Analog Books Go From Strength To Strength: Helped, Not Hindered, By The Digital World
from the technology-is-not-destroying-culture dept
Many of the worst ideas in recent copyright laws have been driven by some influential companies’ fear of the transition from analog to digital. Whereas analog formats – vinyl, books, cinematic releases of films – are relatively easy to control, digital ones are not. Once a creation is in a digital form, anyone can make copies and distribute them on the Internet. Traditional copyright industries seem to think that digital versions of everything will be freely available everywhere, and that no one will ever buy analog versions. That’s not the case with vinyl records, and a recent post on Publisher’s Weekly suggests that analog books too, far from dying, are going from strength to strength:
Led by the fiction categories, unit sales of print books rose 8.9% in 2021 over 2020 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan. Units sold were 825.7 million last year, up from 757.9 million in 2020. BookScan captures approximately 85% of all print sales. In 2020, unit sales were up 8.2% over 2019, which saw 693.7 million print units sold.
The young adult fiction segment had the largest increase, with unit sales jumping 30.7%, while adult fiction sales rose 25.5%. Sales in the juvenile fiction category increased 9.6%.
The two years of increased sales is part of a longer-term trend, as this article from the New York Times in 2015 indicates:
the digital apocalypse never arrived, or at least not on schedule. While analysts once predicted that e-books would overtake print by 2015, digital sales have instead slowed sharply.
Now, there are signs that some e-book adopters are returning to print, or becoming hybrid readers, who juggle devices and paper. E-book sales fell by 10 percent in the first five months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers, which collects data from nearly 1,200 publishers. Digital books accounted last year for around 20 percent of the market, roughly the same as they did a few years ago.
Digital formats possess certain advantages over analog ones, notably convenience. Today, you can access tens of millions of tracks online with music streaming services, and carry around thousands of ebooks on your phone. But many people evidently continue to appreciate the physicality of analog books, just as they like and buy vinyl records. The Publisher’s Weekly article also shows how the digital world is driving analog sales:
Gains in the young adult category were helped by several titles that benefitted from attention drummed up by BookTok, users of the social media platform TikTok who post about their favorite books. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera, released in December 2018, was the #1 title in the category, selling nearly 685,000 copies.
As a recent post on Walled Culture noted, if publishing companies were less paranoid about people sharing snippets of the books they love, on BookTok and elsewhere, the already significant analog sales they produce could be even higher. If the copyright industries want to derive the maximum benefit from the online world, they need to be brave, not bullying, as they so often are today.
Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.
Originally posted to Walled Culture.
Filed Under: books, complementary markets, digital paper books, ebooks
Comments on “Analog Books Go From Strength To Strength: Helped, Not Hindered, By The Digital World”
Nothing beats having a quality copy of a good book to hold in your hands and put on a bookshelf—especially a reference book like a dictionary or a journalism stylebook.
"Binary Optical Oriented Knowledge"
The irony is I that read that phrase online.
uh. not quite. thats really only if you have them in a non-DRM format, and have the skills to use them on all your devices at your disposal (you may not need the skills, but you do need convenient access to someone who does have them).
Being locked out of your books because you forgot credentials, or don’t have internet, or the servers are down, or your batteries are dead, are all very inconvenient.
Of course digital does have some advantages but I wouldn’t make such broad sweeping statements.
As far as convivence, it Depends. Paper books can be better on the can.
But with Depends you don’t ever need to be on the can.
Re: Re: Depends...
"Excuse me. May I go to the bathroom first?"
"Of course you may."
(long pause) "Thank you."
Re: Re: Re: Depends...
That escalated… quickly!
The victory of the horsecart over the car
Thanks god the copyright industry wasn’t around until recently, or we’d still have to chisel our thoughts on stones.
One of the biggest advantages of printed books over digital ones is that the copyright lobby has not yet found a way of selling them without giving away ownership.
... but are publisher statistics telling the whole story?
Thanks for making such a key point – the role of fear, uncertainty, greed and stupidity in motiviation decision-making in the rightholder sector cannot be underestimated…
At the same time, it’d be interesting to explore further quite how incomplete data from publishers about eBooks is. To my knowledge, they just cover their own sales, not those of self-publishers or indies. This can end up being a justification for downplaying the need for proper guarantees for libraries around eBooks. Of course, their own pisspoor offer may also be supressing demand, just like it did on TDM in Europe…
Re: ... but are publisher statistics telling the whole story?
they just cover their own sales, not those of self-publishers or indies.
How true. The general concept here is also a key point. They don’t really want sales or attention for things that aren’t coming out of their rent-seeking, gatekeeping structures. Just you ignore all those things, until they find a way to finally disallow individual expression from the nets.
E-books totally suck at all kids of usages, you can’t hide stuff in them like money, no cutouts for booze or weapons etc, they’re not heavy enough to help flatten or hold something down, or beat someone to death, you can’t stack them to use as a stool, they can’t be used for stool residue removal, you can’t really have a huge array of them to make people think you’re smart, they’re a lot less likely to stop a bullet, or cut you painfully so you can laugh how ridiculous it is that you’re about to die from blood loss because of a fucking piece of paper, there’s a lot more, but more bookishly, like analog clocks, there is something more, not sure the term, organic or intuitively useful, about seeing how far you’ve read with a physical book than a % or bar graph. Thumbing through a book isn’t doable, and especially catalogs just ain’t the same, there’s nothing like paging through a catalog to see what fancies the mind at some point. BUT, having both is best for lots of reasons, for me ‘search’ stands way out
You don’t have to dust ebooks.
