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I Bought a Nook.

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by Jeff Regensburger Jeff Regensburger 2 years ago.

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  • #457944

    Corrin Radd
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    Aw shoot, Jeff, I wasn’t trying to insult your or the library’s efforts (I didn’t realize you worked for them).

    You’re right, though, that my issue is that I’m not a browser. I keep a list of books I’m interested in and then start looking for specific titles (which the library almost always has, just not in ebook format).

    Without doubt, for readers browsing the ebook selection, they will find plenty of interesting, good reads.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    #457945
    Jeff Regensburger
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    Corrin Radd said:
    Aw shoot, Jeff, I wasn’t trying to insult your or the library’s efforts (I didn’t realize you worked for them).

    You’re right, though, that my issue is that I’m not a browser. I keep a list of books I’m interested in and then start looking for specific titles (which the library almost always has, just not in ebook format).

    Without doubt, for readers browsing the ebook selection, they will find plenty of interesting, good reads.

    Thanks for your efforts.

    Thanks Corrin. I didn’t take it as insult. From your perspective (and probably that of many borrowers) it’s a fair and reasonable observation.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but the truth is it takes time to develop a really deep collection. We see it every time we add a new format. Ebooks have been even more problematic because we’ve had to navigate digital rights management, something that was never an issue in physical formats.

    I’m honestly excited about the future of libraries and ebooks. I think the collections will continue to grow. I think the interface will become more user friendly, and I think borrowing will increase in a big way!

    #457946
    gramarye
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    Heh. I’m still waiting for the opportunity to wade into the world of Overdrive, since I’m on the Kindle. Even without that, however, and even without being much of a traveler, the Kindle has been pretty useful. I can’t wait for them to get with the Overdrive program, though.

    #457947
    th0m
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    It sucks that DRM has been more or less proven to be self-defeating unless your actually delivering unique digital goods (like say your exact bank statement, securely). When you’re trying to deliver the same goods to the public (lend a book), but the attacker (person who is late with the book, or just wants to keep it) is digitally non-unique from the good participant, at least as far as the content is concerned, then you ultimately give up the goods to everyone (the key file for reading the book). You have to look at the last 30+ years of HBO to see that, or the last 6 years of gaming to see that (notice WOW is a unique digital product, your WOW character)…. so I hate to see libraries wrapped up in all of this. I would think the safest bet would be to promote DRM-free and otherwise open or public domain works as the only real artifacts that will have any chance of surviving digitally.

    Also, a good fight for libraries to be in would be to solve the out-of-print fiasco. Sorry to be political, for the day-to-day stuff of all of this, it is a great opportunity, it’s just the end-game is bleak and we’ve already been there too many times for me not to at least bring this up.

    #457948
    cbus11
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    The way DRM works with OverDrive and the Nook reminds me a lot of how lending a book to an individual works now. As for out of print, I think digital books will overcome this since there are very low costs when it is not actually priinted. I have mp3′s of songs that would never be shipping in a physical format.

    #457949
    Jeff Regensburger
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    th0m said:
    It sucks that DRM has been more or less proven to be self-defeating unless your actually delivering unique digital goods (like say your exact bank statement, securely). When you’re trying to deliver the same goods to the public (lend a book), but the attacker (person who is late with the book, or just wants to keep it) is digitally non-unique from the good participant, at least as far as the content is concerned, then you ultimately give up the goods to everyone (the key file for reading the book). You have to look at the last 30+ years of HBO to see that, or the last 6 years of gaming to see that (notice WOW is a unique digital product, your WOW character)…. so I hate to see libraries wrapped up in all of this. I would think the safest bet would be to promote DRM-free and otherwise open or public domain works as the only real artifacts that will have any chance of surviving digitally.

    Also, a good fight for libraries to be in would be to solve the out-of-print fiasco. Sorry to be political, for the day-to-day stuff of all of this, it is a great opportunity, it’s just the end-game is bleak and we’ve already been there too many times for me not to at least bring this up.

    I think publishers see DRM as a way they can work with libraries to deliver digital content and also protect their bottom line. It’s not ideal, but personally I don’t see publishers giving up on it. And while it’s true that libraries have some leverage with publishers, we don’t have so much that we can force their hand. The relationship is made even more complicated by the fact that publishers don’t always act in unison. Some are willing partners, and some seem more resistant. The last I heard, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster weren’t offering any of their ebooks to libraries.

    In a related story, there was a huge outcry from the library community when Harper Collins announced a limit of 26 checkouts per ebook earlier this year. The publisher’s reasoning was that the wear and tear on books borrowed from the library meant that libraries had to regularly replace worn out copies. Obviously this revenue stream dries up in the world of digital content. Harper Collins’ “solution” was to require libraries to purchase additional digital copies of titles after 26 check outs.

