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Hachette Hits Libraries With 220% Price Increase On Its Ebooks

from the we-sell-books-for-a-living!-please-buy-fewer-titles-from-us! dept

Publishers are at it again, levying what amount to economic sanctions against that infamous freeloader hangout, The Library. In a move that will endear it to exactly no one, Hachette is increasing its back catalog prices 220% for ebooks, sticking it to the cherished public institutions whose shelves (including the digital ones) are lined with nothing but Lost Sales (apparently).

Hachette has been hard at work dragging its reputation through the mud. You may remember it from a few weeks ago, when it greeted Tor's announcement that it was going DRM-free with "HAHAHA but no, seriously, there will be DRM." This move seems ill-advised at best, what with some authors banding together to offer their titles to libraries for $dirt cheap, a price that falls more in line with the economic realities of the average library.

Hachette isn't the only publishing fish in the sea (and not even the only fish to jack up its prices -- Random House dialed its prices up 300% in March). Hachette is one of several publishers, many of whom haven't increased prices (or at least, not as severely). Of course, other publishers have gone other routes, including limiting the number of lends on their ebooks, making their digital offerings the equivalent of poorly manufactured physical books (Falls Apart After 26 Uses!). As a whole, the Big Six treat libraries like an intrusive vagrant.
So the current state of the library ebook market is this:
  • 2 major publishers which charge high prices (Hachette, Random House)
  • 2 major publishers which won’t sell at all (Macmillan, Simon & Schuster)
  • Penguin, which is only selling ebooks to libraries grudgingly and with support for the Kindle explicitly blocked
  • HarperCollins, which imposed a 26 checkout limit for library ebooks
I realize the publishers are running businesses, not charities, but those on the end of these price hikes are running something much closer to a charity than a business, relying on late fees, used book sales and donations to keep their shelves stocked. Considering many potential customers use libraries as tools for discovery, it would seem to be in their best interest to get as many of their titles in front of readers as possible, rather than price themselves out of a well-respected lending system.

Hachette's pricing "strategy" is doubly disappointing, considering it was once one of the "good guys:"
Hachette used to be one of the bright lights in library ebooks because they charged the regular retail price for their ebooks. And even though they wouldn’t sell their front list titles to libraries, at least we knew the titles would eventually be available. Only now those titles will be terribly expensive.
Christopher Harris, writing for the American Library Association, wonders if Hachette has forgotten how to publish.
Hachette is increasing backlist prices by 220% and … what? And we get ownership? And we get increased simultaneous lending? And we get anything other than another price gouge from a publisher that seems to not comprehend the basic fundamentals of publishing?

Let’s make this really easy to understand. Publishers publish content. Libraries buy content. As long as publishers keep publishing content, libraries will keep buying content. Why? Because libraries buy content. Only we buy it from a relatively fixed budget.

By drastically increasing the price of backlist titles, all Hachette is doing is reducing the funding that can go towards purchasing its new titles.
Harris points out that libraries aren't looking for handouts. They're looking for a mutually beneficial relationship, one that rewards publishers, readers and writers. But trying to turn a back catalog into a cash cow on the back of the library system helps no one.
That is why I cannot begin to comprehend this move by Hachette. Increasing backlist prices must either reduce the available budget for new titles or reduce acquisition of backlist titles—lost sales for Hachette either way. Furthermore, it reveals a lack of focus on the part of Hachette; instead of building profits on releasing the best possible titles every year, the company is stuck looking backwards. Finally, it shows a lack of understanding about the benefit of having more open access to backlist titles as additional entry points into new book purchases.
This short-sightedness seems to be more and more commonplace, especially in industries affected by digital disruption. The focus has shifted from building a sustainable business to concentrating on quarterly reports. Concentrating on immediate results tends to lead toward efforts that do far more long-term damage than any short-term gains can hope to balance out.


Reader Comments (rss)

 

Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it.
Response: Libraries are the classic gate OPENER. They make available to everyone more than any one person could ever have available to themselves or their families. Yes, Librarians choose and purchase what goes in the library, but they do so based on a vast number of reasons but ESPECIALLY based on popularity and patron request.

FAIL #2: Libraries take by force. No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not. The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money.
Response 2: Libraries are supported with tax dollars, yes. So are public schools even if you don't have kids, and roads even if you don't drive, and any number of things that you might not personally partake in but which make your life better by making your community better. Libraries mean: training for workers, literacy support for children, access to adult education, places to go for kids and teens, centers for government and municipal information, etc. etc. All of these make life better for EVERYONE even if you personally never walk in the door.

FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book.
Response: Libraries are the ultimate pro-green. One book can serve dozens, even hundreds of people. Most are on public transportation lines, and generally in any multi-branch system the placement is chosen to make sure there's a library within walking distance of the most possible people. And as this article points out, libraries WANT to provide ebooks, and ebook publishers are making it difficult to impossible.

FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it.
Oh, you can totally lend it to a friend. It's just you're responsible for what happens when it's out of your hands. Just like you would be if you borrowed a book from a friend and then lent it to someone else. As for relending of ebooks? Even when sold to a single person, publishers highly restrict this, allowing you to only lend some titles, and then only on the same system, and only once, and only for 14 days.

FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood.
Response: Librarians fight every day for anonymous lending. They wipe your record. They protect it from federal and state agencies. Librarians fought against the requirements of the PATRIOT act that would force them to give up library records without telling patrons. Yes, they want to keep track of the item that they bought so that they get it back and can thus not waste the public money that they are held accountable for. How terrible of them!

FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention.
Response: A librarian sleeps. Libraries do not. My library system has 24/7 online reference chat, always manned by living people. The catalog is always available, and you can request, renew, and suspend books any time of the day or night. eBook lending is also available 24/7.

As for your 'choice', There are people who cannot afford Kindles, nor can ANYONE but say, the heads of corporations, purchase every book that is available on that device. Greater access for anyone is good for everyone.
—footnotegirl

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 6:58am

    The focus has shifted from building a sustainable business to concentrating on quarterly reports. Concentrating on immediate results tends to lead toward efforts that do far more long-term damage than any short-term gains can hope to balance out.

    Kodak... Blockbuster.. HBO (?)... The examples earned the insightful trophy last week. It seems a few more big players will be dying sooner or later...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    You fail to mention the recent eFont crop shortage due to the hot summer we had. That's the real reason for costs to spike.
    Just wait until eFont crops get back to normal.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:33am

    best for libraries to get books from those publishers who are a bit more consumer friendly and a bit more savvy as to the impact these increases will have. so many businesses think that the only way to increase revenue is to up prices when in actual fact a reduction in prices means more sales, therefore more income and more profit. duh!!

     

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    MikeC (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    baen books all the way. they have released a good number of their older books for free on their site. including the bolos. which are awesome

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Libraries have been lending paper books since forever. Where has all this fuss been, all along?

    Oh, that's right, it is only digital that is the root of all evil.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:47am

     

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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Ok, lemme get this straight

    e-books cost less to create and cost much less to distribute.

    Soooo... , yep 220% more expensive sounds appropriate.

    What the hell is wrong with these assholes. If an e-book costs more than a paperback I will not buy it. Heck, I may just be so pissed off that I won't even buy the real paper version, or even read it from a library.