You dont have to worry about moving a 1000+ ebooks in boxes every Time you move. I have moved perhaps a dozen times in my adult life. Generally if I go on holiday for a few weeks I might go through a dozen books
Funnily enough, I generally do take 1 paper book when I go on holiday, Paper beats ebook for sitting on beach/by pool.It is also better for a coffee table book. But if all you are doing is buying mass market paperbacks, meh give me a ebook anytime
A new paperback is like $20 Aus, a new ebook is $7 Aus or rent on kindle for almost free.
Re: Re: Re:
the biggest, and primary, complaint I have with ebook tech is the stupidity of news publishers.
Some companies got it right, eg WSJ, breitbart, NYT, USAToday.
Other fail, beyond failure. Random images in a wall of text.
The reliance on proprietary software for publishing is notable with every failure.
Adobe makes great magazines. It makes shite ebooks. Text mode? Image mode? FUMode!
Seriously. Who, really, goes to the kindle or apple library and downloads a magazine expecting 140 pages of static images. Some text available, some articles only as images?!!!!!?!??!
Bad ocr run on pdf output of page images.
The ebook system needs to stop adding “more features” and figure out how to format text.
Re: Re: Re: Re:
Re: Re: Re:2 Re:
… NYT, USAToday.
I’m talking only about formatting content, not the content itself.
Some do get it right. Flowing text with paragraphs. In line images.
It’s a place Apple and Zine releases usually do a good job. Amazon and Magzter, not so much.
For those with direct release digital publications, as above, some do a good job. most don’t.
Sadly we’re simply not there yet when it comes to readability.
I can’t resist…..
You can use Steganography to hide any digital item in them. And yes, that includes your cryptocurrency.
You can easily put those cutouts in there. (Of course we’d need some digitizing laser ala. TRON to actually store the actual booze or weapons in them.)
Sure they are, just put them on your e-reader / tablet. Even better, find an old mechanical hard drive and store them on that.
I’m starting to notice a pattern here….
Again just stack the devices that contain them.
Ew….. Why are you wiping your ass with a book??? Remind me never to borrow anything you’ve read…..
It’s the number of them that counts. Just have a giant list of all the ebooks you’ve bought… ahem. read and the number of pages they contain. (Heck some e-reader software does this for you.)
The devices they are stored on will.
Nope, now you’ll be dying of bruising. It’s even more ridiculous.
Do go on…..
….. So an assumed amount that you must measure with your head based on rough estimates and personal bias is more useful than a calculated amount based on imperial fact….. Yep, checks out.
It is if you have an e-reader with a good UI.
ain’t…. Oh, forget it.
You can with a good enough e-reader. What are you using?
Agreed. Search is nice.
I’m not sure about books. But vinyl record sales have been consistent since the iTunes Store opened. Jumping to 12% that first year and holding 7%-14% of music sales since then. It was CDs that dropped off with digital services.
As I constantly point out, VHS films are still sold today. Not used—brand new releases. Niche or not.
They aren’t wrong…per se.
Though 8-track had little effect, compact cassette did cannibalise vinyl. And cd destroying tape.
What’s funny is DVD didn’t ever really hurt VHS sales. Films on both services sold near even. So if you wish to bitch about format death the lack of vhs from manufacturers is what made streaming possible in the first place. Since everything was already there as 1s and 0s!
Books aren’t going anywhere as long as people are self conscious. You can’t fill a shelf in the den with digital books.
Re: Don’t know?
Not terribly important, and i am not sure if i am reading your intended meaning correctly, but when you say, *"…lack of vhs from manufacturers is what made streaming possible in the first place. Since everything was already there as 1s and 0s!", i feel i might point out that VHS is analog. Again, not sure if i took your meaning correctly, so if i did not, please to pardon the pedantry.
Re: Re: Don’t know?
VHS died because of the digital push first to VCD, mostly in Asia, then DVD.
Had they not been so quick to kill off the “more copyable” analogue formats … who knows what we would be doing today. SVHS and then VHD-HR both were drastic steps up from the base format.
But the push to DRM capable digital, including DVHS (aka Dtheater) is what ultimately created clean digital copies.
Just like CD killed of gritty garbage 12th gen copies of copies.
With analogue you still had baked in degradation.
Replacements were necessary.
I wonder how much of ebooks was controlling distribution vs moving forward.
The more advanced something gets the higher the quality of the base stripped to its parts.
Re: Re: Re: Don’t know?
"VHS died because of the digital push first to VCD, mostly in Asia, then DVD"
Yes, inferior formats do tend to die out when superior tech is available.
"But the push to DRM capable digital"
You say that as if DRM wasn’t also on VHS tapes (remember Macrovision?)
