books  

When publishers lock away the results of research, it hurts us all. On this site, we’ll talk to people in all walks of life who need access to research but can’t get it because of restrictive publishing practices. Here are some of the people we’ll be talking to:

Source: Who needs access? You need access! | Public access to scientific research makes all our lives better

Clearly, two decades of negotiations, talks and diplomacy have led us nowhere. In my opinion, the time to be inclusive has come and passed. Publishers have opted to remain outside of the scholarly community and work against it, rather than with it. Actions of civil disobedience like those of Aaron Swartz and Alexandra Elbakyan are a logical consequence of two decades of stalled negotiations and failed reform efforts.

Source: bjoern.brembs.blog » Sci-Hub as necessary, effective civil disobedience

Just as spring arrived last month in Iran, Meysam Rahimi sat down at his university computer and immediately ran into a problem: how to get the scientific papers he needed. He had to write up a research proposal for his engineering Ph.D. at Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran. His project straddles both operations management and behavioral economics, so Rahimi had a lot of ground to cover.

Source: Who’s downloading pirated papers? Everyone | Science | AAAS

Deeper thought and reflections will be much more evident in the many recent articles and posts I’ve linked to below. I’m also mostly concentrating on the most recent Sci-Hub flare up rather than older posts.

Source: The Sci-Hub story so far: Main event or sideshow? – Confessions of a Science Librarian

There is no question that Sci-Hub is illegal. They are keeping the site live despite a legal injunction. Elbaykan is happy to talk to the press and make specious legal arguments, but has never actually had the courage to show up in court. As the OA advocates, librarians, and publishers try to create a more open and collaborative environment, they should condemn this solution and realize the harm their silence will cause.

Source: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to OA | The Scholarly Kitchen

There’s been a lot of concern in some corners of the world about the Finch Report‘s preference for Gold open access, and the RCUK policy‘s similar leaning. Much of the complaining has focussed on the cost of Gold OA publishing: Article Processing Charges (APCs) are very offputting to researchers with limited budgets. I thought it would be useful to provide a page that I (and you) can link to when facing such concerns.This is long and (frankly) a bit boring. But I think it’s important and needs saying.

Source: What does it cost to publish a Gold Open Access article? | Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz

**THIS BOOK IS NOT AVAILABLE IN NORTH AMERICA**

This book comprises a curated selection of Lorcan Dempsey’s blog posts that have offered thousands of readers valuable insights into libraries’ future. It shows where libraries have been in the last decade and where they’re heading now.

Source: The Network Reshapes the Library: Lorcan Dempsey on Libraries, Services and Networks

A few thoughts on Sci-Hub. I was just quoted in the NYTimes saying that “Unlawful [open] access gives open access a bad name.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/13/opinion/sunday/should-all-research-papers-be-free.html I’m already taking heat from friends and allies for saying it. But I also said more on the same subject that was not quoted. I’ll clarify a bit here by providing some of what the NYT omitted. But I’m well aware that some friends and allies who disagree with the short formulation will also

Source: A few thoughts on Sci-Hub. I was just quoted in the NYTimes saying that…

We asked the spokesman of the illegal e-book website Sci-Hub about open access, the future of copyright, the money policy of Elsevier and other publishing houses and last, but not least Alexandra Elbakyan’s role as something of a Jeanne d´Arc of piracy. The interview was performed by our visiting author Manuel Bonik. Sci-Hub recently had…

Source: e-book piracy: interview with Alexandra Elbakyan from Sci-Hub

A saving grace for students across the world, Alexandra Elbakyan’s portal, Sci-Hub, pools millions of expensive academic papers published in online journals for free. At the center of a potentially multi-billion dollar court battle with US courts, she has vowed to continue her work. “There should be no obstacles to accessing knowledge, I believe,” she told RT in an email interview, echoing her earlier reference to Article 27 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: that “everyone has the right

Source: EXCLUSIVE: Robin Hood neuroscientist behind Sci-Hub research-pirate site talks to RT — RT News

He says that many colleges have been targeted by Sci-Hub. In one case at Marquette, a professor received an email stating that he or she needed to update his or her university user name and password by following a link. Once on the site, which was actually in New Zealand, the faculty member typed in new credentials, which were then captured by what the publisher later linked to Sci-Hub.”Then you start seeing your downloads going to unusual locations or downloads that are occurring in huge quantities — thousands of downloads,” Mr. Sanchez says.Typically, the publisher notices such irregularities first, notifies the college, and tells it to shut down the problem quickly. At Marquette, additional layers of security were added, the IP addresses of the compromised accounts were given to the publisher, and the faculty member changed the user name and password within 24 hours. But, Mr. Sanchez says, “it puts us in a tough situation.”

Source: Librarians Find Themselves Caught Between Journal Pirates and Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

We asked the spokesman of the illegal e-book website Sci-Hub about open access, the future of copyright, the money policy of Elsevier and other publishing houses and last, but not least Alexandra Elbakyan’s role as something of a Jeanne d´Arc of piracy. The interview was performed by our visiting author Manuel Bonik.Sci-Hub recently had to change the domain, because the old one was confiscated after the administrator refused to delete all e-books from Elsevier. Sci-Hub is the biggest illegal source for

Source: e-book piracy: interview with Alexandra Elbakyan from Sci-Hub

Article Sharing Authors who publish in Elsevier journals can share their research by posting a free draft copy of their article to a repository or website. Researchers who have subscribed access to articles published by Elsevier can share too. There are some simple guidelines to follow, which vary depending on the article version you wish to share.

Source: Sharing

STM Consultation on Article Sharing

Introduction

To gain a better understanding of the current landscape of article sharing through scholarly collaboration networks and sites, STM conducted an open consultation across the scholarly community in early 2015. The aim of this consultation was to facilitate discussion by all stakeholders in order to establish a core set of principles that clarify how, where and what content should be shared using these networks and sites, and to improve this experience for all. Our hope for this initiative is for publishers and scholarly collaboration networks to work together to facilitate sharing, which benefits researchers, institutions, and society as a whole.

Source: SCN Article Sharing Consultation 2015 – STM

Two weeks ago, the entire editorial board of the journal Lingua quit and announced they would launch a new journal named Glossa. Lingua’s executive editor Johan Rooryck said the reason for the resignation was that Elsevier, which publishes Lingua, did not comply with the editors’ request to turn the journal into an open access publication. Lingua has existed since 1949 and is among the top-3 linguistic journals on Google Scholar. The Lingua/Glossa case is a good opportunity to reflect upon our understanding of open access.

Source: Is our understanding of Open Access too shortsighted? Rethinking publishing infrastructure and ownership.

In januari van dit jaar heb ik een blogpost geschreven over het aandeel e-books op het aantal uitleningen.Ik merk nu pas dat ik het helemaal verkeerd berekend heb. Ik heb destijds de e-books vergeleken met alle uitleningen. Fout!Ik ga nu alleen uit van het aantal uitgeleende boeken: 72.382.000 fysieke boeken. Volgens de gegevens waren er in totaal 826.557 e-books uitgeleend (exclusief het kleine aantal van de E-book Selectie en de Eregalerij).Volgens niet meer beschikbare bron waren 1,5 miljoen e-books uit de Vakantiebieb 2014 gedownload. Dan kom je uiteindelijk op 2.326.557 e-books over 2014.En dan gaan we rekenen. In totaal zijn er 75.535.114 boeken uitgeleend in de Nederlandse bibliotheken. Fysiek en digitaal. Dan komt het aandeel e-books op 3,08% uit, inclusief de Vakantiebieb.Halen we de Vakantiebieb er vanaf, dan is het percentage 1,13%. 826.557 e-books op het aantal van 73.208.557 boeken.Gaan we het omdraaien, dan blijkt dus dat van de uitgeleende boeken er respectievelijk 96,92% en 98,87% fysiek uitgeleend werd.

Source: Patrick 23 Dingen: E-books een succes in bibliotheken? De cijfers (deel 2)

In recent years, low-cost booksellers have proliferated on the web. But how does a company that’ll sell you a book for a penny make a profit?

Source: A Penny for Your Books

 

Operations like Thriftbooks step in and buy these landfill-bound books, sight unseen, for around 10 cents a pound. Thriftbooks has 10 warehouses across the country, each with its own name. Ward says each of them is “about the size of your typical Walmart,” somewhere between 70,000 and 90,000 square feet. The enterprise is still largely a human operation: Between 15 and 18 people at each warehouse sift through the truckloads of books, sending more than 80 percent of the material immediately to the recycling plant. (Hey, it’s better than the dump.) That 80 percent may include stuff that’s obviously garbage: old three-ring binders, notebooks, half of a Bible. Anything that might possibly be sellable is scanned into the company’s database.

Discover Books, another major used bookseller on Amazon, is also based in the Seattle area. Unlike Thriftbooks, Discover Books relies on automated scanners to enter books into its system, which can handle more than 60 books per minute. “If there’s any history of that book online, our system will pick it up,” says Tyler Hincy, Discover Books’ vice president of marketing.

Each company takes pains to pick out any rare books that might be difficult to scan automatically. The systems rely on barcodes and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), relatively recent innovations in the history of book publishing. Thriftbooks has a special “vintage” team dedicated to picking out rare, older books, trained to recognized first editions. Discover Books relies on its regular scanning system to pick out potentially valuable vintage books.

From that point on, it’s all about software. Say a new copy of “A Visit From the Goon Squad” is scanned into the database. The software races to figure out how many copies are in stock, how many copies have been sold, how the price has changed over time, what the current average, high and low prices are on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half.com, AbeBooks, eBay and Alibris, and decides: Do we want this book? If the software’s algorithm decides that this is a book that can be sold and is worth selling, it will be stocked and automatically listed in the online marketplace where it has the best chance to be sold. This all happens tens of thousands of times per day.

This is a game of pennies and lightning-quick readjustment. Buyers have no particular loyalty to any of these sellers; it’s all about what’s cheapest and what’s listed first. Each company, seeking an edge, builds and zealously guards its own software. Ward was the lead developer on Thriftbooks’ software before he became president. He has 12 developers, a full-time data scientist and two financial analysts on his staff. Discover Books’ software is known in-house as Trim2. “We have software that we’ve spent years and a lot of money on,” Hincy says, “tweaking to be as optimal as possible to give that book the best opportunity to be sold.”

Elsevier journals — some facts Update: figures now in from Imperial. See below.Further update: figures in from Nottingham too.Further update: figures now in from Oxford.Final update: figures in from LSE.

Source: Elsevier journals — some facts | Gowers’s Weblog

So, let’s say I’m doing research on issues related to privilege and inequality. Google Scholar tells me there’s a an article on stratification in higher education that’s looks interesting. Here’ another one on how postcolonial theory can inform resistance to neoliberalism in universities. And ooh, this looks really interesting: digital inequality and participation in the political process. How great that academics turn their methods and theories to solving the problem of inequality. Too bad most people won’

Source: Checking Our Library Privilege | Library Babel Fish | Inside Higher Ed

A long piece on pirate libraries’ role in the knowledge economy (in Dutch).
Read the rest of this entry »

This Kat sometimes wonders whether every big copyright dispute these days seems to have a major political or philosophical subtext to it — an example of which can be found below. From guest contributor Emma Perot comes this appraisal of a dispute (reported on TorrentFreak here) between a giant publisher of valuable and useful scholarly material on the one hand, and those who seek access to that same information on the other. Writes Emma: In a Robin Hood-like manner, Sci-Hub.org has been providing academic articles to researchers in the science and technology community free of charge since 2011. Now Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers, is seeking to put an end to this open access model. Elsevier publishes over 2,000 journals and has an income of more than US$1 billion. Wielding its dominance in the research community, Elsevier charges US$30 to access an article. This is a staggering price when you consider how many articles are needed in order to undertake significant research. In the UK, universities generally pay subscriber fees so that students and staff can access journals. However, this is not the case for everyone. Alexandra Elbakyan is one researcher who could not access Elsevier’s journals because the University of Kazakhstan did not subscribe to the service. In order to progress with her research project, she found forums that facilitated the sharing of articles for free. Elbakyan realised that there were many others like herself who were jumping through hoops for their research. From this necessity sprang the creation of Sci-Hub.org which collects journal articles and makes them available to the public without charge. The problem that SciHub is now facing is that the copyright of many of the articles they have published vests in Elsevier. As stipulated by the terms and conditions of publication, authors assign their exclusive rights (s.106 U.S. Copyright Act 1976) to the publisher. As such, Elsevier is entitled to charge whatever access fee they desire, or to restrict access all together. By reproducing these articles without Elsevier’s permission, Sci-Hub is infringing Elsevier’s copyright and is likely to lose the case against it. Nonetheless, Elbakyan is insistent on fighting for continued open access as she believes that “Everyone should have access to knowledge regardless of their income or affiliation”. The author is sympathetic to Elbakyan’s stance and believes that her moral argument is compelling, if not viable under the current capitalist regime. The history of copyright protection reveals an idealistic beginning which better accords with Elbakyan’s philosophy. Copyright protection in the U.S has a foundation in s.8 of the U.S. Constitution which states that “The Congress shall have power … to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” This clause underpins copyright with utilitarianism by providing an incentive of control to authors. The purpose of this control is to encourage (but not guarantee) the creation of products which will contribute to the growth of society. The main criticism of the incentive theory is that people create works even in the absence of intellectual property protection. This seems apparent on the facts before us as authors who publish with Elsevier surrender their copyright protection at the first possible opportunity. Even if the control incentive (there are many other forms of incentive such as reputation building, money, and pure interest) were necessary to encourage research, the utilitarian philosophy does not bode well in a capitalist society where publishers such as Elsevier operate to make a profit rather than to further the altruistic goal of disseminating information. Pay wall or ordinary wall? They’re all the same to Hubert Different approaches can be taken to overcome the barriers presented by legal paywalls. One such approach is to publish in independent, open access journals. The problem with this is that researchers want the benefit of the prestige associated with well-established, peer-reviewed journals. While this may seem like an egotistical issue, researchers spend years trying to develop a reputation of excellence in order to be presented with more opportunities for advancement. Publishing in a well-respected journal ensures quality control standards have been met, thus validating the article. This is particularly so in the science world where research often requires funding to access lab facilities and equipment. Alternatively, researchers could boycott publishers such as Elsevier with the aim of reducing access fees. The Cost of Knowledge, which encourages publishing in open access journals, is currently doing this and has attracted over 15,000 signatures to date. Signatories agree not to publish or perform editorial work for Elsevier’s journals. The success

Source: The IPKat: Paywalls and Robin Hoods: the tale of Elsevier and Sci-Hub.org

The Kindle, which was joined by other devices like Kobo’s e-reader, the Nook from Barnes & Noble and the iPad, drew millions of book buyers to e-readers, which offered seamless, instant purchases. Publishers saw huge spikes in digital sales during and after the holidays, after people received e-readers as gifts.But those double- and triple-digit growth rates plummeted as e-reading devices fell out of fashion with consumers, replaced by smartphones and tablets. Some 12 million e-readers were sold last year, a steep drop from the nearly 20 million sold in 2011, according to Forrester Research. The portion of people who read books primarily on e-readers fell to 32 percent in the first quarter of 2015, from 50 percent in 2012, a Nielsen survey showed.Higher e-book prices may also be driving readers back to paper.As publishers renegotiated new terms with Amazon in the past year and demanded the ability to set their own e-book prices, many have started charging more. With little difference in price between a $13 e-book and a paperback, some consumers may be opting for the print version.On Amazon, the paperback editions of some popular titles, like “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, are several dollars cheaper than their digital counterparts. Paperback sales rose by 8.4 percent in the first five months of this year, the Association of American Publishers reported.The tug of war between pixels and print almost certainly isn’t over. Industry analysts and publishing executives say it is too soon to declare the death of the digital publishing revolution. An appealing new device might come along. Already, a growing number of people are reading e-books on their cellphones. Amazon recently unveiled a new tablet for $50, which could draw a new wave of customers to e-books (the first-generation Kindle cost $400).It is also possible that a growing number of people are still buying and reading e-books, just not from traditional publishers. The declining e-book sales reported by publishers do not account for the millions of readers who have migrated to cheap and plentiful self-published e-books, which often cost less than a dollar.At Amazon, digital book sales have maintained their upward trajectory, according to Russell Grandinetti, senior vice president of Kindle. Last year, Amazon, which controls some 65 percent of the e-book market, introduced an e-book subscription service that allows readers to pay a flat monthly fee of $10 for unlimited digital reading. It offers more than a million titles, many of them from self-published authors.Some publishing executives say the world is changing too quickly to declare that the digital tide is waning.“Maybe it’s just a pause here,” said Carolyn Reidy, the president and chief executive of Simon & Schuster. “Will the next generation want to read books on their smartphones, and will we see another burst come?”

Source: The Plot Twist: E-Book Sales Slip, and Print Is Far From Dead – The New York Times

BookwormBookworm is a simple and powerful way to visualize trends in repositories of digitized texts.

Source: Bookworm

A draft report commissioned by the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) has said £20m should be invested in digital services over the next three years to prevent libraries from becoming “soup kitchens for the written word.”The report, entitled ‘Essential Digital Infrastructure for Public Libraries in England’ and conducted by Bibliocommons, a commercial provider of library software systems, says libraries are “pushing” users away by their lack of investment in digital technology.However, library campaigners including former Waterstones boss Tim Coates has criticised the draft report as “vexacious” for portraying libraries as “no longer being predominantly about books.”The draft document outlines the possibilities of digital development for public libraries in England and is intended to help libraries identify the changes to technology needed to “provide leverage and cohesiveness” for library services, and to meet the demands of users who journey “online and off” to the institutions.The official report will be published in October.

Source: Lack of digital library investment ‘pushing’ users away | The Bookseller

Kids today with their selfies and their Snapchats and their love of literature.Millennials, like each generation that was young before them, tend to attract all kinds of ire from their elders for being superficial, self-obsessed, anti-intellectuals. But a study out today from the Pew Research Center offers some vindication for the younger set. Millennials are reading more books than the over-30 crowd, Pew found in a survey of more than 6,000 Americans.Some 88 percent of Americans younger than 30 said they read a book in the past year compared with 79 percent of those older than 30. At the same time, American readers’ relationship with public libraries is changing—with younger readers less likely to see public libraries as essential in their communities.

Source: Millennials Are Out-Reading Older Generations – The Atlantic

So I’d been asked to write a book about whatever I wanted, and this editor didn’t even know whether I’d written anything before. It didn’t matter. It would sell its 300 copies regardless. Not to people with an interest in reading the book, but to librarians who would put it on a shelf and then, a few years later, probably bury it in a storeroom.Most academics get these requests. A colleague was recently courted by an editor who, after confessing they only published expensive hardbacks (at around £200), explained that this was an opportunity for my colleague to enhance his academic record. He was told he could give them pretty much anything, like an old report, or some old articles.“I can’t believe anyone would write a book that would be too expensive for anyone to buy,” the colleague told me over the phone. “Just to add a line to your cv.”Another colleague, on discovering his published book was getting widespread attention but was too expensive to buy, tried to get the publishers to rush out a cheaper paperback version. They ignored his request.These may sound like stories of concern to academics alone. But the problem is this: much of the time that goes into writing these books is made possible through taxpayers’ money. And who buys these books? Well, university libraries – and they, too, are paid for by taxpayers. Meanwhile, the books are not available for taxpayers to read – unless they have a university library card.In the US, taxpayers are said to be spending $139bn a year on research, and in the UK, £4.7bn. Too much of that money is disappearing into big pockets.So what are the alternatives? We could stop publishing these books altogether – which may be advisable in a time of hysterical mass publication . Or we publish only with decent publishers, who believe that books are meant to be read and not simply profited from. And if it’s only a matter of making research available, then of course there’s open source publishing, which most academics are aware of by now.So why don’t academics simply stay away from the greedy publishers? The only answer I can think of is vanity.

Source: Academics are being hoodwinked into writing books nobody can buy | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

But an article published in March by the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology found it was starting to occur, albeit slowly.“Various text-sharing platforms distribute tens of millions of documents online for free,” the study found. “However, these are still unknown to most of academia. Only a handful of articles acknowledge their existence in short passages, and no systematic study of the available collections has been undertaken until now.”

Source: Australian academics seek to challenge ‘web of avarice’ in scientific publishing | Science | The Guardian

Pirate e-book libraries enable historically unprecedented access to the best of scholarly knowledge, which CEE countries are definitely taking advantage of. Who is using these libraries and for what reasons? Unique data on pirate library use helps answer these questions.

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Hello,We represent the Saint Joseph University of Beirut, Lebanon and we would like to kindly ask you to forbid access to both our IPs (we are sure you can find them otherwise contact us to provide them to you) to the website libgen.org.We have included you in our restricted list in the institution firewall, but students have found ways to bypass it. We hope you could make it radical from your side.Please note that many students have been severely punished for using this website. We are only asking for this, in order to spare the others.We pay yearly subscriptions to many Editors and hope to stay “legal”. We appreciate all your efforts and respect them. We hope to come to an understanding together.Thank you very much.Hoping to hear from you very soon.PS: Move this thread to where it should be if needed, we couldn’t find an appropriate thread for such a request.

Source: Students accessing LG and fair use doctrine

Science departments in Russia’s universities are facing a crisis of information following the decision last week of a Western publisher to lock them out of access to thousands of unique scientific journals and magazines because the government can no longer afford to foot the bill.

According to a spokesperson from the Russian Ministry of Education and Science, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, one of Russia’s state agencies, which is responsible for the development of national science, is unable to pay for subscriptions for scientific journals and magazines published by Springer due to a sharp devaluation of the Russian ruble this year.

Yriy Popov, a former associate professor of the Voronezh State University of Building Technologies and a well-known Russian scientist in the field of building science and technologies, warned that, in addition to Springer, there is a threat that the Russian scientific community may lose access to the magazines of other Western scientific publishers, such as Elsevier.

Matthias Aicher, head of Springer for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, has confirmed that the company closed the access to scientific publications for Russian universities and research institutes from 12 May.

According to Aicher, the Russian government failed to pay for the subscription for 2014 to the amount of €890,000 (US$1 million).

Vladimir Fortov, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said the current problem is very serious as scientific periodicals have so far been the main way for Russian scientists to get information regarding basic and applied sciences.

Fortov said: “Thanks to these journals, Russian scientists are aware of the latest developments and research in global science. Failure of further subscriptions means that Russian scientists will be isolated from global science.

“Springer is a very serious publishing house, and the loss of access to its journals will be a major blow for Russian science, including university science.”

He has not ruled out the possibility that this issue may be resolved after the intervention of the national government. At the same time, according to some sources close to the Russian Academy of Sciences, representatives of some leading Russian universities are considering signing a petition to the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asking him to help resolve the problem.

