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Old 03-11-2011, 03:04 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
You all realize that ebooks, and ebook lending will kill all libraries, right? It will take a while, but it is inevitable. So we'd better hope that a good model for reading ebooks for free emerges.
I'm not sure that is true. Libraries lend a lot of things to day other than physical books. Also, you seem to think that ebook lending is not something that a library will do. I'm not sure that is true. Also, you are not considering research libraries.

For me, I prefer ebooks. We are going to soon build a house and we have a ton of physical books. We have room for a few bookcases there but not as much as in our current house. To have more bookcases would mean to put bookcases where I don't really want them or to build bigger rooms. We did the math on how much it costs to add space for another bookcase and it was clear that it was cheaper to actually replace the books with ebooks.

We went through all our books and bought Kindle editions where they were available. $2500 later our library of physical books was cut in half. (We like to reread books a lot).

That said, just today I reserved a book at the library. I didn't want to pay the Kindle cost of the book since it is something I will likely want to read one time only. There will always be books that I want to read once (and ebooks are just fine) but don't want to actually buy.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:13 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
You all realize that ebooks, and ebook lending will kill all libraries, right? It will take a while, but it is inevitable. So we'd better hope that a good model for reading ebooks for free emerges.

I'll predict that the last mass-market book will be printed on paper around 2016.

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I'm not sure that is true. Libraries lend a lot of things to day other than physical books.
I'll agree with Katsmeow and others. I don't see ebooks as the end of libraries. As was mentioned a while back, even w/o physical books, libraries provide all sorts of benefits - meeting rooms, classes, internet access, book club gatherings, etc.

Even so, libraries may adapt to ebooks, who knows? Sure, publishers could easily go direct, but as long as a community decides that they want to subsidize some materials so that everyone in the community has access to some of these materials, libraries will exist. Maybe in a different form. Just thinking out loud here, but I guess a community could offer vouchers for 'library' materials - let the individual decide where they obtain them, since physical access is no longer a consideration.



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I think that was also the theory behind iTunes -- that at low enough price per track, many people won't bother to look for someone to pirate a copy for them.
Right. Steve Jobs seemed to grasp this far better than the record labels. His 'open letter' to the labels regarding DRM was point on, IMO. I naddition to fighting DRM, he was trying to get them to lower prices on songs. Sure, he was self-motivated since lower priced music sells more iPods, but he was also right!

Apple - Thoughts on Music

I just re-read that (it's four years old now), and it sure points out just how far out of touch the record industry is/was, and I think the same is true of the publishing industry. Gotta get out of the buggy whip days and get with the program. It's a brave new world.

I only avoid iTunes as I prefer to have my music un-compressed.

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Old 03-15-2011, 11:17 PM   #123
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I'm coming in late to this discussion, but I just ran a name search over the posts I've missed during the last couple weeks:
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Authors write books to make money (Nords notwithstanding, and he's expecting to turn a profit for charity), not to subsidize a free public service.
I appreciate the sentiment, but the decision was more pragmatic than altruistic. Or it could be claimed that it's a marketing gimmick.

I think it's next to impossible for retirees to get paid to write about retirement advice without their credibility being questioned. At some point they're accused of deadline journalism or pandering to sponsors/publishers or of needing the reader's royalties to really be "retired". Doesn't matter how credible (or financially frugal) they actually are; their credibility will be questioned.

I was also pretty sure that it'd be difficult to attract volunteer contributors if the subtext was "Help me write this book so that we I can make lots of money!" Or at least that's the fantasy. The reality is more like $2.50/book at retail, which is hugely generous and with discounts is probably actually $1/book. It's almost certainly under $10K in the first year. I'll let you know the numbers in December 2011 or early 2012.

And finally, there are a lot of authors in the military-benefits market. Donating royalties to charity is an easy way to stand out from the pack.

Cynics may note that that if the book is a sales failure then it really doesn't reflect badly on the author, who was only doing it for charity anyway...

Having gone most of the way through the process, I'd caution newbie authors to avoid the yellow-brick road to self-publishing riches unless they're mentored by an experienced author or publisher. Just having to work alongside editors & publishers has taught me a tremendous amount about writing & marketing that I'd never have picked up on my own.

Back on topic for a second, even before electronic publishing there were over 350,000 American titles being published every year. That's over 1000 new books a day all year, or just over one book for every 1000 Americans every year. That business model was unsustainable even before electronic publishing, and it's going the way of the paper check and the newspaper. I'd give it another 25 years before one of my great-grandkids asks my daughter "Grandma, what are those things on that shelf over there?"
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:04 AM   #124
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OH silly T Al.... they have been calling for the demise of paper money for a long time... and we use more of it today than ever...