"SVHS and then VHD-HR both were drastic steps up from the base format"
They were then killed by the high prices of the format and a general lack of interest in adopting the format among consumers. Even the collectors market was moving away from costly laserdiscs to cheaper formats that enabled greater quality. Whatever the intentions were on the part of distributors, it was the market that drove adoption of cheap, relatively robust DVDs that enabled all sorts of functionality that was simply impossible with VHS (such as switching between different languages and other audio tracks, picture formats and subtitling options)
Re: Re: Re:2 Don’t know?
Tell that to the fans of HD-DVD that outsold BD 3:1 in the beginning. Or every major studio stating on record it was things like mandated AAC for logo use that caused their choice.
Spec for spec HD-DVD was superior.
Whatever your personal opinions on inferior and superior…
Vinyl still holds strong.
But strong and stable at Apx 10%
And there’s a reason VHS is still being sold in 2022.
I’d love to see you attempt to prove, not DVD, but BluRay, is better than Digital VHS at 1080P.
Not some off the wall general consumer link, actually show some proof from yourself or a high-end AV source. I’ll be here!
FYI, CNN uses BetaHD cameras.
So does FoxNews.
BBC uses DV10
Those are tape formats, if you didn’t realise.
You may not like my title choices but I’ll put a vhs vs dvd title, shot for shot, nearly every year from 1999-2022 and let you figure out which is which.
SVHS players are still manufactured today by independent and small companies, despite the main CE companies moving on. And the tech today is fairly equal with ideal setups.
VHS was killed because the drm was defeated within a year.
By any low end player.
Re: Re: Re:3 Don’t know?
"Tell that to the fans of HD-DVD that outsold BD 3:1 in the beginning"
At the beginning. Then, the PS3 was a massive hit that people often used as a cheap Blu-Ray player while you needed to buy an expensive peripheral for the Xbox 360 to play HD-DVD, and economies of scale started making standalone Blu Ray players much cheaper. Meanwhile, there were many more titles available on Blu Ray and the industry eventually agreed to standardise on the more successful format as they did before when VHS wiped out the technically superior Betamax (and other competitors like Video 2000).
That’s still the market talking. No matter who you think should have won, in either "race".
"And there’s a reason VHS is still being sold in 2022."
The reason is mostly nostalgia, with new tapes being produced in small batches purely as gimmicks for some new cult movies. There’s a fairly vibrant second hand market, but AFAIK nobody’s even making VHS hardware any more from what I’m aware of.
"I’d love to see you attempt to prove, not DVD, but BluRay, is better than Digital VHS at 1080P."
I don’t need to. Technically superior does not mean that it offers any real benefit to the end consumer, especially if it’s significantly more expensive and/or requires additional equipment that the average person does not possess (while most people already own several DVD players even if they didn’t buy the device primarily as a DVD player – e.g. game consoles, PCs, TVs), and the title they want to buy isn’t available on the other format.
If a technically superior product fails in the marketplace or carves out a niche for itself instead of being in mainstream demand, again, that’s still the market talking.
"Those are tape formats, if you didn’t realise."
Yes, and unless you’re doing something really stupid and dishonest like trying to conflate domestic and professional broadcast markets, utterly irrelevant.
"VHS was killed because the drm was defeated within a year."
No, VHS was killed because DVD was cheaper to ship, cheaper to manufacture, had vastly superior picture and audio quality, offered features that were impossible to replicate on a VHS and also wouldn’t leave you trying to put the damn thing together after the player chewed up your favourite tape.
The fact that the shoddy DRM that studios put on DVD in order to artificially retain some of the natural market separations that VHS had built in (such as language, picture format and distribution channels) barely registers on the list.
Re: Re: Re:4 Don’t know?
You may be technically correct but you underestimate the devotion of the fan base.
The fact that it’s not just one genre. We all can quickly find new horror on VHS. But there’s sci-fi, fantasy, action, even drama.
The relatively new art genre of video bending.
Your right, there’s no mass production. Or even niche, of machines. Today they’re lovingly hand built from old and new parts by fans, for fans.
like vinyl, VHS (and SVHS) offers something not easily reproduced in digital production. Warm colours. Jitter. Soft visual.
It may be a tiny following. But it’s hardly a gimmick. Not to us.
Re: Re: Re:5 Don’t know?
As ever, you’re shifting the argument when proven wrong. We’ve gone from you claiming that "DVD didn’t ever really hurt VHS sales" (which is fundamentally, objectively, provably false), to claiming that because a tiny number of boutique labels occasionally do a run of VHS copies then that has to count for something. It does, but in nothing like the way you originally claimed.
"The fact that it’s not just one genre. We all can quickly find new horror on VHS. But there’s sci-fi, fantasy, action, even drama."
Cool. Now, what percentage of actual new releases have the VHS option?
"VHS (and SVHS) offers something not easily reproduced in digital production. Warm colours"
I’m not sure which VHS tapes you’re watching, but the ones I see are 480p resolution with problems displaying colours on the red side of the spectrum (remember the old joke about NTSC meaning for "Never The Same Colour"?), although that will vary depending on whether you’re using NTSC, PAL or SECAM..