In 2014 the annual subscription for Springer publications in Russia was set at €3.2 million (US$3.6 million).

According to an official spokesperson of Springer, the company extended free subscription to Russian science several times, but eventually due to existing debts decided to close it for an indefinite period.

In the meantime, representatives of the press service of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research said that the agency could not use the same model as before the economic crisis in Russia in December 2014 to January 2015 and devaluation of the local currency.

The seriousness of the current situation is confirmed by recent statements of Alexander Hlunov, board member of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.

He said that Springer sets prices for its journals in Euros but devaluation of the Russian currency has meant that the price in rubles has doubled.

“The Russian budget currently has no available funds for these projects. We currently cannot afford such costs but if there is an increase of scientific spending in the Russian federal budget, this decision could be revised.”

According to Yriy Popov, many Russian scientists and university professors from different areas of science have used Springer journals as guidelines in their research activities.

Source: Universities denied access to West’s science journals – University World News

Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.

via What Is Kindle Worlds?.

Overall, the publishing industry is not really concerned with eBook piracy. Many of the top companies such as HarperCollins, Hachette, S&S and Penguin have told me that piracy is a minor blip on the radar and does not hamper sales to any discernible degree. They all admit it is an extreme minority of tech savvy individuals and statistically people who pirate eBooks tend to be the biggest purchasers of digital content. There has even been some notable authors such as Tim Ferris that harnessed the power of Bitorrent to promote his book, the 4 Hour Chef. He recently said “Torrent conversion is NUTS. Of 210,000 downloads earlier this week, more than 85,000 clicked through “Support the Author” to the book’s Amazon page. We all had to triple and quadruple check that to believe it.

via There will be 700 Million Pirated e-Books in 2018.

How Amazon’s Ebook Subscriptions Are Changing the Writing Industry – Slashdot.

How Consumers’ Content Preference Affects Cannibalization: An Empirical Analysis on E-book Market

via AIS Electronic Library (AISeL) – ICIS 2014 Proceedings: How Consumers’ Content Preference Affects Cannibalization: An Empirical Analysis on E-book Market.

How damaging is book piracy? It depends whom you ask. An author who’s just stumbled across an illicit copy of her work will be upset and full of anger. Over time these individual anecdotes of loss and outrage coalesce into generally received wisdom: that piracy is aggressive and pervasive and that it is bringing the book trade to its knees. Piracy is theft. Piracy is killing publishing. Piracy is taking food out of my children’s mouths. How can I stop it happening to me?

The answer is simple: you cannot stop piracy. The illegal copying of the stuff we’re now forced to call ‘content’ is an inevitable consequence of digital technology. Piracy is a side effect of the internet. But before we lose ourselves in helpless outrage, it’s worth asking a simple question: just how big a problem is it? The answer may surprise you.

Look at the data that’s available. Britain’s communications regulator Ofcom has now produced four waves of its commendably detailed Copyright Infringement Tracker. Anyone interested in piracy should read it in some detail.

The most recent survey covers March to May 2013 and it suggests that book piracy, as opposed to movie or music piracy, is a marginal activity that barely registers in the data. Only 1 per cent of British internet users downloaded a book illegally in the period surveyed, and only 10 per cent of all book downloads were illegal (these figures include legitimate free downloads from services such as Project Gutenberg).

To put it another way, 90 per cent of the online book trade is made up of paid-for retail or legitimate free services. Pause for a moment on that figure. Can the physical book trade, with its libraries and charity shops, boast a figure that high?

This is hardly a piratical takeover and the British book trade is not crumbling in the face of it. According to the Publishers Association, UK publishers’ sales across all formats in 2012 were up by 4 per cent on the previous year. Physical book sales fell by 1 per cent while digital sales surged by 66 per cent. Mapping the Ofcom numbers onto the Publishers Association figures suggests that in 2012 book piracy may have been equivalent to around £40 million (10 per cent of digital publishing revenues) out of total publishing revenues of £3.3 billion. And that assumes that each of those illegal downloads replaced a legitimate, purchased one.

Books, it is clear, are different to music and film, where illegal downloading is ten times more prevalent. Is there something different about the audience for books which makes piracy less of a problem? Yes. The book audience is older, it’s more affluent and it’s more female. Men download and share illegal material more than women; younger people download illegally more than older people. Older people, particularly those who are book readers, have the money to buy their entertainment legitimately and they probably don’t have either the time or the inclination to poke around in the darker corners of the web for free books or to install the obscure and clunky software needed to download them. They’d rather plug in their Kindles, iPads or Kobos and forget about it.

What the British figures tell us is this: where legitimate e-books are widely available and easy to access, piracy barely registers. But this is not the case in other countries and raises a crunchier problem for any rational discussion of piracy. Russian book-sharing site Library Genesis offers a massive archive of almost a million books. The site describes itself as a ‘scientific community targeting collections of books on natural science disciplines and engineering’, but the purity of this mission is at odds with the titles that are available. The most commonly pirated Western fiction seems to be material beloved by computer engineers. A search for ‘Terry Pratchett’ brings up almost nine pages of results in a variety of formats; David Foster Wallace, three pages; Donna Tartt, barely one.

Markets such as Russia remain a problem for publishing. By some estimates, 95 per cent of e-book downloads in Russia are illegitimate. But the big players in e-books – specifically Amazon – do not operate in Russia and there is a paucity of legitimate titles available (perhaps only 60,000). I have no experience of downloading an e-book in Russia but I’d like to bet it’s not as easy or convenient as downloading an e-book in Britain. In such an environment, piracy becomes the convenient option, not the outlaw one.

All of which raises an interesting question: if your book isn’t being distributed in Russia but is being merrily downloaded there, how should you feel? Before the internet, such piracy (in physical formats) would have been invisible to you. Now you know about it, what should you do? Should you even be (secretly, of course) pleased?

Neil Gaiman, whose titles seem to make up a large proportion of all the books on Library Genesis, has said that piracy in Russia has, in fact, increased his sales there. In this light, there is only one thing worse than being pirated and that is not being pirated, at least in those countries where you’re not receiving much distribution anyway.

Piracy, then, is unavoidable. This is not to say there are no weapons with which to fight back. One option might be the web service Muso, which will track whether illegal versions of your books are appearing and issue automated ‘takedown requests’ that, in most cases, are enough to have the illegal file removed. It’s simple to use and seems to be effective.

But here is the dilemma: Muso costs £12 a month per author name, book title or publication. That puts a price on your appetite to confront the pirates and, for all but a small number of authors, £12 a month is likely to be a good deal more than is being lost from piracy anyway.

And that itchier question remains: if you find a copy of your book on a service such as Library Genesis, what do you do? Do you hit the ‘takedown’ button in Muso and get it removed? Or do you ask yourself whether it’s better to be read illegitimately than not to be read at all? It is, at the very least, a question worth asking.

via Literary Review – Lloyd Shepherd from the pulpit.

A longform piece on guerilla open access in the Hungarian book industry periodical Konyvesblog.
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The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies in Seville organized a workshop on the interaction between legal and pirated books sales. Imke Reimers presented her findings on the effect of copyright protection on e-book sales, I presented my LG study.

Pep Vallbe and I presented our study on Alternative compensation systems at the Copyright 4 Innovation conference in the Hague.
More below the fold.
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This paper discusses whether a compensation system (CS) for recorded music – endowing private Internet subscribers with the right to download and use works in return for a fee – would be welfare increasing under current market conditions. It reports the results of a discrete choice experiment conducted with a representative sample of the Dutch population consisting of 4,986 participants. The Internet penetration rate in the Netherlands is 95%, one of the highest worldwide (Eurostat 2014). The Netherlands also entertain a system of levies on copying technology, so that basic elements of a CS should be familiar to many residence.

We find that applied only to recorded music, a mandatory CS could increase the welfare of rights holders and users in the Netherlands by over €600 million per year (over €35 per capita). This far exceeds the current sales value of recorded music of ca. €144 million. Even if a CS were to substitute all of the current sales of recorded music and provided no cost savings, it could simultaneously increase user welfare and rights holder revenues at a price that constitutes a reasonable surplus split. According to our results, this is achieved over a broad range of CS user fees, for example between ca. €1.74 and €9.25 for a CS that is mandatory for all households with Internet subscription.

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RuNet, the Russian segment of the internet is now the home of the most comprehensive scientific pirate libraries on the net. These sites offer free access to hundreds of thousands of books and millions of journal articles. In this contribution we try to understand the factors that led to the development of these sites, and the sociocultural and legal conditions that enable them to operate under hostile legal and political conditions. Through the reconstruction of the micro-histories of peer produced online text collections that played a central role in the history of RuNet, we are able to link the formal and informal support for these sites to the specific conditions developed under the Soviet and post Soviet times.

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Aleph is currently the biggest online piratical collection of scholarly publications, with more than a million books, and tens of millions of journal articles. This chapter explores the question of the growth and impact of the Aleph network, via a close look at its collections and traffic. In so doing, we want to push the debate beyond the simple rhetoric of criminality and the accompanying claims of criminal profits made via these sites . Instead we want to better understand how these services operate, what publics they serve, and what harms to publishers and authors can be reasonably attributed to them. Aleph and its mirror sites infringe the copyrights on hundreds of thousands of works, potentially undercutting the market for those works. But they also respond to clear (and sometimes not so clear) market failures where work is unavailable or unaffordable, and play a role in the democratization of scientific and scholarly work. On what basis can we evaluate these trade offs? To date, there has been no substantive account of the shape, reach, or impact of these archives. This chapter takes some steps in that direction.

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On the 10th of August, for its 10th anniversary, The Pirate Bay (TPB) released a piece of software called the Piratebrowser, tagged with the headline: “No more censorship!”(Anon 2013b) It enables users who live in countries where access to TPB is blocked to circumvent national internet filters. It is a simplified version of a Tor network-based web-browser , which is used by many who want to stay anonymous and avoid the blocking and the surveillance of their online activities. The Tor network is used by: dissenters in oppressive countries with pervasive internet censorship; privacy-conscious users who wish to stay hidden from the surveillance machinery of spy agencies; leakers and whistleblowers; and users who wish to engage in various illegal activities from watching child pornography to buying drugs.

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In the digital era where, thanks to the ubiquity of electronic copies, the book is no longer a scarce resource, libraries find themselves in an extremely competitive environment. Several different actors are now in a position to provide low cost access to knowledge. One of these competitors are shadow libraries – piratical text collections which have now amassed electronic copies of millions of copyrighted works and provide access to them usually free of charge to anyone around the globe. While such shadow libraries are far from being universal, they are able to offer certain services better, to more people and under more favorable terms than most public or research libraries. This contribution offers insights into the development and the inner workings of one of the biggest scientific shadow libraries on the internet in order to understand what kind of library people create for themselves if they have the means and if they don’t have to abide by the legal, bureaucratic and economic constraints that libraries usually face. I argue that one of the many possible futures of the library is hidden in the shadows, and those who think of the future of libraries can learn a lot from book pirates of the 21st century about how users and readers expect texts in electronic form to be stored, organized and circulated.

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libraryjournal: Original comic by John Kleckner, modified by an anonymous librarian.

libraryjournal:

Original comic by John Kleckner, modified by an anonymous librarian.

via élet és könyvtár lite (libraryjournal: Original comic by John Kleckner,…).

Digimarc Guardian Customer Support : Announcements.

Adobe has just given us a graphic demonstration of how not to handle security and privacy issues.A hacker acquaintance of mine has tipped me to a huge security and privacy violation on the part of Adobe. That anonymous acquaintance was examining Adobe’s DRm for educational purposes when they noticed that Digital Editions 4, the newest version of Adobe’s Epub app, seemed to be sending an awful lot of data to Adobe’s servers.My source told me, and I can confirm, that Adobe is tracking users in the app and uploading the data to their servers. Adobe was contacted in advance of publication, but declined to respond. Edit: Adobe responded Tuesday night.And just to be clear, I have seen this happen, and I can also tell you that Benjamin Daniel Mussler, the security researcher who found the security hole on Amazon.com, has also tested this at my request and saw it with his own eyes.

via Adobe is Spying on Users, Collecting Data on Their eBook Libraries – The Digital Reader.

A Dutch marketplace for second hand eBooks is being allowed to continue operating after the Amsterdam Court dismissed complaints from book publishers. The Court ruled that “Tom Kabinet” operates in a legal gray area which requires further investigation. Meanwhile the used eBook business is booming.

via Online Store Can Sell ‘Used’ Ebooks, Court Rules | TorrentFreak.

MacInnis, who previously worked for Apple, knew the soon-to-be-launched iPad held great potential for the education market. Bringing a boring and bulky science textbook onto a tablet in an easy-to-digest format that incorporated quizzes and videos, would make learning fun.

The Industry That Didn’t Want to Innovate

The problem was textbook publishers were slow to want to digitize their content. “They were still making a lot of their money off books,” says McInnis. To make matters worse, the small number of textbook publishers that made up the industry weren’t feeling the competitive pressures to innovate. Despite these challenges, Inkling continued to focus on their vision of digitizing textbooks, without realizing the infrastructure they had built was applicable to many other area

via What Happened When A Digital Textbook Company Was Forced To Redefine Its Customers | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

netzpolitik.org: Are you breaking any laws?

Jotunbane: Several :)

netzpolitik.org: Do you care? Why (not)?

Jotunbane: Sure I care. But what can I do? The laws are wrong on several different levels (the copyright monopoly have been extended 16 times in my lifetime alone, and will continue to be extended every time Mickey Mouse is getting close to the public domain). There will always be consequences when you decide to break the law and the risk of punishment is clearly part of the equation. Under US law I could get fined $150.000 for each infringement, but this is not a question of money, it’s a question of doing the right thing. Sharing is caring, so of course I care.

 

Interviews with E-Book-Pirates: “The book publishing industry is repeating the same mistakes of the music industry”.

 

So, Did Tim Ferriss’s BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

So, Did Tim Ferriss's BitTorrent Book Gamble Work? – ReadWrite.

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

highlights:
About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.

http://www.ivir.nl/publications/poort/Filesharing_2012.pdf’

Excellent study on the Dutch file-sharing scene.

highlights:
About one in five people who download from illegal sources had in the past year bought a CD or LP that they had previously downloaded from an illegal source. The same was found for DVDs, Blurays and for printed books. The opposite – downloading a book from an illegal source that had been previously purchased in print – is also very common. This shows that for a substantial group of
consumers printed books and e-books are complementary.

People who download from an illegal source are more frequently also consumers from legal sources, and they are more likely go to concerts and the cinema and to purchase derived products Respondents who had downloaded music, films, series, games and books from illegal sources in the past year were more likely to use legal channels as well. Only in the case of music purchased on CDs or LPs, however, no difference is observed between those who had on occasion downloaded from an illegal source in the past year and people who had never done so. The differences are particularly marked in the case of paid-for downloading and streaming from a legal source: respondents who have never downloaded from an illegal source are also little inclined to pay for online content. The survey also showed that people who had, on occasion, downloaded from an illegal source in the past year bought more music and film merchandise and went to concerts or the cinema more often.

The survey shows that roughly one third to half of the respondents would not be interested in the latest download from an illegal source if it would not be available for free. The rest have an average maximum willingness to pay that is close to the normal selling price. Similarly, about one third of all book readers are interested in and willing to pay to borrow e-books from a library or bookshop, there being a slight preference for libraries and for a flat rate per year rather than a price per title borrowed.

http://www.ivir.nl/publications/poort/Filesharing_2012.pdf’

Why Winning A $7,000 Piracy Lawsuit Could Be The Worst News Ever For Book Publishers

John Paul Titlow posted 10 hours ago

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Earlier this week, the book publishing industry hit a milestone. For the first time ever, a publisher successfully sued consumers for pirating books via BitTorrent. As a result of the lawsuit, a pair of New York residents will pay $7,000 in damages to John Wiley and Sons, the company that puts out the “For Dummies” series of instructional books.

Sound familiar? With this litigation, Wiley borrowed a page from the playbook of the music industry, which became notorious a few years back for suing people for illegally sharing songs. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) eventually backed down from some of its most aggressive litigation after it became clear the strategy was doing little more than angering the most avid, dedicated music fans. Despite the epic failure of the RIAA’s approach, worried book publishers are now beginning to think lawsuits can help them slow the bleeding of a business that is – like the music industry before it – being radically upended by digital technology. Let’s hope this small victory for book publishers doesn’t send the industry on the same disastrous path taken by the music labels.

via Why Winning A $7,000 Piracy Lawsuit Could Be The Worst News Ever For Book Publishers.Why Winning A $7,000 Piracy Lawsuit Could Be The Worst News Ever For Book Publishers

John Paul Titlow posted 10 hours ago

inShare

12

Earlier this week, the book publishing industry hit a milestone. For the first time ever, a publisher successfully sued consumers for pirating books via BitTorrent. As a result of the lawsuit, a pair of New York residents will pay $7,000 in damages to John Wiley and Sons, the company that puts out the “For Dummies” series of instructional books.

Sound familiar? With this litigation, Wiley borrowed a page from the playbook of the music industry, which became notorious a few years back for suing people for illegally sharing songs. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) eventually backed down from some of its most aggressive litigation after it became clear the strategy was doing little more than angering the most avid, dedicated music fans. Despite the epic failure of the RIAA’s approach, worried book publishers are now beginning to think lawsuits can help them slow the bleeding of a business that is – like the music industry before it – being radically upended by digital technology. Let’s hope this small victory for book publishers doesn’t send the industry on the same disastrous path taken by the music labels.

via Why Winning A $7,000 Piracy Lawsuit Could Be The Worst News Ever For Book Publishers.

A group of publishers (Oxford and Cambridge University Press and Francis & Taylor) have sued Delhi University & its agent, Rameshwari Photocopy Service for compiling short extracts from different textbooks into a digest for students to use as part of their study (commonly referred to as “course packs”).

via Merry Copyright to you – A jingle for the Oxford v. Rameshwari Case « Kafila.A group of publishers (Oxford and Cambridge University Press and Francis & Taylor) have sued Delhi University & its agent, Rameshwari Photocopy Service for compiling short extracts from different textbooks into a digest for students to use as part of their study (commonly referred to as “course packs”).

via Merry Copyright to you – A jingle for the Oxford v. Rameshwari Case « Kafila.

Textbook Publisher Pearson Takes Down 1.5 Million Teacher And Student Blogs With A Single DMCA Notice | Techdirt.

 

In case you don’t already know, we’re the folks not only behind this site andWPMU DEV, but also Edublogs… the oldest and second largest WordPress Multisite setup on the web, with, as of right now 1,451,943 teacher and student blogs hosted.

And today, our hosting company, ServerBeach, to whom we pay $6,954.37 every month to host Edublogs, turned off our webservers, without notice, less than 12 hours after issuing us with a DMCA email.

Because one of our teachers, in 2007, had shared a copy of Beck’s Hopelessness Scale with his class, a 20 question list, totalling some 279 words, published in 1974, that Pearson would like you to pay $120 for.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that Pearson somehow feels that a 38-year-old questionnaire is worth $120, and the fact that the targeted post was originally published in 2007, there’s still the troubling question as to why ServerBeach felt compelled to take down 1.5 million blogs over a single DMCA notice. There’s nothing in the DMCA process that demands an entire “ecosystem” be killed off to eliminate a single “bad apple.” This sort of egregious overcompliance gives certain copyright holders all the encouragement they need to continue to abuse the DMCA takedown system.  Textbook Publisher Pearson Takes Down 1.5 Million Teacher And Student Blogs With A Single DMCA Notice | Techdirt.

Why Readers Pirate eBooks

via Why Readers Pirate eBooks – GalleyCat.

One confessed eBook pirate asked the Reddit community an important question: “eBook pirates, how do you justify what you do?

We’ve collected seven responses below, complete with links to the comments thread. Publishers, authors and readers should all pay attention to these rationalizations–they will play an important role in the future of publishing.

If you are an author or publisher struggling with pirates, check out our two posts about dealing with piracy: How To Fight Book Pirates and Writers Engage with eBook Pirates.

7 Reasons People Pirate eBooks

1. “I’ve pirated electronic versions of books I already own physically.

2. “I limit myself to pirating things that are out-of-print or otherwise unavailable through a legal digital outlet.”

3. “I’m poor and I like to read, but I can’t pirate food, so I pirate everything else.

4. “The library rarely has the books I want to read.”

5. “I only pirate textbooks from school … They are ridiculously priced an I have a hard enough time paying tuition.”

6. “If the ebook is more expensive than the paper-version I sometimes pirate it out of annoyance.”

7. “pirating also lets me sample things i would not be willing to pay money for up front

Why Readers Pirate eBooks

via Why Readers Pirate eBooks – GalleyCat.

.http://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/041112-us-v-apple-complaint.pdfhttp://fortunebrainstormtech.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/041112-us-v-apple-complaint.pdf

That Book Place also has shelves and shelves carrying a mixture of new and used books, with price stickers giving the customer a variety of options. You can have a brand-new copy shipped to you the next day, or buy it used, or rent it, or get it as an e-book. If you take out a membership in the store, you can borrow a book for free, or get a copy without the Digital Rights Management DRM scheme that limits it to use on a specific kind of device.

via A model for the new bookstore essay | Inside Higher Ed.That Book Place also has shelves and shelves carrying a mixture of new and used books, with price stickers giving the customer a variety of options. You can have a brand-new copy shipped to you the next day, or buy it used, or rent it, or get it as an e-book. If you take out a membership in the store, you can borrow a book for free, or get a copy without the Digital Rights Management DRM scheme that limits it to use on a specific kind of device.

via A model for the new bookstore essay | Inside Higher Ed.

A longfrom analysis of Gigapedia in the Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs.
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Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.Allowing students access to unpaid, small excerpts of copyrighted works promotes the spread of knowledge because it reduces the cost of education, the judge said. On the other hand, decreased income for publishers could reduce their ability to produce academic textbooks and scholarly works, thereby diminishing the spread of knowledge.Evans said that “decidedly small” excerpts could be copied by Georgia State. In most circumstances, she determined, it is permissible for universities and colleges to copy 10 percent of a book or one chapter of a book with 10 or more chapters.Brandon Butler, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries, said the publishers lawsuit had had a chilling effect on university libraries. “There was a feeling of being under siege,” he said. “They took us to court saying we were shameless pirates.”

via Judge rules largely for Georgia State in copyright case  | ajc.com.

Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.Douglas County Libraries, in Colorado, is trying something new: buying eBooks directly from publishers and hosting them on its own platform. That platform is based on the purchase of content at discount; owning—not leasing—a copy of the file; the application of industry-standard DRM on the library’s files; multiple purchases based on demand; and a “click to buy” feature.Its new DCL Digital Branch is one outcome of this strategy. As of this writing, more than 800 publishers have signed up, and their works are seamlessly integrated into and delivered from the library catalog, rather than from third-party sites.After integrating the ebooks it owns into its catalog, Douglas County Libraries began installing digital branch hardware and software in six of its Colorado locations in February.In a physical library, the digital branch features interactive touch-screen technology that allows library patrons to browse digital content from multiple platforms, including eBooks hosted by DCL, Overdrive, 3M and Freegal music. It integrates seamlessly with DCL’s library catalog, patron database, and its mobile app, DCL to Go. This same experience is also available online.The digital branch allows patrons to view and explore digital content using their hands and eyes the same way they might explore a traditional collection, with added functionality like immediate access to staff recommendations, most popular titles, and new content. Digital branch technology and features will change and improve as Douglas County Libraries’ eContent collection grows and patron use of digital content evolves.Douglas County Libraries’ model for purchasing eBooks directly from publishers is gaining interest from more and larger publishers, with five more joining just in the last week. DCL’s revolutionary distribution model is attracting not just publishers, but libraries across the nation. Marmot Library Consortium on Colorado’s western slope and Anythink Libraries in Adams County will soon provide eContent hosted by DCL. Other library systems have shown interest as well, from regions including California, New England, New York and New Jersey, and the Colorado State Library has created eVoke, an internet portal for libraries wishing to replicate DCL’s eBook model.

via Libraries set out to own their ebooks – Boing Boing.

Why the death of DRM would be good news for readers, writers and publishers | Technology | guardian.co.uk.

 

At the end of April, Tor Books, the world’s largest science fiction publisher, and its UK sister company, Tor UK, announced that they would be eliminating digital rights management (DRM) from all of their ebooksby the summer. It was a seismic event in the history of the publishing industry. It’s the beginning of the end for DRM, which are used by hardware manufacturers and publishers to limit the use of digital content after sale. That’s good news, whether you’re a publisher, a writer, a dedicated reader, or someone who picks up a book every year or two.

The first thing you need to know about ebook DRM is that it can’t work.

Like all DRM systems, ebook DRM presumes that you can distribute a program that only opens up ebooks under approved circumstances, and that none of the people you send this program to will figure out how to fix it so that it opens ebooks no matter what the circumstances. Once one user manages that, the game is up, because that clever person can either distribute ebooks that have had their DRM removed, or programs to remove DRM (or both). And since there’s no legitimate market for DRM – no readers are actively shopping for books that only open under special approved circumstances – and since the pirated ebooks are more convenient and flexible than the ones that people pay for, the DRM-free pirate editions drive out the DRM-locked commercial editions.

What’s more, books are eminently re-digitisable. That is, it’s very easy to retype a DRM-locked ebook, or scan a physical book, or take screenshots of a DRM-locked ebook, and convert the resulting image files to text. Google has scanned some 16 million books in the last few years.

It’s a solved problem.

Bad for business

If all DRM did was drive legit customers to pirate downloads, that would be bad enough for publishers. But that’s just the most obvious way that DRM is bad for business. Most developed countries have signed up to the WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996, and have implemented it in laws that make it illegal for anyone except a DRM vendor to remove DRM. If Tor sells you one of my books for the Kindle locked with Amazon’s DRM, neither I, nor Tor, can authorise you to remove that DRM. If Amazon demands a deeper discount (something Amazon has been doing with many publishers as their initial ebook distribution deals come up for renegotiation) and Tor wants to shift its preferred ebook retail to a competitor like Waterstone’s, it will have to bank on its readers being willing to buy their books all over again.

Because only Amazon can authorise you to take the DRM off your Kindle books, and because doing so would mean giving a commercial advantage to Amazon’s direct competitors, it’s not likely that they would cooperate with Tor on this. It’s a rare business that volunteers to cut its own throat.

Back when ebook sales began to kick off, most major publishers were still DRM believers — or at least, not overly skeptical of the claims of DRM vendors. They viewed the use of DRM as “better than nothing”.

When queried on the competitive implications of giving control over their business relationships to DRM vendors, they were sanguine (if not utterly dismissive). They perceived “converting ebooks” as a technical challenge beyond the average book buyer. For the absence of DRM to make any kind of difference in the marketplace, they believed that book buyers would have to download and install a special program to let them convert Kindle books to display on a Nook (or vice-versa), and they perceived this to be very unlikely.

But it’s only the widespread presence of DRM that makes “converting ebooks” into a technical challenge. Your browser “converts” all sorts of graphic formats — GIF, JPEG, PNG, etc — without ever calling your attention to it. You need to take some rather extraordinary steps to find out which format of the graphics on your screen right now are using. Unless you’re a web developer, you probably don’t even know what the different formats are, nor what their technical differences are. And you don’t need to.

A troubled history of formats

Publishers have had some very bad experiences with formats, which may explain their misperception of the difficulty of “converting” ebooks.

Many publishers began their conversion to digital typesetting with QuarkXPress, which was an extraordinarily clunky product, especially in its early days. Quark files were difficult to import into any

program, including other versions of Quark. When publishers began to shift their typesetting to Adobe InDesign, they spent millions on the conversion, and technical problems with this changeover haunt them to this day. But that’s an exception, not the rule. In most cases, application developers handle the existence of new formats without breaking a sweat. Your word processor, browser, spreadsheet program, video player, music player and photo editor can handle a titanic variety of formats.

But when the only DRM-free ebooks are those from independent authors, small and medium publishers, and the occasional stiff-necked author like me, who convinces a major publisher to release his books without DRM, there’s not really much point in making programs that read “all the ebooks”. Readers will still have to maintain multiple readers, one for each of the DRM formats they consume, and one for everything else. There are a few apps that do a good job of converting between formats, especially the donation-based program Calibre. But there haven’t been any big venture capital investments in splashy, jack-of-all-trades ebook readers, because there’s no market for them for so long as DRM is the norm.

Reading the market

Most people don’t really read books. A typical book buyer can be expected to buy a single book every year or so. On the other hand, a small minority are avid readers, the sort who’ll buy 100-150 books a year. This market is one that publishers are eager to protect, and it’s likely that anyone who spends $100 or more on an ebook reading device is an avid book reader already. That’s why publishers spent so much time worrying about whether Amazon was discounting new ebook releases too deeply. Kindle owners overlap with avid readers, and avid readers are the target market for new, full-price hardcovers.

Discounting ebooks when the hardcover is just out is likely to cannibalise one of the critical profit-centres for the industry.

However, these readers are also the ones most likely to run up against the limits of DRM. They’re the customers who amass large libraries from lots of suppliers, and who value their books as long-term assets that they expect to access until they die. They may have the chance to change their ebook reading platform every year or two (the most common platform being a mobile phone, and many people get a new phone with each contract renewal). They want to be sure that their books travel with them. When their books don’t, they’ll be alienated, frustrated and will likely seek out unauthorised ways to get books in future. No one wants to be punished for their honesty.

There’s the other population of readers – the very occasional reader, someone who’ll grab a book on the way to a beach holiday or a weekend away and then toss it out afterwards. Avid readers start off as occasional readers, and there are a lot of occasional readers in aggregate, so it’s not a market that publishers can afford to alienate.

These readers are also poorly served by DRM, since they aren’t likely to know much about ebooks and ebook readers, and are thus prone to buying books that aren’t compatible with their reading devices and vice-versa.

Absent DRM, these customers will also have tools that effortlessly read any vendor’s ebooks.

In mature gadget markets – like DVD players and MP3 players – formats stop mattering altogether. Especially at the low end of the market, these devices support every format their makers can discover. The cheap-and-cheerful manufacturers at the low end don’t have a secondary market they’re trying to protect, no app store or crucial vendor relationship with a big distributor or publisher. They just want a product that ticks the box for every possible customer. Since multiformat support is just a matter of getting the software right, what tends to happen is that a standard, commodity firmware emerges for these devices that just works for just about everything, and the formats vanish into the background.

Now that Tor has dropped DRM – and acquired a valuable halo of virtue among committed ebook readers, who’ll celebrate their bravery – it’s inevitable that the competition will follow. It seems we have reached the beginning of the end of the ebook format wars, which is good news for readers, writers and publishers.

Why the death of DRM would be good news for readers, writers and publishers | Technology | guardian.co.uk.


The Missing 20th Century: How Copyright Protection Makes Books Vanish

MAR 30 2012, 12:51 PM ET 71

Because of the strange distortions of copyright protection, there are twice as many newly published books available on Amazon from 1850 as there are from 1950.

Amazon pub domain.png

Paul Heald

The above chart shows a distribution of 2500 newly printed fiction books selected at random from Amazon’s warehouses. What’s so crazy is that there are just as many from the last decade as from the decade between 1910 and 1920. Why? Because beginning in 1923, most titles are copyrighted. Books from before 1923 tend to be in the public domain, and the result is that Amazon carries them — lots of them. The chart comes from University of Illinois law professor Paul Heald. In a talk at the University of Canterbury in March 16, he explained how he made it and what it shows. He said:

This is super exciting, interesting preliminary data, I think. I had one of my students write a computer program that would crawl through Amazon.com and pull 2,500 fiction titles at random. … The findings are absolutely fascinating.

We broke these out by decade. … You would expect that if you can crawl through Amazon looking at only new books and only books sold by Amazon — so these are not used books, these are not sold by Amazon associates, this is what’s in Amazon’s warehouses — of course, the biggest number of books is from the decade 2000-2010. That’s what you’d expect; they’re more recent, more popular. Drops off really quickly for books in the 1990s, 1980s, 1970s, ’60, 1950, 1940, 1930 — here’s the point in time where books start falling in the public domain. Suddenly it goes up and up and up. There’s as many books [that] Amazon is selling brand new right now from the 1900s to 1910 as from the 2000s to 2010. You go all the way back to 1850 — there’s twice as many books from the 1850s being sold on Amazon right now as the 1950s. So this sort of confirms the notion that there’s some sort of positive public-domain effect …

Heald says that the numbers would be even more dramatic if you controlled for the number of books published in those years, because there are likely far more books published in 1950 than in 1850.

You can watch Heald’s whole talk, “Do Bad Things Happen When Works Fall Into the Public Domain?” below. His comments on this chart start at about 12:40. Thanks to Yoni Appelbaum for the pointer.

The Missing 20th Century: How Copyright Protection Makes Books VanishMAR 30 2012, 12:51 PM ET 71Because of the strange distortions of copyright protection, there are twice as many newly published books available on Amazon from 1850 as there are from 1950.Paul HealdThe above chart shows a distribution of 2500 newly printed fiction books selected at random from Amazons warehouses. Whats so crazy is that there are just as many from the last decade as from the decade between 1910 and 1920. Why? Because beginning in 1923, most titles are copyrighted. Books from before 1923 tend to be in the public domain, and the result is that Amazon carries them — lots of them. The chart comes from University of Illinois law professor Paul Heald. In a talk at the University of Canterbury in March 16, he explained how he made it and what it shows. He said:

via The Missing 20th Century: How Copyright Protection Makes Books Vanish – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic.

Copyright stagnationPaul Heald demonstrated the effect of the stagnant US copyright wall in seminar at Canterbury last week.Recall that books published through 1922 are in the public domain in the US; those published since then are covered by copyright.Heald dug through some Amazon stats to see what happens to books as they come out of copyright. Heres the rather stunning graph.So any arguments about underexploitation of unprotected works seem untenable.If this were a moving wall, maybe it wouldnt be so bad: eventually, books would come out of copyright and be released in new editions. But Disney does keep going back and insisting that nothing can ever be returned to the Commons from which they so liberally drew, and Congress loves Disney; we might reasonably expect another copyright term extension act to keep the wall fairly rigid.So while I can get Pride and Prejudice in remix with either vampires or zombies, Im not betting on being able to read a version of Good-bye, Mr. Chips in which he protects his students from the werewolf menace as well as offering them solace through the Great War. The werewolf version practically writes itself – the Germans infect some injured British soldiers with lycanthropy just after a full moon, knowing theyll be back in Britain by the next full moon….Heres Pauls SSRN page. The chart above isnt in any of his released papers, but is an update to some of the matters he covered here. His talk for the department is embedded below; the audio isnt fantastic, but all the slides are there. Pride and Prejudice is unreadable except in remix.Update: Paul Heald clarifies the chart source data:Hi, I just wanted to note that Amazon does not know when a book it sells was first published. It only knows the date of publication of the volume that it is selling, e.g. Treasure Island could have a date of 2002, if that’s the edition Amazon is selling. I had to check each of the 2500 books at the Library of Congress to determine the actual initial publication date. This is why stats taken from an Amazon “year of publication” stats don’t match up. Cheers, Paul Heald

via Offsetting Behaviour: Copyright stagnation.Copyright stagnationPaul Heald demonstrated the effect of the stagnant US copyright wall in seminar at Canterbury last week.Recall that books published through 1922 are in the public domain in the US; those published since then are covered by copyright.Heald dug through some Amazon stats to see what happens to books as they come out of copyright. Heres the rather stunning graph.So any arguments about underexploitation of unprotected works seem untenable.If this were a moving wall, maybe it wouldnt be so bad: eventually, books would come out of copyright and be released in new editions. But Disney does keep going back and insisting that nothing can ever be returned to the Commons from which they so liberally drew, and Congress loves Disney; we might reasonably expect another copyright term extension act to keep the wall fairly rigid.So while I can get Pride and Prejudice in remix with either vampires or zombies, Im not betting on being able to read a version of Good-bye, Mr. Chips in which he protects his students from the werewolf menace as well as offering them solace through the Great War. The werewolf version practically writes itself – the Germans infect some injured British soldiers with lycanthropy just after a full moon, knowing theyll be back in Britain by the next full moon….Heres Pauls SSRN page. The chart above isnt in any of his released papers, but is an update to some of the matters he covered here. His talk for the department is embedded below; the audio isnt fantastic, but all the slides are there. Pride and Prejudice is unreadable except in remix.Update: Paul Heald clarifies the chart source data:Hi, I just wanted to note that Amazon does not know when a book it sells was first published. It only knows the date of publication of the volume that it is selling, e.g. Treasure Island could have a date of 2002, if that’s the edition Amazon is selling. I had to check each of the 2500 books at the Library of Congress to determine the actual initial publication date. This is why stats taken from an Amazon “year of publication” stats don’t match up. Cheers, Paul Heald

via Offsetting Behaviour: Copyright stagnation.

The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.Enlarge ImageGetty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Wednesdays iPad product launch.Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions. AllThingsDs Ina Fried takes a first look at Apples new tablet, which was announced today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS Corp.s Simon & Schuster Inc.; Lagardere SCA s Hachette Book Group; Pearson PLC s Penguin Group USA; Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. , which also owns The Wall Street Journal.

via U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers on E-Book Pricing – WSJ.com.The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.Enlarge ImageGetty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Wednesdays iPad product launch.Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions. AllThingsDs Ina Fried takes a first look at Apples new tablet, which was announced today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.The five publishers facing a potential suit are CBS Corp.s Simon & Schuster Inc.; Lagardere SCA s Hachette Book Group; Pearson PLC s Penguin Group USA; Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. , which also owns The Wall Street Journal.

via U.S. Warns Apple, Publishers on E-Book Pricing – WSJ.com.

Los Angeles, CA – Last week a website called “library.nu” disappeared. A coalition of international scholarly publishers accused the site of piracy and convinced a judge in Munich to shut it down. Library.nu formerly Gigapedia had offered, if the reports are to be believed, between 400,000 and a million digital books for free. And not just any books – not romance novels or the latest best-sellers – but scholarly books: textbooks, secondary treatises, obscure monographs, biographical analyses, technical manuals, collections of cutting-edge research in engineering, mathematics, biology, social science and humanities.The texts ranged from so-called “orphan works” out-of-print, but still copyrighted to recent issues; from poorly scanned to expertly ripped; from English to German to French to Spanish to Russian, with the occasional Japanese or Chinese text. It was a remarkable effort of collective connoisseurship. Even the pornography was scholarly: guidebooks and scholarly books about the pornography industry. For a criminal underground site to be mercifully free of pornography must alone count as a triumph of civilisation.To the publishing industry, this event was a victory in the campaign to bring the unruly internet under some much-needed discipline. To many other people – namely the users of the site – it was met with anger, sadness and fatalism. But who were these sad criminals, these barbarians at the gates ready to bring our information economy to its knees? They are students and scholars, from every corner of the planet.Pirating to learn”The world, it should not come as a surprise, is filled with people who want desperately to learn.”The world, it should not come as a surprise, is filled with people who want desperately to learn. This is what our world should be filled with. This is what scholars work hard to create: a world of reading, learning, thinking and scholarship. The users of library.nu were would-be scholars: those in the outer atmosphere of learning who wanted to know, argue, dispute, experiment and write just as those in the universities do.Maybe they were students once, but went on to find jobs and found families. We made them in some cases – we gave them a four-year taste of the life of the mind before sending them on their way with unsupportable loans. In other cases, they made themselves, by hook or by crook.So what does the shutdown of library.nu mean? The publishers think it is a great success in the war on piracy; that it will lead to more revenue and more control over who buys what, if not who reads what. The pirates – the people who create and run such sites – think that shutting down library.nu will only lead to a thousand more sites, stronger and better than before.But both are missing the point: the global demand for learning and scholarship is not being met by the contemporary publishing industry. It cannot be, not with the current business models and the prices. The users of library.nu – these barbarians at the gate of the publishing industry and the university – are legion.

via The disappearing virtual library – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.Los Angeles, CA – Last week a website called “library.nu” disappeared. A coalition of international scholarly publishers accused the site of piracy and convinced a judge in Munich to shut it down. Library.nu formerly Gigapedia had offered, if the reports are to be believed, between 400,000 and a million digital books for free. And not just any books – not romance novels or the latest best-sellers – but scholarly books: textbooks, secondary treatises, obscure monographs, biographical analyses, technical manuals, collections of cutting-edge research in engineering, mathematics, biology, social science and humanities.The texts ranged from so-called “orphan works” out-of-print, but still copyrighted to recent issues; from poorly scanned to expertly ripped; from English to German to French to Spanish to Russian, with the occasional Japanese or Chinese text. It was a remarkable effort of collective connoisseurship. Even the pornography was scholarly: guidebooks and scholarly books about the pornography industry. For a criminal underground site to be mercifully free of pornography must alone count as a triumph of civilisation.To the publishing industry, this event was a victory in the campaign to bring the unruly internet under some much-needed discipline. To many other people – namely the users of the site – it was met with anger, sadness and fatalism. But who were these sad criminals, these barbarians at the gates ready to bring our information economy to its knees? They are students and scholars, from every corner of the planet.Pirating to learn”The world, it should not come as a surprise, is filled with people who want desperately to learn.”The world, it should not come as a surprise, is filled with people who want desperately to learn. This is what our world should be filled with. This is what scholars work hard to create: a world of reading, learning, thinking and scholarship. The users of library.nu were would-be scholars: those in the outer atmosphere of learning who wanted to know, argue, dispute, experiment and write just as those in the universities do.Maybe they were students once, but went on to find jobs and found families. We made them in some cases – we gave them a four-year taste of the life of the mind before sending them on their way with unsupportable loans. In other cases, they made themselves, by hook or by crook.So what does the shutdown of library.nu mean? The publishers think it is a great success in the war on piracy; that it will lead to more revenue and more control over who buys what, if not who reads what. The pirates – the people who create and run such sites – think that shutting down library.nu will only lead to a thousand more sites, stronger and better than before.But both are missing the point: the global demand for learning and scholarship is not being met by the contemporary publishing industry. It cannot be, not with the current business models and the prices. The users of library.nu – these barbarians at the gate of the publishing industry and the university – are legion.

via The disappearing virtual library – Opinion – Al Jazeera English.

A large coalition of publishing firms and related trade organizations has taken legal action against what the Association of American Publishers in Washington, D.C., described on Wednesday as “one of the largest pirate web-based businesses in the world.”

At the request of 17 publishing companies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, including HarperCollins, Oxford University Press and Macmillan, a Munich judge on Monday granted injunctions against illegal posting or sharing of online book files by two websites. Library.nu is alleged to have posted links to hundreds of thousands of illegal PDF copies of books since December 2010, Ed McCoyd, an attorney for the Association of American Publishers, told The Huffington Post. The majority of these uploads allegedly went through the website iFile.it, he said.

via Library.nu, Book Downloading Site, Targeted In Injunctions Requested By 17 Publishers.A large coalition of publishing firms and related trade organizations has taken legal action against what the Association of American Publishers in Washington, D.C., described on Wednesday as “one of the largest pirate web-based businesses in the world.”

At the request of 17 publishing companies in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, including HarperCollins, Oxford University Press and Macmillan, a Munich judge on Monday granted injunctions against illegal posting or sharing of online book files by two websites. Library.nu is alleged to have posted links to hundreds of thousands of illegal PDF copies of books since December 2010, Ed McCoyd, an attorney for the Association of American Publishers, told The Huffington Post. The majority of these uploads allegedly went through the website iFile.it, he said.

via Library.nu, Book Downloading Site, Targeted In Injunctions Requested By 17 Publishers.

If you copy media you purchased, you’re smart.

If you copy media you didn’t purchase, you’re cheap.

If you copy media you didn’t purchase AND you make a profit off of it, you’re a thief.

via Library.nu and Ifile.it Shut Down – Slashdot.If you copy media you purchased, you’re smart.

If you copy media you didn’t purchase, you’re cheap.

If you copy media you didn’t purchase AND you make a profit off of it, you’re a thief.

via Library.nu and Ifile.it Shut Down – Slashdot.

Ralph Spoilsport writes “A coalition of 17 publishing companies has shut down library.nu and ifile.it, charging them with pirating ebooks. This comes less than a month after megaupload was shut down, and SOPA was stopped. If the busting of cyberlockers continues at this pace and online library sharing dismantled, this under-reported story may well be the tip of a very big iceberg — one quite beyond the P&L sheets of publishers and striking at basic human rights as outlined in the contradictions of the UN Charter. Is this a big deal — a grim coalition of corporate power? Or just mopping up some scurvy old pirates? Or somewhere in between?” Adds new submitter roaryk, “According to the complaint, the sites offered users access to 400,000 e-books and made more than $11 million in revenue in the process. The admins, Fidel Nunez and Irina Ivanova, have been tracked down using their PayPal donation account, which was not anonymous. Despite the claims of the industry the site admins say they were barely able to cover the server costs with the revenue.”

via Library.nu and Ifile.it Shut Down – Slashdot.Ralph Spoilsport writes “A coalition of 17 publishing companies has shut down library.nu and ifile.it, charging them with pirating ebooks. This comes less than a month after megaupload was shut down, and SOPA was stopped. If the busting of cyberlockers continues at this pace and online library sharing dismantled, this under-reported story may well be the tip of a very big iceberg — one quite beyond the P&L sheets of publishers and striking at basic human rights as outlined in the contradictions of the UN Charter. Is this a big deal — a grim coalition of corporate power? Or just mopping up some scurvy old pirates? Or somewhere in between?” Adds new submitter roaryk, “According to the complaint, the sites offered users access to 400,000 e-books and made more than $11 million in revenue in the process. The admins, Fidel Nunez and Irina Ivanova, have been tracked down using their PayPal donation account, which was not anonymous. Despite the claims of the industry the site admins say they were barely able to cover the server costs with the revenue.”

via Library.nu and Ifile.it Shut Down – Slashdot.

