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Old 03-06-2011, 08:41 PM   #21
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I think it's a fair policy--libraries can pay for more licenses for the most popular books. Our library has notations in the backs of many books that outline the circulation history. Hardly any of the books I read have been circulated even 10 times after four or five years. This quote at the end of the article, from one of the librarians, was interesting and realistic imho:

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Not all librarians are decrying HarperCollins' policy. Jason Kuhl, library operations director at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, said the new requirements might not be the financial drain some predict.

"Many times, books don't circulate 26 times. What we see with popular books is a surge once it comes out, and once everyone has read it, the interest wanes and we liquidate them," Kuhl said. "We will always buy a lot of copies upfront. With e-books, we won't necessarily replace every one of them."
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:17 PM   #22
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First, I don't now how libraries work with regards to hard copy. However, I don't think there is a 26 lend limit on a hard copy. They may wear out, but should not at 26 lends. So why is it reasonable to enforce that limit on e-books?
IMO, what is 'reasonable' is a totally irrelevant way to look at it. 'Reasonable' has nothing to do with it - it is what the market will bear. If 26 is too few, they can get the physical book then, or pass on the deal altogether. Whatever, let the market decide.

What matter is it if I offer a #2 pencil for sale for $2,000,000? Don't like the deal, don't buy my pencil. End of story.



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You might be interested in the activities of Corey Doctorow. He's a published author who releases digital/e-book versions of his novels under a Creative Commons or similar license. For free. At the same time they are in print. Oddly, his books are often on the New York Times bestseller lists.
And that is his choice. I assume that he sees the free offers as advertising and as an incentive for people to buy the physical book. Good for him, smart Capitalist. Let the publishers decide if they want to do this or not.

Or... to paraphrase you from another thread... If someone happens to believe that publishers are , ebooks are , or I am , feel free to continue to believe that. I won't challenge your belief system. ...


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Or do you think the very concept of libraries being able to purchase books and then lend them to the public is wrong headed?
Actually, I think it is questionable. Why should the government be involved in this? Why shouldn't people buy their own books & CDs? Why am I subsidizing other's entertainment? I can see it for educational and reference material - stuff that people would rarely ever need personally, so a private purchase is impractical. File that under the broad stretch of "for the common good". But for popular entertainment style books & CDs, really - why?

I discussed this with DW today. She claims we get more than our tax dollar's worth with library services (compared to buying/renting those items personally). OK (not sure it's true, but let's accept it for now), so does that justify government involvement? In that case, I want a rental place funded by our tax dollars. I can just check out tools, or anything I might need occasionally. It would save me from buying and storing and maintaining those items. Hey, how about 'checking out' a car - provided by tax dollars? Why would that be different?

edit - OK, I looked it up - we pay ~ $500/year to our library district. That's 50 books at ~ $10 each, about one a week for a year. Even more when you consider we could sell/trade/loan them with friends. I'd rather pay far less per year, and just have access to the purely educational/reference material rather than pop entertainment.


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Old 03-06-2011, 09:39 PM   #23
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This reminds me of the music industry of a few years back. Instead of embracing new technologies and developing new ways to make money using it, they tried to protect the old way. Don't get me wrong, they have the right to protect their property but seems shortsighted.
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Old 03-06-2011, 09:52 PM   #24
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... but I'm sure many of our social welfare engineering fans here expect that. (Those filthy rich authors can afford it, it's their moral obligation to give that income away......)
We don't need any more threads closed because someone takes your bait and a thread blows up into divisive politics. Knock it off already.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:17 PM   #25
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edit - OK, I looked it up - we pay ~ $500/year to our library district. That's 50 books at ~ $10 each, about one a week for a year. Even more when you consider we could sell/trade/loan them with friends. I'd rather pay far less per year, and just have access to the purely educational/reference material rather than pop entertainment.