Oh, and trying to lump it in with vinyl is pretty desperate. The reason why those arguments work with vinyl is that the sampling required for a digital recording can omit certain frequencies that are present in the analogue master, and since vinyl is also an analogue format then it can capture some sounds that sampling for CD or digital formats can remove. The correct comparison within movies would be a 35mm film print. With VHS, you’re taking a movie that’s typically shot in a much higher resolution (usually digitally nowadays), then transferring it to a format that loses a lot of the clarity of the original master.
Now, you may prefer the VHS version yourself, but there’s no technical justification for what is almost guaranteed to be an objectively worse image on screen, unless you’re getting a copy of an old movie shot on video or super 8. Plus, even if your subjective opinion is that you prefer the picture quality of the VHS, there’s no way to pretend that it can ever match the sound quality, nor that you suddenly don’t have all the other disadvantages that made the format be quickly replaced by DVD in most areas.
Re: Re: Re:6 Don’t know?
As long as VHS copies were available, VHS copies sold.
That’s also a fact.
So I argue that it wasn’t the consumer that made the decision but the distribution.
As for audio, by the end of the SVHS era in the late 2000s options of some titles and players had a digital track as well as the analogue one. This was the transition from SVHS to DTheater era.
And you’ll be hard pressed to tell me h264 in MPTS at 1080 on tape vs disc is noticeable.
Though that defeats the current love for the analogue format: the flat warm image.
And don’t forget the short run of WVHS in the mid 90s at 1080i!
Re: Re: Re:7 Don’t know?
"As long as VHS copies were available, VHS copies sold.
That’s also a fact"
Yes, they sold… at rapidly diminishing numbers until the point where it was no longer viable for the majority of distributors to even offer them as an option.
"So I argue that it wasn’t the consumer that made the decision but the distribution."
And I’d argue that, yet again, you’re full of it. Consumer demand informed the distribution, not the other way around. If VHS has remained the top selling format, it would not have been replaced by DVD. Instead, sales plummeted. There are many reasons for this as I’ve already mentioned, but DVD was a very quick success for very obvious reasons that you’re determined to ignore because you have a love for some very niche formats.
I’m afraid that you still have to accept reality – though VHS had some qualities and there were interesting upgrades in later iterations of the format, the mass market wasn’t interested, virtually nothing was released on the later formats in the mainstream, and most people were very happy upgrading their collections from VHS or laserdisc to DVD and later Blu-Ray, and other formats failed in the marketplace.
There’s nothing wrong with holding a candle for long forgotten media formats, but the fact is that VHS naturally fell to a competitor, just as Beta fell to VHS in the previous generation and DVD is now increasingly falling to digital formats (although the long tail seems to be much longer there).
Re: Re: Re:8 Don’t know?
See, you’re ignoring other media actions of the 2000-2010 era.
Look at HD-DVD. Which on paper was generally superior and in future roadmap plans was factually superior. It out sold BD quite well at first.
Then all the major Hollywood studios threw their weight behind BD.
They, studios (via MPAA), even pointed to BD’s mandatory copy protections as a deciding factor in their choice of format to support.
When the major studios stopped releasing VHS the format shrivelled up into the niche base it is today.
DVHS came out and lasted through, the same time period as the end of VHS, the early DVD, BluRay, and HDDVD era. It was vastly superior in every way except 2.
On the consumer side, as with all r2r formats, there is seek delay.
On the DRM side the sole protection, FireWire copy flag, was defeated in the first month.
Now here, I would argue, BD came out not just on top, but alone, because the independents quickly found a way around the requirements (DRM, patents, TMs) with full compatibility.
A format will not survive on Hollywood alone. Nor can it survive with only independents.
According to most reports VHS didn’t drop off the map as a recordable sales number until after bluray became the king.
As such, I call distribution choices the ultimate deciding factor.
Re: Re: Re:9 Don’t know?
"See, you’re ignoring other media actions of the 2000-2010 era."
No, I’ve addressed them, but as usual you seem intent of ignoring the parts of the arguments you don’t want to hear,
"Look at HD-DVD. Which on paper was generally superior and in future roadmap plans was factually superior. It out sold BD quite well at first."
FFS, yes I already addressed that. Players were expensive and when Blu Ray came along with greater support, being built into the PS3 and other advantages it quickly outsold competition. Spin it how you want, it was low sales that killed the format.
"A format will not survive on Hollywood alone. Nor can it survive with only independents."
Yes, that’s the market talking, which you seem to intent on ignoring. VHS, DVD and Blu Ray were ultimately successful because they sold more. There have always been other formats, but they failed because they sold less. That’s all there is to it.
"As such, I call distribution choices the ultimate deciding factor."
Yes, but formats also fail despite distribution choices. I remember seeing racks of MiniDiscs in record stores. How did that turn out in the long term?
Re: Re: Re:10 Don’t know?
We appear to have left the original track and gone the other direction.
My factual observation was it was Hollywood that created the digital format. And that going digital on their own is what made streaming today’s choice.
Now we can argue that it was Toho, Shaw Brothers, and Golden Harvest; Asian cinema, that went digital. We could also look at partial digital with LD. But the movie companies themselves in any regard.