An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an “internet library” making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m £6.7m through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association Börsenverein and the International Publishers Association IPA,Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: “Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.”We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet,” he said.Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: “This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business.”

via International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site | The Bookseller.An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an “internet library” making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m £6.7m through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association Börsenverein and the International Publishers Association IPA,Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: “Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.”We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet,” he said.Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: “This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business.”

via International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site | The Bookseller.

“Amazon’s released their list of 2011’s best-selling books, revealing that 40% of the best-selling ebooks didn’t even make it onto their list of the best-selling print books. The #1 and #2 best-selling ebooks of the year weren’t even available in print editions, while four of the top 10 best-selling print books didn’t make it into the top 100 best-selling ebooks. ‘It couldn’t be more clear that Kindle owners are choosing their material from an entirely different universe of books,’ notes one Kindle site, which points out that five of the best-selling ebooks came from two million-selling ebook authors — Amanda Hocking and John Locke — who are still awaiting the release of their books in print. And five of Amazon’s best-selling ebooks were Kindle-only ‘Singles,’ including a Stephen King short story which actually outsold another King novel that he’d released in both ebook and print formats. And Neal Stephenson’s ‘Reamde’ was Amazon’s #99 best-selling print book of 2011, though it didn’t even make it onto their list of the 100 best-selling ebooks of the year. ‘People who own Kindles are just reading different books than the people who buy printed books,’ reports the Kindle site, which adds ‘2011 may be remembered as the year that hundreds of new voices finally found their audiences.'”

via Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters.

WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.

via WordPress › Blog Tool, Publishing Platform, and CMS.

Amazon has finally announced its long-anticipated Kindle lending library, allowing Kindle and Kindle app users to borrow Amazon’s e-books from thousands of libraries across the US. Users will be able to find the Kindle books on their participating public library’s website and check them out through Amazon, which will send the book directly to users’ devices over Whispersync.”Libraries are a critical part of our communities and we’re excited to be making Kindle books available at more than 11,000 local libraries around the country,” Amazon’s Kindle director Jay Marine said in a statement. “We’re even doing a little extra here—normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re fixing this by extending our Whispersync technology to library books, so your notes, highlights and bookmarks are always backed up and available the next time you check out the book or if you decide to buy the book.”The ability to make notes and highlights—and subsequently sync them back to the system for review later—is certainly a major plus. The downside, of course, is that the e-books have to be “returned” after a certain period of time, just like any other library book. Amazon doesn’t specify on its site how long the books are borrow-able for, but when asked, Amazon spokesperson Kinley Campbell said that the expiration time varies by library and by the book.”Generally [it will be] 7-14 days,” Campbell told Ars. “We recommend checking with local libraries on questions related to availability and specific books.”Seven to 14 days isn’t a lot of time to read an entire book for some people, but it’s hard to argue with free, borrowed books. Our only complaint with this announcement is that there seems to be no comprehensive list of the 11,000 participating libraries—even Amazon’s FAQ page about public library books remains vague on this question. The requirement is that the library offers e-books via third party service OverDrive, though, so it’s safe to assume that most major libraries will be participating to some degree or another. You Chicagoans out there get to be lazy, as I’ve already confirmed that Kindle books can be found via the CPL website.Edit: Removed links to Amazon due to technical CMS problems on our end. See comments for proper links for now.

via Kindle e-books now available to borrow from 11,000 US libraries.

The publishers allege that GSU’s hosting of over 6,700 works for 600 classes commits direct copyright infringement, due to the school officials directly uploading the material; contributory copyright infringement, due to inducing others to download, copy, and read the unlicensed material; and vicarious copyright infringement, due to profiting from the alleged illegal actions.The uploaded items range from 14 pages to a few hundred pages per course. In one instance, the publishers found an entire semester’s worth of readings—nearly 80 different uploads—for an Introduction to Anthropology class. Shortly after the complaint was filed, some of the online e-reserves required a GSU username and password; however, links to the e-reserves are still located on online syllabi and course websites.GSU rebutted the claims, saying it was protected by fair use and “sovereign state immunity,” a doctrine that generally protects states and their entities from being sued by citizens. Judge Orinda Evens agreed in part with the defense dismissing the direct and vicarious infringement claims. In the first instance, she concluded that none of the named defendants directly engaged in the infringement, while in the latter instance she found no evidence that GSU profited from the alleged uploading. Evens pointed to professors who claimed they only upload material if they believe students would not buy the text if it were assigned, and who say that professors would stop using the system if they had to pay licensing fees.

via Campus copyright: publishers sue over university “e-reserves”.

Olvasni?… Manapság?
Beszélgetés Bodó Balázzsal


Avagy olvasásnak számít-e az újság? Irodalom-e a ponyvaregény? Tulajdonképpen mit értünk ma olvasás alatt, és olvasunk-e még egyáltalán, úgy igazából, mint régen? Bodó Balázzsal beszélgettem, a BME egyetemi adjunktusával.

Olvasunk még manapság?

Ha úgy definiáljuk az olvasást, hogy egy írott szöveg befogadása, és így belefér a fogalomba a Facebook és az SMS olvasás, akkor nagyon is. De ez persze keveset mond arról, hogy mennyi időt töltünk, és főként hogyan boldogulunk nehezebb szövegek forgatásával. Itt sejtenek nagy váltást azok, akik ezzel foglalkoznak. Úgy tűnik, hogy bár az internet nagy szolgálatot tett az olvasásnak a maga szöveg-alapúságával, az is biztos, hogy ez a fajta olvasás, nem ugyanaz az olvasás, mint amikor egy könyvbe mélyedve veszünk el a szöveg univerzumában.

Környezetünk, családunk, kultúránk előírhatja, hogy mit olvassunk?

Az biztos, hogy időnként megpróbálja, lásd az iskolai kötelező olvasmányok esetét. De épp a tantervben szereplő szövegek és az érettségi tételek kapcsán az is nyilvánvaló, milyen irgalmatlanul nehéz feladat összeállítani egy olyan irodalmi minimumot, ami nem csak „fontos”, nem csak „értékes”, nem csak „nemzeti”, – jelentsenek ezek a fogalmak bármit -, de adott esetben kortárs, releváns, olvasmányos, ne adj isten, szórakoztató is. Ha a külső elvárások mellé nem társul – épp többek között ez utóbbi szempontokból fakadó – belső motiváció az olvasásra, akkor az előírások épp az ellenkező hatást érik el, mint amire szántuk őket.

Akkor talán nem is fontos ebben a médiával behálózott világban, hogy olvassunk?

Dehogynem! De ugyanakkora veszteség lenne, ha nem fényképeznének vagy nem hallgatnának zenét vagy nem néznénk filmeket. Ezeken a médiumokon mind születtek csodák, kiemelkedő alkotások, és ezek ugyanúgy részei a közös műveltségünknek, mint az írott szó. Számomra az olvasás/ nem olvasás kérdésénél fontosabb az, hogy megmarad-e az gyerekeink kíváncsisága az iránt, hogy ezeket a csodákat – legyenek azok könyvbe vagy zeneműbe rejtve – felfedezzék. Ha ez a kíváncsiság megvan, akkor olvasni is fognak, ha nincs, akkor meg úgyis minden elveszett.

Mennyire fontos a mai fiatalokat, gyerekeket olvasásra nevelni?

Ugyanannyira, mint filmnézésre és zenehallgatásra vagy éppen a természet szeretetére nevelni. Engem, megvallom, kicsit zavarba hoz, ha az olvasást fetisizálni látom, mert rögtön felmerül bennem a gyanú, hogy ha ez ennyire fontos, akkor majd nyilván kényszeresen fogunk majd tenni akarni érte. Márpedig pont az olvasásra nem hiszem, hogy kényszeríteni lehetne (vagy kellene) bárkit is. Vicces is elképzelni azt a szituációt, ahol a szülők mondjuk maguktól nem olvasnának, de a gyereket erővel olvasásra nevelik. A három és fél éves gyerekemen azt látom, hogy az olvasás ragadós. Az ő életének természetes része a könyv, de nem azért, mert arra tudom kényszeríteni, hogy vegye a kezébe a könyvet. A minap egyszer csak azt vettük észre, hogy eltűnt. Elkezdtük keresni a lakásban, azt láttuk, hogy minket utánozva lefeküdt a kanapéra és egy könyvet lapozgatott. Nem tanítottuk rá, nem mondtuk neki, hogy feküdjön le és olvasson, csupán csak ezt látja mintaként és ez számára a természetes. De az olvasás csupán egy csatornája a világ felkutatásának, nem jobb és nem is rosszabb, mint a rádió, a film, vagy a tévé.

Örökség volna az olvasás?

Egy ideig örökség, de aztán választás és szokás, és persze néha kín, néha élvezet.

Ön minek alapján választ olvasmányt?

Az elolvasott könyvek kisebb része kerül tervezetten, programszerűen a kezembe, nagyobb részüket egy-egy engem ért aktuális inger, vagy véletlen nyomán kezdem olvasni. Amit most éppen befejeztem, az Vekerdinek a Családom történeteiből, mert a párom ezt olvasta. Őmiatta vettem elő újra Parti-Nagy A fagyott kutya lábát-ját, de annyira nyomasztott, hogy félretettem. Alexander R. Galloway és Eugene Thacker The Exploit-ja szakmai érdeklődésből került a kezembe, akárcsak Tim Wu The Master Switch-e. Tóth Kriszta, Rakovszky Zsuzsa könyvei be vannak tervezve, de még nem vettem meg őket. Letöltöttem viszont egy Charles Stross nevű általam nem ismert sci-fi szerző életművét, mert nagyon dicsérték, és gondoltam belenézek, mielőtt döntenék róla, hogy megveszem-e. Azt gondolom, hogy a mostani internetes beszélgetések arra bizonyosan jók, hogy az olvasók kedvet kaphassanak egy-egy könyvhöz. Ahhoz, hogy ez jól tudjon működni, arra is szükség van, hogy ezeket az impulzusokat minél könnyebben ki lehessen elégíteni, azaz minél könnyebben lehessen az érdeklődést vásárlássá fordítani. Ez a nyomtatott könyv világában minimum 2-3 napnyi várakozás, az online világban lehetne akár egy kattintás is…

ko

 

http://www.konyv7.hu/index.php?akt_menu=11507

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Hash: SHA1

  This archive contains 18,592 scientific publications totaling
33GiB, all from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
and which should be  available to everyone at no cost, but most
have previously only been made available at high prices through
paywall gatekeepers like JSTOR.

Limited access to the  documents here is typically sold for $19
USD per article, though some of the older ones are available as
cheaply as $8. Purchasing access to this collection one article
at a time would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Also included is the basic factual metadata allowing you to
locate works by title, author, or publication date, and a
checksum file to allow you to check for corruption.

ef8c02959e947d7f4e4699f399ade838431692d972661f145b782c2fa3ebcc6a sha256sum.txt

I've had these files for a long time, but I've been afraid that if I
published them I would be subject to unjust legal harassment by those who
profit from controlling access to these works.

I now feel that I've been making the wrong decision.

On July 19th 2011, Aaron Swartz was criminally charged by the US Attorney
General's office for, effectively, downloading too many academic papers
from JSTOR.

Academic publishing is an odd systemΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥the authors are not paid for their
writing, nor are the peer reviewers (they're just more unpaid academics),
and in some fields even the journal editors are unpaid. Sometimes the
authors must even pay the publishers.

And yet scientific publications are some of the most outrageously
expensive pieces of literature you can buy. In the past, the high access
fees supported the costly mechanical reproduction of niche paper journals,
but online distribution has mostly made this function obsolete.

As far as I can tell, the money paid for access today serves little
significant purpose except to perpetuate dead business models. The
"publish or perish" pressure in academia gives the authors an impossibly
weak negotiating position, and the existing system has enormous inertia.

Those with the most power to change the system--the long-tenured luminary
scholars whose works give legitimacy and prestige to the journals, rather
than the other way around--are the least impacted by its failures. They
are supported by institutions who invisibly provide access to all of the
resources they need. And as the journals depend on them, they may ask
for alterations to the standard contract without risking their career on
the loss of a publication offer. Many don't even realize the extent to
which academic work is inaccessible to the general public, nor do they
realize what sort of work is being done outside universities that would
benefit by it.

Large publishers are now able to purchase the political clout needed
to abuse the narrow commercial scope of copyright protection, extending
it to completely inapplicable areas: slavish reproductions of historic
documents and art, for example, and exploiting the labors of unpaid
scientists. They're even able to make the taxpayers pay for their
attacks on free society by pursuing criminal prosecution (copyright has
classically been a civil matter) and by burdening public institutions
with outrageous subscription fees.

Copyright is a legal fiction representing a narrow compromise: we give
up some of our natural right to exchange information in exchange for
creating an economic incentive to author, so that we may all enjoy more
works. When publishers abuse the system to prop up their existence,
when they misrepresent the extent of copyright coverage, when they use
threats of frivolous litigation to suppress the dissemination of publicly
owned works, they are stealing from everyone else.

Several years ago I came into possession, through rather boring and
lawful means, of a large collection of JSTOR documents.

These particular documents are the historic back archives of the
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal SocietyΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥a prestigious scientific
journal with a history extending back to the 1600s.

The portion of the collection included in this archive, ones published
prior to 1923 and therefore obviously in the public domain, total some
18,592 papers and 33 gigabytes of data.

The documents are part of the shared heritage of all mankind,
and are rightfully in the public domain, but they are not available
freely. Instead the articles are available at $19 each--for one month's
viewing, by one person, on one computer. It's a steal. From you.

When I received these documents I had grand plans of uploading them to
Wikipedia's sister site for reference works, WikisourceΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥ where they
could be tightly interlinked with Wikipedia, providing interesting
historical context to the encyclopedia articles. For example, Uranus
was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel; why not take a look at
the paper where he originally disclosed his discovery? (Or one of the
several follow on publications about its satellites, or the dozens of
other papers he authored?)

But I soon found the reality of the situation to be less than appealing:
publishing the documents freely was likely to bring frivolous litigation
from the publishers.

As in many other cases, I could expect them to claim that their slavish
reproductionΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥scanning the documentsΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥ created a new copyright
interest. Or that distributing the documents complete with the trivial
watermarks they added constituted unlawful copying of that mark. They
might even pursue strawman criminal charges claiming that whoever obtained
the files must have violated some kind of anti-hacking laws.

In my discreet inquiry, I was unable to find anyone willing to cover
the potentially unbounded legal costs I risked, even though the only
unlawful action here is the fraudulent misuse of copyright by JSTOR and
the Royal Society to withhold access from the public to that which is
legally and morally everyone's property.

In the meantime, and to great fanfare as part of their 350th anniversary,
the RSOL opened up "free" access to their historic archivesΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥but "free"
only meant "with many odious terms", and access was limited to about
100 articles.

All too often journals, galleries, and museums are becoming not
disseminators of knowledgeΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥as their lofty mission statements
suggestΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥but censors of knowledge, because censoring is the one thing
they do better than the Internet does. Stewardship and curation are
valuable functions, but their value is negative when there is only one
steward and one curator, whose judgment reigns supreme as the final word
on what everyone else sees and knows. If their recommendations have value
they can be heeded without the coercive abuse of copyright to silence 
competition.

The liberal dissemination of knowledge is essential to scientific
inquiry. More than in any other area, the application of restrictive
copyright is inappropriate for academic works: there is no sticky question
of how to pay authors or reviewers, as the publishers are already not
paying them. And unlike 'mere' works of entertainment, liberal access
to scientific work impacts the well-being of all mankind. Our continued
survival may even depend on it.

If I can remove even one dollar of ill-gained income from a poisonous
industry which acts to suppress scientific and historic understanding,
then whatever personal cost I suffer will be justifiedΓΓé¼ΓÇ¥it will be one
less dollar spent in the war against knowledge. One less dollar spent
lobbying for laws that make downloading too many scientific papers
a crime.

I had considered releasing this collection anonymously, but others pointed
out that the obviously overzealous prosecutors of Aaron Swartz would
probably accuse him of it and add it to their growing list of ridiculous
charges. This didn't sit well with my conscience, and I generally believe
that anything worth doing is worth attaching your name to.

I'm interested in hearing about any enjoyable discoveries or even useful
applications which come of this archive.

- ---- 
Greg Maxwell - July 20th 2011
gmaxwell@gmail.com  Bitcoin: 14csFEJHk3SYbkBmajyJ3ktpsd2TmwDEBb

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via Papers from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, fro download torrent – TPB.

The publisher says it tried everything it could to stamp out these unauthorized copies, but it was unable to stop the flood — and it’s a good thing it couldn’t, since the book rocketed to the No. 1 slot. It has since fallen to No. 2. Although it remains to be seen how many books get sold when the official version is available, there’s no question that the publisher and the author have effectively gotten millions of dollars worth of free marketing for their title. The publisher admits it has spent virtually nothing on marketing so far, but has already boosted the size of the print run.

via The Future of Media: It’s Not Piracy, It’s Marketing — Tech News and Analysis.

The explosive growth of ereading is creating the biggest change to the publishing industry since Gutenberg. Bricks-and-mortar sales are declining as digital distribution and self-publishing rise. The rapid proliferation and adoption of ereading devices by tens of millions of US consumers are accelerating these trends.

As ebooks reshape the industry, publishers, booksellers, and device manufacturers need to understand trends and changes in consumption patterns quicker than ever before. Our latest survey uncovers consumer behaviors and attitudes towards ebooks that can help industry players face challenges and exploit opportunities in the brave new world of publishing.

Elastic Path's consumer research report on ebooks reveals:

Why and how consumers read digital content

How much they spend on ebooks versus print books

How they discover books and where they buy

And more….

via Brave New Publishing World: Assessing the Impact of Ebooks on Consumers | Elastic Path Software.

Responses to Amazon.com's hire of Laurence Kirshbaum as publisher have varied from worried to fear of a “dampening” effect on competition among delegates at the BEA conference.

Word that started to spread Sunday night was confirmed first thing Monday morning with the announcement that Kirshbaum, former TimeWarner c.e.o.-turned-agent, would be heading up Amazon's publishing operation in New York.

Everybody knew that an Amazon push into frontlist publishing was coming: the move into original genre books and the cooperation with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was not enough to satisfy the giant's ever-hungry maw. Highly-placed executives from New York houses have been migrating to Amazon for a while, and the company ratcheted up expectations after circulating a recruiting letter for various personnel a few weeks back. The question was only when.

The news spread swiftly around the Javits Center even though the exhibition floor was not yet open, the first day of BEA being devoted to conference sessions. For Kirshbaum, it seemed a natural: as Workman's Bob Miller put it, “Larry missed running the whole show. Being an agent just wasn't the same.”

Independent booksellers took the news in their stride: “it didn't surprise” outgoing ABA president Michael Tucker, whose store is in San Francisco. Another major indie bookseller, Elliott Bay's Rick Simonsen (on Amazon's home turf of Seattle), saw it being “of more concern to publishers than to booksellers at this point. Remember, most booksellers have to deal with B&N's Sterling [publishing subsidiary] already. And Amazon will now get trapped in the real world!”

The proprietor of a store much closer to New York, who preferred to talk on background, said that given the state of Borders, and the likely difficulties Amazon may encounter with B&N, indies might actually get higher discounts on the books Amazon publishes since they will need a bricks and mortar storefront.

What people on the publishing side are feeling—again, off the record for the most part—is worried. Publishers, already feeling squeezed, have been feeling even more so since Monday morning.

Agent Richard Curtis, who doubles as proprietor of E-Reads, one of the earliest e-publishing and POD reprinters of out-of-print books, said: “I think Larry is an iconic branded figure in the American book business and will be the perfect person to bring the old and new worlds of publishing together.

via Amazon’s Kirshbaum move could reduce competition—BEA | The Bookseller.

I cordially invite you to the XVIII. International Book Festival, to the launch of my first book ‘Copyright Pirates’. The launch will take place on the 15th of Aprin, 3 PM in the Osztovits Levente hall.

The event will be in English!

. Szeretnélek benneteket meghívni a könyvbemutatómra április 15-én a nemzetközi Könyvfesztiválra, ahol a Szerzői jog kalózai című könyvemnek (http://www.typotex.hu/konyv/aszerzoijogkalozai) lesz több bemutatója is.

Aki a könyvtárosokat szereti azt 10.30-ra várom a Fogadó épület galériájába, ahol a szerzői jogi törvény könyvtárakban való gyakorlati alkalmazásáról lesz szó Fodor Klaudia Franciskával (Artisjus) és Fonyó Istvánnéval (BME OMIKK).

A hivatalos esemény pedig délután 3-kor lesz az Osztovits Levente teremben.

Állófogadás, pezsgő, a kalóz pdf-ek dedikálása, fun!

On Tuesday 1 March, several publishing offices in Europe were raided by inspectors from the European Commission. “They burst in like cowboys” said Francis Esménard, the president of French publisher Albin Michel, to journalists at 01net, even if “they were only going to find legal contracts”. Elsewhere, they seized smart phones and laptops from senior executives and no doubt ruined a good few lunches. No one likes to meet a Eurocrat at the best of times, but these ones may be beating the death knell of the publishing industry.The background to these raids is the agency model many big publishers have adopted to sell ebooks. Under this model, instead of selling the ebooks wholesale and allowing the retailer to set the price they charge the customers, the publisher itself sets the price of the ebooks and the retailer takes a commission. The potential problem with this arrangement is that it could, according to the EU commission statement explaining the raids, “violate EU anti-trust rules that prohibit cartels and other restrictive business practices”.

via EU anger over ebook deal suggests hard times ahead for publishers | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Specifically, I saw that a self-published book could be offered on Kindle for 99 cents, and still turn a 35 cent profit. I was stunned! I walked around in a daze for, well, days, trying to explain to people what that meant. No one seemed impressed. To me it was like receiving the keys to the kingdom, and I immediately set a goal to become the world’s greatest 99-cent author.

Joe: Which, at this moment, you are. This fascinates me, because when Amazon began offering 70% to ebooks priced $2.99 and up, a lot of people considered staying at 99 cents to be slumming.

Which was naive. Coming from a legacy publishing background, I knew that 35% royalties were much better than anything the Big 6 offered. Even so, when I first got into this, I thought that cheap ebooks would be a loss lead, that would get people to read my more expensive books.

