The Harry Potter Copying Problem That Isn't…

from the looking-at-the-numbers... dept

Last month, we wrote about the silly rationale for J.K. Rowling and others behind Harry Potter deciding not to offer the book in electronic formatting, as they were worried about unauthorized copies. We call it silly because within 12 hours of the book’s release it was online in electronic form. In other words, not having the book in electronic form only encouraged others to make it available in electronic form. On top of that, those who want it in electronic form can only get the unauthorized copy, because no authorized copy exists. In the meantime, now we’re getting stories from people freaking out about how the book industry is about to face a crisis similar to the music industry over unauthorized file sharing. Leaving aside the very relevant question of whether or not file sharing really has impacted the music industry in the way the RIAA would like you to believe, this particular article never seems to question the basis for the story by noting that, despite the book being available for free online, it 9 million copies worldwide on its first day alone. People want the book itself. And, while the article claims that libraries that keep “book piracy” low in the US, it seems more likely that it’s reasonable prices, an active used market, and the fact that many people still prefer to read a book in that it’s come in for many years: the paper kind. So, before publishing companies completely freak out and start repeatedly shooting themselves in their collective feet like the RIAA and the MPAA, perhaps they should take a step back and look at how people enjoy reading books. Then, they can focus on making sure they continue to serve their readers well — rather than worrying about some kids scanning the book and placing it online.

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Comments on “The Harry Potter Copying Problem That Isn't…”

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thecaptain says:

I like it both ways

I love, and must, have a hardcopy of a book (soft cover or hard depending on my budget and how much I like it).

However, I prefer mostly to read on my palm TungstenE.

The first month of having the device I went shopping for books that I already had (and a few I was purchasing at the time) and I found it was either:

a) Not available in electronic format
b) available, but only in Microsoft’s locked .lit format


c) available for almost as much as the actual book brand new (one was HIGHER…23.99 usd!!!)..for a book I already purchased.

I was, shall we say, disappointed.

However, upon exploration, I did stumble unto all of those books that weren’t available in e-format made available by fans (those dreaded pirates) and I got them. Harry Potter was no different, my wife and I picked it up the first day…then I went to download the pdf version as well.

If SOMEwhere there had been a deal where I could get a REASONABLE price for an e-copy of a book I am purchasing, I would pay it (say, buying the book itself, for 2-3 dollars more and be allowed the download)…but since there isn’t, I’ll go download it.

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