    Oh and as to all this whining about digital and its effect on "culture." Libraries are traditionally the great keepers of culture. You can not claim that your DRM, high prices, and other bullshit business practices "defend culture" if you are going to set yourself against Libraries. The publishers can go to hell for all I care.

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    It's funny how these large companies are scared that new technology trends will hurt them. So they do their best to dissuade people from it. Then they get hurt because they did not embrace new technology. Ha...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Re: Ok, lemme get this straight

    Here's the silly thing the indies going direct and selling at a nice deal to tons of libraries are probably reducing risk far more than by increasing prices.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:56am

    Say it with me!!!!!

    Infinite Goods!!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re: Say it with me!!!!!

    Starving Artists!!!!

     

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  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Why this sympathy for libraries?

    The only reason this blog likes libraries is because they offer a story line that helps the legal status of Big Search.

    If this blog were to apply its usual principles, it would choose the library as the failing, rusty industry being disrupted by a better business model.

    FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it.

    FAIL #2: Libraries take by force. No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not. The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money.

    FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book.

    FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it.

    FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood.

    FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention.

    There's no way around the simple economics. If you're going to share a book with N people, you've got to charge N times more to maintain the same revenue. If we're going to pay authors at the same level as before, we've got to raise library prices.

    So we've got a choice: cheaper books with something like a Kindle or some odd forced communism where we spend a tax dollars for books we might not like. I"ll take the Kindle and its simple way of rewarding the authors who people like.

     

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    Pixelation, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    But, but, but...

    the Kindle is killing book publishers. No wait, it's causing piracy. No wait, oh yeah... it's greed. Whew! Almost missed that.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    Re:

    The publishers have hated libraries for a long time, they just couldn't do anything about it before the advent of ebooks; you know, that whole pesky first-sale doctrine and all. They couldn't control the sale and distribution of paper books to libraries, but they can with ebooks (I'm thinking it might be time for a lawsuit against the publishers for unfair sales practices).

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re: Ok, lemme get this straight

    There's a reason people think this is crazy.

    You tell a business person, 'I can reduce your material costs to almost nothing. How would you like to proceed?' and they respond 'Increase the prices! Limit the use! Impose on the customer!'

    If your reaction to this is response is:

    -That does not sound right: Congratulations! You have good business sense.

    -That sounds right: To prevent running a business into the ground. Please defer business decisions to people with good business sense.

     

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    Chris Kellen (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    And so the trade industry continues to reinforce my buying policy: I'll follow the few trade writers that I've been following for years, but anything new for me has to come from either the indie market or Baen (for being awesome for so long). TOR is getting a slow re-evaluation since their DRM-drop, but they just haven't had much that's interesting lately.

    As it turns out, I'm not lacking for reading material, and I'm pretty sure that the last trade industry book I bought was "A Dance With Dragons" well over a year ago. My next one will be "Cold Days" (Jim Butcher) in November. After that... we'll see.

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:33am

    As a publisher they have got to decide if they are in the business of selling an Author's work, or in the business of selling paper.

    If you're selling paper, your like just SOL. Sorry, the whole green movement is against you and your renewable resource and digital versions of goods reduce demand for physical versions. If you want to continue on life you have in your former glory, get creative now.

    If you're Publisher, quit trying to shoot yourself in the foot, and accept the benefits of digital and quit making customers pay for your fears.

     

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    Jeff (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    off your meds again eh?

     

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    Mega1987 (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Well...
    the publishers just committed Economical Suicide....
    CONGRATULATION for your easy Darwin Award in the economy department.

     

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    Tim K (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Of course you have to throw in 'Big Search' into your mindless rant...


    If this blog were to apply its usual principles, it would choose the library as the failing, rusty industry being disrupted by a better business model.
    Libraries are trying to adapt, but they are being restricted by the publishers. If they were fighting the change, then maybe your argument(s) might make some sense, but as usual, they don't

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Your entire premise is broken.

    Libraries are a public service, not a business. Their primary function is to preserve culture and make it accessible to everyone.

    They are not competing in the marketplace.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    98% of media I have purchased - be it a movie, book, or music - I have seen, read, or heard first - for free, then later, I paid for a copy for myself.

    So - sure, don't put them in the libraries, doesn't matter to me. There is plenty of good, free content out there. Price yourself out of business, maybe it will leave more room for your competition, who's doing it better.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Let me start off by saying your comment is more full of fail/stupid than any comment you've written to date. So on to putting your brand of idiocy in it's place.

    "The only reason this blog likes libraries is because they offer a story line that helps the legal status of Big Search."

    No, bob, the reason this blog likes libraries is because they offer anyone the opportunity to enrich themselves freely. You can check out a book and read it for free. You can go use their computers to do work. You can take your children for summer reading programs.

    Basically, they provide a valuable service. One which the PUBLIC has no problem with. Hence the whole "public library" thing.

    "FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it."

    Oh my god. Only you would have the gall to call a library a gatekeeper. They are not gatekeepers. And I don't think you know what that word means. I'm not going to discuss this point further, but suffice it to say "YOU FAIL" on it.

    "FAIL #2: Libraries take by force. No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not. The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money."

    Libraries DO NOT take by force. Libraries are a public place/service. The tax collector also uses your tax dollars on parks, roads, schools, etc. Do you personally have children? Because I don't, yet my tax dollars go to funding public education. See what I'm getting at here? We all pay for things that are for the public good. But in no way are libraries directly taking money from my wallet against my will.

    bob, I said it last week and I'll say it again, maybe YOU should go to a public library. Grab a few books, newspapers, etc and start fucking learning a thing or two. Your stupid scares me.

    "FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book."

    And what do you think movies and cds are? You've got to go to the theater, you've got to go to Big Retail (as you'd put it) to purchase the physical discs, etc. And what about getting the products out to the market? Shipped using Big Trucking. Etc.

    Again, this is another point that is so retarded I can't believe you tried to use it as a mark against libraries.

    "FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it."

    Digital rights management (DRM) is a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale.

    That is the definition of DRM. In no way do libraries have DRM with the exception of their ebook offerings, and their use of DRM is done basically through force and at the behest of the publishers, otherwise they (the publishers, actual gatekeepers) will withhold content.

    But you can still lend out a book. You can either do it by returning it and letting your friend check it out. Or, by handing it over to your friend anyway. There's no library police spying on you 24/7 to make sure you don't lend it out. It goes against the spirit of things but there's no one preventing you from doing so.

    "FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood."

    No, you don't have to live in the right neighborhood. Using my library card I can check out anything from any public library in all of South Texas. I don't live in all of South Texas. I live in one city, in one county. Yet I can check anything out from any other city in any other county (even some that are hours away).

    And the whole point of "registration" is to get a library card. That's it. So it's not some nefarious thing to prevent anonymity.

    "FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention."

    Jesus christ. I'm ignoring this "brilliant" point as well. Someone else deal with the stupid on this one.

    But just fyi, there are libraries online. And by that I mean actual public libraries. You can check out or reserve content in advance and pick it up as soon as they open. So while you may not be able to go to your local library 24/7, you are free to access their content in a manner of speaking 24/7. For some that is. But slowly more libraries are going "online".