And yet, when I lowered the price of The List from $2.99 to 99 cents, I started selling 20x as many copies–about 800 a day. My loss lead became my biggest earner.

via A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Guest Post by John Locke.

LibraryGoblin sez, “HarperCollins has decided to change their agreement with e-book distributor OverDrive. They forced OverDrive, which is a main e-book distributor for libraries, to agree to terms so that HarperCollins e-books will only be licensed for checkout 26 times. Librarians have blown up over this, calling for a boycott of HarperCollins, breaking the DRM on e-books–basically doing anything to let HarperCollins and other publishers know they consider this abuse.”

I've talked to a lot of librarians about why they buy DRM books for their collections, and they generally emphasize that buying ebooks with DRM works pretty well, generates few complaints, and gets the books their patrons want on the devices their patrons use. And it's absolutely true: on the whole, DRM ebooks, like DRM movies and DRM games work pretty well.

But they fail really badly. No matter how crappy a library's relationship with a print publisher might be, the publisher couldn't force them to destroy the books in their collections after 26 checkouts. DRM is like the Ford Pinto: it's a smooth ride, right up the point at which it explodes and ruins your day.

HarperCollins has some smart and good digital people (they're my UK/Australia/South Africa publisher, and I've met a ton of them). But batshit insane crap like this is proof that it doesn't matter how many good people there are at a company that has a tool at its disposal that is as dangerous and awful as DRM: the gun on the mantelpiece in act one will always go off by act three.

And that's why libraries should just stop buying DRM media for their collections. Period. It's unsafe at any speed.

I mean it. When HarperCollins backs down and says, “Oh, no, sorry, we didn't mean it, you can have unlimited ebook checkouts,” the libraries' answers should be “Not good enough. We want DRM-free or nothing.” Stop buying DRM ebooks. Do you think that if you buy twice, or three times, or ten times as many crippled books that you'll get more negotiating leverage with which to overcome abusive crap like this? Do you think that if more of your patrons come to rely on you for ebooks for their devices, that DRM vendors won't notice that your relevance is tied to their product and tighten the screws?

You have exactly one weapon in your arsenal to keep yourself from being caught in this leg-hold trap: your collections budget. Stop buying from publishers who stick time-bombs in their ebooks. Yes, you can go to the Copyright Office every three years and ask for a temporary exemption to the DMCA to let your jailbreak your collections, but that isn't Plan B, it's Plan Z. Plan A is to stop putting dangerous, anti-patron technology into your collections in the first place.

The publisher also issued a short statement: “HarperCollins is committed to the library channel. We believe this change balances the value libraries get from our titles with the need to protect our authors and ensure a presence in public libraries and the communities they serve for years to come.”

Josh Marwell, President, Sales for HarperCollins, told LJ that the 26 circulation limit was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.

As noted in the letter, the terms will not be specific to OverDrive, and will likewise apply to “all eBook vendors or distributors offering this publisher's titles for library lending.” The new terms will not be retroactive, and will apply only to new titles. More details on the new terms are set to be announced next week.

For the record, all of my HarperCollins ebooks are also available as DRM-free Creative Commons downloads. And as bad as HarperCollins' terms are, they're still better than Macmillan's, my US/Canadian publisher, who don't allow any library circulation of their ebook titles.

via HarperCollins to libraries: we will nuke your ebooks after 26 checkouts – Boing Boing.

A longform piece in the Prae literary journal on the Hungarian e-book market.
Read the rest of this entry »

Slashdot

“Ambiguity surrounds the real impact of digital book piracy, notes Brian O’Leary in an interview with O’Reilly Radar, but all would be better served if more data was shared and less effort was exerted on futile DRM. ‘The publishing industry should be working as hard as we can to develop new and innovative business models that meet the needs of readers. And what those look like could be community-driven. I think of Baen Books, for example, which doesn’t put any DRM restrictions on its content but is one of the least pirated book publishers. As to sales, Paulo Coelho is a good example. He mines the piracy data to see if there’s a burgeoning interest for his books in a particular country or market. If so, he either works to get his book out in print or translate it in that market.'”

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the Library of the Zrínyi Miklós University have organized a conference of the web and the library. My presentation asks the question whether the libraries need to follow the fate of their quickly dematerializing books.

A tudomány ünnepe keretében Webpolgár címen rendezett konferenciát a Zrínyi Miklós Nemzetvédelmi egyetem könyvtára.  Nagy sikert aratott az előadás, ami azt a kérdést teszi fel, hogy követik-e a könyvtárak a dematerializálódó könyveik sorsát…

Telegraph Blogs

 

If book publishers want to see the next decade in any reasonable health, then it’s absolutely imperative that they rethink their pricing strategies and business models right now. I hope this example will illustrate why:

I’m a big fan of Iain Banks’ novels; I always buy them in hardback as soon as they come out. It doesn’t matter what reviewers say, I need to have his books immediately. His latest novel, Surface Detail, came out a few days ago and promptly arrived at my office – all 627 pages of it. I lugged the thing home and began reading it this morning.

Surface_Detail_Hb_500x775

Being a Culture novel, it’s a real page-turner and I found it difficult to pull myself away from it. I didn’t want to lug it back to the office again, not least because I didn’t have any space left in my bag, so I did the unthinkable – I googled surface detail ePub so I could download and read it on my iPad (and iPhone).

I try doing this every six months or so, and I usually end up mired in a swamp of fake torrent links and horrible PDF versions; for what it’s worth, this was mostly out of curiosity, since six months ago I didn’t own an iPad.

This time, it took me 60 seconds to download a pristine ePub file, and another five minutes to move it to my iPad and iPhone. While this was going on, I took the opportunity to poke around the torrent sites and forums that my search had yielded, and discovered a wonderful selection of books, including:

Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen

Our Kind of Traitor, by John le Carre

Jump! by Jilly Cooper

The Fry Chronicles, by Stephen Fry

Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Solar, by Ian McEwan

Zero History, by William Gibson

Obama’s Wars, by Bob Woodward

Now, that’s not all of the current bestsellers, but it’s not a bad start. “Oh, but we’ve still got the backlist!” I hear some publisher cry. No such luck, because some helpful pirate has bundled entire collections of popular backlist novels into a single torrents, including:

Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels

Lord of the Rings

Narnia

Harry Potter

Artemis Fowl

Twilight

The Hunger Games

Every Ken Follett book

Every Stieg Larsson book

Every Stephen King book

Every Douglas Adams book

etc.

Pretty much all of these books are available in ePub, mobi, PDF and every other popular format (the non-fiction and literary selection is much worse though, which probably reflects the tastes of the people uploading the torrents – that’ll change soon enough).

I am not a torrent-finding genius – I just know how to add ‘ePub’ to the name of a book or author. I don’t need a fast internet connection, because most books are below 1MB in size, even in a bundle of multiple formats. I don’t need to learn how to use Bittorrent, because I already use that for TV shows. And Apple has made it very easy for me to add ePub files to my iPad and iPhone. So really, there is nothing stopping me from downloading several hundred books other than the fact that I already have too much to read and I think authors should be paid.

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

Next, you’ll have people downloading classics – they’ll say to themselves, “Tolkein and C. S. Lewis are both dead, so why should I feel bad about pirating their books?” Then you’ll have people downloading ebooks not available in their country yet. Then it’ll be people downloading entire collections, just because it’s quicker. Then they’ll start wondering why they should buy any ebooks at all, when they cost so much. And then you go bust.

(In case you think this is just a scary story, think again – a conservative estimate this month suggests there are 1.5-3 million people looking for pirated eBooks every day [nb: this is a link to a PDF]. A suggestion: If you gave away a free eBook copy with physical books, that might help things. A bit.)

But of course I’m exaggerating. Most publishers won’t go bust. eBook prices will be forced down, margins will be cut, consolidation will occur. New publishers will spring up, with lower overheads and offering authors a bigger cut. A few publishers will thrive; most publishers will suffer. Some new entrants will make a ton of cash; maybe there’ll be a Spotify or Netflix for books. Life will go on. Authors will continue writing – it’s not as if they ever did it for the money – and books will continue being published.

Three years ago, I wrote a blog post called The Death of Publishers. Back then, most commenters didn’t believe that eBook readers would ever rival physical books for convenience and comfort. They didn’t think that it would ever be that easy to pirate books. The post caused a splash at the time, but it didn’t change anything.

Here’s an excerpt:

Book publishers have had a longer grace period than the other entertainment industries. Computers and iPods had an easy time besting DVDs and CDs, but it’s been difficult to make something that can compete with a book. It may be strange to hear, but a book is a fantastic piece of technology. It’s portable, it doesn’t need batteries, it’s cheap to print and easy to read. This has led many publishers to complacency, thinking there’s something special about books that will spare them from the digital revolution. They’ve seen so many poor or substandard eBook readers that they think it’ll never be done properly.

They’re wrong. eBook readers are about to get very good, very quickly. A full colour wireless eBook reader with a battery life of over a week, a storage capacity of a thousand books, and a flexible display will be yours for $150 in ten years time. If this sounds unbelievable, consider this – the first iPod was released only six years ago and cost $400. Imagine what an iPod will look like in four years time.

How wrong I was! It’s only taken us three years to get the Kindle 3 at a mere $189, with a battery life of a month and a storage capacity of 3500 books. Sure, it doesn’t have colour or a flexible display, but it does have global wifi and 3G, and it’s a lot lighter than I thought it might be. Give it another year or two and we’ll have that colour as well.

(I was also wrong about scanning and OCRing being the main way of pirating books – turns out it was people cracking the DRM of eBooks that publishers had helpfully formatted and distributed themselves!)

But I was right about the complacency of publishers. They’ve spent three years bickering about eBook prices and Amazon and Apple and Andrew Wylie, and they’ve ignored that massive growling wolf at the door, the wolf that has transformed the music and TV so much that they’re forced to give their content away for practically nothing.

Time’s up. The wolf is here.

 

Steal this book: The loan arranger | The Economist

 

AMAZON.COM says soon you will be allowed to lend out electronic books purchased from the Kindle Store. For a whole 14 days. Just once, ever, per title. If the publisher allows it. Not mentioned is the necessity to hop on one foot whilst reciting the Gettysburg Address in a falsetto. An oversight, I’m sure. Barnes & Noble’s Nook has offered the same capability with identical limits since last year. Both lending schemes are bullet points in a marketing presentation, so Amazon is adding its feature to keep parity.

Allowing such ersatz lending is a pretence by booksellers. They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited licence to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture.

If you own a physical book, in much of the world you may sell it, lend it—even burn or bury it. You may also keep the book forever. Each of those characteristics is littered with footnotes and exceptions for e-books. We are granted an illusion of ownership, but may read only within the ecosystem of hardware and software supported by the bookseller with sometimes additional limitations imposed by publishers. Witness Amazon’s remote deletion—since abjured—of improperly sold copies of George Orwell’s “1984” and “Animal Farm” in 2009. This Babbage recalls an Apple executive, Phil Schiller, extolling to him in 2003 the virtues of purchasing downloadable music when that company’s iTunes Store launched, and the dominant model was for recurring subscriptions. Mr Schiller described buying a song as owning it. Asked if one could therefore sell the song, Mr Schiller said no. He explained:

I do think of it as ownership, and it really does fit the definition of legal ownership. [There are] certain boundaries on your rights, just as on everything I own. I can own a car but that doesn’t give me the right to speed 100mph in it.

That was as tendentious then as it is now, and applies just as directly to Apple’s current e-book offerings. True, Apple removed digital rights management (DRM) protection from its music when the recording industry decided its best tool to fight Apple’s near-total ownership of digital downloads was to make it possible for music to be played on devices other than iPods. But the licensing terms for music didn’t change, and books and video remain locked down, however ineffective such protection is.

But the reason for restricting lending, even with the sham of offering it in Amazon’s or Barnes & Noble’s form, is to distract people from the fact that buyers are spending real money to buy a book they may read just once. To judge from the information Amazon provides, the long tail applies to e-books as it does everywhere else. Many different titles are flogged, but the most disposable and ephemeral have the lion’s share of units sold. Dan Brown’s epics are rarely re-read, judging by how many copies are available for one penny or given away in free book bins weeks after release. Allowing the loan of “The Lost Symbol” by any purchaser to any other e-book hardware or software user worldwide turns each buyer into a one-person lending library. Publishers don’t much like libraries, either, despite the chin-wagging otherwise. (In the US, the public lending right or remuneration right doesn’t hold; the first-sale doctrine allows library lending of physical media without additional fees.)

With a physical book, the afterlife of a disposable read is to hand it off to another party: a library sale, a friend or relative, or the free bin outside a used bookstore. Such books are also purchased in the millions and sold for one penny plus shipping online partly as a marketing effort by booksellers who can then include their own catalogs with each sale. An e-book, however, lives in limbo. Neither moving on to the next life, nor returning to this one, it can never be freed.

That will change. Just as with music, DRM will be cracked. As more people possess portable reading devices, the demand and availability for pirated content will also rise. (Many popular e-books can now be found easily on file-sharing sites, something that was not the case even a few months ago, as Adrian Hon recently pointed out.) The end-game is unclear. Authors can’t turn to touring to obtain revenue in the way musicians can, though some can charge steep speaking fees. Nor can authors produce their work in 3D, only readable in certain special theaters. (McSweeney’s has a proposal in that regard.)

All is not lost, however. Despite fewer adults reading fewer books, billions are still sold worldwide each year, with an increasing portion being digital. Publishers and booksellers need to get non-readers to pick up a device and buy books, and existing readers to read more. Lowering the risk of purchasing a book that a reader may not like would reduce the friction between considering a title and clicking the buy button.

In fact, Barnes & Noble and Starbucks are experimenting with a sort of loan in their bricks-and-mortar shops. The bookseller allows its Nook hardware owners to read books willy-nilly on its stores’ Wi-Fi networks for up to an hour a day. Starbucks has partnered with several publishers to allow full access to some titles, but only while a browser is in the store. Barnes & Noble’s effort is a year old and Starbucks’ was launched just a few days ago.

In other words, they are finally doing with digital books what they have long practised with the printed sort. After all, most bookshops nowadays let you pick a book off the shelf and read it at your leisure, sometimes providing comfy armchairs. Cafés have been making books and newspapers available to patrons for centuries, to entice them to stick around for another cuppa.

The college-textbook market provides another replicable business model. Students pay through their noses for new textbooks at the start of term only to resell them at the end to other students or back to the original bookshop at a discount. Alternatively, they rent books for a fee while leaving a deposit which is returned when the book comes back to the shop. Creating a legitimate digital resale market along similar lines ought to be possible. If, that is, publishers can be convinced to let what are in effect mint-condition digital copies to go at a lower price.

Introducing either de facto rental (purchase and resell at prices set by the bookseller) or the actual sort (read a book in a set period of time for a lower fee) would expand general and specialist readership alike, while discouraging a turn to piracy by breaking the appearance of immutable, high prices. At the same time, it would enable publishers, booksellers and authors to sidestep the first-sale doctrine of physical media, and to rake in revenue each time a “used” digital copy passes from hand to hand.

The music and film industries fought a decade-long losing battle for the digital realm that only put them at odds with their best customers. The book business may yet be able to avoid recapitulating all that pain and disruption, not least by pinching ideas from the off-line world.

 

This was the second conference on book marketing. This time I was asking the Hungarian publishers and e-book dealers not to create their own black-market by using DRM on their books.

A II. könyvmarketing konferencián arról beszéltem, hogy hogyan fogják a magyar kiadók és a terjesztők a feketepiactól való páni félelmükben a DRM alkalmazásával maguk létrehozni a magyar kalózokat, és ezzel hogyan fogják kinyírni a magyar ekönyvpiacot egyszer és mindenkorra… :(

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FoxNews.com

 

The basic idea is to offer publishers another way to reach readers and to give readers the chance to try more books — books that perhaps they wouldn’t normally peruse if they had to pay more for them. Initially, Wowio specialized in offering digital versions of comic books and graphic novels, usually formatted as Adobe PDFs. So it was a natural step for the company to offer graphic ads that are inserted in e-books.

The ads themselves aren’t intrusive: There are no annoying highlighted links in the text, nor are there irritating animations or takeovers to interrupt the reading experience. The advertisements are simply pages added to a book, typically up front: Notices for movie site Fandango and auction site iTaggit appeared in the copy of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds that I read. It’s much like the advertising you’d see in a magazine, except that if you want more information or are enticed by a promotion, all you have to do is click to visit the advertiser’s site.

“We think we’re creating a broader audience for some of these titles,” Wowio’s CEO Brian Altounian told me. “I think folks are going to download more books because they’re saving the costs” of having to drive to the store or pay more for them.

 

íEpicenter | Wired.com

It’s easy to tease, but the serious matter here is that neither the Kindle nor the Nook allow book owners to lend their e-books in any reasonable sense of the word. Amazon and B&N are allowing them to give it a one-time-only, two-week furlough. Not even a Netflix-like “as long as you like” policy. Not even to competing devices (format incompatibilities notwithstanding). And just plain forget about giving “your” e-book away, or reselling it — things that you can do with any of your only-slightly-more-expensive print editions.

Simon Says…

 

DRM’s Collateral Damage

The problem with technology-enforced restrictions isn’t that they allow legitimate enforcement of rights; it’s the collateral damage they cause in the process. In my personal opinion the problems are (very concisely) that they:

  1. quantise and prejudge discretion,
  2. reduce “fair use” to “historic use”,
  3. empower a hierarchical agent to remain in the control loop, and
  4. condemn content to become inaccessible.

 

Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

 

You’ve heard it before: Digital technologies blew up the music industry’s moneymaking model, and the textbook business is next.

For years observers have predicted a coming wave of e-textbooks. But so far it just hasn’t happened. One explanation for the delay is that while music fans were eager to try a new, more portable form of entertainment, students tend to be more conservative when choosing required materials for their studies. For a real disruption in the textbook market, students may have to be forced to change.

That’s exactly what some companies and college leaders are now proposing. They’re saying that e-textbooks should be required reading and that colleges should be the ones charging for them. It is the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, they claim. Major players like the McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons are getting involved.

To understand what a radical shift that would be, think about the current textbook model. Every professor expects students to have ready access to required texts, but technically, purchasing them is optional. So over the years students have improvised a range of ways to dodge buying a new copy—picking up a used textbook, borrowing a copy from the library, sharing with a roommate, renting one, downloading an illegal version, or simply going without. Publishers collect a fee only when students buy new books, giving the companies a financial impetus to crank out updated editions whether the content needs refreshing or not.

Here’s the new plan: Colleges require students to pay a course-materials fee, which would be used to buy e-books for all of them (whatever text the professor recommends, just as in the old model).

Why electronic copies? Well, they’re far cheaper to produce than printed texts, making a bulk purchase more feasible. By ordering books by the hundreds or thousands, colleges can negotiate a much better rate than students were able to get on their own, even for used books. And publishers could eliminate the used-book market and reduce incentives for students to illegally download copies as well.

Of course those who wanted to read the textbook on paper could print out the electronic version or pay an additional fee to buy an old-fashioned copy—a book.

Some for-profit colleges, including the University of Phoenix, already do something like this, but the practice has been rare on traditional campuses.

An Indiana company called Courseload hopes to make the model more widespread, by serving as a broker for colleges willing to impose the requirement on students. And it is not alone. The upstart publisher Flat World Knowledge recently made a bulk deal with Virginia State University’s business school, and last month the company hired a new salesperson devoted entirely to “institutional sales” of its e-textbooks. And Daytona State College, in Florida, is negotiating with publishers to test a similar arrangement.

The real champions of the change are the college officials signing the deals. They say they felt compelled to act after seeing students drop out because they could not afford textbooks, whose average prices rose 186 percent between 1986 and 2005, and continue to shoot up each year far faster than inflation.

“When students pay more for new textbooks than tuition in a year, then something’s wrong,” says Rand S. Spiwak, executive vice president at Daytona State, who is leading the experiment there. “Our game plan is to bring the cost of textbooks down by 75 to 80 percent.”

Apple reset the sales model for music, with its iPod players and market-leading online store, and the company is likely to try to enter the e-textbook market as well. But watch out, publishers, the change agents for textbooks may just be traditional colleges.

Moving the Tollbooth

Courseload, the e-book broker, started in 2000, when a co-founder, Mickey Levitan, a former Apple employee inspired by the company’s transformative role in the music industry, devised the idea and teamed up with a professor at Indiana University at Bloomington to try it. But the company failed to find enough takers, and it all but shut down after a brief run.

Then last year an official at Indiana, Bradley C. Wheeler, called Mr. Levitan and talked him into trying again.

Mr. Wheeler is part of an effort at the university to bring down textbook costs, and he remembered a conversation he had had with Mr. Levitan about the idea 10 years ago. Back then, Mr. Wheeler was just a professor of business, but now he is also vice president for information technology and able to help try the approach, which he calls “moving the tollbooth” for textbooks.

“Universities are going to have to engage in saying, This is how we want e-textbook models to evolve that are advantageous to our students and our interests,” he told me this month.

For three semesters Indiana has tested Courseload’s system, which brings in content from various publishers and allows annotation and other features. So far the company has persuaded McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and John Wiley to participate. During those first experiments, students were not charged, and the university and Courseload paid for the e-textbooks. But Mr. Wheeler said that in the spring the university would try at least one pilot where students would pay a mandatory fee for the e-textbooks, which he expected to be about $35 per course in most cases.

Company and university officials gingerly approached two key groups early on: students and state legislators. Mr. Wheeler said student-government officials he talked to were supportive. Mr. Levitan said that the legislators generally opposed new fees, but sympathized with the project’s goal of reducing overall costs to students and said they would not oppose it.

Mr. Levitan said the company was running tests at a handful of colleges, though he declined to name them.

The Virginia Pilot

Mirta Martin, dean of Virginia State’s business school, speaks passionately about her reasons for taking part in the experiment with Flat World, which makes e-textbooks standard in eight courses this fall.

“For our accounting books senior year, there’s nothing under $250,” she told me this summer. “What the students were saying is, We don’t have the money to purchase these books.”

Last year Ms. Martin became so frustrated over hearing stories about students who were performing poorly because they could not afford textbooks that she pledged that no needy student would go without a book. At first she asked community leaders and others to donate to a fund to pay for the books of students who sought financial help. Last year that project bought $4,000 worth of books for students.

But Ms. Martin felt that the philanthropic model was not sustainable, so she began reaching out to publishers to see if the institution could get some sort of bulk rate that would allow it to pay for textbooks for all students.

In its standard model, Flat World offers free access to its textbooks while students are online. If students want to download a copy to their own computers, they must pay $24.95 for a PDF (a print edition costs about $30). But the publisher offered the Virginia State business school a bulk rate of $20 per student per course, and it will allow students at the school to download not only the digital copies but also the study guide, an audio version, or an iPad edition (a bundle that would typically cost about $100).