The other aspect I was hitting on is VHS isn’t a gimmick to those that buy them today any more than hard cover books are a gimmick.
It’s a poor choice of wording.
Those that choose these formats do so for some specific reason that the other formats don’t offer.
Whatever it is that’s being consumed.
Re: Re: Re:11 Don’t know
"My factual observation was it was Hollywood that created the digital format."
That’s not the observation I was responding to, but whatever. I’m tired of this argument, which as usual has you changing the subject and making yet more easily disproven claims when cornered with facts. Hell, the above statement alone requires at least 3 questions to clarify what the hell you’re on about so that I can present the evidence as to how you’re factually wrong, but I really can’t be arsed with this shit any longer.
…and, sorry, very limited runs on a small number of titles is a sales gimmick, whether you like it or not, and your feeble attempts to compare them to things like vinyl and hardback books are really missing the point of what’s being said. Again.
Re: Re: Re:12 Don’t
As much as small runs of any non-dominate format is.
They sell, which means people want them.
Doesn’t really matter why we like something. You may disagree with why we like something. If it sells, there’s a market.
Know how many VHS tapes sold on ebay so far today? The 24th of February?
Say whatever your opinion may be on the format but it is far from dead even if the mainstream entertainment companies aren’t interested.
Re: Re: Re:13 Don?
I love the way you’re still arguing and presenting less than 70 tapes a month as being a significant win.
This is the very definition of a niche market, and the attempt to capture that market via a short run of a title that sells way more on DVD is the definition of a gimmick.
Of course there’s a market. But, the current market probably doesn’t even cover breakages on the typical DVD run, and DVD is dying apart from a niche market itself.
Re: Re: Re:14 Re:
Well it’s hundreds of sales in resale, per day. As I linked to. That would be thousands per month.
There’s a few dozen to a few hundred new releases per year.
As for the derogatory use of gimmick:
I acknowledge you may me partly correct. Despite the antagonistic choice of wording.
Re: Re: Re:15 Re:
"Well it’s hundreds of sales in resale, per day. As I linked to. That would be thousands per month."
OK, I apologise, I missed the "per day" part and assumed it was a month for some reason, it was late. But, it’s still a cottage industry in largely used tapes. That doesn’t really support what you seem to be trying to say.
But for comparison, I had a quick look at NES games and it seems there’s way more sold than VHS tapes. But nobody’s claiming that NES is a popular viable format for new releases.
It’s cool that VHS collectors are still a thing. But, it’s a niche market where new releases are often small run sales gimmicks, and your claim that DVD didn’t affect sales is laughable. By all means run with your hobby and I wish you good times, you don’t have to misrepresent things to enjoy it.
Re: Re: Re:16 Re:
That’s more accepting: “cottage industry “
As for the NES you may want to Bing nes home brew 2022, or famicom.
Also cottage but consistent. And new releases also sell well on ebay.
But as far as my claim “ and your claim that DVD didn’t affect sales is laughable”
There’s more than just a new format at play here. It’s what Hollywood chose to support. Again, DVHS/Dtheatre was vastly superior in playback quality, and cost less to produce for distribution.
When you couldn’t get the latest film you wanted on vhs you bit the bullet so to speak. Buy a DVD player and start the transition.
It’s ultimately distributors that will chose where the industry goes.
Physical vs Digital
My take is there advantages for both a forms. Which is more important for a specific title will vary. Personally I get do not read many e-books preferring print over digital for most titles. For music, streaming is fine for many for general background music.
Which looks better: A wall lined with hundreds of books or a little lump of plastic and metal that sits on your bedside table or your pocket?
Here’s something else to consider: What happens to your 10,000+ ebook, movie collections, etc (and everything else that relies heavily on electronics for that matter) if it’s hit by an emp burst?
Re: what if EMP burst
Actually, if that happens, we’ll have bigger problems than what happened to our entertainment collections.
If a Empl burst wipes out my books and movies I probably wont have a job, or money in the bank or even much money in my pocket. I keep a couple hundred buck for tips, cash only that I top up once every couple of months, otherwise its all card.
An advantage of "analog" books over "digital" e-books:
I’ve never seen a digital book start an interesting conversation on the bus or in a coffee shop, when one person notices what the stranger next to them is reading.
Nor on the bus, nor in a park nor on the beach… nor in a used books shop, for that matter.
… I wonder why not?
Re: An advantage of "analog" books over "digital" e-books:
Because people learned to mind their own business? No? Too bad.
Lol, I get your point.
But let’s trade the book cover for the facetwit posting about what your reading. For the general population anyway.
Re: Re: An advantage of "analog" books over "digital" e-books:
Or, how about you mind your own business and control your own social media feeds if you find that people are daring to talk about things that you don’t want them to talk about?
Re: Re: Re: An advantage of "analog" books over "digital" e-book
Huh? All I said was that the idea of a book cover has been replaced with the so-called social media premise of sparking conversation?
As for my feeds, I don’t have any.
I have been forced to follow two services, I do mean FORCED, on social media because they no longer publish updates in proper email or RSS updates.
Wtf that has to do with talking “… about things that you don’t want them to talk about” is far beyond any rational comprehension.