    "There's no way around the simple economics. If you're going to share a book with N people, you've got to charge N times more to maintain the same revenue. If we're going to pay authors at the same level as before, we've got to raise library prices."

    bob, there's no difference between a physical book and an ebook. Especially as it pertains to libraries. X amount of people will check them out. But the sale has been made. Or donation. You can't charge more for one than the other. It makes no sense. Especially when one is a digital file that cost next to nothing to produce.

    "So we've got a choice: cheaper books with something like a Kindle or some odd forced communism where we spend a tax dollars for books we might not like. I"ll take the Kindle and its simple way of rewarding the authors who people like."

    Wtf? Did you just bring up communism in an ebook price hike on libraries brought about by publishers? Seriously, seek professional help. You've got some serious issues.

    I'm done with you. I think I'm going to see if I can get my brain scrubbed. I fear your stupidity may have destroyed more brain cells than all the alcohol I've drank in my life ever has.

    And please. Like you'd use a Kindle. That's made by Big Hardware, and it's core operating system is built upon an OS provided by Big Search. Not to mention the fact that Big Retail (Amazon) is "forcing" you into their DRM system. Or were you not aware that Amazon uses proprietary formats to get you said content?

    God I hate you. When the hell can we get Lion Day going, because some "brilliance" needs to be culled before it further spreads among the gene pool. Please, DO NOT HAVE KIDS. I'm aiming that at you bob.

     

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    Tim K (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention."

    Jesus christ. I'm ignoring this "brilliant" point as well. Someone else deal with the stupid on this one.


    Aren't the publishers trying to make it so people have to go to libraries to check out e-books? Libraries currently let you check out e-books from home (which makes sense) and so would be 24 hours.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    If the library were a business, then you would be correct. But it's not a business. Not everything in this world exists to make money.

     

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    Overcast (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    It's funny, a basic simple question on this whole concept here...

    Where would the music industry be without Radio?
    Where would the movie industry be without broadcast TV?
    Where would a publisher be without libraries?

    How do these 'geniuses' at these media companies think customers discover their product? Telepathy? Luck? Random Change?

     

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    footnotegirl, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it.
    Response: Libraries are the classic gate OPENER. They make available to everyone more than any one person could ever have available to themselves or their families. Yes, Librarians choose and purchase what goes in the library, but they do so based on a vast number of reasons but ESPECIALLY based on popularity and patron request.

    FAIL #2: Libraries take by force. No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not. The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money.
    Response 2: Libraries are supported with tax dollars, yes. So are public schools even if you don't have kids, and roads even if you don't drive, and any number of things that you might not personally partake in but which make your life better by making your community better. Libraries mean: training for workers, literacy support for children, access to adult education, places to go for kids and teens, centers for government and municipal information, etc. etc. All of these make life better for EVERYONE even if you personally never walk in the door.

    FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book.
    Response: Libraries are the ultimate pro-green. One book can serve dozens, even hundreds of people. Most are on public transportation lines, and generally in any multi-branch system the placement is chosen to make sure there's a library within walking distance of the most possible people. And as this article points out, libraries WANT to provide ebooks, and ebook publishers are making it difficult to impossible.

    FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it.
    Oh, you can totally lend it to a friend. It's just you're responsible for what happens when it's out of your hands. Just like you would be if you borrowed a book from a friend and then lent it to someone else. As for relending of ebooks? Even when sold to a single person, publishers highly restrict this, allowing you to only lend some titles, and then only on the same system, and only once, and only for 14 days.

    FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood.
    Response: Librarians fight every day for anonymous lending. They wipe your record. They protect it from federal and state agencies. Librarians fought against the requirements of the PATRIOT act that would force them to give up library records without telling patrons. Yes, they want to keep track of the item that they bought so that they get it back and can thus not waste the public money that they are held accountable for. How terrible of them!

    FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention.
    Response: A librarian sleeps. Libraries do not. My library system has 24/7 online reference chat, always manned by living people. The catalog is always available, and you can request, renew, and suspend books any time of the day or night. eBook lending is also available 24/7.

    As for your 'choice', There are people who cannot afford Kindles, nor can ANYONE but say, the heads of corporations, purchase every book that is available on that device. Greater access for anyone is good for everyone.

     

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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper.
    Many libraries ask their subscribers what they want. All libraries run stats on which books are taken out more often and then buy more from those authors.

    FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book.
    Libraries love ebooks: smaller operating costs, smaller and cheaper buildings with larger collections. If only publishers would play ball.

    FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it.
    You can for paper books, though you remain responsible for returning it. You can't for ebooks, but publishers are responsible for that.

    FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending.FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention.
    Have you been to a library in the last 10 years? Aside from picking up a physical books, everything else can be done online. Most libraries will even ship the book you want to the branch nearest to your home.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Actually, yes, publishers are trying to make it so people have to physically go to the libraries to check out ebooks.

    There was an option, for some libraries, to check them out online but the publishers went nuts over that.

    The libraries even made it exactly like checking out a physical book. They purchased X amount of copies of ebooks and only one person at a time could "check out" said book. And it would be "returned" on X number of days.

    But the publishers freaked out over that as well.

    Their first attempts were worse than this. Ebooks were purchased at a markup, then had insane restrictions put in place on them. Book A could only be "checked out" 3 times before the library had to buy a "new" copy. And Book A could only be checked out for 3 days or so.

    Things like that, which failed miserably and which the libraries basically said in response to, "F*ck it. We'll just do without. Lost sale right there, buddies. Way to get your products out there in a manner convenient with technological advances."

     

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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:53am

    Re:

    I am right there with you. Though "Dance with Dragons" was paid by a giftcard.

     

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  31.  
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    Melany, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    ebook pricing

    I'd love to see all libraries across the USA not purchase anything from publishers for about 3 months straight. Just have the whole library world stop their automatic purchases and their orders.

    I think libraries really have kept publishers afloat when times were bad. We keep people reading and get them hooked on authors and subjects.

    Since we've closed most of the local book stores, who else is selling books out there to consumers. Amazon to the individual, but publishers sell to libraries and schools. That is their biggest money maker.

    I wish libraries would really do something as one to make things change in this area. Where is ALA's voice when we need it?

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    #1) Libraries have inter-library loans and I have never, ever found a book that wasn't available for free.

    #2) Libraries are locally funded. Local governments have a close to a true representative government as possible. You choose to participate in a library by voting or not voting.

    #3) Library books are greener than printing many copies of the same book.

    #4) Blatantly false. You simply have to return the book by the due date. You can lend it to ALL your friends, as long as you return it on time.

    #5) Tragedy of the commons. Look it up. And you are a lying liar when you imply that living in a bad neighborhood precludes you from library membership. That is a lie. Libraries are available for all to use. It's a lie that has class warfare and racism at its roots, and you should be ashamed of yourself for even attempting it.

    #6) Most libraries are on the internet. You can browse and request books any time, and check out eBooks 24 hours a day.

    Additional Complete Fabrications:

    -Libraries are not a rusty failing industry. They're not an industry at all.

    -Libraries are not communistic. There is no control of the means of production and no unrepresented seizure of personal property. Representative democracies at the local level

    -Libraries offer some contrast to heavy-handed copyright enforcement, but has nothing to do with Big Search. And as an aside, you don't mean Big Search - you mean Google, since a) there's no one else that is very Big and b)Big IndustryX itself is a bullshit made-up term that douches use to make industry sound scarier.

