the OP is overstating things to a hysterical degree.

Williebee
03-29-2009, 03:50 AM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers. It must be nice to Pshh away 200 million dollars so easily. The 2008 numbers are not out, but expected to be bigger, and the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly...once it's price drops you will see billions in revenues vanish. Pshh, I wish I had you spare billions.

And yes this is a drop in purchases from the previous year. Downloaded free instead of being bought.

First, cite your reference please, mate.
Second, wonder how many of those downloads were books that were NOT in the public domain.

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 03:57 AM
First, cite your reference please, mate.
Second, wonder how many of those downloads were books that were NOT in the public domain.
If you would read the earlier posts, the links to the New York Times, etc are in this thread. Post #31.

The numbers are there in black and white.

And those are lost sales...the 30 million ... books sold in 2006 that were stolen in 2007...30+ million.

Pepperland, it must be nice...if people were stealing my money, I would be raving mad...actually they have and the police and courts have dealt with them and you know what...I am still raving mad about it.

Maestro,,,did you watch Harlan Ellison rant and rave in post #75.... He is like Koontz and dang well upset with intellectual property being considered free to the world.

Virector
03-29-2009, 04:10 AM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers. It must be nice to Pshh away 200 million dollars so easily. The 2008 numbers are not out, but expected to be bigger, and the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly...once it's price drops you will see billions in revenues vanish. Pshh, I wish I had you spare billions.

And yes this is a drop in purchases from the previous year. Downloaded free instead of being bought.

Er, I'm sorry-- when you say the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly, what do you mean? Because last time I checked, ebooks have always been user friendly-- the Kindle actually makes them LESS user frienldy since you have to convert them to the Kindle format before you can read them-- which is LESS user friendly, so I don't see your point in terms of you claiming "they make ebooks user friendly." Or were you unaware that it's easier to read ebooks that are NOT in Kindle format, unless you actually had a Kindle?


I feel the OP is overstating things to a hysterical degree.

My point exactly.

KCathy
03-29-2009, 04:10 AM
If the writers do not take the initiative, the writers will suffer. I have dealt with several executives of large publishing houses and they (Gods that they are) say and I quote Neil Nyren of VP Putnam...."Every year since I've been in this business, some publication or other has run a "sky is falling" article about publishing, based upon whatever the issue of the day is. I understand, it's a sexy thing to write about -- but we're still here (which is not something I can say about some of the publications that ran those articles!).

Sounds to me like he either doesn't care, is too busy having dinner with the Emperor of Japan (last week), or totally blind to what has happened to music and will happen to books.

I don't understand why these stories (by the same news outlets that make HUGE DOOMSDAY CRISIS PREDICTIONS about absolutely everything because it sells more papers/ad time during news shows) are for some reason more reliable sources than the Vice Presidents of publishing companies.

Why do you assume he doesn't care? Why not assume that his fleet of financial advisers and sales analysts have reassured him in 300 page reports that the industry will survive? Or that current sales losses are a natural problem for non-necessary goods during a recession?

I tend to examine the source closely when considering information.

News outlets with vested interest in FREAKING PEOPLE OUT: "The book industry is doomed--let's all FREAK OUT!"
Publishing vice president with vested interest in thoroughly examining the problem: "People enjoy freaking out, but we're doing okay."

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 04:26 AM
Good point, KCathy, I am a Management Consultant and Financial Specialist and have advised the board of directors on several Forbes top 100 companies on financial trends and policies that should be adjusted. For example, in the late 80's I advised the president of GM on a corporate direction I identified as being potentially damaging to the corporation over the long run. As it turns out, the president did not change the corporate vision and it did in fact negatively impact the company. Same old same old for many others...my success rate has been over 90%. In addition, I have been working on large system design and architecture since 1972. I do admit, I am no expert (maybe one of the more qualified, but no one is an expert) but I do know the picture financial reports paint. And contrary to other experts on this thread, the financial reports show there are more consumers of reading material whiles sales have decreased. Library usage has dropped but surveys show reading and numbers of readers have increased.

I guess the books being read that are not being purchased are magically appearing on peoples pc's because nobody wants to acknowledge piracy has increased alarmingly.

CheshireCat
03-29-2009, 04:41 AM
Library usage has dropped but surveys show reading and numbers of readers have increased.

I would venture to guess that most of that increase in "reading" is done online, and I don't mean ebooks. I know I'm reading a lot more online than I did even five years ago; I read my newspaper and my writer's organization newletters online.

But that aside, who commissioned these "surveys" and exactly what did they report?

mscelina
03-29-2009, 04:55 AM
Okay, first off no one here is blind to the acts of piracy that are going on. The condescension with which you're speaking to other writers, published and unpublished, traditionally published and electronically published, is uncalled for. You've heard from a lot of people in this thread, some of whom I would venture to say know a great deal about the publishing industry in all of its various aspects. Some of these people work very hard against e-piracy on a lot of levels, as a basic search of this site would show you. So try not to make blanket assumptions about 'nobody wants to acknowledge piracy' -- that's not the case.

What many of us have been trying to tell you is that without a breakdown of the numbers, there is no way to know what's pirated and what's not. There are countless downloads of books in the public domain. Many e-pubbed authors give away copies of their books in contests. Any idiot stupid enough to open up a site reselling e-published books is found quicky and shut down, usually within hours. Trust me; I've busted several enterprising souls trying to sell copies of my books for a dollar on ebay.

There will always be technological advances that, for some reason, people feel threatened by. You've made it plain that e-publishing makes you feel threatened in some way. Why is that? This continued tirade about piracy is pointless--if you feel that strongly about people reading other writers' work for free, why not go to Barnes and Noble and rout out the people in the coffee shop reading a brand new unpaid for book? Or maybe the people in the library--after all that book was only paid for once. Any use after that is theft, right? What about the people who own secondhand bookstores? shouldn't you be picketing outside their storefronts for making money off of another person's intellectual property? If you're going to crusade, you might as well go all the way with it.

However, e-publishing doesn't threaten the existence of books and the publishing industry as we know it. On the contrary, it enhances it. People can carry hundreds of books at a time on their e-readers, encouraging them to buy more books than usual. Writers like myself make their mortgage payments from e-book royalties; occasionally, we win awards. Sometimes, our books go to print--like my series will later this year. E-publishing has been good to me, a stepping stone in my career path that has gained me exposure and (if I may be so bold as to say so) a following of devoted fans with whom I enjoy a closer relationship than most print authors enjoy with theirs. *shrug*

But if someone unauthorized shows up on my Google search with copies of my intellectual property for sale, I take care of it or my publisher does. So piracy exists. I've pirated from myself, as a matter of fact--giving copies of my books to friends, some of whom frequent AW.

So here's my ultimate--and last--question for you, Magic Man. After four pages of this, four pages in which you seem disinclined to listen to what everyone else has had to say about the issue in favor of lambasting us with accusations of apathy or ignorance, tell me this--what is your stake in this? Because, quite frankly, this thread doesn't seem to have encouraged a conversation about your topic so much as it has served as your platform to preach down at us about a perceived threat. You've made your case; we've rebutted it. So forgive me if I don't get what you're on about here.

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2009, 05:31 AM
Pepperland, it must be nice...if people were stealing my money, I would be raving mad...actually they have and the police and courts have dealt with them and you know what...I am still raving mad about it.
.


What good does it do me to be raving mad? I don't have time for that bullshit. I have books to write.

Travis J. Smith
03-29-2009, 05:34 AM
Okay, first off no one here is blind to the acts of piracy that are going on. The condescension with which you're speaking to other writers, published and unpublished, traditionally published and electronically published, is uncalled for. You've heard from a lot of people in this thread, some of whom I would venture to say know a great deal about the publishing industry in all of its various aspects. Some of these people work very hard against e-piracy on a lot of levels, as a basic search of this site would show you. So try not to make blanket assumptions about 'nobody wants to acknowledge piracy' -- that's not the case.

What many of us have been trying to tell you is that without a breakdown of the numbers, there is no way to know what's pirated and what's not. There are countless downloads of books in the public domain. Many e-pubbed authors give away copies of their books in contests. Any idiot stupid enough to open up a site reselling e-published books is found quicky and shut down, usually within hours. Trust me; I've busted several enterprising souls trying to sell copies of my books for a dollar on ebay.

There will always be technological advances that, for some reason, people feel threatened by. You've made it plain that e-publishing makes you feel threatened in some way. Why is that? This continued tirade about piracy is pointless--if you feel that strongly about people reading other writers' work for free, why not go to Barnes and Noble and rout out the people in the coffee shop reading a brand new unpaid for book? Or maybe the people in the library--after all that book was only paid for once. Any use after that is theft, right? What about the people who own secondhand bookstores? shouldn't you be picketing outside their storefronts for making money off of another person's intellectual property? If you're going to crusade, you might as well go all the way with it.

However, e-publishing doesn't threaten the existence of books and the publishing industry as we know it. On the contrary, it enhances it. People can carry hundreds of books at a time on their e-readers, encouraging them to buy more books than usual. Writers like myself make their mortgage payments from e-book royalties; occasionally, we win awards. Sometimes, our books go to print--like my series will later this year. E-publishing has been good to me, a stepping stone in my career path that has gained me exposure and (if I may be so bold as to say so) a following of devoted fans with whom I enjoy a closer relationship than most print authors enjoy with theirs. *shrug*

But if someone unauthorized shows up on my Google search with copies of my intellectual property for sale, I take care of it or my publisher does. So piracy exists. I've pirated from myself, as a matter of fact--giving copies of my books to friends, some of whom frequent AW.

So here's my ultimate--and last--question for you, Magic Man. After four pages of this, four pages in which you seem disinclined to listen to what everyone else has had to say about the issue in favor of lambasting us with accusations of apathy or ignorance, tell me this--what is your stake in this? Because, quite frankly, this thread doesn't seem to have encouraged a conversation about your topic so much as it has served as your platform to preach down at us about a perceived threat. You've made your case; we've rebutted it. So forgive me if I don't get what you're on about here.I am no big fan of using such a succint response, but . . . QFT.


Er, I'm sorry-- when you say the Kindle has made ebooks user friendly, what do you mean? Because last time I checked, ebooks have always been user friendly-- the Kindle actually makes them LESS user frienldy since you have to convert them to the Kindle format before you can read them-- which is LESS user friendly, so I don't see your point in terms of you claiming "they make ebooks user friendly." Or were you unaware that it's easier to read ebooks that are NOT in Kindle format, unless you actually had a Kindle?Though the Kindle does make the ebooks less user friendly in that way, I feel it makes it makes them more user friendly because it takes what was too far distanced from the written page and brought it back to square one, in a sense. The Kindle is meant to be a technological version of tangible books and that is far more friendly to me than reading anything of length on a computer.

Virector
03-29-2009, 05:45 AM
Though the Kindle does make the ebooks less user friendly in that way, I feel it makes it makes them more user friendly because it takes what was too far distanced from the written page and brought it back to square one, in a sense. The Kindle is meant to be a technological version of tangible books and that is far more friendly to me than reading anything of length on a computer.

