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Old 03-07-2011, 07:09 AM   #41
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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. etc.
No. Publishers have indicated that printing and distribution represent less than 10% of total cost. Pricing for ebooks is still very close to pricing for physical books.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:10 AM   #42
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I posted my last two replies to WS before reading all the other posts. I would add that I am surprised at all the hostility to public libraries but agree that the issue is the place for public funding of free library lending. We either agree that it is worthwhile or not. If it is, we should try to find a way to make it work in an increasingly electronic world. As for ERD's $500/yr that does sound outrageous.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:17 AM   #43
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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.
Netflix allows you to checkout unlimited movies at up to three at a time for $9/mth. If Amazon could cook up something like that I would buy it in a heart beat.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:42 AM   #44
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No. Publishers have indicated that printing and distribution represent less than 10% of total cost. Pricing for ebooks is still very close to pricing for physical books.
The publisher's cost is only one element. I thought I'd read that ebook readers are up in arms that prices for popular books are going up from $9.99 to $14.99 in some cases. That's a lot cheaper than hardbacks. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is $0.99 for the Kindle, I think the hardcover is more than that.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:01 AM   #45
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The publisher's cost is only one element. I thought I'd read that ebook readers are up in arms that prices for popular books are going up from $9.99 to $14.99 in some cases. That's a lot cheaper than hardbacks. "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" is $0.99 for the Kindle, I think the hardcover is more than that.
The e-versions of popular hardbacks seem to be priced $2-3 less than the physical hardback, regardless of price. The difference is less for paperback, and in some cases the e-version is more expensive than the printed version. To me this is evidence that distribution and price control is the real issue.

Tom Sawyer is public domain and anyone can publish it. Most classics are either free or have a nominal charge for that reason.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:06 AM   #46
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On the new e-book policy:

26 seems such an arbitrary number.
It is just as arbitrary as paying $999 for a TV, $25,458 for a car, or $84,562 in salary. It's just a number low enough for them to make enough profit on this new medium, and high enough to get libraries to agree. Like any other supply/demand issue, the two parties will meet in the middle somewhere, or find alternatives.


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I would add that I am surprised at all the hostility to public libraries but agree that the issue is the place for public funding of free library lending. We either agree that it is worthwhile or not. If it is, we should try to find a way to make it work in an increasingly electronic world. As for ERD's $500/yr that does sound outrageous.
What hostility are you referring to? I questioned whether libraries should carry pop-stuff, but I don't think there was any hostility in there - can you point out the hostility in case I just missed it?

What do you pay for library services? So far we have a $50 estimate (per household?) from clifp, and $230 from BWE. For us, library districts are not always the same as town/county districts - I don't know the exact boundaries of ours - it is possible that my $500 is subsidizing lower value households, but it could be the other way 'round also. If my # is outrageous, maybe I need to try to do something about it. Yes, we have a nice new library, no lattes.


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When companies are greedy it prompts similar reactions in their customers. Serves them right if people start widely using account sharing techniques to download each other's libraries.
Now, calling companies 'greedy' and advocating the breaking of contracts sounds rather hostile to me. If you don't like the terms, don't enter into the contract. Simple.


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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."
Yes, it's subjective and won't be agreed upon (like most things in a democracy). I'd take your guide one level higher though - "Is our community better off because people pooled their common resources (tax $) so that anyone in the community has access to this book/magazine/etc., and could the private sector fill this need better?"

And why not apply that to any commodity? Gas stations, butchers, movie theaters? Isn't the community better off if people have gas for their cars, good quality meat on their table, and are entertained and happy... comrade?

I'm just trying to understand where the line is drawn, and I personally lean to the idea that it was crossed when libraries went from mainly reference/educational material to pop-stuff. It would be a tough argument in public though, like so many govt provided services, people see this as 'free' and want more, not less. And like the test I apply to most subsidies - if the person wouldn't buy this product/service with their own money, why should they buy it with OPM?