    -The doctrine of first sale is a way around your so-called "simple economics". There is no reason that it should apply to regular books only and not e-books. When a library buys an e-book, they handle checkouts the same way as a physical book. One person has the file assigned to them by the library, the file is locked and deleted when the checkout time is up.

    -Libraries allow people to find out "who people like" before they spend money. You want to reward authors? Give people an easy and legal way to check them out and try new things without getting burned. Like a library. The alternative to libraries is not purchasing books without knowing about them. The alternative is piracy. Which one do you prefer?

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    [reads and looks at the excellent responses made to the "Fails"]

    I... I think I love you.

     

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  34.  
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    Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it.

    We're not gatekeepers so much as tour guides. And, interlibrary loan can get you just about anything.

    FAIL #2: Libraries take by force. No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not. The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money.

    There are roads I don't drive on that I've paid for. Cops whose services I don't need whose salaries I pay for. etc.

    FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book.

    Take a bus. Or, if you are disabled or elderly, sign up for home service.

    FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it.

    You have a loan period. Maybe well-thought out, maybe a bit arbitrary. While you are borrowing it, you can lend it to anyone you want. As long as it comes back in time in decent condition, you can lend it to everyone you know.

    FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood.

    Most states have a section in their statutes that SPECIFICALLY states that library patron records are PRIVATE. A library staff member cannot tell you what your spouse has out on his/her card. Seriously. You have to prove you are a child's parent, or an adult's guardian, or have a warrant to get someone's records. And, as far as residency, it depends upon taxes and policies. I can't call for a cop outside my jurisdiction to come help me with a burglary just because they are better cops than the ones in my district.

    FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention.

    Library web sites don't. If we could get decent contracts at a reasonable price we could buy all sorts of nifty stuff for you to download at 2am.

     

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    Sneeje (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Say it with me!!!!!

    You mean, Starving Gatekeepers!!!!

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    I hope you all realize that Mike pays bob to come here and make stupid comments so that you'll get angry and keep coming back to TechDirt for more.

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    #1. Almost all libraries allow requests for book purchases--plus, I can check out any book from any library in my state, shipped to my local branch--free of charge--and from other states/countries for a nominal fee. Not much gatekeeping going on here.

    #2. All taxpayer funded programs operate this way. I wish I could earmark more of my tax dollars to fund things like libraries and schools, and less for wasteful military spending.

    #3. The same goes for any business with a physical location. But you don't have to leave your house to check out ebooks from your library.

    #4. I lend books I checked out from the library to family/close friends all the time.

    #5. This is necessary for the proper collection and allocation of funds and correct use of facilities. They don't allow anonymous driving for these reasons either.

    #6. If there was enough interest/use of the library facilities at off hours, I can guarantee they'd be open. The ebook side is already 24-7-365.

    No, you don't get to charge more to maintain your profits--you have to figure out how to sell more--economics 101.

    But since agency pricing came out, ebooks haven't been cheaper (sometimes they've been more expensive)

    As to spending tax dollars on books I might not like--our libraries are for everyone--not just me--I'm willing to spend a little money to share my love of reading.

    How do libraries not reward authors? I would think having my books read and enjoyed by the largest possible audience would be plenty rewarding. And if your looking for the monetary reward--almost all the authors whose books I purchase, I discovered them at--can you guess it?--the public library. Without the public library, I would be purchasing less than half of what I'm currently spending on books.

    Now how does hurting public libraries help the authors/publishers again? It makes more long term sense to give libraries discounts on books, or even--gasp, communism--give them books for free to increase readership and increase future sales (because people who love to read, love to buy books). But the publishers don't look like they want to increase future sales--It almost looks like their executives can see the writing on the wall, and are making as much profit as they can now to line their golden parachutes for when it all comes crashing down around their heads.

    How this ties into big search? I don't know, and I'm not willing to smoke whatever it is your smokin' to find out.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "FAIL#1: Libraries are the classic gatekeeper. No one reads anything unless the librarian buys it."
    YOU FAIL #1: Somebody has purchased the copy. Publisher profits. I read the copy for free. I profit. Win-Win situation.

    "FAIL #2: Libraries take by force."
    YOU FAIL #2: Really? What has any library "taken" from you, boy?

    "FAIL #2a: No one chooses whether they participate in a library or not."
    YOU FAIL #2a:Yes, they do. They either go or don't go. No one compels them to do so.

    "FAIL #2b: The tax collector grabs the money from you whether you go or not. It doesn't matter whether you can't read or don't want to read, the library takes your money."
    YOU FAIL #2b:The tax collector "also grabs the money from you" and applies it to things like police and firemen and mass transit whether you use them or not. If you have a problem with that, you're un-American.

    "FAIL #3: Libraries are anti-green. You've got to go to get the book."

    YOU FAIL #3: Take Mass Transit, use a bike, or walk.

    "FAIL #4: Librarians love their form of DRM. You want to lend a library book to a friend? You can't do it. You've got to bring it back and let them relend it."
    YOU FAIL #4: Libraries could care less if you dupe the book as long as they get their copy back to pass on to the next reader.

    "FAIL #5: Librarians don't believe in anonymous lending. You've got to register to take out a book and you better live in the right neighborhood."
    YOU FAIL #5: Lending is lending. Anonymity is irrelevant. And you can be from anywhere in a given city to borrow a book from ANY branch of that city's library.

    "FAIL #6: Librarians sleep. The Internet is a 24 hour invention."
    YOU FAIL #6: Librarians and ALL humans sleep. You, apparently don't, or you wouldn't show such surprise at the concept. Therefore you are not a human and, thus irrelevant to the discussion of human foibles, since you know nothing of them.

    Got anything else, boy?

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Fucking ouch... the shear amount of stupid/fail in this comment made me lose 50 IQ points trying to make sense.... THANKS BOB... THANKS SO MUCH FOR MAKING ME A DROOLING IDIOT, NOW WHERE DO I VOTE AGAIN?

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    "Lending" data files is one of those insane contrivances brought about by copyright laws.

    Nobody in a free-market environment would give people copies of files (or anything else for that matter) and then actually expect them to destroy them after X days. And only the excesses of copyright laws allow one to bundle the files with software designed to "self-destruct" those files and expect people not to fix that little problem.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "There's no way around the simple economics. If you're going to share a book with N people, you've got to charge N times more to maintain the same revenue. If we're going to pay authors at the same level as before, we've got to raise library prices."

    The stupid in this post has already been widely addressed, but I wanted to add to the chorus on this point. This myth is the crux of so much of the copyright-maximalist dogma. The assumption here is that "sharing a book N times" results in fewer sales by a factor of N, as though every single person you shared it with was a lost sale. Totally, self-evidently false. Most of those N people would never even had heard of the book otherwise, let alone bought their own copy. If anything, sharing a book with N friends increases the books sales by exposing more people to it, and to the author's other works.

    The much cited statisitics seem to indicate that 2-5% of the people who access content for free (samples, demos, free-to-play games, radio listeners etc.) will become paying customers. If that's true, then don't you want that to be 2-5% of the largest possible audience you can reach?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Indeed, epic win.

    Still, bob managed to write so many absurds in one post that I'm convinced it's just some TD reader doing it on purpose just to cause controversy. Yeah. And he/she is doing it right!