Tricky issues remain, though. What if a professor wrote the textbook assigned for his or her class? Is it ethical to force students to buy it, even at a reduced rate? And what if students feel they are better off on their own, where they have the option of sharing or borrowing a book at no cost?

Proponents of the new model argue that in time policies can be developed and prices can be driven low enough to win widespread support.

If so, more changes are bound to follow. In music, the Internet reduced album sales as more people bought only the individual songs they wanted. For textbooks, that may mean letting students (or brokers at colleges) buy only the chapters they want. Or only supplementary materials like instructional videos and interactive homework problems, all delivered online.

And that really would be the end of the textbook as we know it.

 

Comic Book ‘Pirated’ On 4Chan, Author Joins Discussion… Watches Sales Soar | Techdirt

 

Paul Watson points us to yet another example of how engaging with fans of your work (even if, technically, they infringed on your copyrights) can lead to pretty happy outcomes for everyone. The basic details are that comic book artist Steve Lieber discovered that folks at 4chan had scanned in and uploaded every page of his graphic novel Underground. Now, the typical reaction is to freak out, scream “piracy,” whine about “losses” and demand that “something must be done.” But, in a world where obscurity is really a much bigger issue than “piracy,” another option is to actually engage with those fans who liked his work so much that they put in the effort to share it with the world. And that’s exactly what Lieber did. He went to the site and actually started talking about the work with the folks on 4chan (image from Paul):

Nice. But, what did it actually mean? Well, the day after he engaged with fans on 4chan, Lieber posted a blog post highlighting his sales. As he says, “pictures help us learn.”

But “piracy” is killing the ability to earn money, right?

 

Slashdot News Story | E-Books Are Only 6% of Printed Book Sales

“MIT’s technology blog argues that ebook sales represent ‘only six pecent of the total market for new books.’ It cites a business analysis which calculates that by mid-July, Amazon had sold 15.6 million hardcover books versus 22 million ebooks, but with sales of about 48 million more paperback books. Amazon recently announced they sell 180 ebooks for every 100 hardcover books, but when paperbacks are counted, ebooks represent just 29.3% of all Amazon’s book sales. And while Amazon holds about 19% of the book market, they currently represent 90% of all ebook sales — suggesting that ebooks represent a tiny fraction of all print books sold. ‘Many tech pundit wants books to die,’ argues MIT’s Christopher Mims, citing the head of Microsoft’s ClearType team, who says ‘I’d be glad to ditch thousands of paper- and hard-backed books from my bookshelves. I’d rather have them all on an iPad.’ But while Nicholas Negroponte predicts the death of the book within five years, Mims argues that ‘it’s just as likely that as the ranks of the early adopters get saturated, adoption of ebooks will slow.'”

Norman Spinrad At Large:

But there are also true idealists who believe they are performing a public service to both readers and writers by making books available for free that otherwise would have disappeared.  You don’t have to agree with their ideal–and I certainly don’t–to admit that they are sincere.

Népszabadság – Támadnak a könyvkalózok

Az év legveszélyesebb szerzői jogi kalózakcióját hiúsította meg a hazai könyves egyesülés. Egy amerikai szerverről vetettek le egy több mint ezer népszerű könyv letöltését ingyenesen kínáló honlapot. Ez két éven belül már a második próbálkozás volt. A kalózkodásnak azonban ezzel nincs vége: az e-könyv bevezetése újabb veszélyeket rejt.

In this book my aim was to look beyond the legal and economic readings of contemporary western copyright piracy and understand it as a unique social practice that merits attention not only because of its dubious legality, ubiquity, or the havoc it has played with copyright-based business models, but first and foremost because it shapes the ideas and attitudes of millions of netizens about what intellectual property is and could be; what sharing and online cooperation means in a p2p setting; what privacy is and how it can be protected; how to form and negotiate online identities in an anonymous environment, just to name a few issues. Piracy is not just a drain on the cultural economy, but a powerful productive force whose legacy in social relations will stay with us long after the economic conditions that called it into being –and the power vacuum that enabled it – have passed.
Read the rest of this entry »

Technology | guardian.co.uk

I’m not suggesting that the only way the electronic book industry can succeed is by promoting piracy. But without it, there’s no whip to crack. There’s no easy cause and effect to startle the publishers out of their leather armchairs and into action.

I suspect that the real change will come as more authors who are already part of the digital age push for new things. But that’s a generational shift, and we’re still a long way from it.

It’s not that I don’t believe electronic books can’t be a success – just that without an outside factor that can push things faster than the industry is comfortable with, progress is always going to be very, very slow.

On the XVII. Budapest International Book Festival I was talking about the Goggle Book project and led a panel about the online book black-markets at the Book publishing and distribution in the age of electronic copies conference, co-organized by the Hungarian Patent Office, and the National Anti-counterfeiting Committee, the Ministry of Justice, and the Book Trade.

Hosszú hónapok munkájával sikerült rávenni az Igazságügyi és Rendészeti Minisztériumot, a Magyar Szabadalmi Hivatal  és főleg a Hamisítás Elleni Nemzeti Testületet arra, hogy a feketepiaci szereplők ellenoi fellépés módozatai helyett végre a legális piac előtt álló kihívások legyen egy általuk is fontosnak tartott rendezvény témája. A XVII. Budapesti Nemzetközi Könyvfesztivál keretében megrendezett egész napos konferencián a Google Books-ról beszéltem, illetve a legális és feketepiacok közötti kapcsolatról vezettem panelt.

Beszámolók a konferenciáról:

Toporgás a digitális kor küszöbén-litera.hu
Mezei Péter beszámolója
A Google a könyvzabáló kisgömböc – index.hu

Book marketing conference was a trade conference where all the major publishers and distributors were present. I talked them about the fate of the local markets if they do not match the efforts of Google Books in terms of digitizing and making accessible of books.

Könyvmarketing konferencia kiadóknak, terjesztőknek. Igyekeztem ráijeszteni mindenkire, szoros összefüggésben azzal, amit az információs szuverenitásról gondolok.

Gramofon Online

ekonyvolvaso.blog.hu

Decemberben már emlegettük,
hogy a négy nagy magyar terjesztő közül a “kicsi, de dinamikus”, a
Bookline belecsap az elektronikus-tartalom értékesítésébe is. Az
anyacégtől átvett idegennyelvű anyagok azért nem verték le forgalmukkal
a biztosítékot (az áraik már inkább).

Szerencsére nem állt meg itt az élet, a magában sem kicsi Bookline közös céget alapított az elsősorban nagykereskedelmi vonalon erős Lírával, a beszédes eKönyv Magyarország Kft néven. A
téma még nagyon friss, ezért mélyelemzésbe még nem mennék bele, de
talán végre látható közelségbe került az értelmes (értsd kurrens
tartalom, megfizethető áron, szabványos formátumban) magyar
e-könyvkiadás. A Bookline erős az internetes piacokon, a Lírának nagyon erős saját brandjei (kiadói) vannak, és a nem sajátokkal sem rossz a kapcsolata.

Elfért
nagyon ez a manőver az Alexandra és Libri uralta kicsit langyos
állóvízben, de ne felejtsük el, hogy nekik is lehet még egy-két szavuk
a dologhoz.

Maradjanak velünk, a reklám után jövünk a részletekkel.

Elfért nagyon ez a manőver az Alexandra és Libri uralta kicsit langyos állóvízben, de ne felejtsük el, hogy nekik is lehet még egy-két szavuk a dologhoz.

Maradjanak velünk, a reklám után jövünk a részletekkel.

EXCESS COPYRIGHT: Some Thoughts on the Google Book Settlement Hearing of February 18, 2010

1. Is this an appropriate use of the class action process, especially in view of the many prestigious groups, corporations and individuals who have objected to the ASA? In other words, to what extent does the class involved adequately represent affected authors and publishers, not to mention countless other stakeholders, including librarians and scholars?

2. Can a class action settlement go well beyond the original pleadings and, effectively, change the law both for the past and for the future in a way that would otherwise be impossible at this point in time if it were to be attempted in Congress and/or through a treaty?

3. Given the extraordinary complexity of the settlement documentation and the relatively short notice period, can affected authors, publishers and other stakeholders realistically come to informed conclusions?

4. Is it appropriate to use class action litigation to arguably transform the normally “exclusive rights” basis of copyright law, which requires explicit permission, into an opt-out regime, where permission will be given unless specifically refused in writing? The deadline for total “opting out” was January 28, 2010. Google argues that even those who didn’t opt out by January 28, 2010 will have plenty of opportunities to exercise control over their works down the line for many purposes – but this will still require further “opt out” or other action.

5. Would the Settlement, if approved, put the United States into contravention of international law with respect to such basic concepts as those of national treatment, mandatory exclusive rights, and the three step test? None other than the Hon. Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights raised the national treatment issue in her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

6. What will be the antitrust implications of the ASA, given the dominant or monopoly position that Google will have with respect to several markets that it is creating by virtue of this Settlement, i.e. access to orphan works, and, above all the sole portal to search engine access to the database of tens of millions of books (the great “Library to Last Forever”, as Sergey Brin himself calls it)?

7. What are the implications of views such as this by prominent US IP antitrust lawyer Gary Reback?

8. What are the extraterritorial implications of this agreement, which requires authors of books published in Australia, Canada (including French language books) and the UK (the “foreign publishing countries”) to have opted out by January 28, 2010 or be bound by it? It also covers books published in these countries, even for the countless authors who are not citizens or residents of these foreign publishing countries or the USA. Unlike United States works, there is no requirement for the foreign works to have been registered in the US Copyright Office. Given the practice of simultaneous or near simultaneous publication of countless English language books in the foreign publishing countries, Google will acquire an enormous number of books in their database that would not fit into the necessarily tighter definition of a US work, which requires publication and registration in the USA. Moreover, many French books published in Quebec but originating from anywhere in the world including France would be included.

9. What about the countless past agreements signed between authors and publishers that were silent or at best ambiguous about electronic rights?

10. What about the privacy rights of potential users?

Here are some Canadian-focussed questions, which Judge Chin will not likely answer but others may eventually have to face:

1. Why has the Government of Canada apparently been uninvolved and uninterested in the GBS? There has been no public consultation that I am aware of. France and Germany have become engaged at the official level. On the other hand, Canadian officials who would normally be involved in an issue such as this haven’t been.

2. Where are the several prominent Canadian trade associations and collectives that should have provided some useful specific advice and potentially some representation for Canadian authors, publishers, librarians etc. on these issues?

3. What are the implications of the Google Partner Program, which appears to allow publishers to feed into Google’s database for very extended access the books of many authors, who may have been and still may be unaware of the Program?

4. Why is this shaping up to be a battle between scholarly and other individual authors. ranging from the most obscure to J. K. Rowling herself on the one hand and big corporate publishers on the other? I note that the Canadian Publishers’ Council and the Association of Canadian Publishers (which together represent the big multinational and major Canadian publishers) are recommending approval of the Settlement at the same time that they attempting to intervene to fight “flexible fair dealing” and push back on the CCH v. LSUC decision in the Access Copyright K-12 case currently before the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal. On the other hand, many independent Canadian authors and the Canadian Association of University Teachers (“CAUT”) are opposing the GBS. Naturally, the database will be far more important for innovation and research purposes with respect to scholarly works than, for example, light romance novels (no offence to the fan fiction crowd).

5. Although vast numbers of Canadian published books by thousands of Canadian authors will be drawn into this settlement, most of the bells and whistles of the Google Books database will presumably not be available in Canada with respect to most of the database. This is because Google is necessarily putting up something of a firewall around this database since, even though there may be some extraterritorial aspects to the settlement, the Settlement not surprisingly purports not to affect activities implicating copyright rights in foreign countries outside of the USA.

6. Canadians may wish to read, if nothing else, the submissions of Google itself and the US Department of Justice (which supports the basic goals of the ASA but reiterates that it is still “a bridge too far” and should not be approved as is). Canadians will also want to read the few but important submissions from Canada. As well, there are “must read” submissions from Pam Samuelson and many notable advocacy groups on all sides, and corporate interests, including Microsoft and AT&T.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Total number of books in the world = 174m.
Total number of books held by Google partner libraries = 42m.
Total number of books subject to the amended settlement = 10m.
~5 million are in-print
~5 million are out-of-print
~1 million of the out-of-print works would turn out to be true “orphan works”

Google has scanned 12 million books so far,
2 million scanned through its Partner Program,
2 million public domain works, and foreign works that are outside the amended settlement.

Authors Guild claims a membership of over 8,500
Association of American Publishers claims to represent over 300 publishers,
30,000 authors and publishers have already struck deals to be in Google Books through Google’s Publisher Partner Program.

44,450 claim forms (both
online and hardcopy) have been received as of February 8, claims relate to
approximately 1.13 million books and 21,829 “inserts” (i.e., things
like a short story or article in an anthology).

Of the 1,107,620 books
claimed online,

619,531 are classified by Google as out-of-print

488,089 are classified as in-print.


Total number of claimants: 44,450

Total books claimed: 1,125,339

Total inserts claimed: 21,829

Percentage of books claimed (online only) that Google classifies as out of print: 56%

Percentage of books claimed on Google’s numbers: about 10%

50,000 rightsholder
responses,

87% choosing to participate in some form

13% opting out altogether.

Percentage of books claimed by publishers: 71%

Percentage of books claimed by authors: 29%

Ars technica

On Thursday, Macmillan CEO John Sargent met with Amazon representatives to discuss the pricing of the publisher’s titles on the Kindle e-book reader. Negotiations didn’t go so well, with Sargent wanting to exercise absolute control over the prices of e-books sold through Amazon. According to the New York Times’ sources, Macmillan wanted Amazon to raise prices from $9.99 to $15.

Since launching the Kindle, Amazon has kept the price of best-sellers steady at $9.99, reportedly taking a loss on each title in order to make content for its e-book reader more attractive and drive hardware sales. That hasn’t gone over too well with some publishers, but the dispute with Macmillan is the first one to carry over from the boardroom into public.

In an advertisement (via Silicon Alley Insider) that ran Saturday in Publishers Lunch, Sargent gave his company’s side of the story. He says that Macmillan would make less money under a new distribution model that it will be using with other retailers (including Apple) beginning in March. Called the agency model, it has Amazon and other retailers taking a 30 percent commission on all sales, but with the publisher setting the price on each title. New releases would retail for between $12.99 and $14.99, while older titles would be as cheap as $5.99. Amazon would prefer to go with a one-price-fits-all model.

The last few weeks were busy. I had many media appearances partly because of the p2p study, partly because of the interest generated by these appearances.

On the recently released p2p study:

On other issues in the media:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Baen Free Library is a digital library of the science fiction and fantasy publishing house Baen Books where (as of December 2008) 112 full books can be downloaded free in a number of formats, without copy protection. It was founded in autumn 1999 by science fiction writer Eric Flint and publisher Jim Baen to determine whether the availability of books free of charge on the Internet encourages or discourages the sale of their paper books.

The Baen Free Library represents an interesting experiment in the field of intellectual property and copyright. It appears that sales of both the books made available free and other books by the same author, even from a different publisher, increase when the electronic version is made available free of charge.

The Millions: Confessions of a Book Pirate

Do you have a sense of where these books are coming from and who is putting them online?

I assume they are primarily produced by individuals like me – bibliophiles who want to share their favorite books with others. They likely own hundreds of books, and when asked what their favorite book is look at you like you are crazy before rattling of 10-15 authors, and then emailing you later with several more. The next time you see them, they have a bag of 5-10 books for you to borrow.

I’m sure that there are others – the compulsive collectors who download and re-share without ever reading one, the habitual pirates who want to be the first to upload a new release, and people with some other weird agenda that only they understand.

AAP November Sales Rise 10.9%

Book sales in November rose 10.9%, to $808.5 million, at publishers who reported to the Association of American Publishers. Sales for the year through November rose 4.9%.

Among categories:

* E-books exploded 199.9%, to $18.3 million.
* Audiobooks jumped 69%, to $18.4 million.
* Adult hardcover rose 26.9%, to $204.4 million.
* Higher education rose 24.2%,, to $197.1 million.
* University press hardcover rose 21.9% to $5.4 million.
* El-Hi basal and supplemental K-12 jumped 18.4%, to $136.9 million.
* University press paperback climbed 2.7%, to $4.2 million.
* Professional and scholarly rose 2.7%, to $57.1 million.
* Children’s/YA paperback inched up 1%, to $43.9 million.
* Religious books were flat, at $48.7 million.
* Adult paperback fell 3%, to $92.3 million
* Adult mass market dropped 9.8%, to $53.2 million.
* Children’s/YA hardcover fell 13.5%, to $63.9 million.

Books | guardian.co.uk

The family of John Steinbeck has reversed its decision to oppose Google’s controversial plans to digitise millions of books, but a growing chorus of authors led by acclaimed science fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin have registered their resistance to the scheme.

BEA 2009: The Truth About Book Piracy : Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits

According to O’Leary’s subsequent report, “Impact of P2P and Free Distribution on Book Sales,” book piracy wasn’t nearly as ubiquitous as some had suggested. While O’Leary’s report had only O’Reilly and Random House as participants, it appeared that some of the publishers’ fears about piracy were unsubstantiated. Only eight frontlist titles published by O’Reilly in 2008 could be located as torrent files. When these books did become available as torrents, the torrents were uploaded to the Internet far later than expected: some 20 weeks after publication date on average. Furthermore, for the titles available as torrents, on average, sales were 6.5% higher for these books during the four weeks after they were uploaded.

Go To Hellman

Hot on the heels of the story in Publisher’s Weekly
that “publishers could be losing out on as much $3 billion to online
book piracy” comes a sudden realization of a much larger threat to the
viability of the book industry. Apparently, over 2 billion books were “loaned”
last year by a cabal of organizations found in nearly every American
city and town. Using the same advanced projective mathematics used in the study cited by Publishers Weekly, Go To Hellman
has computed that publishers could be losing sales opportunities
totaling over $100 Billion per year, losses which extend back to at
least the year 2000. These lost sales dwarf the online piracy reported
yesterday, and indeed, even the global book publishing business itself.

From
what we’ve been able to piece together, the book “lending” takes place
in “libraries”. On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a
dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available
to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange
for a “card”. But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz
sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of
other patrons. Although there’s no admission charge and it doesn’t cost
anything to borrow a book, there’s always the threat of an onerous
overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle
of not paying for copyrighted material.

To get to the bottom of this story, Go To Hellman
has dispatched its Senior Piracy Analyst (me) to Boston, where a mass
meeting of alleged book traffickers is to take place. Over 10,000 are
expected at the “ALA Midwinter
event. Even at the Amtrak station in New York City this morning, at the
very the heart of the US publishing industry, book trafficking culture
was evident, with many travelers brazenly displaying the totebags used
to transport printed contraband.

As soon as I got off the train,
I was surrounded by even more of this crowd. Calling themselves
“Librarians”, they talk about promoting literacy, education, culture
and economic development, which are, of course, code words for the use
and dispersal of intellectual property. They readily admit to their
activities, and rationalize them because they’re perfectly legal in the
US, at least for now.

Typical was Susanne from DC, who told me
that she’s been involved in lending operations for over 15 years. This
confirms our estimate that “lending” has been going on for over ten
years, beyond even Google’s memory. Our trillion dollar estimate may
thus be on the conservative side. Of course, it’s impossible to tell
how many of these lent books would have been purchased legally if
“libraries” were not an option, but we’re not even considering the huge
potential losses to publishers when “used” books are resold for pennies
on the black markets.

ed peto — fake books


A fake book cart in the French Concession, Shanghai – Nov ‘08

Crudely bound, yet functional copies of English language texts

SHARETHIS.addEntry(
{
title: “Fake Books”,
url: “http://edpeto.com/2008/11/12/fake-books/”
}

); 

Digital Domain- NYTimes.com

YOU can buy “The Lost Symbol,” by Dan Brown, as an e-book for $9.99 at Amazon.com.

Or you can don a pirate’s cap and snatch a free copy from another online user at RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and other file-storage sites.

Until now, few readers have preferred e-books to printed or audible versions, so the public availability of free-for-the-taking copies did not much matter. But e-books won’t stay on the periphery of book publishing much longer. E-book hardware is on the verge of going mainstream. More dedicated e-readers are coming, with ever larger screens. So, too, are computer tablets that can serve as giant e-readers, and hardware that will not be very hard at all: a thin display flexible enough to roll up into a tube.

With the new devices in hand, will book buyers avert their eyes from the free copies only a few clicks away that have been uploaded without the copyright holder’s permission? Mindful of what happened to the music industry at a similar transitional juncture, book publishers are about to discover whether their industry is different enough to be spared a similarly dismal fate.

The book industry has not received cheery news for a while. Publishers and authors alike have relied upon sales of general-interest hardcover books as the foundation of the business. The Association of American Publishers estimated that these hardcover sales in the United States declined 13 percent in 2008, versus the previous year. This year, these sales were down 15.5 percent through July, versus the same period of 2008. Total e-book sales, though up considerably this year, remained small, at $81.5 million, or 1.6 percent of total book sales through July.

“We are seeing lots of online piracy activities across all kinds of books — pretty much every category is turning up,” said Ed McCoyd, an executive director at the association. “What happens when 20 to 30 percent of book readers use digital as the primary mode of reading books? Piracy’s a big concern.”

Adam Rothberg, vice president for corporate communications at Simon & Schuster, said: “Everybody in the industry considers piracy a significant issue, but it’s been difficult to quantify the magnitude of the problem. We know people post things but we don’t know how many people take them.”

We do know that people have been helping themselves to digital music without paying. When the music industry was “Napsterized” by free file-sharing, it suffered a blow from which it hasn’t recovered. Since music sales peaked in 1999, the value of the industry’s inflation-adjusted sales in the United States, even including sales from Apple’s highly successful iTunes Music Store, has dropped by more than half, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

A report earlier this year by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, based on multiple studies in 16 countries covering three years, estimated that 95 percent of music downloads “are unauthorized, with no payment to artists and producers.”

Free file-sharing of e-books will most likely come to be associated with RapidShare, a file-hosting company based in Switzerland. It says its customers have uploaded onto its servers more than 10 petabytes of files — that’s more than 10 million gigabytes — and can handle up to three million users simultaneously. Anyone can upload, and anyone can download; for light users, the service is free. RapidShare does not list the files — a user must know the impossible-to-guess U.R.L. in order to download one.

But anyone who wants to make a file widely available simply publishes the U.R.L. and a description somewhere online, like a blog or a discussion forum, and Google and other search engines notice. No passwords protect the files.