Oh yeah... :o My bad. But I was thinking in terms of how Amazon advertised the Kindle by saying that if you want to convert your files to the Kindle format, you will need to e-mail the files to your Kindle library, which Amazon will then convert and send to your Kindle, meaning that if you had your own pirated ebook files, Amazon would have a chance to catch you when you sent the files to them to convert (unless you already had them in Kindle format) which would make pirating books more tricky/un-user friendly. But I do understand now what you mean when you say it makes them more user friendly. :)

pepperlandgirl
03-29-2009, 05:51 AM
Oh yeah... :o My bad. But I was thinking in terms of how Amazon advertised the Kindle by saying that if you want to convert your files to the Kindle format, you will need to e-mail the files to your Kindle library, which Amazon will then convert and send to your Kindle, meaning that if you had your own pirated ebook files, Amazon would have a chance to catch you when you sent the files to them to convert (unless you already had them in Kindle format) which would make pirating books more tricky/un-user friendly. But I do understand now what you mean when you say it makes them more user friendly. :)

How would Amazon be able to catch a pirated book? My books are all available for sale in PDF format. They're also available for illegal download in PDF format. How is an automated system at Amazon supposed to tell the difference between legal and illegally obtained PDFs?

Virector
03-29-2009, 05:54 AM
How would Amazon be able to catch a pirated book? My books are all available for sale in PDF format. They're also available for illegal download in PDF format. How is an automated system at Amazon supposed to tell the difference between legal and illegally obtained PDFs?

Hmmm... dunno about that; I was assuming it *may* give them a chance to catch you. I'm not implicitly stating it as a fact. But given what you said, I don't think they would have a way of distinguishing between legal and illegal text. :Huh:

Williebee
03-29-2009, 05:57 AM
MagicMan, in short, your references don't prove up either your numbers or your assertions.

You might imply them from that, but not without making some long assumptions.

That said, we are looking at a collection of new business models in the years to come, business models that will find the inflexible left out in the cold -- but that isn't new, either, is it?

The Kindle isn't evil, it's another e-reader. It was what's next, like the iphone/ipod touch/Blackberry Storm, etc.

Williebee
03-29-2009, 06:02 AM
How would Amazon be able to catch a pirated book? My books are all available for sale in PDF format.

Actually, some code could be imbedded in pdf files, or other downloads, that could act as a legal checksum.

maestrowork
03-29-2009, 06:03 AM
Actually the Kindle does enhance, and thus promote more sales. The wireless feature that allows you to purchase and instantly download and read your e-Book makes it so convenient (and relatively cheap) to acquire books. Such convenience, much like iTune, actually encourages people to buy more books. I don't have a Kindle, but my friend who does told me he's purchased more books last year on the Kindle than he ever did in the past few years at regular stores. He doesn't always read what he buys, but when he sees something he likes, he will get it (and read it later probably) before he forgets.

So, for every book that gets pirated, there is more that get purchased before something like the Kindle makes it so much easier now. No need to drive to the book stores. No need to even sit by a computer and log on to Amazon. All you have to do is sit on the beach, turn on the Kindle, and buy all the e-Books you want and download them instantly.

Virector
03-29-2009, 06:06 AM
Actually the Kindle does enhance, and thus promote more sales. The wireless feature that allows you to purchase and instantly download and read your e-Book makes it so convenient (and relatively cheap) to acquire books. Such convenience, much like iTune, actually encourages people to buy more books. I don't have a Kindle, but my friend who does told me he's purchased more books last year on the Kindle than he ever did in the past few years at regular stores. He doesn't always read what he buys, but when he sees something he likes, he will get it (and read it later probably) before he forgets.

So, for every book that gets pirated, there is more that get purchased before something like the Kindle makes it so much easier now. No need to drive to the book stores. No need to even sit by a computer and log on to Amazon. All you have to do is sit on the beach, turn on the Kindle, and buy all the e-Books you want and download them instantly.

Yeah! :) That's exactly the point I was trying to make earlier, but MagicMan interpreted it as failure to acknowledge piracy and loss of revenue.

mlhernandez
03-29-2009, 06:49 AM
Pepperland, it must be nice...if people were stealing my money, I would be raving mad...actually they have and the police and courts have dealt with them and you know what...I am still raving mad about it.



Dude, have you ever tried to shut down a pirate site? Most of these pirating sites are located in countries halfway around the world. They really don't give a rat's a** about my copyrights. Seriously. Sending a C&D or copies of the FBI's warnings on piracy and punishments will get you nowhere. If you're lucky, they'll just laugh you off or send you an ugly email accusing you of being a greedy b*tch or worse.

I know EC authors who tried to get a specific pirating ring shut down and they retaliated in ways you cannot imagine. I'm talking thousands upon thousands upon thousands of spam emails and website hackings out the wazoo. It gets nasty.

So, yeah, I'm like Pepper. I worry about my next book. On occasion, I'll forward the information of new pirate sites to my publisher's piracy person but otherwise I stay out of it.

(Oh, and huge fan girl moment here. Pepper, I love, loved, loved If All the Sand Were Pearl! Fantastic read!)

Exir
03-29-2009, 06:55 AM
Publishing is supposed to have died many times.

Elidibus
03-29-2009, 09:20 AM
I don't get all the gloom and doom about people stealing my works when they I get published. And, quite frankly, I'm with pepper. I'm a writer and I don't have time worry about stuff. I'm too busy writing.

Rather, this new e reader stuff might just be awesome. Me personally, I don't see this catching on, because there's nothing like the feel of a book in your hands as you lay down before bed. But even if I'm wrong, piracy doesn't worry me? Why? People will by.

It seems to me this thread boils down to one thing. People CAN pirate, so all of them will. I don't believe that to be true. Yea, we're gonna take a hit. But guess what. The publishing industry finally joins some of the other people in the entertainment that are taking a hit on piracy. There isn't a way to avoid this. My 100% legit Cd burning software copies both protected and unprotected CD's. Back int he 90's I was downloading torrents of manga in PDF format. I knew about book piracy form way back in my teens. But I still bought the real books because reading from a computer sucks. And the manga I read? My bookshelf behind me is a testament to that.

So, forgive us if we're not worried about things we can't control. I can't be bothered with stuff like that. I have books to write. And I do have alternate methods of earning income as a writer. They're called other books. Think I'm gonna stop at one? Think again.

And it doesn't "Cost" writers and publishers 200 million dollars to make 53 million or whatever number you quoted was. They never had that money to begin with. So I don't see how this is a fact of "losing money" versus "not gaining money" If a person downloads one of my future books, it didn't cost ME a dime. Sure, I COULD HAVE made money. But it doesn't count as a loss for me. Just as a "not gain."

In short, Piracy will always be around. Deal with it on a case by case basis and help shut those places down. But other than that, why worry? This won't crash the entire industry. People still want to read.

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 09:21 AM
I think I mentioned before...My stake...I operate book stores. Also an author.

My concern as a person involved in the computer industry since 1972, I know that with government working with international copyright laws and tightening website registration rules piracy would not exist. The internet has outpaced the government and legal systems. Greed is the driving force.

Why am I so adamant. Because I believe it is hard enough for authors right now. Tools to reduce their income makes that even worse.

Why do I argue, because people are making statement that the numbers contradict. If you are wrong I will say so. If I am wrong, correct my numbers...PLEASE, not with a statement but with actual numbers.


If you know something is bad and do nothing then....

If you know and have done what you can do...discussed the issue with your agents, insisted electronic versions be protected or not released at all, insisted the industry set up a monitoring system or programs with the government to reduce/eliminate piracy...then good for you.

If you have raised the awareness of other authors...then good for you.

Another reference for those interested...

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article3648813.ece

http://www.independent.ie/business/technology/cyberclinic-have-books-become-the-new-target-for-internet-piracy-1535384.html

Zoombie
03-29-2009, 11:54 AM
I have nothing of relevance to say.

But this thread has gotten this stuck in my head again. (http://www.cristgaming.com/pirate.swf)

mscelina
03-29-2009, 12:38 PM
Some things for you to read, Magic Man:

http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Simba-Information-958814.html


STAMFORD, CT--(Marketwire - March 9, 2009) - The global recession will lead to slower growth in professional publishing markets through 2010, but e-publishing activities, such as online services, abstracting and indexing tools, electronic databases and Web directories, will plow through the economic doldrums, according to the latest report from Simba Information, the leading media industry forecast and analysis firm.

According to Simba's Global Professional Publishing 2008-2009, the global professional publishing market has been growing in the 4.5% to 6.5% range for the past several years. Simba Information projects that the market will grow at a compound annual rate of only 3.6% through 2011. E-publishing services will fare much better than the average, while medical publishing -- the second largest segment after legal publishing -- will suffer from poor advertising sales particularly from the slumping pharmaceutical industry.



From http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/2009/01/25/why-epublishing-needs-to-grow-up/


Neither of those goals are met by not releasing the ebook at the same time as print. First, the ebook reader will most likely wait for the ebook version to come out rather than by the print version because they don’t want two versions of the same book. Instead, the ebook reader might go to the library or borrow the book rather than buy a book and then even the ebook sale might be lost. Second, the lack of an official ebook does not eliminate piracy.

In some cases, I think the lack of an ebook actually encourages piracy. The JK Rowling books are not allowed to be released in digital format, but piraters had the book scanned and turned into a digital copy within hours of their release. Somehow, as seen by the picture above, a couple of these unauthorized versions were for sale on the Amazon site last night.


Might want to read this entire article: http://www.ejisdc.org/ojs2/index.php/ejisdc/article/viewFile/66/66


http://www.rogerclarke.com/EC/Issues98.html#EP7
3.7 Impacts on the Publishing Industry

* Theory
The publishing industry is not yet dramatically different from that of a decade earlier, and it appears likely to stagger into the early twenty-first century in something like its present form. Its structure, however, has been, is being, and will continue to be pummelled by the forces of change.

The strategic impact of information technologies on the publishing industry can be usefully analysed with the assistance of a taxonomy originally developed in Clarke (1992):

passive adoption of technologies results in the following possible outcomes:
low-impact function re-allocation: particular business functions are re-allocated between adjacent enterprises along the industry value-chain, in particular through outsourcing and divestment;
medium-impact structural change: architectural change occurs within the industry value-chain, including dis-intermediation, re-intermediation and that most exciting of change concepts 'dis-inter-remediation' (Saffo 1998); or
high-impact re-definition: wholesale industry restructuring occurs; or
strategic application of technologies may be of the following kinds:
defence: existing players exploit technology to protect their existing positions, in particular through the reinforcement of existing barriers to entry;
threat: existing players or new entrants exploit technology as a strategic weapon, in order to increase their market power or market share; or
facilitation: players collaborate to exploit technology, in order to improve industry processes, to the benefit of the players (which is generally outlawed as 'collusion'), or to the benefit of the ultimate consumers of the industry chain's products and services.
The less dramatic changes are already evident, through multiple instances of function re-allocation and changes in intermediation. Some industry players, particularly new entrants, and the more nimble of the established enterprises, have harnessed technology to their corporate strategy. Meanwhile, the spectre of complete industry restructuring hovers over the established powers of the industry.