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Old 03-07-2011, 10:05 AM   #47
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It's getting harder and harder to be a cheapskate. Corporate America will find a way into your wallet one way or another...
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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.
I agree.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:06 AM   #48
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What hostility are you referring to? I questioned whether libraries should carry pop-stuff, but I don't think there was any hostility in there - can you point out the hostility in case I just missed it?
I didn't mean hostility in the sense of anger -- just opposition. And my comment was clearly aimed at multiple posters not particularly at you. You did indicate opposition to subsidizing general reading (pop) vs libraries as reference institutions. But America's (and UK's) public library systems have fostered general reading for more than 100 years. Sure, we could stop all that which is why I said the issue of whether to have public lending libraries is one of public policy. But as long as we have them I think the issue of how many readings an ebook should get from the library is more of a copyright matter. I would recommend treating ebook licenses like physical books - if you buy an ebook you should be able to give it or loan it to anyone you see fit; if a library buys one it should be able to loan it out serially just as it does a physical book.

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What do you pay for library services?
I don't know but I think it is paid for by general revenues in DC which would be more like Hawaii's $25. If it is paid by property taxes as in your local, fewer people pay and they pay more. If that is how DC actually does it, I pay a lot

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Now, calling companies 'greedy' and advocating the breaking of contracts sounds rather hostile to me. If you don't like the terms, don't enter into the contract. Simple.
Depends on your perspective. Mine is somewhat hostile. Copyright periods have been extended many times and IMHO have tilted too far toward the producers/sellers and the descendants. [/QUOTE]
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:26 AM   #49
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if you buy an ebook you should be able to give it or loan it to anyone you see fit;
So If a student buys one college e-textbook, it would be OK for them to give it or loan it to everyone else in the US educational system as they see fit?

Simple conversion to a pdf file, then it is the public domain for free... How's that going to work? What would be the incentive for research and new course materials if the end product is going to be distributed at will for nothing? The textbook industry would collapse overnight if students could "give or loan their course materials as they see fit" without any pesky IP restrictions.

Electronic distribution is a lot diferent than a physical book, as such I believe we need different guidelines for re-distribution. I guess it does depend on your perspective; I am in a manufacturing business that is intellectual-property sensitive, and have firsthand knowledge of what it costs to develop and protect IP property rights from those who would take them without any form of compensation.
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Old 03-07-2011, 10:30 AM   #50
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Why should E-Books be any different from Hard Bound books as to the number of times a library can lend them out? If the E-Book has to be returned or expired before it can be lent out again, it is just like a hard copy. Just because one can does not mean one should!
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:04 AM   #51
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I am surprised at some writers questioning the social value of libraries. They house and circulate much more than current literature, they offer people who cannot afford to buy a lot of books access. A library inspires a love of reading in children.

IMHO a library ranks right up there with hospitals as what makes a great community.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #52
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So If a student buys one college e-textbook, it would be OK for them to give it or loan it to everyone else in the US educational system as they see fit?

Simple conversion to a pdf file, then it is the public domain for free... How's that going to work? What would be the incentive for research and new course materials if the end product is going to be distributed at will for nothing? The textbook industry would collapse overnight if students could "give or loan their course materials as they see fit" without any pesky IP restrictions.

Electronic distribution is a lot diferent than a physical book, as such I believe we need different guidelines for re-distribution. I guess it does depend on your perspective; I am in a manufacturing business that is intellectual-property sensitive, and have firsthand knowledge of what it costs to develop and protect IP property rights from those who would take them without any form of compensation.
WS - you need to pay closer attention. I have not talked at all about illegal posting. The courts have dealt with this. I am talking about the serial passing on of a legitimately purchased copy. DRM software is intended to protect this limitation but it applies with or without DRM. If I purchase a physical textbook I can sell or give it to anyone I want. If I buy an e-text book I should be able to do the same. If I post a copy for anyone to down load I have broken the law. Libraries serially lend copies and they use DRM software to ensure that users don't keep or pass on their loaned copy.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:11 AM   #53
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"Is our community better off because people pooled their common resources (tax $) so that anyone in the community has access to this book/magazine/etc...."
Yes.