     

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    slick8086, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    >I realize the publishers are running businesses,

    not very well, and probably not for much longer.

    Publishers are dead long live the author.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    The Big Content MAFIAA Publishers can kiss my dog's rearend.They are dead meat flogging a dead horse.
    Libraries are great places.That was how I discovered Books and Reading good Books.The first Library I got to get Books from was the Traveling kind in the 60's that would pull up in front of the Elementary School.I would take out all the Books I could that were scifi and had the Cartoon 60's Rocket Stamp on the Binder.
    Thank You Libraries for Enriching my mind and the minds of millions of Citizens.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Wrong. We only support libraries because we love shark attacks.

    FACT #1 - Libraries contain many books about sharks, but none about surviving a shark attack in a library.

    FACT #2 - The average library is large enough to house a great white shark if filled with water, and most libraries have several windows through which one could fit a hose.

    FACT #3 - No shark attack has ever occurred in a library, so we're due for one.

    FACT #4 - If you turn the letters of the word library into numbers and add them up, you get a figure with no significance to sharks whatsoever, which is almost certainly a ploy by librarians to throw numerologists off their trail

    FACT #5 - Sharks have multiple rows of teeth and libraries have multiple rows of shelves. Coincidence?

    FACT #6 - Libraries close, but sharks are a 24-hour species. They could easily break in at night, is what I'm saying.

     

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    RonKaminsky (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    I think it would be great if Baen decided to take advantage of the short-sightedness of some other publishers by giving libraries a much better deal (I don't see why they wouldn't sell their ebooks to libraries at the same reasonable prices they sell to the public, and let the libraries lend each ebook out an unlimited number of times, just not in parallel).

    Their lack of DRM would also make it much easier for the libraries with respect to technical problems.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Wow, bob. I thought you were an idiot before, but you make people in mental hospitals look like Nobel prizes winners. You know, there's such a thing as too much resentment? You've got so much resentment for libraries, it's like a train wreck.

    Why don't you go crawl to John Steele and ask him for help on how to peddle your "product"?

     

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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    1) So they take surveys. So did all of the old publishers and music companies yet everyone around here was happy to call them gatekeepers. Face it. No one reads anything at a library unless the librarian approves. If you're lucky, the librarian will approve your request, but you're not going to be reading it at the library without that approval.

    4) Uh, no. Have you tried to lend a book to a friend? I was just at the library last week and you can't do it. It has nothing to do with the publishers. They have to track their physical inventory.

    5) So what if things can be done online? My point was about anonymity. They want your name and they won't budge on that.

     

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    Bengie, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Law

    It should be law in the USA, to release a book/etc, it must be accessible via Libraries in a DRM-free way.

     

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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh adapt? No. They're trying to keep a grip on their jobs because there's no need for them. Between the search engines, Project Gutenberg, the Google Book Project and Amazon, there's no reason to have libraries. You can do everything you want with a Kindle and for less money.

    Do you know how much libraries spend? $30 per capita in the US and most of that is on energy bills, salaries and other overhead.

    http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet04

    We could give everyone in America a Kindle every three years and have $10 left over for them to spend on content. (At current prices. We could probably get a volume discount.)

    We wouldn't have to drive to the place. We wouldn't have to wait for the librarian gatekeepers to approve their reading list. Libraries are the places that are obsolete.

     

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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Preserve culture? Then why are they selling so many old books on that rack outside my library? Have you heard of "culling"? It's very controversial, but most libraries gave up on preserving anything a long time ago. Oh sure, there are a few holdouts, but most just cull as soon as they can get something off the shelf. They need the space. Given a choice between stocking a few best sellers, funding their pensions, and preserving culture, you can guess which lost out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    LOL this is the most realistic Pirate Mike conspiracy theory I've seen yet. +1

     

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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Oh come on, you're biased.

    Let's just handle his first one. It's cute to call libraries gate openers, but they definitely keep a firm handle on what gets purchased. They certainly survey their customers and take requests, but so do radio stations, record stores, classic publishers and all of the old media. Everyone around here loves to use the word "gatekeeper" for the old media. Does this mean I can start calling some publisher a gate opener if they just publish some book that came over the transom?

    The libraries are sooo rusty and un-Internet, I'm surprised that the EFF isn't fighting their drain on public resources and complaining about the librarians that are censoring the publishers by not purchasing everything.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Spend the Money on Something Else

    Libraries don't have unlimited resources. It has become apparent that trying to negotiate with the "Big Six" publishers is a fool's errand. So let the libraries zero out their book-buying, and put the money into other programs, such as Maker Spaces instead. The libraries will still have their existing paper books, and lend them, but they won't buy any more. In particular, they should zero out the purchase of expensive technical books conveying information readily available on the internet. That will cause the publishers a lot of pain.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    bob, apparently you haven't been paying attention. We have ALWAYS said that there is still a place for "radio stations, record stores, classic publishers and all of the old media"

    You are building a ridiculous straw-man by claiming we are opposed to those things on principle.

    Our point has always been that they need to use their middleman position to be enablers and curators more than gatekeepers. That can be a difficult thing to measure, but it can be as simple as a small change in philosophy and approach. And that's exactly what libraries do -- they enable the dissemination of culture and knowledge as much as possible. That's why we fund them. Yes, they have a curation role -- and they use it to work to ensure the greatest public good possible with their limited resources. They don't use it to ensconce and enhance their own power and profits, which is what a "gatekeeper" does.

     

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    MahaliaShere (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:16am

    Re: ebook pricing

    As far as I know, all ALA is doing is decrying the decision.

     

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    Machin Shin (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Your going after a library for wanting your name and yet you are in love with a Kindle? Yeah... I'm sure Amazon sent you that Kindle and regularly sell you books without wanting your name....

    Of course libraries want your name you moron. Otherwise all a library would be is a collection of free firewood for homeless. Walk in, grab a hand full of books and tada you will be warm for the night... They have to track who has their property so they can at least halfway try and keep up with it.

     

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  58.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    You clearly don't read very interesting things, do you? Let's do some math with these numbers:

    http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet04

    $11b was spent in FY09 of which only 12% was spent on content. That's only $1.3b. At an average price of $20 per unit, that's 65m items. As there are about 2700 libraries in the survey, that's an average of 24,000 books per library. There's little room for them to stock every book.

    Chicago, one of the biggest public libraries, has 5.8m volumes. Sounds like a lot? There are estimated to be 15m ISBN numbers issued in 2012 alone.

    http://ptbertram.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/how-many-books-are-going-to-be-published-in-2012-prepa re-for-a-shock/

    There's no way the libraries even come close.

    2) Being locally funded or being democratic doesn't make it any less of a gatekeeper. So they're slightly more responsive? They're still in charge of who reads what.

    3) So they're greener than printing many copies. We're in the digital age now. That doesn't matter. The ereaders are greener still.

    4) It's not false. If the other person loses it, you're on the hook. If you don't check with the gatekeeper, you're responsible.

    5) I said nothing about whether the neighborhood was good or bad. If I don't have a house in a neighborhood, if I can't prove residency, I can't take out books. No card, no books.

    6) So what if they're on the Internet. You can only take out ebooks and they're resisting paying their fair share of development costs.

    And you better look up communism before you make any claims about the libraries. The Soviet Union had a representative democracy that voted for taxes. They're even more centralized bastions of power.