It's that threat that bothers you, isn't it? Let's look at a few more sources and numbers, shall we?


http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0130/p13s01-algn.html


Still, as the critic Lev Grossman wrote this month in Time magazine, publishing isn't dead yet. It is "evolving," he argued, "and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it's done." According to a recent study published by the National Endowment for the Arts, "literary reading" has risen 3.5 percent since 2002 – the first spike in decades. And an increasing number of readers are consuming content on their computers or on digital readers such as Amazon's Kindle.

In an otherwise bleak Jan. 23 report on November sales – a 14.4 percent decline over the same period in 2007 – the Association of American Publishers noted that e-book business had more than doubled for the month, to $5.1 million. Over the course of the year, e-book sales were up 63.8 percent. It is in these figures that many industry analysts see hope for the publishing industry at large, which is turning slowly – and not without some grumbling – toward mass digitization.


http://blog.awmonline.com.au/category/e-publishing/


According to his math: ‘A recent Random House contract states that on all copies of a work sold as an electronic book, the royalty will be 25% of the US suggested retail price until the book’s advance has earned out, and 15% of the list price thereafter. Under the current (pre-change) royalty structure, on a book retailing for, say, $10.00, the e-book royalty would be $2.50 per download at 25%, then $1.50 per download when the royalty rate shifts to 15%.By contrast, the new royalty of 25% of the net receipts comes to something like $1.25 per sale on a $10.00 book (25% of 50%).’
While Random’s line is that the new figures reflect the market and the rates offered by their competitors, they seem to be ignoring the big giants – Google and Amazon.
If e-royalties are getting you down though, you could do what Paulo Coehlo does and give readers free copies of his books to download. For him, it leads to an increase in sales of the hardcopy editions. Go figure.


http://www.ukessays.com/essays/information-technology/e-publishing.php


Conclusion
In conclusion, it will be appropriate to say that despite of all the benefits offered by e-publishing, traditional publishing also has a long history of success and cannot be written off at once. We all have grown up reading more from books and newspapers then on computers and mobile phones. Thus there is definitely some degree of resistance to completely switching over to e-published materials any many would still feel more comfortable reading printed text on paper. Nevertheless there is still a strong underlying trend of shift from traditional publishing towards e-publishing and if we take the overall factors into account, then there is a strong possibility that e-publishing might replace traditional publishing in the future.

And then, the piece de la resistance--from a blog called The Book is Dead. (http://http://shermanfyoung.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/mixed-news-from-book-sales-data/)


Despite the headline of this NYTimes piece, some mixed messages from the latest international book sales data. Up in Europe, down in the UK and the USA:

That resilience has been particularly evident in Continental Europe. After a dip in the fall, the number of books sold in France rose 2 percent in December from a year earlier and 2.4 percent in January, according to Livres Hebdo, a trade publication.The trend has been similar in Germany, where the number of books sold rose 2.3 percent in January, according to the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, a trade organization. In the United States and Britain, book sales have been slightly less robust, falling by a fraction of 1 percent in both countries last year, according to Nielsen BookScan

The flipside reality of the GFC is this:

That is not to say that all is well in publishing. A number of New York publishing houses, including HarperCollins, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Macmillan, have recently announced layoffs or executive shake-ups — or both.



Hopefully, there are enough sources and numbers and other resources here for you to sink your teeth into. While there is little doubt that the trends of technology will impact the publishing industry, it is also increasingly apparent that the industry, being aware of this, is moving in a direction that will embrace both traditional and electronic publishing, as is evidenced by Barnes and Noble's recent acquisition of Fictionwise, one of the largest e-book distributors online. So, in your guise as a person who runs book stores, you should be rejoicing! All of that formidable income from the rising sales of e-books will go toward propping up the brick and mortar stores.

In other words, Magic Man, the technology that you despise so much may very well be the savior of the industry you profess to have such a deep and abiding concern for.

Have a nice day.

MagicMan
03-29-2009, 02:25 PM
Hopefully, there are enough sources and numbers and other resources here for you to sink your teeth into. While there is little doubt that the trends of technology will impact the publishing industry, it is also increasingly apparent that the industry, being aware of this, is moving in a direction that will embrace both traditional and electronic publishing, as is evidenced by Barnes and Noble's recent acquisition of Fictionwise, one of the largest e-book distributors online. So, in your guise as a person who runs book stores, you should be rejoicing! All of that formidable income from the rising sales of e-books will go toward propping up the brick and mortar stores.

In other words, Magic Man, the technology that you despise so much may very well be the savior of the industry you profess to have such a deep and abiding concern for.

Have a nice day.

There is nothing I haven't already said in here, except the first link contradicts the second post which states the industry lost. Simba shows all publishing....the second article is addressing book publishing. Overall publishing is doing well, book publishing on the other hand is having a few problems.

Aren't statistics marvelous though. Like I said Ebooks sales are growing at an incredible rate ... 63% year over year in your article and by more in the numbers in the article I posted in post #31. But how does a 63% increase on sales growing to $53 million save a drop in sales of 5.8% in MM alone at 5+ billion dollars = $200 million dollar loss. Even if Ebook sales double again, thats still only $100 million in sales, half the amount lost last year alone in Mass Market sales.

So what if the author makes twice as much on 1% of the total sales, when losing 5% of the total, that puts the author in the red.

Those are great posts, and I hope everyone reads them to be informed on the market place and current trends.

Just beware, the extra 20+ million in ebook sales does little to make up for the 200+ million lost.

I personally believe ebook sales will grow to 20 times the current level (about a billion a year). The concern is without the proper safeguards that 1 billion will not happen, piracy will grab 800 million and the industry will have to settle for 200 million. The sad fact is the MM will drop from 5 billion to 4 billion. Meaningthat 800 million lost to pirates it directly out of the author, the agent, the publisher, and the booksellers pockets.

I don't know this as a fact, but I can't find many pirate French and German books on the internet. (maybe I don't know how to search properly so some help from French and German contributors would be appreciated.) The vast majority of pirate Ebooks are English and Swedish(?). Without piracy, book sales rose in France and Germany. With piracy, book sales droped in the UK, USA and Sweden.

The Ebook senario reminds me of a high school reunion years ago. A classmate was boasting he had doubled his income in each of the last two years, bought a new car and moved into a new place. When another mate was asked he had to admit he only got an 8% each year for 16% increase over two years. He was crushed. That is until he learned later the first classmate's income rose from part time $5,000 to $10,000 and then again to $20,000. And here his had only risen 16% from $160,000 to $186,000.

Saskatoonistan
03-29-2009, 06:35 PM
. . . and the sales are minuscule.

caw


Horsefeathers. (http://www.openebook.org/doc_library/industrystats.htm)

Mr Flibble
03-29-2009, 08:16 PM
With piracy, book sales droped in the UK, USA and Sweden.

How peculiar, because your average reader in the UK have either never heard of e-books or never read one. Sales for e-books here (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/media/article4640005.ece?token=null&offset=12&page=2) are currently tiny.



So how does e-book piracy account for the drop of print sales here when no one is reading e-books anyway, legit OR pirate?

GregB
03-29-2009, 09:38 PM
Horsefeathers. (http://www.openebook.org/doc_library/industrystats.htm)

Great link, and certainly e-book sales are moving in the right direction. But they are miniscule -- less than 1% of sales, AFAIK.

My take: Digital media (and therefore piracy) are here to stay. We should embrace the new opportunities to expand our audience, even if it means dramatic change for the publishing industry. We should also continue fighting to protect creators' rights from thieves.

Saskatoonistan
03-29-2009, 09:45 PM
Great link, and certainly e-book sales are moving in the right direction. But they are miniscule -- less than 1% of sales, AFAIK.

My take: Digital media (and therefore piracy) are here to stay. We should embrace the new opportunities to expand our audience, even if it means dramatic change for the publishing industry. We should also continue fighting to protect creators' rights from thieves.

They are proportionate to the size of the industry and once an affordable reader becomes available, I suspect they will hit critical mass in North America. In Japan, eBook sales account for nearly 50% of all books sold. I wouldn't call that miniscule, but then again, that's their market and not ours.

I am always interested in threads on this forum dealing with eBooks. It's almost as if there's an overtone that they're not *real* books because they don't smell like ink.

GregB
03-29-2009, 09:56 PM
They are proportionate to the size of the industry and once an affordable reader becomes available, I suspect they will hit critical mass in North America. In Japan, eBook sales account for nearly 50% of all books sold. I wouldn't call that miniscule, but then again, that's their market and not ours.


I believe e-books are less than 1% of sales worldwide, which would include outliers such as Japan. I absolutely agree with you that the numbers will change when an affordable reader becomes widely available. Beyond that, we're probably just arguing about the definition of "miniscule," and we probably both have better things to do. ;)



I am always interested in threads on this forum dealing with eBooks. It's almost as if there's an overtone that they're not *real* books because they don't smell like ink.

Just another format, as far as I'm concerned. I have a habit of dismissing most ebook publishers, but not because their product doesn't smell like ink -- rather, for a host of other reasons, ranging from quality control and editorial development to market penetration, distribution, and sales.

Saskatoonistan
03-29-2009, 10:06 PM
I believe e-books are less than 1% of sales worldwide, which would include outliers such as Japan. I absolutely agree with you that the numbers will change when an affordable reader becomes widely available. Beyond that, we're probably just arguing about the definition of "miniscule," and we probably both have better things to do. ;)


I will be very interested to see if the industry tracks eBook sales via handheld devices such as the Blackberry. I can't imagine reading a book on a blackberry, but my 18 year old son and those in his demographic who have grown up in a paperless society might have something to say about their preferred method of reading.

As for eBook publishers, I suspect more and more will pop up. Will the quality of their product improve? Beats me. As a rule, if I see an eBook publisher's website that looks like a 15 year old's home page from the dawn of the Interweb when all we had was Internet Explorer and Netscape 1.0, it's generally a pretty clear statement about the quality of their product.

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 10:57 PM
WOW...that's my problem...the people who should be concerned are advocates or apathetic.

No, really, that's not your problem.

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 10:59 PM
Claudia,

Most people don't even know that books can be pirated...yet. Book piracy is still in it's infancy. When Kindles drop (like all other electronics) to the $50 price range, book piracy will skyrocket. Tools to add drm to pirated copies so they work on Kindles are already out there...the future will bring better hacker tools.

The e-book industry is, like the digital movie industry, moving away from DRM because it's a waste of time, money, and effort and it pisses off the user.

You know, it's not like e-books are even new. Have you actually looked into any of this, at all?

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 11:13 PM
I
Yes, people will still write, but with thousands of tripe novels hitting the internet every month, the reader will eventually give up trying to find good new material and turn to other activities.