Re: Re: Re:2 An advantage of "analog" books over "digital" e-
"All I said was that the idea of a book cover has been replaced with the so-called social media premise of sparking conversation?"
Yes, which is a fantastic move in the eyes of many people. If you don’t agree with people who prefer it, that’s really none of your business.
"Wtf that has to do with talking “… about things that you don’t want them to talk about” is far beyond any rational comprehension."
Your complaint was about people posting on social media about what they’re reading. That would usually imply that you don’t like seeing people do that, in which case the correct course of action is for you to mute those messages, not for others to conform to your idea of what they should be doing.
If that wasn’t your complaint, then what was it? If you don’t use social media in the first place, then why would you care – and why would anyone else care about your opinion about it?
Re: Re: Re:3 An advantage of "analog" books over "digital
See, you jump to conclusions with zero evidence.
I didn’t complain in the slightest.
I factually pointed out that there is no need for the cover in today’s world for advertising. The discussion has moved from strangers on a train to strangers online.
There’s no opinion there at all. It’s a fact
I think that online discussion far surpasses the minimal number of eyes that would see a book cover.
How about scrolling up just one comment and look at what BernardoVerda said. That was who I was responding to!
… that would be because the discussion of digital intangibles is, by defaul, digital; in the online world.
Most likely there is still demand for tangible items as many books are sold as giftmas presents, which the recipients actually expect to unwrap.
There’s also the not-so-minor detail that, when printed books and tangible records die, the local bookstore and record store die with them. Many small communities will react to that with backlash.
Unfortunate to be focussing on copyright to the point of ignoring the other hulking elephant in the room – concentration of ownership. It’s not OK to have seven or fewer publishers controlling all or the lion’s share of mainstream books, same as it’s not okay for as few or fewer movie studios to control all mainstream US cinema or a handful of record companies control all of the big-name popular music. We need a diversity of voices, instead we get this oligopoly? It should’ve been broken up years ago.
Is this the start of a digital backlash
I wonder if the rise in physical media is the start of a digital backlash. Maybe enough people are learning that they don’t actually own the songs and movies they download (from legal sites, that is), and that their content can be removed at any time.
How many songs or e-books or movies have disappeared simply because a publisher doesn’t want to sell it on a specific service?
So instead, people are buying the physical version so they can keep it forever.
Re: Is this the start of a digital backlash
Especially in video games: where purchases can be $50 or more.
There definitely is an anti-digital backlash there.
So far, minor blips removed, other materials aren’t actually removed from the buyer. So if you have a copy offline you still have it, even if the online copy is gone.
The two largest ebook stores offer an ‘untouchable’ offline backup. Amazon makes it difficult though.
Amazon, Apple, and Google/YouTube all make it possible to have music backed up and playable offline.
In each case your limited to the drm authorisation etc for each device but overall it is doable.
And most video services make some sort of download/backup available.
The large outlier here is, actually, video games.
Even those where you have actually downloaded the full game still have online verification to play, etc.
Hell thatvhappens even with physical media in gaming.
Re: Re: Is this the start of a digital backlash
And one hell of an effort by the industry to kill the backlash.
Ironically, the thing that has held off the all digital revolution in video games is not the DRM requirements nor the backlash by gamers but the inability of the average US-based ISP to deliver real time streaming video data and player inputs at the sub-millisecond delays required by modern video games to be playable.
Amazon requires that you run the ebook through a DRM stripper first. As for the other one please name it, I’d love to know what it is.
In the case of music, no you’re not. Amazon, Apple (iTunes), and YouTube don’t use any DRM on their MP3s. (Although, YouTube doesn’t exactly allow downloads either. That, much like Amazon’s ebooks, requires an external helper program to create MP3s from the video links.)
As for print publications, again you need a DRM stripper to remove said DRM. Not many stores will sell an ebook without DRM, and those that do are few and far in between when it comes to selection.
Video games either require buying the game without DRM from some official source like GOG, or just a visit to the nearest subreddit / crack site after purchase.
Video services like anything else requires yet another DRM removal helper program.
As a special case of non-interactive media, pretty much anything can have it’s DRM removed simply by getting a HDCP stripper and an HDMI capture card. It’s the equivalent of the analog hole for the digital age, and even better, it has no degradation between the source’s output and the capture card. (The usual watermarking, hidden pixels / data streams, still apply though.)
Video games are a unique situation as they require dynamic interpretation in order to be "viewed." That said, beyond the "just download a cracked binary" solution there are other options.
One weird solution that was developed for the PS Vita was dynamic executable reconstruction. A.K.A. maidumptool. Where the game’s decrypted program text was dumped from memory and repackaged into an unprotected exe file. This didn’t work very well due to the dumping tool not properly supporting function pointer relocations among other things, but it was a nice generic option for users.
Another method is to simply hack the player device to disable the DRM checks in the firmware. Which is the method that’s been used on pretty much every device since the industry started using DRM. No need to crack every game if you can break the system itself.
