We've heard plenty of stories about how the movie industry was freaking out about sending out "screener" copies of DVDs for the Academy Awards leading them to do things like send special DVDs that can only be played in special players or ban the use of screeners completely. However, would you ever expect the book industry to do the same thing? It's not digital copies they're worried about -- but apparently some publishers are so worried about the "secondary market" of people selling their review copies on eBay that they've trying to limit the practice. Copyfight notes that Neil Gaiman claims HarperCollins has only sent out 450 pre-release copies of his new book and each one is individually numbered to track it. This, clearly, isn't an across the board policy at Harper Collins as I have a package from them on my desk with a pre-release review copy that I received on Friday. Amusingly, it's a book where I already have a copy (I know the author, and he gave it to me personally), but as far as I can tell, the book has no specific numbering on it -- so this must be a more specialized case. Either way, you have to wonder what HarperCollins is really concerned about? Are there really going to be so many lost sales because some people sell the pre-release copies? Book publishers certainly have a history of not really understanding the internet, but this seems a bit ridiculous.
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