Umm no. That's not how it works, or even what's happening, with digital music or e-books.

Good data drives out bad. You know why there are no pirated copies of Cory Doctorow's book?

Good data drives out bad.

E-books are driving sales when the e-book is a professionally produced document, affordably priced. People will read on the computer, or on a handheld device like a Kindle or an iPhone--if they have reason to. But the codex book is not going away.

It's a completley debugged energy efficient aesthetically pleasurable device.

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 11:15 PM
Unfortunately the perspective that intellectual property should be free for all to see and use is growing at an alarming rate. If there is no renumeration for the creators of intellectual property, we are then doing what has been done throughout history, allowing the most brilliant minds to wither away in poverty.

No, actually, it's doing the opposite. IP law is becoming increasingly rigid and restrictive, all over the world.

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 11:20 PM
Virector your Pshh is absolutely right. In 2007, 30 million ebooks were downloaded free, no payment, no revenue for publishers, no royalties for writers.

I want a citation for this; it's not possible to track this kind of data. It's not even possible to estimate it, really. The nature of Internet piracy is such that it's deliberately designed to be so difficult to track that it's not feasible.

I'm calling bullshit.

Medievalist
03-29-2009, 11:27 PM
You know, I produced my first commercial e-book in 1990. I then began working for Voyager--who essentially created the UI for pretty much all e-books we're reading now.

The first Voyager book that was "pirated" was a text file make of Adam's Complete Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe. The file was a raw text dump; not reformatted or edited or anything.

We gained sales because the "special" features weren't available in the raw text; it was essentially free advertising for us.

Yes, there are thieves. But there are always thieves. It's foolish to obsess over lost sales, instead encouraging increased sales. The royalties on typical e-books are substantially better. There's also a tendency for e-book readers to buy a paper copy of a book they like.

mscelina
03-29-2009, 11:48 PM
The point that the OP seems to be missing, whether through deliberate obtuseness or lack of comprehension, is that the e-publishing industry is now a component of the publishing business as a whole. The big houses are embracing it (don't believe me? Check out Baen or Tor) and there is a successful cor of small, independent presses who aren't publishing "tripe novels" and instead are producing high quality, well-edited and well-written books on a variety of topics. Instead, he's focusing on piracy and theft and tarring the entire industry (and the people who work for it) with the same brush. The convenience of e-books cannot be denied. Neither can their growing popularity. It's interesting to me, though, the greater examples of theft involving intellectual property in the past few years haven't been from e-pubbed books: Rowling's last book was stolen from the printers, scanned and posted online; Meyer's uncompleted last book was posted online without her permission or knowledge; and then you have the glories of plagiarism where we have big-name authors lifting passages wholesale from her research material--something we might never have discovered if it weren't for electronic technology --or website owners collecting the information from his site and using it to try and publish an encyclopedia comprised of an author's IP without her permission or knowledge.These are the current issues of theft in the industry, not some yahoo setting up an ebay account or people trading e-book copies.

blacbird
03-29-2009, 11:52 PM
I want a citation for this; it's not possible to track this kind of data. It's not even possible to estimate it, really. The nature of Internet piracy is such that it's deliberately designed to be so difficult to track that it's not feasible.

I'm calling bullshit.

Especially if this includes things like Gutenberg and the many other free links to public-domain literature available on the Net.

caw

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 01:05 AM
I want a citation for this; it's not possible to track this kind of data. It's not even possible to estimate it, really. The nature of Internet piracy is such that it's deliberately designed to be so difficult to track that it's not feasible.

I'm calling bullshit.

Hiya Medievalist,

Great to have you join in. Someone who knows the industry always benefits a thread.

Estimates of piracy are simple from a financial perspective. Estimated sales growth and corresponding sales growth in parallel lineups = x.
Actual sales growth = y. Piracy = x-y. In 2008 for Mass Market books = $200 million dollars.

And I fully agree, ebooks are the way of the future, but as a retailer when I have a new product, I do not leave it out front of the store on display overnight. We need to protect our product. We need to be smart and chase down the thief where possible. We need to bring the thief into the justice system as frequently as possible. I do this in the brick and mortar system and in the electronic sales of my computer applications.

Kathleen42
03-30-2009, 01:47 AM
Estimates of piracy are simple from a financial perspective. Estimated sales growth and corresponding sales growth in parallel lineups = x.
Actual sales growth = y. Piracy = x-y. In 2008 for Mass Market books = $200 million dollars.
.

Quite frankly, I'm boggled that anyone would assume piracy is responsible for the ENTIRE difference between estimated sales and actual sales.

I think there are certain organizations that would very much like people to believe piracy is the only factor but it does not stand up to common sense.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 02:09 AM
Quite frankly, I'm boggled that anyone would assume piracy is responsible for the ENTIRE difference between estimated sales and actual sales.

I think there are certain organizations that would very much like people to believe piracy is the only factor but it does not stand up to common sense.

When all other reasons are eliminated, where else do you point the finger. Did the sales magically vanish? Oh that is the description of piracy/theft in my brick and mortar stores.

I know, I saw the ____ of the ER episode on A&E too. The guy with the knife in his back and he didn't believe it, even after they showed him the knife in a mirror. They had to wait for him to collapse as he tried to leave before they could remove it and save his life. With Ebooks, the life saving after the fact won't happen...it will be too late.

Kathleen42
03-30-2009, 02:22 AM
When all other reasons are eliminated, where else do you point the finger. Did the sales magically vanish? Oh that is the description of piracy/theft in my brick and mortar stores.

I know, I saw the ____ of the ER episode on A&E too. The guy with the knife in his back and he didn't believe it, even after they showed him the knife in a mirror. They had to wait for him to collapse as he tried to leave before they could remove it and save his life. With Ebooks, the life saving after the fact won't happen...it will be too late.

You know what, at this point I'm just not even going to bother. You're not interested in a discussion.

blueobsidian
03-30-2009, 02:24 AM
Are you honestly telling me that if there was no way to pirate a book, every one of those people would actually purchase it? That's a ridiculous assumption (and one that is flat out untrue). There is not a one to one correlation between copies pirated and copies not purchased. Many people who pirate things that they enjoy end up buying a copy. Others recommend it to their friends, who then buy copies. Others realize that the work isn't their taste. Others simply would never pay for the item in the first place.

roseangel
03-30-2009, 02:31 AM
The fact that we are in a recession and the unemployment rate has increased greatly and jobs are reducing hours/paychecks obviously means nothing, I mean, money is tight for many many many people, but that makes no impact on sales whatsoever!

It's all piracy!

I buy books when we have extra money, but we are on a budget as money is tight for us, just like it is for most other people.

Medievalist
03-30-2009, 02:35 AM
Estimates of piracy are simple from a financial perspective. Estimated sales growth and corresponding sales growth in parallel lineups = x.
Actual sales growth = y. Piracy = x-y. In 2008 for Mass Market books = $200 million dollars. .

Yes. Fake numbers.

You are also equating the potential for sales with actual sales.

This is bogus.

Dave.C.Robinson
03-30-2009, 07:13 AM
Ebooks do not equal piracy.

Eric Flint put his first novel (Mother of Demons) up for download as an experiment: His sales went up. He even posted his sales figures. This proves that the availability of free downloads does not automatically translate into a decrease in sales.

Secondly, the idea that every ebook downloaded from the darknet is a lost sale is utterly ludicrous. Ignoring the fact that many pirates would not buy in the first place, there's also the fact that ebooks are often made available for download in bulk and so someone may have to download fifty or a hundred titles to get the one they want. In cases like that, even the people who might have bought the one book they wanted would probably not have bought the other ninety-nine or however many.

Downloads do not equal lost sales. Some fraction of illegal downloads certainly does represent lost sales - but that number is not only less than one hundred percent, but almost certainly less than fifty percent if not less than ten percent.

As for saying "No!" to ebooks, all that does is guarantee that the return from electronic copies will be zero. Any popular book will hit the darknet; and the presence or absence of legitimate electronic copies means nothing to someon with a paper copy and a scanner. If you want to keep a book off the darknet, don't sell the paper version.

Bookscan numbers (http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6628121.html) show that unit sales dropped 0.2% in 2008 from 2007, which means the market was essentially flat - despite the economy. Mass market and trade paperback sales grew, while hardcover sales declined. Exactly what would be expected in a worsening economy.

Ebooks are not the problem.

Selling DRM-laden ebooks for more than the price of the hardcover when the paperback is available is a problem; but not the simple existence of ebooks.

Baen sells individual ebooks for slightly below the price of a mass-market paperback and makes a profit doing so. They've been doing this for almost a decade, and have moved from a paperback house to a major hardcover speculative fiction publisher.

Neither ebooks nor the kindle equal piracy.

mlhernandez
03-30-2009, 07:44 AM
Ebooks do not equal piracy.

Eric Flint put his first novel (Mother of Demons) up for download as an experiment: His sales went up. He even posted his sales figures. This proves that the availability of free downloads does not automatically translate into a decrease in sales.



This is so true. Orbit, Harlequin and a few other publishers having been offering free downloads or super cheap downloads ($1) of various books, usually the first in a series. I've gotten hooked on four new series and a handful of new single-title authors in the last two or three months alone this way. I ran out to my B&N and bought them if they had them on the shelves and ordered the rest online. It's a fabulous way for the publisher to use the backlist to hook new fans.

Nivarion
03-30-2009, 08:38 AM
I think the problem is non-existent right now. And I can prove it. Go the www.thepiratebay.org and search other> E-Books then set it to display seeds from highest to lowest.

Or just click this link. linky. (http://thepiratebay.org/browse/601/0/7) Looking at it, the top of the list is self help. Most of what I saw was in the public domain. A few that i downloaded just to look at (i got the vista one cause, god i need it) were put on there by the authors themselves.

and look at the seed levels! there are hundreds of 0 seed pages on there. A great deal of the stuff with the high seeds were things people would just go to the library to check out any way. I don't think its as big of a problem as your making out.

and just from some clarification TPB is the largest pirateing sight in the world so, yeah.

Oh, BTW I'm not saying that there is nothing on there that is being pirated because its expensive and not able to be checked out, just saying, that most of whats on there and has good seed counts is stuff that most people would check out in the library.

And for reference i guess I'll give this link.
Twilight (http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4752496/Twilight.2008.DvDrip.XviD-NoRar_) 14000 seeds.

And i have a feeling that i just made my self look like a pirate endorsing, inconsiderate ass with this post. Know that I'm not, and that a lot of stuff is getting stolen there.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 08:48 AM
I am not saying piracy is a big thing today Nivarion.

We lost 30 million sales in 2007 and 35 million in 2008 (2008 didn't grow because Google had to clean up it's act}. That's a drop in the bucket.

I am saying it will grow. And that won't be a drop. $200 million lost per year is peanuts. But when we start losing 1-5 billion, will people sit up and take notice?

Who knows. At least I tried to raise awareness.

Bob

BTW if we follow the precident of the music and movie industries it will be $10 billion lost each year, but what's a few billion amongst friends.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 10:18 AM
Hey Vee, well stated...