    Of course I like libraries better than raw pirates. I'm just pointing out that libraries have all of the features that this blog usually decries. But they have a blind spot here and I felt like pointing it out.

     

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  59.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    You can browse books from Project Gutenberg anonymously on the Kindle. You can also side load them. You only need to give your name if you purchase something directly from Amazon.

    And I only point out the anonymity because this blog is constantly claiming that anonymous access to the Internet is essential. While I agree that it's quite useful for many political reasons, I'm sure that the loons around here love it because it's cover for their torrent streams.

     

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  60.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    This blog constantly complains about taxpayer money being used to police copyright infringement. They insist that it should be private. My point is that if the blog wanted to be consistent, it would lambaste the libraries for using taxpayer money to help out the small fraction of society that reads.

     

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    ottonomy (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    ...and unlimited library checkouts are worse than $10 worth of kindle content for each person how?

    Your understanding of what libraries do is pretty outdated, besides.

     

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  62.  
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    Digitari, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Law

    it should be a law that it is FREE to the library of congress that can then make copies for libraries (copyright is a mandate of congress)

    The library of congress should be making copies to libraries all over america..of all print(ed) material

     

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  63.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "The tax collector "also grabs the money from you" and applies it to things like police and firemen and mass transit whether you use them or not. If you have a problem with that, you're un-American."

    Uh, this blog constantly complains when the police lift a finger to prosecute anyone for copyright infringement. I guess that makes them unAmerican.

    I don't make up the principles, I just repeat them.

     

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  64.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    This is what Hachette was trying to work around. They tripled the price and gave the libraries the chance for unlimited loans. Yet even that's not enough for the greedy people who never want to pay.

    And giving a small sample away is different from letting people read the entire book for free at the library. In the past, the physical nature of the book limited consumption and produced a decent compromise that everyone could live with.

    Now the greedy cheapass jerks around here want all of the advantages of the digital revolution to benefit themselves.

    The fact is that asking all N people to pay a small amount is a very fair way to spread out the costs. It makes more sense than asking some central bureaucracy to pay N times as much while hoping that N people will read it.

     

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    MahaliaShere (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Pirate Leigh in the pockets of Big Jaws!

     

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  66.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:46am

    Re: Ok, lemme get this straight

    Uh, without the money going to the publishers, the publishers wouldn't have anything to go to the authors. Without money, authors wouldn't have time to write. If you want to defend culture, you've got to begin with letting the authors earn a living wage.

    The simplest way for that to happen is for each reader to put a bit of money into the cup when they read the book. The more the costs can be shared, the lower they can be. We're already seeing publishers experimenting with 99 cent books and that's all because they don't have to worry about them being re-used.

     

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  67.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    What resentment? I just learned that gatekeepers were bad here and so I applied my education. Isn't that okay?

     

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  68.  
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    Tim K (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh, no. Have you tried to lend a book to a friend? I was just at the library last week and you can't do it. It has nothing to do with the publishers. They have to track their physical inventory.

    What library do you go to where they watch every move you make with the book? How the hell can they stop you from giving the book to a friend to read before you (or even your friend) return it?

     

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  69.  
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    Tim K (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Taxpayer money which is used to provide Taxpayers (ie everyone in the country) access to the libraries. Not taxpayer money used to provide private corporate policing. There is a big difference there

     

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  70.  
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    bob, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh, can you show me one time that you used the word "gatekeeper" in a positive way? Can you show me anytime when you said that it would be great if the old publishers maintained their gatekeeper status?

    And so what if they also curate and enable? The same could be said about old newspapers and yet you've had nothing but scorn for the old journalists. Here's just one example of how much you love their gatekeeper style:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110706/00180414982/old-gatekeeper-journalism-vs-new-ope n-journalism.shtml

    Face it. Most libraries continue to resist stocking much literature from niche groups. Most libraries refuse to stock anything too lewd that might endanger their budget. They're gatekeepers and they want to keep the tax money that enables their jobs.

     

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  71.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh, this blog constantly complains when the police lift a finger to prosecute anyone for copyright infringement. I guess that makes them unAmerican.

    No, bob, the point is that you evaluate the merit of tax-funded things based on how much they contribute to the public good as a whole, rather than your personal benefit. Our dispute with tax-funded copyright enforcement is based on the fact that we do not think it serves the public.

     

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  72.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 10:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh, can you show me one time that you used the word "gatekeeper" in a positive way? Can you show me anytime when you said that it would be great if the old publishers maintained their gatekeeper status?

    Did you even read my comment? No, we have never defended gatekeepers - however we have distinguihsed between gatekeepers and enablers, and we have also repeatedly stated that there is still a role for curation

    And so what if they also curate and enable? The same could be said about old newspapers and yet you've had nothing but scorn for the old journalists.

    There's plenty of value in skilled journalists and newspapers. As long as they recognize that they don't control the news cycle anymore... as long as they don't try to be gatekeepers. That's the whole point, and you're wilfully ignoring it.

    Go back and read my comment -- slowly this time -- and try replying again (preferably to what I actually said this time)

     

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  73.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    dog damn, you're such a tool:
    libraries are obsolete, cut all their funding ! ! !

    wah, wah, wah, libraries are giving away/selling their books because they don't have enough money to keep the shelf space for all the books ever made in the his story of the universe, The Bastards ! ! !

    not worth it to get into the dozens of contradictions, rank hypocrisy, and faulty reasoning you engage in; not that you'll listen anyway...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

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  74.  
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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    1) I'll grant that libraries can appear as gatekeepers. We'd need to get a better definition of the word to properly argue this point.

    4) I have lend a book to a friend. I borrow a new best-seller and read it in 3 days. Since I can keep the book for 3 weeks, there is plenty of time for my friend to read it as well. When he is done, he either returns the book to me, or drops it off in a library. Though, if he were to loose it, I'd be the one to pay for it.

    5) Books cost money and libraries have small budgets, knowing who they are lending to is unavoidable. Comparison to Gutenberg is not fair. All of those books are free (because they are in public domain). Libraries would love to give away copies of ebooks anonymously, but they are not allowed to.

     

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  75.  
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    Zos (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Once they've driven the libraries into extinction, the only keepers of culture left, will be the pirates.
    I saw an interesting thing after demonoid went down, as the refugees spread out to other sites.

    Movies, games, music, none of those even suffered a bump, since they're available everywhere...but books. Books were what made the noid special. Fiction, nonfiction, comics, romance, Advanced reader copies, ancient RPG source books...they were all there, and then they weren't.

    You know what the reaction was? We got pissed. I've spoken to dozens of people who had never uploaded a torrent in thir life.... until the 'noid went down. Now they're uploading their libraries everywhere they can find, to ensure that books stay available to whoever wants or needs them.

    Pyrrhic victory...they kill off a site, and inspire hundreds more to share even more, in even more places. Libraries (unfortunantly) are already pretty much irrelevant, and the gap increases by the day. Holding back your ebooks, jacking up prices, makes it so they won't work on my platform, or they won't be available when someone wants them doesn't get publishers a sale... it gets publishers the same disgust and hatred we feel for the music and movie gatekeepers.

    it creates a new pirate, another consumer who's looking forward to pissing on their grave.

     

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  76.  
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    Jeff (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Shark Week in August, and "Library Card Sign Up Month" in September?!?!?