PCs, i.e. Windows Games, have the issue of unique per game DRM. This is because Windows and PCs as a platform does not support DRM at the hardware level required to allow the platform to handle the DRM itself. There has been some hardware DRM support added for non-interactive media (A.K.A. The Intel Management Engine, AMD PSP, and Windows’ Protected Media Path.) but those don’t work for executables as they only protect video and audio output. The TPM and Secure Boot requirements of Windows 11 is expected to change that in the future though. Wine will probably have issues at that point, as it cannot fake an authenticated "Genuine Microsoft Windows" response from a TPM. That said…..
There are still some additional tricks for games that have yet to see the light of day: Specifically the one enabled by Photogrammetry. Reconstruction of the visual assets (textures / sprites / models) from recorded video streams. Given enough angles, it’s possible to (mostly) reconstruct the assets from the playback of game footage. There’s even open source software for reconstructing 3D models from videos already. Dump the audio too, and you’ve got all of the assets you need for an open source game engine to use minus the scripting required to animate it and define the game’s rules. Of course, if you have footage of the gameplay from start to finish, it doesn’t take much to reconstruct the scripts either. I’d imagine once the game industry goes all digital, we’ll start seeing more of this. Possibly even automated tools made by the pirates for the purpose of streamlining the whole thing. Along with new server side algorithms to detect and ban possible streamers. We already have manual reconstruction efforts going on today, with the things like World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs. (These have been going on for years and are even judged / rated based on how close they are to the official game’s behavior.) So, the video game industry isn’t out of the woods just yet. If anything they are about to find themselves in a whole new world of piracy. Frought with even higher rates of false positives. (Which is a real player just looking around VS. a streamer ripping asset data? Just how much is too much sightseeing? How does this affect their marketing of even higher pixel counts if you’re not allowed to see too many pixels? Fun times ahead for sure….)
Re: Re: Re: Is this the start of a digital backlash
"Ironically, the thing that has held off the all digital revolution in video games is not the DRM requirements nor the backlash by gamers but the inability of the average US-based ISP to deliver real time streaming video data and player inputs at the sub-millisecond delays required by modern video games to be playable."
Well, there is more to it than that. Availability is one – if a game is delisted from a store, you typically have access to that game if you previously bought it, but you have to trust that this will always be the case and while post-release patching is commonplace the majority of non-AAA non-online multiplayer games will allow you to at least play them if you or the server are offline.
Pricing is another – quite often games in stores are cheaper physically than digitally, especially after a few months as stores try to rotate out old stock to make way for newer games. There are exceptions, with Steam, GoG and the console storefronts having regular deep discounts, but it depends on what the game is you’re buying.
The third, and I think most important, is resale value. When you finish with a physical disc, you can lend or sell it. It’s quite easy to trade in a few older games to buy the new title you want, even if you’ll get rock bottom value if you use easy methods like GameStop. With digital, once you finish the game that’s it.
Physical media is never truly going away, as we’ve seen with the resurgence of the vinyl market and the continuation of boutique DVD labels that regularly sell out even if the title is available on their streaming service. But, it’s certainly not going away while there’s still distinct advantages over and above digital.
Re: Re: Re:2 Is this the start of a digital backlash
i’ve had digital copies memory-holed, like when MS lost the rights to the LEGO The Hobbit game and they pulled it from the store entirely, so I can only play it on the machine I downloaded it to.
That being said, they seem to have made it somewhat available again, but I’d have to buy it again…
Re: Re: Re:3 Is this the start of a digital backlash
"i’ve had digital copies memory-holed, like when MS lost the rights to the LEGO The Hobbit game and they pulled it from the store entirely, so I can only play it on the machine I downloaded it to."
That doesn’t seem right. Any game I’ve bought previously on XBox, I can download to any other XBox under the same account. The only issue would be whether it’s backward compatible (and so only works with a 360 and not the One / Series X / whatever). But, I’ve definitely played delisted games on consoles I didn’t own when I bought the game. Just in case you’re not aware – you can still redownload games that are delisted, you just have to go through your account history on the console and download from there as the store link won’t be there any more.
Also, it’s worth nothing that in this case it wasn’t Microsoft losing rights it was the game’s publisher Take Two. The game was also delisted on PlayStation. It’s also be relisted by the publisher since that happened and is currently (although I believe not the 360 version, only the One version was relisted IIRC).
Re: Re: Re:2 Is this the start of a digital backlash
I think you mistake more coverage to mean change.
The vinyl market has held strong in class at it’s percentage of purchases for quite some time.
Or VHS. I still buy a few brand new titles each year.
Re: Re: Re: Is this the start of a digital backlash
Incorrect. Amazon allows you to download any copy of any purchased or rented book. It is still linked to the device you use it on. But that file can be saved off line permanently.
Apple Books can be downloaded to your Mac or PC. Saved anywhere you want. Used on any supported hardware later. Just copy the file back and log in.
Kobo allows you to save files to you computer or directly on device. You can transfer files off the device to a computer and store them for later.
Adobe digital editions works on any reader that implements the API and can be stored indefinitely.
In every case files can be transfer off device elsewhere for storage and transferred back to the device for use later. Loosing online access doesn’t change access for a file you already have.
Prime music, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Spotify all allow downloading of tracks. Saved tracks are still accessible offline.
Uploaded tracks, eg Apple and Spotify, are still accessible if they are in the catalogue or not.