My last post basically said I gave up. The EBook supports the Kindle. It also supports easy piracy. No Kindle, limited piracy.

I have teen and pre-teen kids and their friends surrounding me. If you go to Mibba.com you will find thousands of teen authors and readers. I also have teen grandkids (don't ask). And the demographics at my stores have not changed over over the years. Teens still read, people in the twenties still read...and the numbers are similar to 25 years ago when we opened. Yes teens have better things to do, especially boys. Teen girls read a lot more than boys. But the boys get into reading in the latter teenage years (Sci-fi/Fantasy and Thrillers).

You can laugh....just remember this thread in five years as the pirates are laughing and dancing around their hordes of what should have been our riches.

Bob

Virector
03-30-2009, 10:36 AM
Hey Vee, well stated...

My last post basically said I gave up. The EBook supports the Kindle. It also supports easy piracy. No Kindle, limited piracy.

I have teen and pre-teen kids and their friends surrounding me. If you go to Mibba.com you will find thousands of teen authors and readers. I also have teen grandkids (don't ask). And the demographics at my stores have not changed over over the years. Teens still read, people in the twenties still read...and the numbers are similar to 25 years ago when we opened. Yes teens have better things to do, especially boys. Teen girls read a lot more than boys. But the boys get into reading in the latter teenage years (Sci-fi/Fantasy and Thrillers).

You can laugh....just remember this thread in five years as the pirates are laughing and dancing around their hordes of what should have been our riches.

Bob

OK Bob. :) I apologize for questioning how well acquainted you are with younger people-- that was very silly and stupid of me and I am sorry. I, and most others in this thread simply do not buy into the rather one-sided view you are arguing for. I guess you're right-- the best thing is to hope this thread is still accessible 5 years from now: I'll be happy to return and see who turned out to be right. Otherwise, this thread will never end because neither you nor I nor anyone else knows for certain what's going to happen in the future. Again, I apologize-- I re-read my post and it strikes me as being rather rude; I'm not normally like that. :o

blacbird
03-30-2009, 11:06 AM
Estimates of piracy

Okay, that clarifies quite a lot. Perhaps more than you intended.

caw

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 11:11 AM
Hey Vee,

No problem. I know your posts and I know your pasionate in your point of view. So am I.

I have a lot of experience with numbers, finance and forecasting. The numbers point to the same damage here as in music. (did u know the music industry revenues are down 4 billion to 10 billion ... that's down 1/3).

Greed is a lovely thing. It caused the housing market artifical inflation, the gasoline price inflation, the stock market inflation. It is also the driving force behind piracy and when there is 35 billion available to steal...it didn't happen much to date...because it was a pain. When u make it electronic, it's easy, and these vultures will swoop in on that 35 billion, whether the industry is dead or alive.

Smiles
Bob

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 11:33 AM
Greed is a lovely thing. ... It is also the driving force behind piracy and when there is 35 billion available to steal...it didn't happen much to date...because it was a pain. When u make it electronic, it's easy, and these vultures will swoop in on that 35 billion, whether the industry is dead or alive.

Smiles
Bob

Um...

Where do you get the idea that pirates are stealing $35 billion?

It MIGHT be $35B in LOST REVENUE (I don't believe it is, given the figures you've provided and how they were arrived at, but that's not relevant for this little tangent), but the pirates don't suddenly have $35B in hand.

Are you aware of how on-line file sharing and piracy work? Because no one is "laughing and dancing around hordes of what should have been our riches" -- that's NOT, how it works.

(And btw, I suspect you meant "hoards".)

blacbird
03-30-2009, 11:39 AM
I am not saying piracy is a big thing today Nivarion.

We lost 30 million sales in 2007 and 35 million in 2008 (2008 didn't grow because Google had to clean up it's act}. That's a drop in the bucket.

I am saying it will grow. And that won't be a drop. $200 million lost per year is peanuts. But when we start losing 1-5 billion, will people sit up and take notice?

Who knows. At least I tried to raise awareness.

Bob

BTW if we follow the precident of the music and movie industries it will be $10 billion lost each year, but what's a few billion amongst friends.

I hereby award the AW Gold Medal for the most undocumented and unsupported numbers ever cited in a post.

caw

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 12:40 PM
I hereby award the AW Gold Medal for the most undocumented and unsupported numbers ever cited in a post.

caw

LOL and AW award for not reading posts go to....

Post #31 has the numbers and so do other posts. They are not my numbers, they are the the NY Times and other reputable reporting agencies.

And sorry for the poor prose, I'm tired and my big development project is rolling out to production in three locations next week.

Night all....thanks for contributing.

Bob

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 02:25 PM
Um...

Where do you get the idea that pirates are stealing $35 billion?

It MIGHT be $35B in LOST REVENUE (I don't believe it is, given the figures you've provided and how they were arrived at, but that's not relevant for this little tangent), but the pirates don't suddenly have $35B in hand.

Are you aware of how on-line file sharing and piracy work? Because no one is "laughing and dancing around hordes of what should have been our riches" -- that's NOT, how it works.

(And btw, I suspect you meant "hoards".)

Okay, so I'm tired...The industry numbers end of 2007 were 37 billion ...check the other posts, the exact number is in one of the links. And the vultures will gobble as much of that 37 billion as they can get...or as much as we let them get. Right now DRM is the only obstacle. And that won't stop them long. (The Koontz book had the DRM stripped and uploaded)...Nighty night.

Variously
03-30-2009, 04:54 PM
Magic Man, I'm totally with you on this, but there seems to be a huge amount of denial around about downloading generally. Message board threads on downloading and music are just packed with people who download giving every reason under the sun other than downloading for the collapse in sales, when it's obvious that it is the reason. Given a handy device to read e-books on, which most people don't yet have but prbably soon will, and all the titles that they want up on bittorrent, I see no reason for most people to pay for the same set of 0's and 1's. But only time will tell. The only thing that might make books different from music and movies is that people might not like reading off a screen, and that it has never traditionally been necessary to buy a device in order to read books. But I think the piracy angle might actually drive Kindle sales. One off payment for the device, then never buy a book again.

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 05:47 PM
Okay, so I'm tired...The industry numbers end of 2007 were 37 billion ...check the other posts, the exact number is in one of the links. And the vultures will gobble as much of that 37 billion as they can get...or as much as we let them get. Right now DRM is the only obstacle. And that won't stop them long. (The Koontz book had the DRM stripped and uploaded)...Nighty night.

Which nicely sidestepped my question entirely...

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 06:12 PM
By the way, I have one further comment.

I do agree that piracy is something of a concern. So too is slipping in the bathtub and dying.

Having looked at the articles and figures you presented in post #31, I am considerably more worried about the latter. These articles do not in any way support what you are saying, and, in many ways, directly contradict you. Your reasoning at attempting to make the figures support your points is specious at best, and blatantly misleading. There are many, many, many reasons for declines in revenue, especially when one is looking at year-to-year sales.

Okay, I have to go have a shower. Wish me luck.

DamaNegra
03-30-2009, 06:22 PM
MagicMan, the "beauty" of internet piracy is that not one single penny changes hands. Pirates don't make any money from stolen content, since they're not selling it but uploading it for free. So all that money that is "lost" to the industry does not end up in the pirates' pockets, but in the pockets of the consumers who didn't want to pay for the book/CD/movie, etc.

veinglory
03-30-2009, 06:51 PM
I would note that actually many pirates do collect money. Those are the ones I focus on pursuing when protecting my own work.

Medievalist
03-30-2009, 09:07 PM
My last post basically said I gave up. The EBook supports the Kindle. It also supports easy piracy. No Kindle, limited piracy.

Again, bull shit.

There are more people reading books (legal and not) on iPhones and PDAs than there are Kindles.

That's why Amazon developed a Kindle reader for iPhone--a reader they give away, because they know people will then buy books.

the bunny hugger
03-30-2009, 09:14 PM
Again, bull shit.

Indeed. In fact I greatly doubt that any significant number of pirate readers use a Kindle. They can use any device that can read a digital file--and only about half a million Kindles are in circulation which is a pitifully tiny number in comparision with computers, iphone, blackberries and even other ebook readers like the Sony, Cybook etc.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 09:39 PM
Lets see now...

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article5998918.ece

Why sue if it's good for you?

DamaNegra
03-30-2009, 09:43 PM
I read books on my iPod. All of them I got for free, because they are in the public domain now, like Tolstoi and Dostoievsky. Does that mean I'm evil?

RE the pirates that make money.... I've know of people who steal shipments of books and then sell it dirt-cheap, but that's about it. Maybe pirates on the internet make their revenue from advertisements? I don't know, since the appeal of downloading free content from the internet is exactly that: it's free.

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 09:47 PM
Lets see now...

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article5998918.ece

Why sue if it's good for you?

What a SHOCKINGLY one-sided reading of that article. One could easily say "Why fight it, when publishers are participating (the Gerritson promo)?"

mscelina
03-30-2009, 09:49 PM
What a SHOCKINGLY one-sided reading of that article. One could easily say "Why fight it, when publishers are participating (the Gerritson promo)?"

Welcome to the modus operandi.

Nivarion
03-30-2009, 09:50 PM
I read books on my iPod. All of them I got for free, because they are in the public domain now, like Tolstoi and Dostoievsky. Does that mean I'm evil?

RE the pirates that make money.... I've know of people who steal shipments of books and then sell it dirt-cheap, but that's about it. Maybe pirates on the internet make their revenue from advertisements? I don't know, since the appeal of downloading free content from the internet is exactly that: it's free.

You know, even though it may be dubious... TPB mods reported that they lost money despite advertisements last year. So, the pirates loose money according to that.

DamaNegra
03-30-2009, 09:56 PM
You know, even though it may be dubious... TPB mods reported that they lost money despite advertisements last year. So, the pirates loose money according to that.

Yeah, but you have to take into account that they were sued... so they had to pay lots of $$ on attorney fees and the like. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how the trial ended.

But yeah, I can't see internet pirates doing this kind of stuff for the profit. Most of them do it because they think making content available to everyone is the right thing. Kind of like Linux, only breaking every single copyright law in the universe.

Nivarion
03-30-2009, 10:00 PM
Yeah, but you have to take into account that they were sued... so they had to pay lots of $$ on attorney fees and the like. Come to think of it, I'm not sure how the trial ended.

But yeah, I can't see internet pirates doing this kind of stuff for the profit. Most of them do it because they think making content available to everyone is the right thing. Kind of like Linux, only breaking every single copyright law in the universe.

Actually, due to the fact that they didn't break a single swedish law, The TPB people got off scott free.

Medievalist
03-30-2009, 10:18 PM
Magic Man, I'm totally with you on this, but there seems to be a huge amount of denial around about downloading generally. Message board threads on downloading and music are just packed with people who download giving every reason under the sun other than downloading for the collapse in sales, when it's obvious that it is the reason. Given a handy device to read e-books on, which most people don't yet have but prbably soon will, and all the titles that they want up on bittorrent, I see no reason for most people to pay for the same set of 0's and 1's.