-ERD50
Wow that is a shocking amount of money. If you asked me much of my tax dollars went to fund libraries I would have guessed $20 maybe $40 and said that easily get my money's worth. ERD how did you go about making this calculation.

I got to believe I am heavier than average users of libraries (although the Kindle has decreased my usage). At anything close to $500/year I really wonder are libraries obsolete. You can make a good argument that society as whole benefits if we get get kids reading (anything) early. However, I wonder how much of a libraries budgets goes to purchasing entertainment especially things like movies.


Netflix works awfully good and at $10/month, I wonder why libraries need to stock recent DVD releases. I see no reason that Amazon or somebody can't come up with a ebook of the month club where you can spend $10-20 or so a month, and check out so many books a month like Netflix. Especially for rural areas, I wonder if we couldn't save money by giving everybody a kid an ebook reader and ebook of the month club account. Letting adults sign up for the program and shut down the libraries.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:22 PM   #26
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Wow that is a shocking amount of money. If you asked me much of my tax dollars went to fund libraries I would have guessed $20 maybe $40 and said that easily get my money's worth. ERD how did you go about making this calculation.
It is what it is. It's listed right on my property tax bill. They break it down into 16 line items.

$500 does seem high, but my property taxes are high overall.

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Old 03-06-2011, 10:34 PM   #27
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It is what it is. It's listed right on my property tax bill. They break it down into 16 line items.

$500 does seem high, but my property taxes are high overall.

-ERD50
Ah we don't have any break down on our property tax, plus much of the state/city revenue is funding via a very stealthy generally excise tax.

It looks like Hawaii spends $25 million on libraries a year/divided by ~500K taxpayers or about $50 each. I am sure the ones in Illinois are very nice, and probably even have heaters, comfy chairs, and selection of music to listen to while enjoying the free lattes . Either that or you and the DW have a way too nice house. .

Still I am curious what people think about replacing libraries with some type of ebook subscription services.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:43 PM   #28
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I have two books on CD checked out through interlibrary loan, four hardcovers by the bed waiting to be read; DH also has several checked out. It's probably the only community service that everyone in the community can use at any time (and it is always busy), and I imagine it helps property values to have a good library.

Our taxes in my Illinois town are also high, but I just checked them for 2010: Library is $210; library pension fund is $19.98. So that's a little less than $20/month for our house, down to 2 people now. I think our library is very well managed; I've never heard anyone complain that the staff wastes money.

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I am sure the ones in Illinois are very nice, and probably even have heaters, comfy chairs, and selection of music to listen to while enjoying the free lattes .
We do have heat in the winter and even AC in the summer, and some awesome comfortable chairs and computers available--no lattes, though
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:47 PM   #29
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Don't these ebooks cost a lot less than a hardback? That would seem to take some of the sting out of the limits on re-distribution.

"Fair" is whatever the buyer and seller agree upon.

Public libraries: Probably not a legitimate role of government, but if residents of an area decide they want to tax themselves for this purpose, I'm not sure it's any more of a problem than if they decide to have a taxpayer-funded community center. Sure, private enterprise could do it, but the infringement is minor. I think it's good for everyone that a poor parent can take his/her kids to the library and they leave with armloads of "Go, Dog, Go!" , "Call of the Wild," etc.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:57 PM   #30
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Don't these ebooks cost a lot less than a hardback? That would seem to take some of the sting out of the limits on re-distribution.

"Fair" is whatever the buyer and seller agree upon.
Agreed. What I don't know though, is what is the licence fee versus a physical book. I assume less, so they need some limits somewhere. As you say, whatever the buyer/seller agree to.



