06-22-2010 03:14 PM
I have to say that the limited copy feature many publishers put on their books is a good thing. I'm working on an MFA in creative writing and have several books in the works. Literature is a blood, sweat, and tears industry. Authors count on the sales of their books, as do the publishers. Free is good, but it doesn't pay the bills or tuition. A lot of time and effort goes into the creation of a book, just as it does any other product.
If an author is dead and gone, then yes I can understand their writings being available for free. Publishers are trying to protect their authors, as well as themselves with their limitations. Look at what happened with the music industry a couple years ago. When you rent a movie from Netflix, you are still paying for a service and the use of a protected product. The same goes for ebooks. You are paying for the time and effort it took to create a book.
06-22-2010 04:40 PM
lorabele wrote: If I PURCHASED the book, I should be able to do what I want with it. Period. The greed of these publishers is going to push people to do things they wouldn't ordinarily do, just like some music publishers have done.
Bingo. And that's the whole point, right there. I agree 100%. I have no problem with DRM when it's for a rental (Netflix for example - it's a wonderful system and I see no reason why rented movies/books should be DRM free). But the moment you say that I'm PURCHASING a book or movie, I reserve the right to watch/read it anyway I want to (as long as I don't make copies and give them to someone else). The publisher should go mind his own business after the sale. Can you imagine if you bought some clothes and representatives from Calvin Klein followed you around to make sure you used it "the right way"? Intrusive little buggers.
Yup, if I'm buying it, I expect to be able to do whatever I want with it. Yes, of course that means I plan on not infringing on copyright. But if I want to be able to move it another device, extract the raw text, push it through a text-to-speech program and have a robotic voice lull me to sleep I should be able to. Heck if I want to print it out on paper (DEAD TREES!) and roll around in the manuscript naked, that's ducky too.
All of these are perfectly legitimate, ethically sound things to do. I don't mind DRM on things like library books or rentals. They're limited time 'views' of the material and I'm fine with that. I don't buy thing with DRM on them because the buyer inevitably gets hosed when the keyservers or registration servers go down. See Walmart, Microsoft WMA music store, etc. for examples.
As a result I've bought multiple books from Baen, downloaded free books, converted Public Domain books to ePub. And never bought a thing from the Barnes and Noble store.
06-22-2010 07:21 PM
Just a side note if the JK Rowling ebook argument is an interesting article in Bookseller from 1 June of this year.
So tell me is she so interested in the tactile experience of reading or is she afraid of losing revenue from her books. Loved the books but this turn around makes me question my feelings on her credibility in the discussion.
06-22-2010 07:36 PM - edited 06-22-2010 07:36 PM
It's not as if her books weren't scanned in and OCR/hand typed en masse hours after release. I think it was something like 24 hours for the last book. So people who wanted an eBook couldn't *buy* the legitimate item and only had the option of copyright infringement.
Not that I did, I had the dead tree version in my hands within hours of release if I recall correctly. Heh.
06-22-2010 08:19 PM - edited 06-22-2010 08:34 PM
Look at what happened with the music industry a couple years ago.
Yes. Look at it. We started out with CDs and heavily DRMed mp3s and the industry was in a shambles (supposedly) due to piracy. Essentially, the music industry showed the same kind of idiotic knee-jerk response that the publishers are showing today. Today we have DRM-free mp3s sold by a plethora of companies like Amazon and iTunes and the industry is thriving. The old business model was obsolete, the new business model (after a lot of kicking and screaming) turned out to be DRM-free mp3 singles. Now, the quality of music is going up as well since bands can't rely on bundling up their crappy songs with the good ones and count on CD sales like they used to. Each song has to stand on its own merits now.
I have to say that the limited copy feature many publishers put on their books
iswould be a good thing if it actually worked.
FIxed that for you .
And no one (no one sane anyway) is saying that books should be free. All they're saying to publishers is - DRM hurts only the law-abiding book lover, the pirates are about as inconvenienced by it as a warning label on a physical book saying "please don't pirate this book".
Since methods to seamlessly remove DRM from books appear on the internet hours/days after a new method is introduced, we are back to the honor system anyway, except now the legit book buyers have unnecessary software blocks on their books, just in case they decide to pirate the book.
Basically, the publishers are telling the buyer - "breaking DRM is illegal (but ridiculously easy), please don't do it". Well, couldn't they save everyone the trouble and just put out DRM-free books and say - "Hey guys, illegally copying books is ... ah .... illegal. Please don't do it." That would be about as useful as DRM - the honest folks won't do any illegal copying, the pirates will do what pirates do (and with the internet, it only takes ONE competent pirate).
Here's an analogy. Imagine the police put handcuffs on everyone just in case they ever decide to commit a crime. That's not the stupid part. Here's the stupid part - the keys to the handcuffs are so easy to obtain that you can find them in a box of cereal. The police then tell you that it's illegal to use those easily available keys to unlock yourself. Now, the only people who remain locked up are the honest ones, the potential criminals are laughing their butts off. Now, wouldn't it be simpler to just tell everyone - "Hey guys, please don't commit crimes". You'll have the same results, but without foolishly (and unethically) persecuting the honest folks.
If this analogy seems ridiculous to you, well - join the club. DRM is just as ridculous (again, for purchases only. Use as much DRM as you want for rentals, no one has a problem with that).
Publishers are trying to protect their authors, as well as themselves with their limitations.
No, they're trying to appear to do so without really succeeding. This is why Baen remains the only publisher to actually hold the respect of its customers. Now, the article I linked to (by Eric Flint) goes farther than that but I don't expect everyone to agree with that (it's debatable). But the nice thing about Baen (as a lot of people have already mentioned) is that their books are DRM-free, and again, they are thriving.