1. No one is denying that piracy exists.

2. I am exceedingly well informed about online piracy--I was the DMCA contact for the humanities division at UCLA. I served takedowns, and lurked on pirate boards, and am exceedingly knowledgeable about alt.binaries.

3. Pirated ebooks are in general total crap. One of the reasons Harlan Ellison sued AOL et al was because of the horrible file errors introduced into his stories by poor scanning and poorer formatting. Cracked e-books are marginally better, but they too present problems because they typically included the metadata of the original purchaser. Yeah, dude, they're trackable.

4. Professionally produced e-books--good data--demonstrably push out pirated versions--bad data.

5. Pirate sites = virus play ground. This is a strong disincentive to theft.

6. Most people are not thieves. Most book lovers/readers in particular are not thieves because they want more books from their favorite authors, so they pay.

7. E-book reported sales do not include technical and textbooks. They are absolutely doing gang buster sales, but they aren't tracked with the same mechanisms that track mass market/consumer trade.

the bunny hugger
03-30-2009, 10:52 PM
Maybe pirates on the internet make their revenue from advertisements? I don't know, since the appeal of downloading free content from the internet is exactly that: it's free.

I am saying some pirates sell ebooks. They are not the majority but they exist. They set up a blog or website and list ebooks for sale, usually via paypal. They usually use an untraceable or disposable website and close when challenged only to reopen again somewhere else.

Dave.C.Robinson
03-30-2009, 10:56 PM
Anyone who equates Kindles with piracy doesn't understand how the Kindle works.

The biggest benefit of the Kindle is its connectivity: the ability to use Whispernet to connect to the Kindle store and purchase then download books direct from the device without using a computer. With Whispernet comes Whispersync, allowing you to move from an iPhone or iTouch using the Kindle app to a Kindle and back without losing your place.

In order for this functionality to work, the Kindle uploads its log files, with a record of every file ever opened on the device to Amazon's servers. It would be easy enough (ignoring the privacy implications) for Amazon to cross-reference the logs with the person's bookshelf and know whether they're reading books they could only legitimately have purchased from Amazon that aren't on the list. These books would be either bought elsewhere and had the DRM stripped (a violation of the DMCA) or are pirate copies.

This supports pirates how?

I think it's more to promote vendor lock-in than prevent piracy, but the system is there and Amazon can use it.

There's another factor to consider: Ebooks without DRM tend to sell better than ebooks with DRM. If DRM was an obstacle to piracy, the reverse would be true. Unprotected books wouldn't sell because everyone would pirate them, they don't. Baen makes more money from ebooks than from every foreign market combined. Fictionwise sells more Multi-Format books than DRM-enabled books despite the traditional "best-sellers" all having DRM.

Finally there's the anthropological aspect to consider.

Societies tend to divide humanity into "us" and "them." This differentiation between the in-group and the out-group was originally the difference between friend and enemy. Restrictive DRM schemes and accusations of widespread piracy give the impression that the customer is seen as the enemy.

If the customer is the enemy of the industry, then the industry is the enemy of the customer - and normal rules no longer apply. The very presence of restrictive DRM schemes and the RIAA's lawsuit program makes people that much less likely to want to pay for content, and that much more likely to want to put one over on the enemy.

It's interesting to note that Baen, which does very well with ebooks, has put a lot of effort into developing a community - and thus moved their customers into the in-group.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 11:03 PM
Anyone who equates Kindles with piracy doesn't understand how the Kindle works.

The biggest benefit of the Kindle is its connectivity: the ability to use Whispernet to connect to the Kindle store and purchase then download books direct from the device without using a computer. With Whispernet comes Whispersync, allowing you to move from an iPhone or iTouch using the Kindle app to a Kindle and back without losing your place.

In order for this functionality to work, the Kindle uploads its log files, with a record of every file ever opened on the device to Amazon's servers. It would be easy enough (ignoring the privacy implications) for Amazon to cross-reference the logs with the person's bookshelf and know whether they're reading books they could only legitimately have purchased from Amazon that aren't on the list. These books would be either bought elsewhere and had the DRM stripped (a violation of the DMCA) or are pirate copies.

This supports pirates how?

I think it's more to promote vendor lock-in than prevent piracy, but the system is there and Amazon can use it.

There's another factor to consider: Ebooks without DRM tend to sell better than ebooks with DRM. If DRM was an obstacle to piracy, the reverse would be true. Unprotected books wouldn't sell because everyone would pirate them, they don't. Baen makes more money from ebooks than from every foreign market combined. Fictionwise sells more Multi-Format books than DRM-enabled books despite the traditional "best-sellers" all having DRM.

Finally there's the anthropological aspect to consider.

Societies tend to divide humanity into "us" and "them." This differentiation between the in-group and the out-group was originally the difference between friend and enemy. Restrictive DRM schemes and accusations of widespread piracy give the impression that the customer is seen as the enemy.

If the customer is the enemy of the industry, then the industry is the enemy of the customer - and normal rules no longer apply. The very presence of restrictive DRM schemes and the RIAA's lawsuit program makes people that much less likely to want to pay for content, and that much more likely to want to put one over on the enemy.

It's interesting to note that Baen, which does very well with ebooks, has put a lot of effort into developing a community - and thus moved their customers into the in-group.

All true and thanks for sharing the info. Unfortunately Amazon does not police the use of the Kindle. Agent Peter Cox downloaded a complete ebook from Scribd two days ago, loaded it on his Kindle and he was off to the races. The book he downloaded was one he had purchased in paper format...it was a test to confirm how easy it is to pirate.

Smiles
Bob

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 11:11 PM
All true and thanks for sharing the info. Unfortunately Amazon does not police the use of the Kindle. Agent Peter Cox downloaded a complete ebook from Scribd two days ago, loaded it on his Kindle and he was off to the races. The book he downloaded was one he had purchased in paper format...it was a test to confirm how easy it is to pirate.

Smiles
Bob

So the Kindle made him do it?

mscelina
03-30-2009, 11:13 PM
So the Kindle made him do it?

Wait a second--an agent owns a Kindle? Wow, obviously he's really concerned about the death of the publishing industry as we know it.

*rolls eyes*

MacAllister
03-30-2009, 11:21 PM
Huh. I don't own a Kindle, and I've certainly downloaded all kinds of books and read them on my iPod and laptop. (Legally, btw.) There's even been a few I didn't bother to download -- I just read 'em online.

So I'm mystified as to how the Kindle is supposedly causing all this, Magicman.

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 11:28 PM
How honest are people?

We had one stored closed for physical inventory on a normal business day. We set up a table outside with 100 books on the table. The note on the locked door read "Sorry, we are closed today to do a physical inventory. There is a fine selection of books on the table with a special price of $5. Place your $5 in the envelope supplied in the box and drop it into the slot. Thank you for your patience."

We had set up two spy cameras to record the activity. 8 of our regular customers paid for the book they picked. Three people took several books without paying, 29 took a single book without paying (15 of them were regular customers). The last chap took the remaining forty odd books and the box. He even pulled his car up to facilitate the act. A silly thing to do, since it aided the police in identifying him. Oh, two of the 29 came in the next day and paid for the book they took since they had no change. (We only pursued the thief BTW)

An interesting test.

veinglory
03-30-2009, 11:34 PM
Of course if the camera had been obvious the behavior would have been changed, in fact even putting a mirror up increases honesty. Behavior occurs in a context.

I think Medievalist is correct in saying that commercial epublishers tend to get the paying customers due to superior content--except that content is then pirated.

On the whole piracy rates will depend on relative availability, anonynimity, chance of being caught in the act, and cultural/subcultural attitudes.

I even think there is an optimal balance between legal free/illegal free/and commercial ebook downloads. You need enough commercial success to author to write and publishers to make enough to have decent editorial standards. Otherwise the whole endeavor gets bogged down in semi-literate fic goo.

mscelina
03-30-2009, 11:38 PM
Any bookstore that did something like this in my community would never have my business again. Any merchant who decided to 'test' the honesty of his regular customers would never see another dime of mine. Any businessperson who would concieve of such a thing because they inherently didn't trust the people whose hard-earned money supported their store doesn't have the faintest clue about what it takes to build up customer loyalty.

No wonder you're so fired up about this. You evidently go through life with the idea that everyone is a thief but you. Jesus Christ.

Sheryl Nantus
03-30-2009, 11:40 PM
How honest are people?

We had one stored closed for physical inventory on a normal business day. We set up a table outside with 100 books on the table. The note on the locked door read "Sorry, we are closed today to do a physical inventory. There is a fine selection of books on the table with a special price of $5. Place your $5 in the envelope supplied in the box and drop it into the slot. Thank you for your patience."

We had set up two spy cameras to record the activity. 8 of our regular customers paid for the book they picked. Three people took several books without paying, 29 took a single book without paying (15 of them were regular customers). The last chap took the remaining forty odd books and the box. He even pulled his car up to facilitate the act. A silly thing to do, since it aided the police in identifying him. Oh, two of the 29 came in the next day and paid for the book they took since they had no change. (We only pursued the thief BTW)

An interesting test.

where is your store?

just so I can make sure I never give you my business...

and how, pray tell, did you get the police involved? Sounds like entrapment to me...

Williebee
03-30-2009, 11:41 PM
semi-literate fic goo

I see you read my efforts from last night. :)

We're still talking about a technology tool/device as if it can create or solve a moral ill. It just ain't so. Kind of like the grammar check can't keep me from using "ain't".

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 11:41 PM
How dumb are thieves...

We had to adjust a security camera to focus on an area where five finger discount had increased. A customer help the manager with the adjustment. The next day the camera caught the thief in the act. The thief was the same customer who helped make the camera adjustment.

willietheshakes
03-30-2009, 11:42 PM
No wonder you're so fired up about this. You evidently go through life with the idea that everyone is a thief but you AND Jesus Christ.

Fixed.

;)

mscelina
03-30-2009, 11:43 PM
Thanks, willie. I should try to remember my conjunctions... ;)

MagicMan
03-30-2009, 11:50 PM
We did not confront any of the customers, nor comment on this. A policeman friend when he saw the tape suggested the thief should be warned and he took the tape, identified the thief and gave him a warning. And when 1 out of three employees steals directly from the till, you do get jaded. When 8% of your stock vanishes your balance sheet looks pretty red. I don't like it, I try to believe people are basically honest, but when you're headed to the poor house because of thieves, what other options do you have. I did not put up security bars and camera when we opened. I had to after we lost thousands to smash and grab nighttime bandits. It should be a wonderful world we live in but the reality is that it is not so rosy.

Mr Flibble
03-30-2009, 11:54 PM
So what you're saying is that the e-book theft rate might not be any greater than it is for 'real' bookshops?

BTW, we often have an 'honesty box' for homegrown fruit and veg outside the house. We almost always get with a few pennies of the right amount.