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"...and could the private sector fill this need better?"
No. For the underprivileged in particular, public libraries provide an opportunity for self-education. In my opinion, it is an essential element in a successful democracy and needs to survive the transition to e-books.

"There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration." --Andrew Carnegie
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:17 AM   #54
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I didn't mean hostility in the sense of anger -- just opposition. And my comment was clearly aimed at multiple posters not particularly at you.
I figured it was directed at multiple, I was just trying to figure out what I said that could have been seen as hostile, I didn't want to speak for or appear to attack others.

I have a tough time equating "opposition" with "hostility", unless there is some actively hostile words/actions.


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I don't know but I think it is paid for by general revenues in DC which would be more like Hawaii's $25. If it is paid by property taxes as in your local, fewer people pay and they pay more. If that is how DC actually does it, I pay a lot
Would it make a difference? I assume you are referring to renters who don't directly pay property tax, but the owners of the building pay property tax, so that expense would be divided across all 'households'.

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... Copyright periods have been extended many times and IMHO have tilted too far toward the producers/sellers and the descendants.
I agree. Some level of protections make sense, but this seems to go to far in some cases. Wasn't Sonny Bono responsible for some of this? No conflict of interest there, huh?


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Why should E-Books be any different from Hard Bound books as to the number of times a library can lend them out? If the E-Book has to be returned or expired before it can be lent out again, it is just like a hard copy. Just because one can does not mean one should!
donheff:
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I would recommend treating ebook licenses like physical books - if you buy an ebook you should be able to give it or loan it to anyone you see fit; if a library buys one it should be able to loan it out serially just as it does a physical book.
You just have to realize that physical and electronic versions of things are different - you can't play by the same rules, it just won't work. All legality/ethics aside for the moment, it costs more for an individual to copy a physical book than what they can buy it for. But an electronic document can be copied quickly at essentially zero cost, and it does not physically wear out. It's a different game, totally. Rather than try to compare them, you just need to look at it from a supplier/consumer view - what can the supplier offer that allows enough profit to make it worth their effort, and will a consumer pay it? That's where the rubber meets the road, everything else is idle speculation.

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Old 03-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #55
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WS - you need to pay closer attention. If I purchase a physical textbook I can sell or give it to anyone I want. If I buy an e-text book I should be able to do the same.
You may want to do the same; I never mentioned "posting a copy for anyone to download" (your words, not mine)

I am talking about a student buying a single copy of an electronic book, "selling or giving it to anyone they want", who does the same, who does the same. etc. A whole class could share a single "legal" copy in about 3 minutes, a whole campus in about three days. Textbook sales would plummet if unlimited peer-to-peer electronic "sharing" was allowed; it's a lot different doing this electronically than with a printed and bound book, because the conventional book has to physically change hands and can only be in one place at one time, not so with e-books.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:51 AM   #56
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It is just as arbitrary as paying $999 for a TV, $25,458 for a car, or $84,562 in salary. It's just a number low enough for them to make enough profit on this new medium, and high enough to get libraries to agree. Like any other supply/demand issue, the two parties will meet in the middle somewhere, or find alternatives.
The price for a tv or car is set in a marketplace, not by the manufacturer (that would be unlawful) . In this case the limit is being set by a business that is neither the copyright owner nor the user. Not only arbitrary but also unilateral.

Libraries are governed by fair use principle – this is the issue. Clearly, unlimited distribution of e-copies could negatively impact an author’s potential income so there needs to be a limit. The author needs to be able to capture a reasonable part of the market value of his/her work. The question is, what is a reasonable limit? In this case Harpers is not a copyright holder and therefore not entitled to protection – the author is but has no voice here. Likewise, a single limit may protect a few top authors and have a negative impact on many others. Which authors are represented in this? Like the music industry, this issue is part copyright and part business model.

