Korean Bookstores Upset With Camera Phoning Students Who Want To Learn

from the haven't-they-heard-of-libraries? dept

It’s been well over a year since we first wrote about magazine publishers in Japan freaking out that kids with camera phones were snapping photos of magazines without buying them, suggesting that this kind of “digital theft” was a huge problem — ignoring, of course, the fact that most of these kids wouldn’t be buying the magazine otherwise. Smart Mobs points out that, over in South Korea, it appears they’ve having a similar over-reaction, but this time it isn’t kids using camera phones to alert each other to the latest fashion trends, but rather students who are using camera phones to snap photos of expensive textbooks. Now, there are any number of responses to this, from being amused at the sheer outrage generated by students who may find the textbooks too expensive, but (how dare they!) still want to learn, to wondering just how big a problem this can be, considering the size of your average text book, and the likelihood that some student is sitting there using a camera phone to shoot each and every page (and storing it where? on the phone? on a server and paying all those data charges?). However, it seems even smarter to take a step back, and point out that, should these bookstores somehow stop the students from doing this, wouldn’t the students just do what students have done for ages, and check the book out at the library and then photocopy it or go back to snapping photos?

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Comments on “Korean Bookstores Upset With Camera Phoning Students Who Want To Learn”

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Nicole (user link) says:


The way I see it, we don’t live in a world anymore where you can overprice things. If you wanna charge $17 for a CD that costs pennies to make, we’ll download the music. If you wanna charge $25 for a DVD that cost maybe $6 to make, we’ll download the movie. If you wanna charge $75 for my damn biology book that I will never use again and cost $2-$3 to make, I will find another way to get the content. Now, if the same CD was $8, I’d buy it. If the same DVD was $12, I’d buy it. If the same biology book was $20-$30, I’d buy it and wouldn’t complain.

Kevin says:

Korean libraries are different...

From what I understand, Korean university libraries DO NOT check out books. The books are there for reference only. There aren’t a lot public libraries around either, and if there are, they wouldn’t have textbooks or the professional books/magazines (particularly those published in foreign languages) that those camera-phone copyright thieves are after.
In Korea, they have shops that rent books and magazines… These are really popular for comic books, porn, and women’s magazines. I’d say standard rental is about 1/10th the retail purchase price… DVDs rent for well under $2, and VHS is closer to $1, just for perspective.
I guess the bottom line is that students have more time than money…

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