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 12:03 AM
Oh by the way, this was an annual event in the 90's. We and our customers were happy and we did get paid for the majority of the books in the early 90's. In the late 90's the amount in the box dropped. This event occured in 2001 and since then we provide free books out front with a request to take only one please.

mscelina
03-31-2009, 12:04 AM
We did not confront any of the customers, nor comment on this. A policeman friend when he saw the tape suggested the thief should be warned and he took the tape, identified the thief and gave him a warning. And when 1 out of three employees steals directly from the till, you do get jaded. When 8% of your stock vanishes your balance sheet looks pretty red. I don't like it, I try to believe people are basically honest, but when you're headed to the poor house because of thieves, what other options do you have. I did not put up security bars and camera when we opened. I had to after we lost thousands to smash and grab nighttime bandits. It should be a wonderful world we live in but the reality is that it is not so rosy.

Interesting philosophy. When I had my antiques and rare books store, I didn't have that problem. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my employees knew I trusted them and they, therefore, saw no reason to violate that. But then again, I also didn't police my store. I didn't assume everyone who walked in was looking for something to pocket. I've had tables out in front of the store before and at the end of the day, the cash register balanced. *shrug* I've also never noticed bookstores as the victims of smash and grab nighttime bandits. Jewelry stores or appliance stores maybe, but bookstores?

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 12:06 AM
I agree IdiotsRUs, most people are honest and I appreciate that fact. It's the what use to be 20% which seems to have grown to 30% that put a bitter taste in the mix.

Medievalist
03-31-2009, 12:07 AM
Agent Peter Cox downloaded a complete ebook from Scribd two days ago, loaded it on his Kindle and he was off to the races. The book he downloaded was one he had purchased in paper format...it was a test to confirm how easy it is to pirate.


That has fuck-all to do with the Kindle.

1. Scribd uses .pdf files; the Kindle supports a narrow range of .pdf files, just as it supports a narrow range of .txt files. These books are not formatted for the kindle.

2. Did Cox use the copyright@scribd.com address to report the book, assuming it even was a copyright violation? Because I've had very fast response when I've reported an illegal file.

It's easy to steal books from a bookstore, or a library too.

I think we should close all bookstores and libraries to stop thieves.

jessicaorr
03-31-2009, 12:08 AM
OK, here's an avid reader's take on this. I buy a lot of books, honestly I spend more on books than groceries. When the kindle comes down to 200$, I'll buy one. Will I stop buying print books? No. Will I download a massive torrent of pirated books? No.

When I buy an ebook reader, it will mean more royalty payments to the authors. I spend on average 200 dollars a month on books, more in the winter. I follow many authors and sometimes I don't have enough in my book budget to buy their books right when they come out. In these cases I wait and buy a copy used from a library sale. If I had an ebook reader, I would buy the ebook as soon as it came out and then buy the book used at the library sale to have a print copy for my collection. I'm guessing I'm not the only one who would do this.

I love books and I want you all to keep writing them. Most of my favorite authors I've discovered through the library or by reading a book lent by a friend. When I do find an author I like, I buy their books and wait eagerly for new releases. Yes, I actually buy their books. From reading this thread, you'd think it's a miracle. And really, I resent the implication that readers are just waiting to steal your hard work. The vast majority of your readers do not want to steal from you. That one percent that wants something for nothing, do you think they'd pay for the book in the first place? And here's another thought- maybe those imaginary dollars lost never materialized because the sales are biased toward the print forms because people prefer them.

If we're going to sit here and wring our hands about lost royalties, are we going to start a thread about used books? 'Cause I do buy an awful lot of used copies of books that are still in print. Or what about libraries or friends loaning out their newest favorites? Imagine how many more books we'd sell if we refused to sell books to libraries... Then people would have to buy them and another loophole would be closed.

I think if you're that worried about ebooks and piracy, you don't understand your readership, period. I feel insulted.

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 12:12 AM
Interesting philosophy. When I had my antiques and rare books store, I didn't have that problem. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my employees knew I trusted them and they, therefore, saw no reason to violate that. But then again, I also didn't police my store. I didn't assume everyone who walked in was looking for something to pocket. I've had tables out in front of the store before and at the end of the day, the cash register balanced. *shrug* I've also never noticed bookstores as the victims of smash and grab nighttime bandits. Jewelry stores or appliance stores maybe, but bookstores?

Yes tell me. We lost thousands because we trusted our employees. The till balanced, but the sales were meek. It wasn't until we put spy cameras in that we saw the till left open and the money flow to the employee's pocket after the customer left.

Smash and grab was because we also sell high end figurines, trading cards and collector issues. These were the targets of the smash and grab. 5-10 thousand each time. Seven times in one store three in another. I had to spend ten thousand to replace broken glass and install security bars. I also had to take out a second mortgage to make up for what the employees and thieves stole. It nearly bankrupted us.


PS: You may have had the problem and never found out. The first time we lost over thirty thousand to our employee who had been stealing for over a year and a half. When she left (in handcuffs...she was dealing drugs as well ...something else we didn't know) our sales rebounded. The analysis showed the sales drop of 60,000 was not a sales drop but theft.

Sheryl Nantus
03-31-2009, 12:14 AM
still wouldn't give you my business, much less work there.

and I worked 15 years in private security.

willietheshakes
03-31-2009, 12:16 AM
Question for MagicMan -- what stores do you own/run? I see you're in Canada...

(PM me if you'd prefer)

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 12:25 AM
That has fuck-all to do with the Kindle.

1. Scribd uses .pdf files; the Kindle supports a narrow range of .pdf files, just as it supports a narrow range of .txt files. These books are not formatted for the kindle.

2. Did Cox use the copyright@scribd.com address to report the book, assuming it even was a copyright violation? Because I've had very fast response when I've reported an illegal file.

It's easy to steal books from a bookstore, or a library too.

I think we should close all bookstores and libraries to stop thieves.

I'll ask him...or inform him...and yes it was a copyright book.

Thanks

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 12:35 AM
Sorry for getting off topic. And let me make this perfectly clear. I know the majority of the people will still buy books. Just like the majority of people will still buy music. The fact is the music industry is hurting. I believe the book industry will sail the same coarse.

I have a huge project underway. My POS system is finally completed and it is gong into production this week. So I am sorry if I my responses are not the best of prose. It's been many late nights.

This thread has been an eye opener. I really didn't think it would receive so much opposition, disbelief, and outright ornery personalized content. My apologies to the readers. I wanted to put what I thought was an important issue (something I learned the hard way by almost going broke) in front the audience for consideration.

Bob

Variously
03-31-2009, 01:27 AM
This thread has been an eye opener. I really didn't think it would receive so much opposition, disbelief, and outright ornery personalized content. My apologies to the readers. I wanted to put what I thought was an important issue (something I learned the hard way by almost going broke) in front the audience for consideration.

Bob

My thinking is along the same line as yours on all this, but most people in publishing just can't seem to see it. Only time will tell, and if we're wrong I'll be greatly relieved, but I don't think we are.

Dave.C.Robinson
03-31-2009, 02:48 AM
My thinking is along the same line as yours on all this, but most people in publishing just can't seem to see it. Only time will tell, and if we're wrong I'll be greatly relieved, but I don't think we are.

The problem with your position is that the only company that has made a serious effort with DRM-free ebooks has NOT seen a major increase in piracy and HAS seen a major increase in sales.

While the Baen example does not mean that every company will see major benefits from going to ebooks it does mean that the widespread availability of ebooks does NOT automatically translate to either the end of the paper book as we know it or a tremendous upsurge in piracy due to the existence of ebooks.

Massive piracy as a result of the existence of ebooks is not a given. That position has already been demonstrably proved wrong. Yes, piracy is an issue, but it's nowhere near the problem the content industry makes it out to be and their grossly flawed numbers do nothing but undermine their position.

jamiehall
03-31-2009, 02:54 AM
Nearly all of my friends get all of their books through e-piracy. Not just textbooks, but hordes of fantasy novels, gaming supplements and even crafting books. I have never heard any of them say they later went on to buy the actual books. All of them read quite a bit. A lot of college-aged and younger people are used to the idea that everything should be free.

Arguments have already been made that free stuff doesn't kill industries. Instead, it changes the way they operate, decreases revenue from pirating and increases revenue from pirates who become fans and then decide to not pirate everything in the future. Furthermore, some of the decreased revenue is from people who never would have bought the book anyway, so it is a kind of false signal.

There is also widespread consensus that pirating will only become easier and more widespread in the future (5 years?, 10? 30?).

The questions that still need to be addressed properly are these:

1) How will the decreased revenue and increased revenue balance? Will there ever be a point at which the balance between these two processes leads to less income for writers? (This question may well be impossible to answer, but it is not a stupid question).

2) Will the changes in how publishers operate be good or bad for writers? For example, will it someday only be worth it to publish extremely good writing, so that writers with merely good writing who don't meet stringent sales quotas are pushed out of their careers even faster than the current rate?

3) Is the publishing industry fragile in ways that the TV, movie and music industries are not?

The past is useful, but looking at it is not entirely applicable. At some point in the future, it seems that the only obstacle to pirating will be the click of a button and inner moral guidelines (except for the lack of widespread cheap screens as easy on the eyes as a printed page, and lack of knowledge about where to go to download pirated copies, it's pretty much like that now). That's a far cry from going to the library or getting limited-time free promotional ebooks. Also, individual thieves of the past could not walk off with 150,000 copies of a book.

Huge increases in pirating could, for example, create huge increases in fan bases so that upcoming generations devour books at an incredible rate and, even with the pirating draining off a lot of profits, the size of the entire publishing industry expands.

It could also mean that the balance falls the other direction and the publishing industry shrinks, perhaps by 20% or 30%. If that happened, it could mean there would be fewer authors who could make even a half-income on it, as the industry tends to squeeze authors when things get tight.

An overall decrease could also cause other effects, some not so bad. For example, it might level the playing field between extremely rich authors and the rest. Pirates tend to pirate well-known books much more. Perhaps the authors that would otherwise have had huge bestsellers would instead get much of the excess drained away by massive pirating, so that publishers would have no incentive to pay them substantially more or treat them substantially better than authors with a more moderate fan base. A process like that would cause more interest in mid-list authors than there is now, perhaps even better pay. If publishers got a similar profit from bestsellers as they did mid-listers, it would change the industry substantially. Since extremely rich authors are a minority, this would be an improvement for most authors.

There would also be effects that are more neutral. For example, books that only appear in hardcover might be entirely replaced by book appearing simultaneously in hardcover and softcover, in order to keep impatience from compromising the morals of pirates who would rather have a cheap paperback, but will only buy if they can have it immediately.

Of course, there are lots and lots of other possible effects, both good and bad, that I haven't discussed, but I hope there is more discussion and not just refutation of an idea that many feel is unthinkable. The future is uncharted territory in enough ways that we can't just sit here chanting a mantra of "pirating will never ever hurt anyone."

Medievalist
03-31-2009, 03:09 AM
The future is uncharted territory in enough ways that we can't just sit here chanting a mantra of "pirating will never ever hurt anyone."