“As far as we can tell, RapidShare is the largest host site of pirated material,” Mr. McCoyd said. “Some publishers are saying half of all infringements are linked to it.”

When I asked Katharina Scheid, a spokeswoman for RapidShare, if the company had a general sense of what kinds of material were most often placed on its servers — music? videos? other kinds of content? — she said she could not say because “for us, everything is just a file, no matter what.”

At my request, Attributor, a company based in Redwood City, Calif., that offers publishers antipiracy services, did a search last week to see how many e-book copies of “The Lost Symbol” were available free on the Web. After verifying that each file claiming to be the book actually was, Attributor reported that 166 copies of the e-book were available on 11 sites. RapidShare accounted for 102.

Ms. Scheid said her company complied with publishers’ take-down requests. But the request must refer to a particular file and use the specific U.R.L.; it’s left to the publishers to find all instances of a given book title on RapidShare’s servers. (I can report that RapidShare acted promptly in September when my publisher, Simon & Schuster, asked it to remove an audiobook version of one of my own books and provided the U.R.L. for the one file.) According to Ms. Scheid, the company gets requests to remove about 1 to 2 percent of the files that are uploaded daily.

To protect users’ privacy, however, she said RapidShare does not attempt to block the uploading of infringing material in the first place: “We don’t do content filtering; we don’t look into uploaded files.” Once a file is removed, the company tries to keep perfectly identical files from being uploaded again, but she listed various ways that determined users can alter the files just enough to effectively circumvent these measures. (My book reappeared on RapidShare a few days after it was taken down.) Hotfile and Megaupload did not respond to requests for comment.

RapidShare and fellow online storage services say that their services help users share large files easily or store personal data without having to carry around a memory stick. On the F.A.Q.’s page of its Web site, Megaupload depicts its customers as the most ordinary of citizens: “Students, professional business people, moms, dads, doctors, plumbers, insurance salesmen, mortgage brokers, you name it.”

Publishers and authors are about the only groups that go unmentioned. Ms. Scheid, of RapidShare, has advice for them if they are unhappy that her company’s users are distributing e-books without paying the copyright holders: Learn from the band Nine Inch Nails. It marketed itself “by giving away most of their content for free.”

I will forward the suggestion along, as soon as authors can pack arenas full and pirated e-books can serve as concert fliers.

Pogue’s Posts Blog – NYTimes.com

This morning, hundreds of Amazon Kindle owners awoke to discover that books by a certain famous author had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for—thought they owned.
1984A screen shot from Amazon.com The MobileReference edition of the novel, “Nineteen Eighty-four,” by George Orwell that was deleted from Kindle e-book readers by Amazon.com.

But no, apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by this author from people’s Kindles and credited their accounts for the price.

This is ugly for all kinds of reasons. Amazon says that this sort of thing is “rare,” but that it can happen at all is unsettling; we’ve been taught to believe that e-books are, you know, just like books, only better. Already, we’ve learned that they’re not really like books, in that once we’re finished reading them, we can’t resell or even donate them. But now we learn that all sales may not even be final.

As one of my readers noted, it’s like Barnes & Noble sneaking into our homes in the middle of the night, taking some books that we’ve been reading off our nightstands, and leaving us a check on the coffee table.

You want to know the best part? The juicy, plump, dripping irony?

The author who was the victim of this Big Brotherish plot was none other than George Orwell. And the books were “1984” and “Animal Farm.”

Scary.

NYTimes.com

Since 2004, Google has been working with university and research libraries to create digital scans of their collections. Of the approximately seven million books that Google has already scanned, four million to five million are out of print.

Google now makes the content of those books available in its book search service but shows only snippets of text, unless it has permission from the copyright holder to show more.

Under the agreement, Google will now show up to 20 percent of the text at no charge to users. It will also make the entire book available online for a fee. Universities, libraries and other organizations will be able to buy subscriptions that make entire collections of those books available to their visitors.

TechCrunch

Microsoft is shutting down its book digitization initiative, which launched in 2006, the company said in an email today (full text is below). The publisher site is already down, the books site itself will be shut next week, and Microsoft posted a blog post on it here.

The company has digitized 750,000 books and indexed 80 million journal articles to date. Google’s competing product, Book Search, is adding 3,000 books per day to their index, although they have not disclosed the total number of books scanned.

The New York Times had a good overview of the book digitization process in an article last year. There are also a few examples of some funny stuff getting into the scans.

Threat Level from Wired.com

University of Florida professor Michael Moulton thinks copyright law protects the lectures he gives to his students, and he’s headed to court to prove it.

Moulton and his e-textbook publisher are suing Thomas Bean, who runs a company that repackages and sells student notes, arguing that the business is illegal since notes taken during college lectures violate the professor’s copyright.

Faulkner Press filed suit in a Florida court Tuesday against the the owner of Einstein’s Notes, which sells “study kits” for classes, including Professor Michael Moulton’s course on “Wildlife Issues in the New Millennium.”

Those notes are illegal, Faulkner and Moulton contend, since they are derivative works of the professor’s copyrighted lectures.

If successful, the suit (.pdf) could put an end to a lucrative, but ethically murky businesses that have grown up around large universities to profit from students who don’t always want to go to the classes they are paying for.

Official Google Blog

Here at Google Book Search we love books. To share this love of books (and the tremendous amount of information we’ve accumulated about them), today we’ve released a new API that lets you link easily to any of our books. Web developers can use the Books Viewability API to quickly find out a book’s viewability on Google Book Search and, in an automated fashion, embed a link to that book in Google Book Search on their own sites.

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[origo] 

Néhány napja levetette a Kossuth kiadó Rejtő Jenő hangoskönyvetit a Magyar Elektronikus Könyvtár (MEK) polcairól – december végén azonban visszakerülhetnek József Attila művei, mert megszűnik a szerzői jogvédettség. Helycserék a virtuális világban.

Whitechapel

I used to download lots of scans, but now I’m going through a period of mild moralizing. Now I’ll only download something if it’s woefully out of print (Zenith, Moore’s Miracle Man, Flex Mentallo), or if I already own it and it’s hidden away in a box somewhere (Alan Moore’s Supreme).

I would love to have a legal digital comics download service. I’ve run out of shelf space, but I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t pay for a digital complete run of Jack Cole’s Plastic Man.

BLDGBLOG

A warehouse is being constructed to house the books that no one’s reading.

“The warehouse is extraordinary,” the Guardian writes, “because, unlike all those monstrous Tesco and Amazon depositories that litter the fringes of the motorways of the Midlands, it is being meticulously constructed to house things that no one wants.” Those “fringes” are outside London.
“When it is complete next year, this warehouse will be state-of-the-art, containing 262 linear kilometres of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen environment. It will house books, journals and magazines that many of us have forgotten about or have never heard of in the first place.”

[dive into mark]

When someone buys a book, they are also buying the right to resell that book, to loan it out, or to even give it away if they want. Everyone understands this.

hvg.hu – hírek szünet nélkül :

A francia rendőrség őrizetbe vett egy középiskolai diákot, mert a fiú lefordította az utolsó Harry Potter-kötet első három fejezetét angolról franciára, s feltette az internetre.

Az Aix-en-Provence-ban élő 16 esztendős diák a fordítással és a netes közzététellel nem kívánt anyagi haszonra szert tenni, ennek ellenére lehet, hogy vádat emelnek ellene szerzői jogok megsértése miatt.

A fiút hétfőn vették őrizetbe, de kedden már elengedték. A honlapot, amelyre feltette a szöveget, lezárták. A Harry Potter és a halálos szentek című befejező kötet hivatalos francia fordítása októberben lát napvilágot, a fordító az eredeti mű hivatalos megjelenése, azaz két hete dolgozik az átültetésen.

A Harry Potter-sorozat befejező része a világ leggyorsabban fogyó könyve: a megjelenést követő első 24 óra alatt 11 millió példányban kelt el. A teljes sorozat hét kötete több mint 325 millió példányban kelt el és mintegy 64 nyelven jelent meg világszerte.

hvg.hu – hírek szünet nélkül :

A francia rendőrség őrizetbe vett egy középiskolai diákot, mert a fiú lefordította az utolsó Harry Potter-kötet első három fejezetét angolról franciára, s feltette az internetre.

Az Aix-en-Provence-ban élő 16 esztendős diák a fordítással és a netes közzététellel nem kívánt anyagi haszonra szert tenni, ennek ellenére lehet, hogy vádat emelnek ellene szerzői jogok megsértése miatt.

A fiút hétfőn vették őrizetbe, de kedden már elengedték. A honlapot, amelyre feltette a szöveget, lezárták. A Harry Potter és a halálos szentek című befejező kötet hivatalos francia fordítása októberben lát napvilágot, a fordító az eredeti mű hivatalos megjelenése, azaz két hete dolgozik az átültetésen.

A Harry Potter-sorozat befejező része a világ leggyorsabban fogyó könyve: a megjelenést követő első 24 óra alatt 11 millió példányban kelt el. A teljes sorozat hét kötete több mint 325 millió példányban kelt el és mintegy 64 nyelven jelent meg világszerte.

The official Hungarian translation of the last HP book is due in February 2008, but fans can’t wait: they started to publish the translated parts (as they proceed) online.

The internet has killed the release windows, and now it raises the question: can legitimate publishers afford to wait with the translations, or they need to create an international secure infrastructure of translators, who are able to produce the localized version by the time of the release of the originals?

(note: the chinese fan-tran is available in full)

Index – Neten az új Harry Potter magyar kalózfordítása

Már magyarul is hozzáférhető az interneten a Harry Potter napról-napra bővülő kalózfordítása. Sőt a kalózfordítás kalózfordítása is. Ezernyi topic született már a témában, szavazni is lehet, hogy melyik a jobb. A hivatalos Harry Potter jövőre jelenik meg magyarul.

Funny, I linked to the Techcruch story on the new HP book two days ago and through the trackback link thousands of visitors have arrived to Warsystems. Welcome. Now Techcruch has received a notice and takedown letter from the lawyers of the US HP publisher to stop distributing any copyrighted material (I guess that would be the photo of the title page they run along the article, and the link to the link from where the book can be acquired). This is either a dumb PR move as some suggest, or these guys simply don’t get it.  The revolt around the leaked HD-DVD key was a lesson never learned (and be assured, it will never be forgotten either). Dumb. As I write this, in Cambridge, MA, thousands of kids are running around yelling abracadabra and waving wands, and queuing in front of bookstores to be the first to get the official copies in the morning, and they do not have the slightest idea that they are nothing more than a sad-to-see victims and human billboards of a cold-as-the-sound-of-the-cash-register marketing blitz to publicize this franchise, which in my opinion will eventually be a never ending story, just like the James Bond franchise.

I wonder whether these lawyers will bother busy beeing after the book turns out to be the biggest grossing book release in history?

Techcruch

I, the undersigned, certify under penalty of perjury that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am authorized to act on behalf of J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books and owner of copyright rights therein, and Scholastic Inc., exclusive U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, including without limitation the cover and all other art incorporated therein (collectively, the “IP Owner”). I have a good faith belief that the materials identified below are not authorized by the IP Owner, its agent, or the law and therefore infringe the IP Owner’s rights according to state and federal law. Please act expeditiously to remove or disable access to the material or items claimed to be infringing.

 Компьютерра-Онлайн– Kompyuterra-Onlayn

Writer Sergei Kuznetsov has published an open letter about the scandal over the web.
Recall that in early April, a company KM Zone “, which reportedly has the exclusive right to publish books on the Internet hundreds of authors, filed suit against several libraries, including the famous” Library collection. “
The total claims amount to half a million dollars.
“All my life stood for freedom and the free distribution of texts on the Internet. I defended this principle when he was a journalist, and continue to defend, as I have already got three of the book.
I think that any novel must sooner or later be available on the Web, just like a book becomes available in the library.
I believe that presenting the text books on the Internet is not a “publication” in the legal sense (and the court case against Sorokin Chernov, was in my view).
I am convinced that a book in the library collection, and other such meetings are only for the benefit of writers (and many writers from Victor Pelevin to Boris Strugatskogo – this share my position).
I am sure that one reader, who read the book on-screen or in print, are those few who will go and buy it, read the first few chapters.
I know quite a few examples of commercially successful books, the texts of which are in the public domain.
Suffice it to mention Boris Akunina : Fandorine of all novels are in the Library collection, although they occupy the first place in the ratings, and even sales of conventional online shopping.
I am proud that collections in the Russian Internet are disproportionately similar foreign online libraries.
I am pleased that as another proof that Russia and in the electronic age is literary, book country.
I am pleased to think that the tradition of the Soviet samizdat still alive.
I said it when he was a journalist and still say this now : The writer is not the enemy.
It is the principle of free access to books on the Web remains inviolate.
Perhaps if my novel was something on the Internet a few days after the paper, I would like to ask the owner of the site at the time pripryatat it, but in any case, I would not accept this man as a “pirate”, but as a fan, which I can only be grateful for the publicity of I wrote.
All of this, of course, applies only to be free of charge : I know that someone is taking money for online access to my books, I have tried to stop this.
That is why I was so unhappy history with KM.ru.
As we know, this site will not only raise money for access, but drove on the library collection, which published “Amphora” prohibited publication of his books online.
Apparently as a banned all-KM.ru, “library collection” to anyone.
I submitted that the authors’ Amfory “that have existed at the time to deploy their books on the Web, will be forced to accept the fact that law-abiding Moshkov removes them from the text of a library.
Fortunately, followed by the explanation that “Amphora” would not prevent the authors to place their text, just the mere publication states that it does not transfer these rights.
As for me, personally, signing their copyright treaties, I am always careful not to transfer the rights to publish in computer networks.
“Amphora” has been in this situation at an altitude : Other publishers may in fact be derived from the digital library books.
I know that many writers share my views on copyright in the Internet.
Perhaps they have already transferred their rights to electronic publication of its publishers.
Treaty hindsight is not correct, but the new books and new contracts.
Therefore, I appeal to my colleagues who believe in the free flow of information on the Internet, to the dozens of writers who have already agreed Maxim Moshkovu to publish his books.
Friends and colleagues!
Make publishers the folly of bans on the publication of books on the Web!
Failing this, still do not convey the right to publish on the Internet, transfer to computer networks, the right of communication to the public by wire, and so on.
These rights are not needed and publishers, they are still unable to reap profits from them.
At the time, we voluntarily gave Maxim Moshkovu right to publish our books on the Web, do we get them back to the first desire of our publishers?
If you support the idea of free flow of information on the Internet, to support its case.
This win, you win your reader will win Russian literature. “

(Traslated from Russian by Google)

TP

“Gerichtsverfahren gegen die Bibliothek Moschkow wegen systematischer Verletzung des Gesetzes über das Autorenrecht” – so steht es im anti-utopischen Cyberpunk-Roman [extern] “Das Spinnennetz” von Aleksei Andrejew aus dem Jahr 1998. Die Prophezeiung des bekennenden Futurologen ist nun Wirklichkeit geworden.

Techcrunch


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, the latest and last of the wildly popular Harry Potter books that is due to go on sale this weekend, has hit BitTorrent. Various torrents of the novel consist of photographed pages (as above) with reading quality that isn’t perfect, but for desperate fans readable enough. Whilst the validity of the hype surrounding Harry Potter may be subject to debate, what the leaking of the book does demonstrate is that the days of the mainstream media and publishers strictly controlling the dissemination of information has well and truly past; simply where there is a fan with a will, there is a way.

For educational purposes only, the Harry Potter book can be found by searching The Pirate Bay.

Chicago Tribune

Jelinek, 60, has been posting chapters of the new book, “Neid” (German for “Envy”), as she writes them. The first two chapters of the work she describes as a “mixture of blog and prose” are already available on her site, www.elfriedejelinek.com, and there are more to come.

“It’s a wonderfully democratic method, publishing a text on the Internet,” Jelinek told the AP.

eKantipur.com – Nepal’s No.1 News Portal

KATHMANDU, July 5 – Surprised that you can buy expensive foreign books at cheap prices in Nepal?

It’s not that foreign publishing houses reprint cheaper editions for Nepal. The books are dirt cheap, thanks to a growing book piracy industry in Nepal – at least one industry seems to be booming amidst the economic slump.

Leading book distributors in Kathmandu say pirated books account for up to 30 percent of space in most bookstores here. And the price of the pirated version is often less than half the original price.

Take for instance, Charles Van Doren’s A History of Knowledge, published by Ballentine Books, New York. The original price of the book is USD$ 14, but you can buy its pirated version for around Rs 300. At least two pirated versions of this book are available in the market. Pirated versions of Samuel P Huntington’s Clash of Civilizations, published by Penguin India, is so widely available in Nepal that it has rendered the original version of the book a rare commodity in Kathmandu.

The most pirated books are fast-moving college textbooks and popular novels for mass consumption.

Sophie’s World, a novel by Jostin Gardner, is a case in point. The book, published by Berkely Books, New York, costs USD$ 7.99, but you can buy the pirated version for half the original price. At least four pirated versions of the novel are available in the market.

Madhav Maharjan, owner of Kathmandu’s leading book store, Mandala Book Point, concedes that pirated books are widely available in the market and warns of their long term damage. “Students and readers may get books at cheaper prices, but the notoriety it will earn the country is too costly.”

He says foreign publishers can make available books at cheaper prices if the university here were to make a formal request in this regard.

According to a bookseller at Kirtipur, university reference books on management, sociology, economics and English are among the most pirated. Cambridge’s Meaning into Words, Reading Between the Lines, Intermediate English Grammar; Longman’s Plays in One Act and Literary Appreciation; and Oxford’s Elements of Literature are some college books that have been pirated.

When asked why he sells pirated books, he quipped, “Why should I fear to sell such books if others are doing it without any qualms?” He argued that it was difficult to survive in the market without selling such books.

According to him, piracy racketeers eye any book that can sell over 500 copies. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology and Colin’s Dictionary of Sociology have been illegally reproduced. So is the case with International English Language Testing System (IELTS) books.

Recently, boarding school books too have fallen prey to piracy. For example, Learning to Communicate, by Oxford University Press, and Essentials of English Grammar and Composition, by Sultan Chand Publication, have been bootlegged.

Book piracy has been rendered easy by new technologies. To reprint a book illegally, all that one needs is two copies of the original, a flatbed scanner, a computer and an offset press. With these facilities, any book can be reproduced in multiple copies.

The adoption of modern technology in piracy also makes it difficult for people to identify the pirated book from the original one.
Some book sellers in Kathmandu are also taking advantage of this and are selling bootleg versions as original books.

“If you are not aware that the book you are buying is a pirated one, they may even charge you full price,” says a bookseller at Bhoatahiti in the capital, requesting anonymity.

Piracy in Nepal has became such a serious issue that Cambridge University Press even published a notice a few months ago in leading national dailies cautioning the buyers against the pirated books.

Kiran Shakya, official at Nepal Copyright Registrar’s Office, says that there is a racket of publishers actively involved in the illegal printing of books.

“Most foreign books are priced beyond the reach of most Nepali students, and this has encouraged book piracy in Nepal,” he argues.

Shakya is of the opinion that if foreign book publishers strike a deal with Nepali publication houses, books could be produced at a cheaper price, thereby curbing the scale of bootlegged copies.

Rajan Sigdel, a student at TU, says that students like him, who are from modest family background, have been able to study Masters in English only due to cheap pirated books.

He has a point. For instance, The Bradford Introduction to Drama and Critical Theory Since Plato, both prescribed books, cost USD$ 83 and USD$ 100 respectively.

Lawrence Lessig

Engadget reports that “the head honcho of Macmillan Publishers” lifted a couple Google laptops at a recent BookExpo America, and then when he returned them, retorted “hope you enjoyed a taste of your own medicine,” and “there wasn’t a sign by the computers informing him not to steal them.”

So this betrays an astonishing level of ignorance, even for a “head honcho.”

Remember (and I did a 30 minute preso here to explain it) Google Books proposed to scan 18,000,000 books. Of those, 16% were in the public domain, and 9% were in copyright, and in print. That means, 75% of the books Google would scan are out of print but presumptively under copyright.

The publishers and Google already have deals for the 9%. And being in the public domain, no one needs a deal for the 16%. So the only thing the publishers might be complaining about is the 75% which are out of print and presumptively under copyright.

With respect to these, Google intends to index the books, and make them searchable. If a hit comes through the search engine, Google offers snippets of the text relevant to the search. The page includes links to libraries where the book might be borrowed; it includes links to book stores where the book might be purchased. And, I take it, if the “publishers” were to choose to publish the book again, it would also include a link to that publisher.

Finally, any author who wants to be removed from this index can be removed. As with Google on the net, anyone can opt out.

So vis-a-viz a computer sitting at a demonstration booth at a conference, is the “head honcho’s” action like Google’s?

O’Reilly Radar >

As part of our continued effort to understand the impact on book sales of the availability of free downloads, I wanted to share some data on downloads versus sales of the book Asterisk: The Future of Telephony, by Leif Madsen, Jared Smith, and Jim Van Meggelen, which was released for free download under a Creative Commons license.

Jeremy McNamara of nufone.net, which operates one of the mirrors, provided us with download stats, which we were then able to compare with book sales. Our goal of course, is to help publishers understand whether free downloads help or hurt sales. The quick answer from this experiment is that we saw no definitive correlation, but there is little sign that the free downloads hurt sales. More than 180,000 copies were downloaded from Jeremy’s mirror (which is one of five!), yet the book has still been quite successful, selling almost 19,000 copies in a year and a half. This is quite good for a technical book these days — the book comes in at #23 on our lifetime-to-date sales list for the “class of 2005” (books published in 2005) despite being released at the end of September. You might argue that the book would have done even better without the downloads, especially given the success of asterisk and the importance of VoIP. But it’s also the case that the book is far and away the bestseller in the category, far outperforming books on the same subject from other publishers.

Meanwhile, we saw a huge spike in downloads starting at the beginning of this year, but didn’t see a corresponding drop in print book sales, other than the continued slow erosion that’s typical of books in print (especially one that’s heading towards a second edition.) However, we did see the book’s first fall from grace, dropping from an average run rate of about a thousand copies a month to about six hundred back in March 2006 coming at about the same time that we start showing the free downloads, but we’re not sure whether or not that is just because we don’t have earlier download data — we believe that the book was available online sooner after publication even though Jeremy didn’t start his mirror till March. (Next time we do a book available for free download, we’ll be careful to collect accurate data from the start of the project.)

In any case, this kind of sales drop is not completely inconsistent with the sales pattern from many other books. And for authors who want to reach the widest audience, it’s certainly possible that even if free downloads did shave a percentage from sales, the tradeoff is worth it (see Piracy is Progressive Taxation)

THE BEAT » Blog Archive » Vado on Eyemelt — update

NRAMA: Since eyemelt.com was launched, a major comics torrent site has stopped trafficking in SLG comics. Did you have any conversations with them to do this?