I think the way to proceed is to limit ecopies the same way hardcopies are limited during the initial sales period. That is, each copy is entitled to 30 days usage, or some such period, based on actual library use and policy. Once a book has passed its sales peak – perhaps a year or so – then restrictions should be reduced because the author has collected a significant portion of total market value and the ecopy no longer represents a substantial threat. In this way, an ebook would be allowed 12 uses per year for a specific period - one or two years, then a much higher number from that point on.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:54 AM   #57
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I am talking about a student buying a single copy of an electronic book, "selling or giving it to anyone they want", who does the same, who does the same. etc. A whole class could share a single "legal" copy in about 3 minutes, a whole campus in about three days. Textbook sales would plummet if unlimited peer-to-peer electronic "sharing" was allowed; it's a lot different doing this electronically than with a printed and bound book, because the conventional book has to physically change hands and can only be in one place at one time, not so with e-books.
Technically, this is against the law. When you "buy" a copyrighted product you are not buying the product, you are buying the right to read it (or listen, in the case of music) and have no rights to sell it.
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Old 03-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #58
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The price for a tv or car is set in a marketplace, not by the manufacturer (that would be unlawful) . In this case the limit is being set by a business that is neither the copyright owner nor the user. Not only arbitrary but also unilateral.

Libraries are governed by fair use principle – this is the issue. Clearly, unlimited distribution of e-copies could negatively impact an author’s potential income so there needs to be a limit. The author needs to be able to capture a reasonable part of the market value of his/her work. The question is, what is a reasonable limit? In this case Harpers is not a copyright holder and therefore not entitled to protection – the author is but has no voice here. Likewise, a single limit may protect a few top authors and have a negative impact on many others. Which authors are represented in this? Like the music industry, this issue is part copyright and part business model.

I think the way to proceed is to limit ecopies the same way hardcopies are limited during the initial sales period. That is, each copy is entitled to 30 days usage, or some such period, based on actual library use and policy. Once a book has passed its sales peak – perhaps a year or so – then restrictions should be reduced because the author has collected a significant portion of total market value and the ecopy no longer represents a substantial threat. In this way, an ebook would be allowed 12 uses per year for a specific period - one or two years, then a much higher number from that point on.
Good analysis, MichaelB; finally, something we agree on!
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:13 PM   #59
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I value the libraries and use many of the available services. There is much more than books, e-books, and DVD's to most library systems. Libraries are a great place to go to read magazines and I think most have computers that can be used for internet surfing.

A volunteer group I'm involved with uses a community room at a local library for the monthly meeting. Without the library room it would be difficult to find an alternative meeting room.

I use the Value Line service that I access through my libraries website. Purchasing my own VL subscription would be in excess of $500/yr and probably not something I would do.

Libraries also have subscriptions to research tools like ancestry.com and archives to newspapers dating back over 100 years. Some of the resources are available via website and some require using the resource at the library. There are book groups, discussion groups, movie nights, and many volunteer opportunities available through libraries. Recently I read that one library system near me has passes that can be checked out to visit local attractions so that is something else I find useful.
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:43 PM   #60
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Somewhat off topic, but to me the most valuable thing in the library is a (good) reference librarian. As free internet sources and subscription online sources proliferate, the reference librarian is the specialist who can help show a way through the ever-changing info jungle. I can't count the times the librarian has shown me recently added search tools and information sources.

The online subscription ($$) reference services at many libraries are terrific, much more authoritative than "open" internet sources in many cases.
For those who do a lot of technical research, it's sometimes best to skip the public library and go to a local college or university. Some will let non-students pay a fee and use the library resources.

On the other hand--I went to our local community college recently and needed to find articles about an event that happened about 30 years ago. I asked where they kept the "Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature" (remember the thick green bound volumes?). The young reference librarian had never heard of it. I'm officially a dinosaur.
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