    Amazing Coincidence?!?!11?!?


    I think not!!!

     

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  77.  
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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Why would you think that libraries are "resisting paying their fare share of development costs?" Wouldn't the market price be the "fair" price in your book? And the last time I checked, libraries are paying what the publishers charge. They may not like it, but they pay.

     

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  78.  
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    Jeff (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    You need to get a refund then...

     

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  79.  
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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Are you saying that using public money to support literacy is a bad thing?

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "This blog constantly complains about taxpayer money being used to police copyright infringement. They insist that it should be private."

    And the reason this blog complains, bob, is because there are more important things going on than worrying about who is copying a movie or cd. There are legitimate and more dangerous crimes being committed on a daily basis, yet tax payer money is going to certain agencies to act as the copyright police on the behalf of private corporations.

    You see, when you are a private corporation, it is YOUR job to do things that are in YOUR best interest. Not anyone else's job, and certainly not anyone else's job to pay for.

    That is the problem and that is the reason for complaint.

    "My point is that if the blog wanted to be consistent, it would lambaste the libraries for using taxpayer money to help out the small fraction of society that reads."

    No, bob, it wouldn't. Because again, as has been pointed out repeatedly in response to your earlier stupidity, the public has spoken regarding libraries. And the majority of the public has no problem with them.

    And I assure you, it is anything but a small fraction of society that reads.

    Every day people read at least something. It might be the back of a cereal box or a magazine or a book. But people read. Most for enjoyment and/or education. Thus, the majority of people have no problem with the fact that a portion of their taxes goes towards libraries which are beneficial and readily/easily accessible to anyone with the desire to go to one.

    Seriously, stfu already. You're starting to look worse and worse. How someone can hate libraries as much as you apparently do is beyond me. But it's not surprising. You rail against libraries, which provide things freely to the public. Yet you applaud the actions of corporations that have been doing everything in their power to deny the public what is rightfully theirs, namely content (which is being more and more prevented from entering the public domain, which was the whole point of copyright in the first place... an evil being done for the benefit of the greater good overall).

     

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  81.  
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    AdamF (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    No, they are not. They are trying to gouge libraries. You can purchase a physical book in a bookstore and then lend it anybody you want. If publishers tried to charge libraries extra, they would simply start buying through Amazon.

    But ebooks are licensed and not sold. Nobody can lend their ebook to another person without express permission from the publisher. So they can charge different prices to different classes of buyers. As the above article correctly points out, libraries work with fixed budgets. They will simply buy fewer ebooks, slowing down the digital revolution in publishing, which is the point!

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    As long as copyright does not exist, that argument can actually make sense! Welcome back.
    Your friend Average_joe was too logical about it and forced you to think if you wanted to shoot him down.
    I think you lacked some of the ad hominem to really make this post good, but in general I like it: 7/10.

    Everyone is a critic today, I know!

     

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  83.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    They're trying to keep a grip on their jobs because there's no need for them.


    If you think there's no need for libraries, then you don't have the first clue what the main purpose of libraries is. Hint #1: they're only tangentially about lending books. Hint #2: most major corporations and many small businesses shell out good money to staff and maintain their own private libraries that specialize in that company's literature and history.

     

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  84.  
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    anon, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    ebooks

    Was it not just recently that libraries said they will be buying ebooks from organisations that have absolutely no connection to the big publishers, maybe introducing readers to a whole new market of Authors.
    I would pity the big publishers , they have such a hard job convincing people to pay for there books , now in there blindness and greed they are making themselves become irrelevant in the book market.

     

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  85.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    I'm sure that the loons around here love it because it's cover for their torrent streams.


    That's simply insane.

    Anyone who is into piracy will always be able to do so anonymously, whether "anonymous access to the internet" is supported or not.

    Pirates have no dogs in the anonymity fight.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    You displayed your resentment for libraries a long time ago prior to mention about gatekeepers in another library article - so whatever "education" you received is useless. Your application is abysmal, your analogies are irrelevant - oh, wait a minute. That's how you always post, you John-Steele-supporting berk.

     

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  87.  
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    MahaliaShere (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    If you've learned something, you might consider possibly experimenting with some new business models. Going to release any of your work under a Creative Commons license? Reduce the price a bit? Remove the DRM for a limited time? Connect with some fans? Or try to turn some Techdirt readers into fans?

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward of Esteemed Trolling (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:05pm

    What we got here..........

    A good old fashioned shitstorm.

     

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  89.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Yes, because a literate. informed populace wont buy his corporate overlords line of hogwash so easily.

     

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  90.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Uh adapt? No. They're trying to keep a grip on their jobs because there's no need for them. Between the search engines, Project Gutenberg, the Google Book Project and Amazon, there's no reason to have libraries. You can do everything you want with a Kindle and for less money.

    My library has an awful lot of computers which are free to use in order to access things like Project Gutenberg, Google Book Project, and Amazon. They have gotten rid of a couple stacks to make room for computers.

     

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  91.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "The libraries are soooo rusty and un-Internet"

    Rusty? What does that mean? and un-internet? I'm like...seriously trying to process what you mean here. How can they be un-internet (correct grammatical term would be anti-Internet) if THEY OFFER FREE INTERNET ACCESS! Not once, in the last ten years at least, have I stepped into a library and NOT seen at least one computer with net access that is free for me to use.
    bob, that one line says two very important things about you
    1) You've clearly never been to a library
    2) You rush in to comment on Techdirt tits first, without applying any sort of thought to what you're writing. You see an article, see the buzzwords like publisher, copyright and DRM then just proceed to vomit forth comments that should be declared crimes against nature, for reading anything you write kills brain cells. My brain cells commit hara kiri (look it up in your local library or just Big Search it to see what that means...did I seriously just ask BOB to do that?) whenever you post.

     

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  92.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 4:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    bob, repeat this to yourself and then report back to me how many times you had to repeat before you realised something
    THEY TRIPLE THE PRICE
    AND YET SOMEHOW WE, THE PUBLIC WHO BORROW FOR FREE FROM A LIBRARY...ARE GREEDY?
    From how stupid you are, I'm expecting a number at least in the triple digits.

     

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  93.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Ok, lemme get this straight

    "Without money, authors wouldn't have time to write. If you want to defend culture, you've got to begin with letting the authors earn a living wage."

    So you admit that you're paid to shill this bull?

     

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  94.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Our local library is thriving. Currently they're spending some budget surplus to remodel what was still a very new looking building.

    Meanwhile, their stacks are growing, they offer new innovative services all the time, and we keep going back more and more.

    A kindle could NEVER replace my library. In fact, their efforts in the last few years have cut my online use of infringing works dramatically.

    Incidentally, that handy little fact sheet you linked to also relates that really only 15% of library revenues come from State and Federal taxes. The rest is sourced locally.

    Exactly WHO is being forced to fund the library? bob is. Sorry bob, the rest of us all wanted a library. You lose.

     

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  95.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    So far online checkout of eBooks is still an option at my library.

     

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  96.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Oops. I missed a column. It's only 8%.

     

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  97.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Actually, the library facts that bob linked to shows that only 8% of library revenue in the US comes from federal and state taxes. The rest is sourced locally.

     

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  98.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    In the past, the physical nature of the book limited consumption and produced a decent compromise that everyone could live with.