    I think this is why I get so excited when I hear comments from people like cbus11 and jarsloth. I know what a challenge this has been. The current system most libraries are using (OverDrive Digital Downloads) is equal parts collaboration and compromise. It was worked out by librarians, publishers, software developers, vendors, and lawyers, It’s probably not the service model the librarians would have picked, but it’s the one we’ve got. Despite a few hiccups (and maybe a few extra clicks), it seems to be working.

    #457950
    th0m
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    Jeff, your heart is in the right place for absolute sure, but given the power of digital media, and the uphill struggle that some content has to even be noticed, I guess I still see this all as a fleecing of the library and of the community to try to transplant a business model onto a medium that just doesn’t work like that[/url]. I’m sorry that digital stuff is different (and actually really sucks in a lot of important ways compared to books) but just like movies and music, I don’t see where it is written that we have to support *distribution* as the way to make a market or support the content.

    #457951
    th0m
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    Also to speak on the out of print thing, I think digital will solve it, but only perhaps in spite of the current state. For instance I’d like to have Sex since not only is it a prurient curiosity from my childhood (it was printed in Willard), and it seems that I could find a copy… but what if I want to give it as a gift to everyone at my upcoming high school reunion? Guess what I can’t because it seems that even Amazon only links to affiliates who combined only have less than 20 copies.

    Now I could go to Kinko’s and make copies of it, but that’d be illegal.

    But I also couldn’t even call the publisher and obtain the rights to have new prints made, and I doubt they even have the resources to even begin to talk to me.

    The only solution I see is that this plight needs to be talked about, and we need to start finding the rare and out of print holdings of the CPL (via some research and deep dives into WorldCat or something) and we need to start an organized effort to take pictures at least with our smartphones or something of these works before these publishers simply cease to exist from fiddling around trying to digitally codify their invalid business model while Alexandria burns again.

    It’s illegal, still sure, but what choice does the public have? At least the rights holder of Fletch finally got around to reprinting that one.

    #457952
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    Sex (NSFW)

    #457953
    gramarye
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    th0m:

    In your system, how would content creators get paid?

    #457954
    th0m
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    you would pay them directly. you could donate to a grant organization. you could attend their talk. you could commission them. canada has a blank media tax that kinda about half-works in spirit to compensate musicians (that is, also, it is legal for you to make copies of any cd in canada as well)… there are many business models in other media. you could subscribe to your favorite artist’s work. the greater problem that isn’t being seen is how do they compete with the wealth of free reading material, this is the whole music and movies thing that’s further along for some reason, I don’t know why the publishing industry is somehow even lagging behind newspapers?

    #457955
    gramarye
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    I could see a system of direct payments for written content in the way that already exists for digital music and video via iTunes, Amazon, and so forth. Indeed, Amazon is already moving in that direction in some ways. In the future, content creators may not be so willing to give up their publication rights to distributors if the digital flattening of the world makes a high-capital distribution network less necessary. However, for the moment, most authors do work through publishers, including for digital material, and those contracts invariably give primary distribution and licensing authority to the publisher.

    The other things you suggest, though, seem largely wishful thinking. Talks by authors do not raise the kind of money that concerts by musicians do. Even J.K. Rowling will never pack an arena like Lady Gaga (more’s the pity, but I digress …). Likewise, few authors work on commission.

    As for how major authors compete with the wealth of freely available reading material out there, I think the answer is simple and straightforward: They produce better books. Yes, I know you can get hundreds of classics off of Project Gutenberg and so forth, but few people are going to make habitual leisure reading of those. The vast majority of free content out there is worth every penny of its cost, but little more, if any.

    #457956
    th0m
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    Yes yes this is all very correct. I think there are two distinct things that publishers are doing that are wrong. One is their sort of self-appointed arbiters of what’s good. This can actually perpetuate crap like say “we’ll sell you X amount of harry potter, but you have to take off our hands this other piece of shit some guy we fired payed his cousin to write”.

    Also, the fact that what the publishers are really saying is that they either don’t or can’t trust the library. So much so they have to use technology to prevent paying customers from reading their materials, even to the point of actually preventing any possible sales of lets say a “new release hot-demand” price they could revenue-share with the libraries. That’s not capitalism, that’s just insanity.

    I actually think you’re close on your last point, but the scope of just how much competition that is out there is staggering. The real challenge will be not just to be better than the crap, but actually find-able among the crap… and I mean that in the sense that the crap is going to be so invasive that it simply drowns out the good stuff. If you’re playing games like stealing the gas from the cars you sell (ie revoking the licenses of books on ereaders) you’re already shooting yourself in the foot in that battle.

    #457957
    gramarye
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    th0m said:
    Yes yes this is all very correct. I think there are two distinct things that publishers are doing that are wrong. One is their sort of self-appointed arbiters of what’s good. This can actually perpetuate crap like say “we’ll sell you X amount of harry potter, but you have to take off our hands this other piece of shit some guy we fired payed his cousin to write”.