DV: No, they did that on their own. That site has always maintained that they would stop making files available from their site when publishers started making their content available for download at an affordable price.

Off the shelf | News | Guardian Unlimited Books

It’s been suggested that 85% of published information is not available online. So where is it?

The Library of Congress in Washington DC is the largest library in the world with about 29m books among its 130m items, while the British Library has about 13m catalogued books.

In May 2006, the New York Times estimated that at least 32m books have been published since the days of Sumerian clay tablets. Another estimate has suggested that the human race publishes a book every 30 seconds

In 1450, new titles were published at a rate of 100 per year. In 1950, that figure had grown to 250,000. By the millennium, the number published exceeded a million.

It’s estimated that of all the books ever published, more than 95% are out of print

GOOGLE’S MOON SHOT

by JEFFREY TOOBIN
The quest for the universal library.
Issue of 2007-02-05
Posted 2007-01-29

Every weekday, a truck pulls up to the Cecil H. Green Library, on the campus
of Stanford University, and collects at least a thousand books, which
are taken to an undisclosed location and scanned, page by page, into an
enormous database being created by Google. The company is also
retrieving books from libraries at several other leading universities,
including Harvard and Oxford, as well as the New York Public Library.
At the University of Michigan, Google’s original partner in Google Book
Search, tens of thousands of books are processed each week on the
company’s custom-made scanning equipment.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Splintered Mind: Still More Data on the Theft of Ethics Books

Last month, I noted that ethics books are more likely to be stolen than non-ethics books in philosophy (looking at a large sample of recent ethics and non-ethics books from leading academic libraries). Missing books as a percentage of those off shelf were 8.7% for ethics, 6.9% for non-ethics, for an odds ratio of 1.25 to 1. However, I noted three concerns about these data that required further analysis. I’ve now done the further analysis.

Az Internet Archívum főhadiszállása SF Presido kerületében, egy volt katonai területből átalakított üdülő-övezetben, a volt postamester házikójában  található. Péntekenként déltől nyitott ebédet tartanak, azaz bárki odamehet és haverkodhat az archívumi dolgozókkal. Ezen a héten a nyugati part egyik legnagyobb kábítószer témájú magánkönyvtár tulajdonosa is megjelent, hogy ha lehet, szívesen digitalizáltatná, és közzétenni a negyven évnyi drog-aktivista múlt minden közzétehető (értsd: szerzői joggal már nem védett) hordalékát. Néhány gyöngyszem, ami a táskájában rejlett: Mordechai Cooke drogügyi klasszikusának, a The Seven Sisters of Sleep-nek első, dedikált kiadása, egy szintén első kiadás Harper, Olive ponyvaregényéből, a The opium smugglers of ‘Frisco, or, The crimes of a beautiful opium fiend, és néhány hasonló fajsúlyú ritkaság.

Az Internet Archívum masszív erőforrásokat fordít arra, hogy digitalizálni tudjon speciális gyűjteményeket, magánkönyvtárakat. Mind a Google mind a Microsoft nekilátott a nagy, egyetemi könyvtárak szkennelésének, úgyhogy a digitalizálási nyomás Brewster Kahle non-profit alapítványán némileg kisebb, de a helyzet nem feltétlenül vált egyszerűbbé. A számtalan szakgyűjtemény és magánkönyvtár digitalizálása mellett nem tettek le arról, hogy olyan könyveket is digitalizáljanak, amikkel a két nagy is foglalkozik. Az ok egyszerű: a nyílt, ingyenes, szabad hozzáférést biztosító IA nem bízik a két nagyban. Nem tudni mi lesz, ha bármelyikük megszűnik, nem tudni, hogy mikor, milyen megfontolások mentén teszik fizetőssé, vagy technikailag nehezen hozzáférhetővé a public domainban levő könyveket a jövőben, és így tovább.

Ezért aztán két helyszínen ( az UC Berkeley egyetemi könyvtárának raktárában és San Francisco belvárosában) kétszer 8 órás műszakokban kétszer két tucat ember foglalkozik a folyamatosan érkező könyvek digitalizálásával. Egy-egy műszakban a saját maguk által fejlesztett, két, tükörreflexes Canon fényképezőgépet használó rendszeren kb. 800 könyvvel végeznek.

A következő lépés az lesz, hogy ezeket a digitalizáló állomásokat kiteszik közterekbe: múzeumokba, könyvtárakba, hogy bárki, akár egy-egy könyvet is bedigitalizálhasson, megkaphasson dvd-n.

Ongoing crisis in academic-journal pricing is the focus of recent colloquium:

From 1986 to 2003, the unit cost of serials purchased by academic research libraries rose by 215 percent compared with a 68 percent rise in the consumer price index over the same time period, said Doug Brutlag, professor of biochemistry and current chairman of the Academic Council’s Committee on Libraries.

There is a big discrepancy between the prices charged by for-profit and nonprofit journals, reported Ted Bergstrom, professor of economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara, in a talk titled “The Changing Economics of Scholarly Journals.” Bergstrom presented data comparing journal costs in 2004 that showed that the price-per-page of for-profit journals was about three times the average price-per-page of nonprofit journals.

Google Book Search is a plagiarist’s nightmare. – By Paul Collins – Slate Magazine:

But wait, you might ask, don’t people accidentally repeat each other’s sentences all the time? It seems to me that this should not be unusual. Yet try plugging that last sentence word by word into Google Book Search, and watch what happens.
It: Rejected—too many hits to count
It seems: 11,160,000 matches
It seems to: 3,050,000
It seems to me: 1,580,000
It seems to me that: 844,000
It seems to me that this: 29,700
It seems to me that this should: 237
It seems to me that this should not: 20
It seems to me that this should not be: 9
It seems to me that this should not be unusual: 0

It seems to me that this should not be unusual is itself … unusual.

AMAZON NOIR ~ The Big Book Crime:

Amazon Noir – The Big Book Crime – Out of court settlement UBERMORGEN.COM, PAOLO CIRIO, ALESSANDRO LUDOVICO The Bad Guys (The Amazon Noir Crew: Cirio, Lizvlx, Ludovico, Bernhard) stole copyrighted books from Amazon by using sophisticated robot-perversion technology coded by supervillain Paolo Cirio. A subliminal media fight and a covert legal dispute escalated into an online showdown withthe heist of over 3000 books at the center of the story. Lizvlx from UBERMORGEN.COM had daily shoot outs with the global mass- media,Cirio continuousely pushed the boundaries of copyright (books are just pixels on a screen or just ink on paper), Ludovico and Bernhard resisted kickback- bribes from powerful Amazon.com until they finally gave in and sold the technology for an undisclosed sum to Amazon. Betrayal, blasphemy and pessimism finally split the gang of bad guys. The good guys (Amazon.com) won the showdown and drove off into the blistering sun with the beautiful femme fatale, the seductive and erotic massmedia.

Professors get ‘F’ in copyright protection knowledge:

Professors are making material available free rather than requiring students to buy $100 textbooks. While faculty members from Harvard University to the University of Pennsylvania complain of a restricted flow of ideas, publishers say they must protect $3.35 billion in annual U.S. college textbook sales. “We can’t compete with free,” says Allan Adler, vice president for legal and governmental affairs with the Washington-based publishers group, whose members include McGraw-Hill Cos. and Pearson Plc.

Review – Technology – New York Times:

Envisional, a company based in Britain that tracks Internet piracy, estimates that 25,000 to 30,000 pirated titles are available on the Web. The vast majority are English-language titles, although pirated German, Spanish and French books are also plentiful.

CONTEXT – This Week in Arts and Ideas from The Moscow Times:

For the past decade, Maxim Moshkov’s online archive Lib.ru has been the main literary resource for Russian Internet users. Free of charge and furnished mostly by readers’ contributions, its contents act as a gauge of literary popularity. According to Lib.ru’s honor system, authors maintain the right to protest against online publication and have their books withdrawn.

http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/04/01/moshkowlost.shtml

A Moscow court has found Maxim Moshkov, owner of the biggest and most popular Russian on-line library, lib.ru, guilty of breaching copyright law.

The court ordered Moshkov to pay a 3,000-ruble ($107.7) fine to the plaintiff, writer Eduard Gevorkyan. The writer had initially wanted 1.5 million rubles (about $54,000) from the library owner. The court significantly decreased the fine after Moshkov explained he gains no profit from his library.

It was the only lawsuit brought against Moshkov that has ended in success for the plaintiff. Other writers have been unable to even start their cases. However, Gevorkyan had earlier won cases against two other libraries, edu-all.ru and aldebaran.ru, that were obliged to pay 50,000 rubles each. The writer’s interests were presented by the company KM-online.

Moshkov told the court that all the texts in his library were taken from the Internet or sent by readers. If the author disagrees with the release of his texts, Moshkov removes them. However, over 120 writers have agreed to publish their work on lib.ru. The library owner said he wrote letters to Gevorkyan asking if he would permit the publication of his texts but did not receive permission.

Moshkov’s lawyers intend to appeal the court decision.

Moshkov created his library in 1994. Every day over 20,000 people visit lib.ru.

http://www.teleread.org/blog/?p=4053

How often do you receive new texts?

On average, 10-20 texts per day.

How much traffic does your site get per day?

40,000 readers a day

Do you know where people are visiting your site from?

The audience is proportional to the diaspora of Russian-speaking internet users worldwide:
Moscow- 20%
Petersburg- 5%
All of Russia together- 40%
Former republics of the USSR- 20%
USA + Israel + Germany- 15%

Do you know anything about the people who send you texts?

A few thousand people have sent me books. They live all over the world, almost from every country. Most are Russians, but there’s been Americans, Bulgarians, Polish, Portuguese, Arabs, etc.

http://www.teleread.org/blog/?p=4005

Maksim Moshkow’s Library (also known as lib.ru), which contains approximately 40,000 e-books, both public domain and copyrighted.

On the site it says that the library has the support of the Federal Agency of Printing and Mass Communication. What sort of support did they provide, and how did you get it?

In the 10th year of the library [2004] the Federal Agency of Printing and Mass Communication decided to offer me help and set aside a $35,000 grant for the development of the library. In September 2005, I received that money, and now I’m spending it on modernizing the technical equipment for the site. I’m upgrading the servers, and getting OCR done on electronic texts I’d like to have in the library.

http://www.teleread.org/blog/?p=4039

What about copyright? Do Russian writers mind that their books are on your site?

Book circulation in Russia is steadily declining every year, and only two or three hundred authors are making money off publications. For a lot of other authors, the Internet is becoming the only way to reach readers and, for that matter, to advertise their books and attract the interest of publishers. So the majority of Russian authors have neutral or positive feelings about Internet publishing, and many of them put their books on-line themselves.

With the growth of Internet usage, more and more authors have started to send their books to me for the library, and I had to organize a special service that would automatically put up those books. Now I have servers for the library where authors register, create their section of the library, put up their work, and communicate with readers.

There’s already about 300 of these self-directed sections in the library. I had to make a separate server for beginning, still-unpublished authors — there’s about 19,000 of those sections and around 200,000 works.

Has an author ever asked you to remove their books? What did you do?

It’s happened. Since the library was created, around 20 people have gotten in touch, telling me to delete their books from the library. I deleted them, naturally. After all, this is something the author should decide — whether or not he wants to be read on the Internet or not.

FT.com / Technology – Microsoft in digital book deal:

Microsoft on Tuesday took another step into Google’s terrain by announcing a deal with a digital scanning company to produce digital books.

Kirtas Technologies, which makes high-speed scanners and the software to edit and organise books, will scan works for Microsoft’s Live Book Search Web-based application. The books will become available early next year.

Microsoft on Tuesday announced a new partnership to scan books from Cornell University’s library. Microsoft has already agreed partnerships with the British Library and libraries at the University of California and the University of Toronto.

In Era of Blockbuster Books, One Publisher Rolls the Dice – WSJ.com:

Mr. Sterling says he agrees that book publishing, for all its planning, remains a roll of the dice. “I still marvel that despite everything we do, we just don’t know,” he says. “It’s the wonderful thing and the agonizing thing about the business.” On Sept. 20, when the bad news about Mr. Rubenfeld’s book was coming over the transom, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gave a speech to the United Nations. He held up a copy of Noam Chomsky’s “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance” and praised the book, which shot up the Amazon best-seller list, prompting the printing of an additional 50,000 copies to meet demand. Mr. Chomsky’s publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

and some replies to the article
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008112.html

I’ve been hearing the “publishing is becoming a winner-take-all sweepstakes” riff since I started working in the industry. It’s not true, and it’s not becoming true. I suspect it’s generated by lazy news departments that can’t be bothered to take notice of books that aren’t blockbusters, and from this conclude that blockbusters are all that matters in publishing.

Bestsellers aren’t the whole of publishing. Every year, we publish a great many okaysellers. You guys buy them because they look interesting, or because a friend has recommended them, or because you liked another book by that author. Marketing push only goes so far.

Wired News: Indie Bookstores Tackle Internet:

Adam Brent knew his 11-year-run selling bestsellers and new releases was over when mail carriers started walking into his building to deliver books from Amazon to the tenants upstairs.

Gary Kleiman, who owns BookBeat in the northern California community of Fairfax, decided the way to do it was to get rid of the clutter and make his store a gathering place.

“We had 10,000 or 13,000 books in the store,” said Kleiman. “Now we have maybe 1,500.” Last fall, Kleiman gave all but a handful of his used books to charity. Then he tore down shelves and in their place put tables and chairs and a small stage for live performances. He started offering free wireless internet access. And to help convince people to take advantage of it all he got a beer and wine license.

As for the books, most of the ones left are new and they’re confined to the perimeter walls. While he’s selling about the same number of books as he used to, new books are selling better. And his store has a lot more customers — eating, drinking and listening to music — than he did before. About 60 percent of the store’s profits come from the cafe.

Jim Huang, who opened The Mystery Company in Carmel, Indiana, said a key to the store’s success since it opened about 3 1/2 years ago was recognizing that when it comes to mystery books, customers don’t just want a place to buy them, they want a place to talk about them.

“We do everything we can think of to get readers to talk,” said Huang, whose store has discussion groups, readings by authors and other events.

In Menlo Park, California, community members also came forward with funding when Kepler’s Books closed in August of 2005. Kepler’s reopened that October, thanks to more than $500,000 from 24 investors, and soon created a membership program.

About 2,000 people joined, pumping another $196,000 into the business, said Clark Kepler, whose father founded the store in 1955.

Encouraged as they are by some success stories around the country, bookstore owners note that the brutal business has claimed some of the nation’s most famous independent book stores, including Cody’s Books on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California, and WordsWorth Books on Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Most recently, Coliseum Books, a famed New York bookstore, announced it was closing for the second time in its 30-year history — this time for good.

Inside Google Book Search:

So without further ado, here’s our list of most-viewed English language books supplied by our publisher partners for the week of September 17th through 23rd:

  • Diversity and Evolutionary Biology of Tropical Flowers
  • Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms
  • Measuring and Controlling Interest Rate and Credit Risk
  • Ultimate Healing: The Power of Compassion
  • The Holy Qur’an
  • Peterson’s Study Abroad 2006
  • Hegemony Or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance
  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage
  • Perrine’s Literature: Structure, Sound, and Sense
  • Build Your Own All-Terrain Robot
  • As books go online, publishers run for cover – Technology – International Herald Tribune:

    “We are facing all the same risks as the music industry,” said Olaf Ernst, worldwide director of e-books for Springer, a German scientific publisher. “But if our reaction is like theirs was, we will have problems.”

    De Kemp said that in time, new techniques for restricting access to copyrighted books – like dicing a single work into many PDF files and using digital watermarks – could solve this problem.

    while from its competitors google:

     has asked for a list of all the books available through their rivals’ online book projects now, and what books will be added to their digital stacks through 2010.

    It also wants to see a showing of a legal right to scan each book, and the digital rights management process used to secure the book from copyright abuses.
    Google also wants to see documents about any disputes the companies have had with The Authors Guild with respect to their book projects.

    From Amazon.com, Google also wants to know the effect its book project has on Amazon’s book sales. (MarketWatch)

    the whole lawsuuit of authors against googloe seems irrelevant:

    “Google Book Search has helped us turn searchers into consumers,” said Colleen Scollans, the director of online sales for Oxford University Press.

    She declined to provide specific figures, but said that sales growth has been “significant”. Scollans estimated that 1 million customers have viewed 12,000 Oxford titles using the Google program.

    Specialty publisher Springer Science + Business reported sales growth of its backlist catalog using Google Book Search, with 99 percent of the 30,000 titles it has in the program getting viewed, including many published before 1992.

    “We suspect that Google really helps us sell more books,” said Kim Zwollo, Springer’s global director of special licensing, declining to provide specific figures because the company is privately owned.

    “Our experience has been that the revenue generated from Google has been pretty modest, whereas the Amazon program has generated more book sales,” Penguin Chief Executive John Makinson told Reuters at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

    Amazon.com’s search tool also allows users to scan the contents of books and browse sample pages. For Penguin’s books included in the U.S. “Search Inside” program, sales have increased by 7 percent.

    Historical warfare publisher Osprey is reaping the benefits of using both Google and Amazon to boost sales.

    “When we looked at the first six months of stats, we saw that 30 percent of Google Book Search clicks went directly to our site, while roughly 40 percent went to Amazon,” said William Shepherd, Osprey’s managing director.

    “Our sales through the Web are steadily increasing in proportion to our total sales, and we’re confident that Google Book Search will accelerate this growth.”

    Walter de Gruyter/Mouton-De Gruyter, a German publisher, said its encyclopaedia of fairy tales has been viewed 471 times since appearing in the program, with 44 percent of them clicking on the “buy this book” Google link.

    One of its many scientific titles, “Principles of Visual Anthropology”, has seen about one-quarter of the 1,206 views click on “buy this book”.

    Arty coffee-table book publisher teNeues said its online sales have doubled over the past year, attributable primarily to a fresh marketing campaign and inclusion in Google’s book search, Chief Executive Hendrik teNeues said.  (reuters)

    This goes back to my samling argument, that by providing pre-purchase sampling possibility to customers you can lower the entry barrier for buying as you lower risks associated with buying. But still, the data are pretty impressing…

    “The Politics of Intellectual Properties”
    A Special Issue of Cultural Studies
    Edited by Ted Striphas & Kembrew McLeod

    Download entire issue in one zipped file or download individual essays below:

    (1) Ted Striphas & Kembrew McLeod, “Introduction—Strategic Improprieties: Cultural Studies, the Everyday, and the Politics of Intellectual Properties
    (2) Adrian Johns, “Intellectual Property and the Nature of Science
    (3) McKenzie Wark, “Information Wants to be Free (But is Everywhere in Chains)
    (4) Andrew Herman, Rosemary J. Coombe, & Lewis Kaye, “Your Second Life? Goodwill and the Performativity of Intellectual Properties in On-Line Games
    (5) Steve Jones, “Reality© and Virtual Reality©: When Virtual and Real Worlds Collide
    (6) Jane Gaines, “Early Cinema, Heyday of Copying: The Too Many Copies of L’arroseur arose
    (7) Gilbert B. Rodman & Cheyanne Vanderdonckt, “Music for Nothing or, I Want My MP3: The Regulation and Recirculation of Affect
    (8) David Sanjek, “Ridiculing the ‘White Bread Original’: The Politics of Parody and Preservation of Greatness in Luther Campbell a.k.a. Luke Skyywalker et al. v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.
    (9) Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, “Out of Sight and Out of Mind: On the Cultural Hegemony of Intellectual Property (Critique)
    (10) Siva Vaidhyanathan, “Afterword—Critical Information Studies: A Bibliographic Manifesto
    (11) Patricia R. Zimmermann, “Just Say No: Negativland’s No Business

    These PDFs are reproduced with the permission of the Publisher. It has been published as a special thematic issue of Cultural Studies (Volume 20 Issues 2 and 3). Further details about Cultural Studies can be found at: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/09502386.asp.

    orphans.jpg

    O’Reilly Radar > Oops – Only 4% of Titles Are Being Commercially Exploited:

    on November 04, 2005 In a recent post, I made the assertion that 10-20% of titles published were still in print and being commercially exploited, with another 20% clearly in the public domain, leaving approximately 60% in what I called “the twilight zone” — with no clear rights. Farhad Manjoo of Salon, who is writing a followup story, emailed me for confirmation of those numbers, and in so doing, made me realize an error in my calculations. I had taken the number supplied by the OCLC, of 10.5 million unique titles in the five libraries cooperating with the Google Print Library Project, and applied to that the recent report by Nielsen Bookscan that 1.2 million unique titles sold at least one copy in 2004, and came up with the estimate of 12% I used in that prior post, which I generously expanded to 10-20% by assuming that books that didn’t sell even one copy might still be considered “active” by some publishers.

    The New York Times has a nice piece on the self publishing market:”The print-on-demand business is gradually moving toward the center of the marketplace. What began as a way for publishers to reduce their inventory and stop wasting paper is becoming a tool for anyone who needs a bound document. Short-run presses can turn out books economically in small quantities or singly, and new software simplifies the process of designing a book.”

    Kevin Kelly has a piece called Scan This Book, in which he envisions an electronic library which has all the books ever printed, scanned, digitized, cross referenced: “So what happens when all the books in the world become a single liquid fabric of interconnected words and ideas? Four things: First, works on the margins of popularity will find a small audience larger than the near-zero audience they usually have now. Far out in the “long tail” of the distribution curve — that extended place of low-to-no sales where most of the books in the world live — digital interlinking will lift the readership of almost any title, no matter how esoteric. Second, the universal library will deepen our grasp of history, as every original document in the course of civilization is scanned and cross-linked. Third, the universal library of all books will cultivate a new sense of authority. If you can truly incorporate all texts — past and present, multilingual — on a particular subject, then you can have a clearer sense of what we as a civilization, a species, do know and don’t know. The white spaces of our collective ignorance are highlighted, while the golden peaks of our knowledge are drawn with completeness. This degree of authority is only rarely achieved in scholarship today, but it will become routine.”

    This vision might be closer than we think even though I have concerns whether this might be turn out just nice like that. One fact in the article has stunned me:

    “Corporations and libraries around the world are now scanning about a million books per year. Amazon has digitized several hundred thousand contemporary books.[…] Superstar, an entrepreneurial company based in Beijing, has scanned every book from 900 university libraries in China. It has already digitized 1.3 million unique titles in Chinese, which it estimates is about half of all the books published in the Chinese language since 1949. It costs $30 to scan a book at Stanford but only $10 in China.”

    Just to put that in perspective. The state funded Hungarian book-scanning project scanned 700 hundred book in 7 years. yes that is one book in three days, for around a hunder dollars each. can we call that a digital divide?