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Public libraries: Probably not a legitimate role of government, but if residents of an area decide they want to tax themselves for this purpose, I'm not sure it's any more of a problem than if they decide to have a taxpayer-funded community center. Sure, private enterprise could do it, but the infringement is minor. I think it's good for everyone that a poor parent can take his/her kids to the library and they leave with armloads of "Go Dog, Go!" , "Call of the Wild," etc.
I'm all for anything of an educational nature. I want poor and not poor kids alike to have access to the good stuff. What I question is all the 'pop-novels', 'pop-CDs', 'pop' magazines and the like. In fact, I wonder if DW would read so many of those pop-novels if she had to pay for them directly? And if you won't pay directly, the whole indirect payment through taxes is really a bit of a scam. It's the old "you are already paying for it, might as well use it' mentality. It doesn't make for efficiency or rational utilization.

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Old 03-06-2011, 11:08 PM   #31
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In Salt Lake we have have a county library system, with branches throughout the various neighborhoods. We also have an incredible city library (even has lattes).



You can use the same library card at the Salt Lake City library, and all of the county library branches.

Both use Overdrive to lend e-books. You can check out 10 at a time, and they are automatically deleted from your device after 21 days, and you CAN NOT return them early (seems like a waste). If there is not a copy available, you can get in line and wait for the last user's 21 days to expire. Unfortunately the e-book selection is not nearly as broad as the paper book collection. It's about 10,000 titles in the county system, and less at the city library. I am able to find titles I want to read (currently have "The Lost Symbol" and a couple children's books downloaded), but I often browse the bookshelves for something interesting if I can't find something electronically.

E-library-books are fantastic, and I would have to see them go away because the publishers and authors are not getting a fair deal.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:08 PM   #32
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I'm all for anything of an educational nature. I want poor and not poor kids alike to have access to the good stuff. What I question is all the 'pop-novels', 'pop-CDs', 'pop' magazines and the like.
While I'm sure there's no easily defined line about what they should stock, a general guide might be: "Is our community better off because people read this book/magazine/etc."
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:23 PM   #33
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So, what should the limit be? thirty two? Eleven thousand? Why would the recipients be expected to decide? (snip)
But the recipients do decide. It is the library, not the publisher, which determines when a book is no longer lendable. The publisher does not get to set a limit on the number of times a physical book may be read before it has to be replaced.
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:27 PM   #34
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I think the ideal of causing an essentially non-degrading electronic representation to stop working and require repurchase when it's old paper predecessor would have failed is an interesting and novel approach to creating artificial scarcity and demand.

If the technique can be licensed by other vendors, we can look forward to some other novel applications. Imagine DVDs that fail when a film print would, requiring repurchase, or consider purchased music that gradually develops scratches, pops, and hiss!
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Old 03-06-2011, 11:49 PM   #35
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I think it's a fair policy--libraries can pay for more licenses for the most popular books. Our library has notations in the backs of many books that outline the circulation history. Hardly any of the books I read have been circulated even 10 times after four or five years. This quote at the end of the article, from one of the librarians, was interesting and realistic imho:
Quote:
Not all librarians are decrying HarperCollins' policy. Jason Kuhl, library operations director at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, said the new requirements might not be the financial drain some predict.

"Many times, books don't circulate 26 times. What we see with popular books is a surge once it comes out, and once everyone has read it, the interest wanes and we liquidate them," Kuhl said. "We will always buy a lot of copies upfront. With e-books, we won't necessarily replace every one of them."
Interesting quote. Lots of the books in the public library here are old enough still to have the labels in the front with the due dates stamped on them. You've made me curious whether they have been checked out 26 times and if so how long they had been in the collection. It sounds like the limited-readings license may let libraries save shelf space that might otherwise be occupied by the sort of books you describe, that have a brief period when everyone wants them and then are pretty much forgotten.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:01 AM   #36
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I think the ideal of causing an essentially non-degrading electronic representation to stop working and require repurchase when it's old paper predecessor would have failed is an interesting and novel approach to creating artificial scarcity and demand.