They have been calling for the demise of paper checks for a long time... and we might be using more today than ever... (not sure on this though)...


I predict that we will have printed books long after I am dead... and I have a ways to go (hopefully)...
Granted this is n=1, but I rarely use either cash or checks. Checks are mostly for gumment transactions like vehicle tags, since they won't take credit cards.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:11 AM   #125
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Interesting discussion - I for one hope that the paper version of books stays around for awhile. I have had wonderful reads from the older books that were sitting on the shelves (Bony the half-Aboriginal, half European detective in Australia, Nero Wolfe, reading the older Hillerman novels, the older Pd James books, the classics). In fact, it can be hard to find them now - very sad.

I believe that this is a good use of my tax dollars currently - the library. I guess we'll see in the future.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:20 AM   #126
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I hope we'll find a way to keep publishers (not just artists) in the business. With music there was a lot of hope that "flat" distribution would allow unknown artists to sell directly to the public, retain artistic control, and cut out the middleman. The public would find the gems and they'd be rewarded. Some of that has happened, but I'm not sure that overall the situation is better today than in the days of vinyl. Bringing down the "barriers to entry" (with desktop studios and instant distribution) has not been an unalloyed blessing. As a consumer, it's just too much trouble to sort through the mountain of chaff to find something I might enjoy. Record companies did a pretty good job of spotting talent and putting it into easily searched "bins." The situation with literature will be even more of a headache for consumers: It's easy to sample 20 seconds of a song and see if I like it, but I sure don't want to invest 30 minutes reading a self-published book to figure out if an author has talent. I'd be just as happy to let editors and publishers retain that traditional headache.
Excellent point! They helped increase the signal to noise ratio and therefore allowed us to better use our time - now one might argue they have their built in biases for what a signal is, however, avant-garde things did break through over time. However, the classics of any genre are considered classic because they have weathered the test of time.

Generally, this is the classic centralization versus de-centralization conundrum - there are benefits to both, it's just where one puts the balance line.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:01 PM   #127
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Also, you seem to think that ebook lending is not something that a library will do. I'm not sure that is true. Also, you are not considering research libraries.
But why would you go to the library to borrow an ebook -- when you can do it from home? It would only make sense for those who cannot afford a computer.

Research is much easier on the Internet than with hardcopy books.

Even us old dudes who "love the feel and smell of books" are switching to ebook readers. How many 20-somethings will want a real book instead of a Kindle version?

I don't want to see libraries evaporate, but I see no other way. When new books are no longer printed, libraries will be places for only old books.

Libraries may adapt, and be, for example, social gathering places, but at some point they could no longer be call "libraries."

I had this same conversation 10 years ago about digital cameras.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:17 PM   #128
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Kevin Kelly is predicting eBooks will drop to $.99 each on average in 5 years. If that is the case I will start buying them and not worry about the library.
I don't see it that way. As far as I can tell, the new releases are all demanding full retail price for the eBook version - no break whatsoever. Amazon used to give you a $1 or $2 break on an ebook version versus paperback - but that has pretty much disappeared except for things that were already available in ebook format. iTunes bookstore matches the Amazon Kindle pricing. It's very frustrating. But I think that the book publishers have decided that us folks buying the iPads, etc., can afford to cough up top dollar for the ebook version and they are going to hold out as long as they can. I'm not sure what is going to break that status quo.

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Old 03-18-2011, 05:33 PM   #129
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Interesting discussion - I for one hope that the paper version of books stays around for awhile. I have had wonderful reads from the older books that were sitting on the shelves (Bony the half-Aboriginal, half European detective in Australia, Nero Wolfe, reading the older Hillerman novels, the older Pd James books, the classics). In fact, it can be hard to find them now - very sad.

I believe that this is a good use of my tax dollars currently - the library. I guess we'll see in the future.
Well - a bunch of these "older" books are available now as ebooks. So it may mean the revival of older books. It certainly makes them more accessible without hunting for a used copy, although the latter is a piece of cake nowadays.

Doesn't mean you will get any price break though. These days it's still way cheaper to find a used paperback copy.

Amazing - I looked up the ebook price for Hemmingway's classic hit "The Sun Also Rises" published in 1926 and I was absolutely floored to find the eBook edition price to be set at $11.99. This is close to new release hardback copies ($12.99) and higher than the paperback edition. You can get a good used paperback copy including shipping for $3.95.

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