    I think that “arbiters of what’s good” is close but not quite accurate. I think that the more accurate descriptor is that they are judges of what will sell. There is plenty of awful literature out there that sells. The size of the market for paperback romances dwarfs the size of the market for the collected works of Shakespeare, even though the latter is long since out of copyright and thus presents publishers with minimal content acquisition costs.

    Also, the fact that what the publishers are really saying is that they either don’t or can’t trust the library. So much so they have to use technology to prevent paying customers from reading their materials, even to the point of actually preventing any possible sales of lets say a “new release hot-demand” price they could revenue-share with the libraries. That’s not capitalism, that’s just insanity.

    Revenue-share with the libraries how? And why? If the libraries are going to be taking in money from people who borrow books and then sharing it with publishers, they’re really bookstores, not libraries.

    I actually think you’re close on your last point, but the scope of just how much competition that is out there is staggering. The real challenge will be not just to be better than the crap, but actually find-able among the crap… and I mean that in the sense that the crap is going to be so invasive that it simply drowns out the good stuff.

    It’s true that the amount of crap out there has grown substantially. However, the tools available for sorting through the crap have also grown substantially. Amazon’s recommendation engine, for example, is head and shoulders above anything that existed twenty years ago, or even ten. Amazon’s motives in designing it were hardly altruistic, of course, but it doesn’t change the fact that it does often succeed in picking a small handful of books out of a pool of millions to recommend to a given customer based on his or her previous viewing and buying habits. In other words, it knows not to recommend paperback romances or the complete works of Shakespeare to me.

    #457958
    th0m
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    Revenue-share with the libraries how? And why?

    You caught me trying to sound hipster-libertarian and maybe I was over-compensating for my seeming anti-capitalistic outlook on a social utopia of free content. If the “private sector can do better” idea holds, then why wouldn’t customer demand be a motive for capitalization, the library promises to make sure it has a wealth a knowledge and resources, but I guess personally I wouldn’t see a moral problem if it garnered a little coin for itself to facilitate making sure there’s no waiting lists for a hot new title, just perhaps having a little creative license and trying to offer other revenue ideas. Hell the library is a coffee shop now too.

    The library may well be non-profit, but it is clear from this ebook business that the publishers are decidedly not, so why should the library subsidize their broken model (by paying for DRM-hobbled books that try to emulate real books, and all the BS that goes along with that)… It’s like they don’t realize that I’m standing here with my levy and tax voting hand wanting to use the library to justify the deal, but if I get a big fat “no” from them, it’s a little more difficult but still doable to go searching for a pirated PDF. The competition there is to be easier and better at distribution than the pirates, not to to drive your customers to them. Why pirate Radiohead’s CD in shitty 128k when I can buy the FLAC version from their incredibly well designed site *quicker* and at faster instant download speed than what a torrent takes to ramp up to, or the overhead of reassembling UUEncoded parts from Usenet? That’s $15 that just flies out of my hands because the whole experience is just nicer. I could email the zip to a friend, but again it’s still easier to send him the link and buy it himself than to have me wait while the attachment uploads. I can keep reusing it on every device in any way until something better comes along. I don’t see libraries or publishers trying to find a better ebook format, or even researching it. In fact the link I posted says a DRM ebook is up to 10x slower performance on a device versus the DRM free one… how ashamed and punished should the customer be that they can’t be trusted?

    Amazon’s recommendation engine, for example, is head and shoulders above anything that existed twenty years ago, or even ten.

    Yeah our own hometown WorldCat is the *shit*…

    But let me describe something we’re missing out on here… it’s a technically challenging idea, but not impossible… what makes it improbably is too much thinking along the lines of tangible books or other physical media… and trying to resuscitate the incumbent revenue streams…

    We could have, on this site or as a plugin, a complete media browser that inserts itself here into the site, across all devices, and I could cite exact passages in books, see what other people are reading, trade around entire libraries of books with each other rather than just discuss titles, and maybe even have a software agent-robot (like what runs on Amazon’s servers) out there working for *me* to find *me* what *I’m* interested or what I want to directly give to you, and it could even be made to specifically look for signs of, say Amazon, trying to offload crap on to me.

    Funny story though is that the Three Wolf Moon meme happened because a guy was looking for law books for college and Amazon said “people that also bought dr. soandsos’ book also liked the Three Wolf Moon shirt”.

    I guess the more though I think about my core point, I realize that I’m not necessarily trying to persuade you think that this all *should* happen, but that kind of unfortunately from what I’ve read and seen in other arenas, DRM will always fail on its promise to exact control over a public market (GE and Hughes outspent their DirecTV hackers, so they all just went to hacking Dish), and it’s a waste of money to get tied to any such schemes.

    Essentially, what I’m positing is that the nature of the digital medium has laws that can’t be broken like how if you have a physical book and you eat one of the pages, that book isn’t magically going to be able to fix itself. A computer program can, though.

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