If the technique can be licensed by other vendors, we can look forward to some other novel applications. Imagine DVDs that fail when a film print would, requiring repurchase, or consider purchased music that gradually develops scratches, pops, and hiss!
A considerable number of people would just say eff it, this is one area of my life that I can just do away with a lot of annoyingly crass people getting into my pocket. Most books are total crap anyway. We can go back to poetry readings in coffee houses, sing alongs, block parties in the summer and trying to stay interested in the old gal or man.

But maybe i will hang on my personal library instead of downsizing to reliance on e-books.

Ha
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:44 AM   #37
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.. Most books are total crap anyway. ...

Low publishing cost makes almost anyone a writer or publisher. It will be interesting to see if e-books suffer a similar fate to newspapers.... or it the model shifts... free book... watch 10 commercial on your ipad or e-reader.


Public Libraries will evolve over the next 25 years. One trend I would expect is for many of the branches to close... It will be considered an unnecessary expense (too costly to perform the basic mission)... In many ways the public library is just a method of supporting and perpetuating the body of knowledge and ideas and making it available to the masses. They will redirect the money to other more efficient methods that support the mission.

Because of economics, publishers might sell only a limited number of perpetual licenses to a work (with unlimited use)... but throttle the number of licenses base on a couple of factors... one factor being the number of participants in the library system. That way one has access but has to (perhaps) wait in line.... economics would dictate that some will not be willing to wait for certain works and buy the e-book.

Because e-books are cheaper to produce... I suspect that the average cost of a book will be pushed down (much further). How low will depend on several factors... one being more sales of the same work.

The public library could turn into little more than a low-income subsistence mechanism... In a way.... it already is!

One final note: you comment about crap... if many books were not purchased, but driven by subscription... libraries would not need to purchase crap that no one (or few) will bother to read.... you have to wonder how much of our tax dollars is wasted on books no one reads.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:50 AM   #38
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So, what should the limit be? thirty two? Eleven thousand? Why would the recipients be expected to decide? The author and publisher should reserve the right to how their intellectual property is distributed, even in "free" format. Putting it into the public domain without restrictions is giving their income stream away, but I'm sure many of our social welfare engineering fans here expect that. (Those filthy rich authors can afford it, it's their moral obligation to give that income away......)
Why a limit? There is no limit on physical books and publishers don't get a choice on that. No one is talking about putting these things in the public domain. The library buys a license and lends the file out in a serial fashion just like a physical book. Just as with physical books, libraries will buy more ebook licenses for bestsellers and less for obscure books. There is a long tradition in this country of public lending libraries. I have never looked at the law surrounding it but my guess is the courts have ruled that library lending is fair use of purchased physical books. Why should we toss all that history out just because we have a new format. What would the founders say?
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:58 AM   #39
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Or do you think the very concept of libraries being able to purchase books and then lend them to the public is wrong headed?
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Where did you get that?
You said 28 copies was more than fair and essentially argued that e-lending is ripping off writers. Since e-lending as done by public libraries is not materially different that physically lending I assumed you must be hostile to the whole concept of public lending. Since ebooks are widely viewed as the future, restrictions on ebooks that substantially exceed those on physical books will likely lead to the demise of lending libraries.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:02 AM   #40
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On the new e-book policy:

26 seems such an arbitrary number. Most library books probably are read less frequently that this, a few many times more. Why not promote a policy that limits availability of an e-book during the initial sales period – say the first 6 months or so, and then allow more e-library use?

Publishers are acting much like record producers in that the authors and artists are the ones that provide the creativity and own the intellectual rights but the producers are the ones setting the rules. It seems the publishers are the ones most concerned about distribution control and lost revenue here.

On libraries

Lending popular books (and videos, and music) for enjoyment and personal use is one purpose of a library, but there are others. Two worth mentioning are assembling materials for academic research and providing the facilities to teach how to research. Learning to research is a critical component of successful K-12 education and the link between school and library is still fundamental to this goal.

Embracing digital distribution of publications can improve the capability of local or smaller community libraries to accomplish these educational and academic goals by an order of magnitude.
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