Oddly enough, I can't find a single post to that effect in this thread.

One of the core problems I do have is the assertion that an illegal downloaded file=lost sale.

I suspect most of your friends wouldn't have bought those books anyway.

I also suspect, that like the 5000 undergraduates on UCLA 's ResNet they download more media than they consume, and that less than 2% of those downloading then upload.

None of this, and none of what you posted, addresses the OP's contention that Kindle and ebooks drive piracy.

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 04:00 AM
JamieHall, excellent well balanced post.

I know Medievalist .... I'm off topic, but 50% of my net profit from book sales is from the best seller authors. This supports my massive inventory of midlist and new authors. If the best selling author sales reduce, so will my inventory of midlist authors. Sorry I'm wrong if the sales of best selling authors reduce significantly, I'll probably not be able to pay the rent.

On topic...if it is not digital theft is minimal. When it becomes digital, theft is easy and will proliferate.

With Scribd getting 600 million visits a year, you must admit that a percentage ...lets say 20% (the old 80/20 rule) download a copyright novel. Oh my gosh, thats 30 million. I just realized that's the same number of lost sales to E-Piracy I have been preaching. And that is just one site.

jamiehall
03-31-2009, 04:03 AM
I suspect most of your friends wouldn't have bought those books anyway.


I know this is a "personal experience" story, and therefore may not be typical, but several of them have large bookshelves absolutely stuffed with books they bought years ago. Thus, it seems certain that at some point, for them, pirating pretty much completely replaced the buying of printed copies.

(As an interesting aside, most of these people also pirate movies and TV like crazy, but are firmly against the pirating of anime).



None of this, and none of what you posted, addresses the OP's contention that Kindle and ebooks drive piracy.

My understanding was that the OP's point was that changing technology was leading us toward a point where pirating would become a serious force - and perhaps a problem. I did not feel as if the OP was saying that the Kindle and ebooks were causing any sort of huge piracy right now, but rather that they these technologies are the first part of a trend which will eventually become very strong, and that that trend could possibly cause serious upheavals.

Then, even though the OP kept providing reasons and solid statistics (by the way, I do not agree with all of the OP's reasoning) to support this assertion, the OP kept getting jumped on in what seemed to me like an aggressive way by a number of people who generally provided fewer facts and who often seemed to approach the question like an article of faith rather than a point to be discussed.

Yes, it is true that various pirating doomsday scenarios predicted in the past have failed to materialize, over and over again. Yes, it is true that giving away free copies (electronic or otherwise) and having a fair amount of pirating going on is often the best publicity that a book can get. That's not what I was arguing about.

I was arguing that it seemed a lot of people were missing the rich discussion opportunities in this thread, involving both positive and negative possible outcomes, and I was also arguing that you simply can't know that pirating will never hurt writers in the future. We only know how pirating operates under current technology and how it has operated in the past, not how it will in the future.

jamiehall
03-31-2009, 04:12 AM
JamieHall, excellent well balanced post.

I know Medievalist .... I'm off topic, but 50% of my net profit from book sales is from the best seller authors. This supports my massive inventory of midlist and new authors. If the best selling author sales reduce, so will my inventory of midlist authors. Sorry I'm wrong if the sales of best selling authors reduce significantly, I'll probably not be able to pay the rent.

On topic...if it is not digital theft is minimal. When it becomes digital, theft is easy and will proliferate.

With Scribd getting 600 million visits a year, you must admit that a percentage ...lets say 20% (the old 80/20 rule) download a copyright novel. Oh my gosh, thats 30 million. I just realized that's the same number of lost sales to E-Piracy I have been preaching. And that is just one site.

Don't get too quick with your praise. I'm not really on your side. I'm at a point halfway between where you are and where most of the rest of the posters in this thread are.

For example, if the fan base (total number of readers) vastly expands, then it is possible that, even if you do lose a big chunk of the bestseller money, your business might not collapse. It could even grow.

The numbers could work out in many different ways.

mscelina
03-31-2009, 04:29 AM
JamieHall, excellent well balanced post.

I know Medievalist .... I'm off topic, but 50% of my net profit from book sales is from the best seller authors. This supports my massive inventory of midlist and new authors. If the best selling author sales reduce, so will my inventory of midlist authors. Sorry I'm wrong if the sales of best selling authors reduce significantly, I'll probably not be able to pay the rent.

On topic...if it is not digital theft is minimal. When it becomes digital, theft is easy and will proliferate.

With Scribd getting 600 million visits a year, you must admit that a percentage ...lets say 20% (the old 80/20 rule) download a copyright novel. Oh my gosh, thats 30 million. I just realized that's the same number of lost sales to E-Piracy I have been preaching. And that is just one site.

This is just absolutely ridiculous. Here's the deal: you're a bookseller looking for a reason to explain your loss of profit. Somehow, you've become fixated on e-books, the Kindle and piracy as the reason your bookstore isn't making any money. You aren't listening to anything that people who have experience within the publishing industryare telling you--choosing instead only to entertain the opinions of those who seem to agree with you. If you actually stopped your preaching, all of which is based upon unsubstantiated and false statistics, and took the time to actually read what people have been telling you, you might be a lot better off.

The Kindle isn't costing you a red dime. If that's the scapegoat you've decided upon, then there's nothing here that anyone can say to dissuade you. Continuing a 'dialogue' that started off about e-piracy and now has degenerated into your bookstore's loss of revenue (which I suspect has more to do with the economy and customer loyalty than e-publishing and piracy) is futile and a waste of time.

Medievalist
03-31-2009, 04:35 AM
JamieHall, excellent well balanced post.

I know Medievalist .... I'm off topic, but 50% of my net profit from book sales is from the best seller authors. This supports my massive inventory of midlist and new authors. If the best selling author sales reduce, so will my inventory of midlist authors. Sorry I'm wrong if the sales of best selling authors reduce significantly, I'll probably not be able to pay the rent.

It's not because of e-book sales; it's because people don't have money for non-essentials.

E-book sales are falling, and so are all manner of Web sites; people can't afford to run Web sites. Look what's happening with ad revenues on Web sites, ranging from Google Ad sense, to ad networks, to Amazon affiliate sales.

My Affiliate sales for my niche Web site are less than 20% of what they used to be--and no, it's not because scholarly tomes on Celtic subjects are available as free downloads (with the exception of a handful of public domain scanned in books, they're not).

It's because people are unemployed, and banks are failing and times are hard.

Clair Dickson
03-31-2009, 04:45 AM
I'm sorry that I don't buy into the ebooks will kill publishing argument. If it does, then the industry is doomed anyway. Just like the TV industry is doomed because of Hulu. I'm sorry I just don't see that the publishing industry is that precarious in terms of ebooks and epiracy.

But clearly, this thread should be relabeled: People who think that ebook piracy will not kill the industry need not enter.

(Though, I do think ebooks will continue to change the industry, as the internet is currently changing the newspaper industry.)

MagicMan
03-31-2009, 07:44 AM
The last several posts have been great. A discussion with intelligence. Thank you all. I don't have much time to contribute from this point forward but I applaud intelligent posts.

Thanks for contributing.

Bob

benbradley
03-31-2009, 08:55 AM
Anyone who equates Kindles with piracy doesn't understand how the Kindle works.
...

Apple's iTunes had DRM for years despite many gripes, and it was the premiere, almost the "only" site for legal music downloads with something like 90 percent of legal downloads. I've heard they've dropped the DRM but it shows how DRM-enabled systems CAN be successful.

There's always "more to the story" but I suspect iTunes got the rights to sell so much of the record labels' music only because it used DRM.

All true and thanks for sharing the info. Unfortunately Amazon does not police the use of the Kindle. Agent Peter Cox downloaded a complete ebook from Scribd two days ago, loaded it on his Kindle and he was off to the races. The book he downloaded was one he had purchased in paper format...it was a test to confirm how easy it is to pirate.

Smiles
Bob
This only shows they don't actively look for using Kindle for pirating and have the pirate immediately arrested. But I have no doubt they save log files of everything done with it, much like webhosts save logs of every IP address that visits with timestamps. They probably don't save the whole content of everything you load onto Kindle, but they might save the first few dozen or hundred characters or so, thus making it identifiable. But no one ever looks through such logs unless they have some reason to suspect "suspicious activity" (such as law enforcement serving them with a subpoena to turn it over).

..
On topic...if it is not digital theft is minimal. When it becomes digital, theft is easy and will proliferate.
I'm not sure. With all the programming built in and only "approved" third-party programs available as with Apple's iPhone, I can see where future devices might only allow purchased content, and even things from Project Gutenberg would have to be accessed through the vendor so that they could be sure users aren't violating copyright. Of course this doesn't stop people from buying other brands of readers that aren't closed systems, but with major companies' marketing, selling alternatives could be like trying to sell "mp3 players" when the only thing most people want or even know about for a portable music player is iPod.

MacAllister
03-31-2009, 09:10 AM
Originally Posted by MagicMan View Post
All true and thanks for sharing the info. Unfortunately Amazon does not police the use of the Kindle. Agent Peter Cox downloaded a complete ebook from Scribd two days ago, loaded it on his Kindle and he was off to the races. The book he downloaded was one he had purchased in paper format...it was a test to confirm how easy it is to pirate.

Somehow, I missed this the first time around.

So Amazon is supposed to "police" how people use the Kindle? Really? As a consumer, I'm going to object strenuously if companies start monitoring how I use hardware I've purchased. ATT is responsible to "police" how I use the camera on my cell phone, perhaps, next? Oooooh, I better be careful about those pictures I upload to flickr, then. And Apple is responsible to "police" what DVDs I play on the iMac on my desk?

Remington better get right on monitoring how those .357s they manufacture are used, then, to make sure no one is up to using one for anything illicit...

Medievalist
03-31-2009, 09:31 AM
Apple's iTunes had DRM for years despite many gripes, and it was the premiere, almost the "only" site for legal music downloads with something like 90 percent of legal downloads. I've heard they've dropped the DRM but it shows how DRM-enabled systems CAN be successful.

Jobs and Apple did not want to have DRM as such, just meta data tagging.

I wrote a little bit about this here (http://theappleandi.com/2009/01/10/apple-announces-price-changes-for-itunes/), but yes, Apple is no longer using DRM, though there are still a few thousand of the millions of tracks in the iTunes database to be converted.

That said, the iTunes DRM was extraordinarily forgiving; you could make 7 CDs of any single playlist, and give them away. You can share your entire library, that is physically copy, your entire library of purchased iTunes music with five other people. You can share the ability to play your library with unlimited users on a local network, and you can copy to unlimited iPods.

That's pretty astonishing, and no, I never had a problem with iTunes DRM, or the DRM used by Peanut Press/E-Reader.com--your e-books are tied to your credit card number and name. You can share your book with anyone you're comfortable having your credit card data :D

2Wheels
04-01-2009, 04:49 AM
Here's a Times article about the Scribd site:
http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article5998918.ece