    In the past, the physical nature of book production created an absolute entry barrier for all but a select few in the market. That's why copyright was created.

    Now the greedy cheapass copyright maximalist jerks want all of the advantages of the digitial revolution in addition to copyright, even when the need for copyright is MOOT, to benefit themselves.

     

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  99.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Actually, on table 18 of the library facts that bob linked to shows that only 8% of library revenue in the US comes from federal and state taxes. The rest is sourced locally with many libraries getting over HALF of their revenue from direct donation.

    Almost sounds like everybody but bob wants a library. No wonder bob is so pissed. Him not like read.

     

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  100.  
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    Jason, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 6:22pm

    Pro-library propaganda

    It's obvious to anyone, Tim, that you're pro-library. When are you just going to admit it!!

    Sharing books is sharing ideas and sharing ideas is gots to has MONEY for BOOOBB!!!!!!! PIRATES!!! Rarrrggglelgalglaggggghh!!!!!!

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 7:38pm

    Hey Mike...

    "Mike Masnick: ah, problem solved
    wow. bob takes crazy comments to new levels in attacking libraries on the ebooks post."

    Really, can you show any more disdain for the people who visit your site? You truly are an arrogant prick, and you seem to be training Marcus to follow in your footsteps.

    You probably want to turn the chat off for people who are not signed up, because it really shows you guys in a horrible light, scheming and scamming on how you will try to thwart the latest outbreak of the truth.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:18pm

    Re:

    Which is what - libraries are something we all should hate?

    Anyone can come to this thread and realise that bob is a library-hating lunatic. Masnick pointing this out does not change this point as can be seen from the deluge of criticism bob is getting. If anything it makes people go look at what bob posts which is more than he deserves. Aren't you maximalist ACs always insistent that Techdirt diverts attention from what you consider to be gospel truth?

    Here - in case it's not clear to you, let me point that out as well. bob takes crazy comments to new levels in attacking libraries on the ebooks post.

     

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  103.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Sep 17th, 2012 @ 9:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "Policing copyright infringement" hurts the public.

    "Libraries using taxpayer money" help the fraction of society that reads.

    Should be a bob. Sorry, I mean a no-brainer.

     

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  104.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Have you even read some of the shit that comes out of the Big Six? Some fot hat shit is so lewd that it should be banned for being offensive to literacy.

    See also: 50 Shades, Twilight.

     

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  105.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    My point is that if the blog wanted to be consistent, it would lambaste the libraries for using taxpayer money to help out the small fraction of society that reads.

    As opposed to far smaller fraction of rightsholders?

     

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  106.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Yes, I love Torrenting things that I cannot legally purchase due to geo-locational bullshit! I love Torrenting Public Domain works that have been illegally copyrighted due to bought-for laws, such as Frankenstein and Nosferatu.

     

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  107.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Now the greedy cheapass jerks around here

    Always fun to see the moron with the most asinine comments ever to through around ad homs. LOL!

     

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  108.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    "Throw". Gosh, when comes the edit button, Mike?

     

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  109.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:36am

    Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Well, that's because they're legally obliged to. I'd put money on the fact that, if they could, most libraries would just torrent the shit out of ebooks and loan them out if they could.

     

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  110.  
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    techflaws (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:39am

    Re:

    Really, can you show any more disdain for the people who visit your site

    So facts are bad now, or what? Also, how come you don't complain about visitors like bob who show nothing but disdain for this site like in his above comment: "Now the greedy cheapass jerks around here..."?

     

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  111.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:42am

    Re: Spend the Money on Something Else

    I'd go one further, and just say, "Welp, from now on, we're going to just torrent your E-books for educational purposes, due to budgetary concerns."

     

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  112.  
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    The eejit (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 1:43am

    Re:

    To be fair, bob has this tendency to be all WHARRRRRGABL about people sharing stuff.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2012 @ 4:31am

    Re:

    "Really, can you show any more disdain for the people who visit your site?"

    Actually, if you paid attention, you'd see Mike and Marcus show nothing but respect towards others who visit and comment on this site, they only take jabs at those who come here to derail conversations and insult others. You might be one of those.

    "You truly are an arrogant prick, and you seem to be training Marcus to follow in your footsteps."

    Oh, you are one of those. Yeah, figures. See, this is where you trolls don't realize why/how people call you hypocrites. You call out Mike for basically saying, "Wow, bob has really gone off the rails this time." Then in the next sentence you call him "an arrogant prick". You don't see how makes you a serious hypocrite and causes disdain for you?

    "You probably want to turn the chat off for people who are not signed up, because it really shows you guys in a horrible light, scheming and scamming on how you will try to thwart the latest outbreak of the truth."

    If by thwart the latest outbreak of truth you mean "it shows you guys pointing out that a certain AC or aj or bob is now trying to derail another article again, hey let's just try and ignore them this time for the most part" then yes. That's what it does.

    But as far as truth, you and yours don't work with it. No facts whatsoever to support any of your claims. No evidence to back up assertions made. So on and so forth. Which is why you guys fall back to attacking the messenger, launching ad homs, claiming everyone on this site is a thief/pirate/freetard, and so on and so forth.

    You can't actually make a valid point and support it with verifiable facts, so you lie or try to derail threads with nonsense.

    Anyway, I hit report on your comment. Not for censorship purposes (before you try bringing out that card). For "offensive" purposes. Launching ad homs and going on about "chat" orchestrated conspiracies? Yeah, definitely needs to be reported.

     

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  114.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Sep 18th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    Re:

    Feel free to come join us in the chat and defend bob, if that's seriously what you want. You really know how to pick your battles!

     

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  115.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    Wow, bob...

    You lost so many arguments that I've lost count.

    Step outside and jump in front of the train, please.

    Your loss will benefit us all.

     

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  116.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2012 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Why this sympathy for libraries?

    1) Only the Library of Congress is expected to have every book. Other libraries generally coordinate amongst themselves to get as wide a variety as possible for the inter-library lending system. Ever heard of it? Check it out, you might actually learn something.

    Also, your numbers are separated by 3 years. Not very enlightening.

    2) Gatekeepers limit the spread of content through economic and regional restrictions. Libraries, who purchase content to share with the public, are consumers, not gatekeepers. Trying to twist the meaning of the word as we've used it on this blog is pretentious at best. At worst it makes you a slimy little toad.

    3) No one is contesting that point, yet they are a greener option than everyone going down to the bookstore to purchase their own copy. Library gets a hundred different books in one shipment. Bookstore gets a hundred copies of the same book. More people drive to the bookstore than take a bus, and more people take a bus to the library than drive. Big differences.

    4) Still false. Just because you are responsible for it doesn't mean you can't lend it out. Apples and oranges.

    5) I have a card for my county library system in Ohio. I can take this card to most of the surrounding 22 Ohio counties and borrow books. Your library card is not neighborhood restricted, as has been pointed out to you multiple times. Stop trying to tell us differently.

    6) Somehow 'on the internet' changes things drastically. They pay more for an ebook, which costs less to produce, and somehow they suddenly aren't paying their fair share.

    You know, for as much as you harp on about Big Search, you certainly seem to love being in bed with Big Content, don't you? I think you really are just a little troll who thinks he's clever, but needs to get out into the real world and grow a backbone of his own. Cut the strings, little puppet. Think for yourself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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