You mistake the difference between permanent access on previously allowed devices and portability to other devices.
Again, no. Assuming services that allow download for use offline, your limited to certain players. Not (excluding rentals) a time limit.
The situation still sucks from a user point but the irony of 1984 isn’t a recurring concern today.
Re: Re: Re:2 Is this the start of a digital backlash
"Loosing online access doesn’t change access for a file you already have."
With or without DRM? How is the DRM checked if it’s present? How to you access the copy of what you bought if you don’t have access to a device that can decode the DRM infection without stripping it? You seem to again be ignoring major points.
"Prime music, Apple Music, YouTube Music and Spotify all allow downloading of tracks. Saved tracks are still accessible offline."
I can’t speak to the other services, but you such as hell can’t keep them indefinitely on Spotify as it does a DRM check every 30 days to ensure that you still have the subscription that allows offline storage. That’s fine since you’re only renting those tracks, but it’s disingenuous to say that they’re safe since they will expired.
"Assuming services that allow download for use offline, your limited to certain players. Not (excluding rentals) a time limit."
I think that in these arguments people need to stop talking about rentals when the subject is purchases. It muddies the waters, and it’s possible to have completely different opinions of DRM and consumer rights in one scenario compared to the other.
Re: Re: Re:3 Is this the start of a digital backlash
Well, with publications, and some video services, the DRM is encoded into the title at the time of download keying it to a certain device or devices. This is a wider deployment of the original WMA and Apple Music idea… for books.
As long as you keep the/an authorised device the file still works even if the source company looses or removes distribution.
I’m correcting minor ones. Going into an argument against DRM you should have a good, through, understanding, of what your fighting against.
I assure you their lawyers and explainers and PR people understand the differences.
That may have changed in the last few years. It’s been a while since I loaded up Spotify. There was a time where storing/uploading files to the service kept those files accessible even on the free level.
Spotify is a fluke in that it doesn’t actually “sell” anything like the others do.
Except Spotify I am only talking about purchasing.
I included Spotify here because the do, or at least did, allow uploading of tracks into private playlists and you have/had permanent access to those files regardless of subscription level.
Re: Re: Re:4 Is this the start of a digital backlash
"Well, with publications, and some video services, the DRM is encoded into the title at the time of download"
So, it’s still present, right?
"As long as you keep the/an authorised device the file still works even if the source company looses or removes distribution."
On which format? Literally the reason why DRM on purchased music isn’t a thing any more is because the labels realised they handed a monopoly to Apple’s DRM, and when the transition happened non-Apple DRM purchases ceased to be valid. Also, "as long as you keep the authorised device" is still major problem.
"Going into an argument against DRM you should have a good, through, understanding, of what your fighting against."
Yes, I fight against any DRM that on something I supposedly own. I’m willing to waive that for a cheap price, but I won’t enter into a contract that says I don’t own something I "bought" unless I believe have the better part of the deal. The problem is, a lot of people don’t understand that’s an issue.
"Except Spotify I am only talking about purchasing."
Forgive me if I missed something, but Spotify is a rental service. I think they used to offer an option to purchase though an affiliate program early on, but IIRC that went by the wayside when they made deals with labels to access to US market.
"I included Spotify here because the do, or at least did, allow uploading of tracks into private playlists"
But, with those track the point was you already bought the music elsewhere, the deal was simply to allow you to listen to them through Spotify rather than launch another program if the same music was available on Spotify, or play it from local storage if it was there.
That’s a completely different paradigm, where Spotify acts as a media player if you have the tracks locally, and not really relevant to discussion of DRM of music you don’t own in a local digital format. For example, if you own music in another format then you can’t play it offline on Spotify if you didn’t get the offline subscription version.
Re: Re: Re:5 Is this the start of a digital backl
Forest…trees et al.
You need to start with accuracy to combat DRM and ownership issues.
You absolutely, undeniably, can download and backup permanently a book from Amazon. For the kindle authorised d vice of your choosing linked to your account.
The issue is using that book file 4 kindle replacements later.
We need to all be accurate in what can and can not be done to fight effectively.
Re: Re: Re:6 Is this the start of a digital b
"You absolutely, undeniably, can download and backup permanently a book from Amazon"
No, you can’t. Unless you break the DRM, any content you have is still dependent on Amazon. There’s no permanency if Amazon’s DRM servers going offline or them deciding to revoke the DRM licences as they did with copies of 1984 is still on the table.
"The issue is using that book file 4 kindle replacements later."
Weirdly, that’s not the issue. I’ve never had a problem reading books I have for Kindle with 6 generations of Kindle down the road, using them on the web based reader, etc. That’s unlikely to change so long as Amazon’s DRM is still active, and in fact it’s part of their business model to ensure that you can buy more hardware while accessing the same content. I just can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to open up a drive and see a book I hadn’t read for 20 years still available to me the same way I can open an old box of paperbacks and start reading.
Re: Re: Re:7 Is this the start of a digit
Except you don’t need to be online to transfer a book. Nor to read one.
Kindle purchased books don’t have a phone home function. I still use a 4th gen kindle with a dead WiFi adapter. Why? It works! And I like the darker screen.
When I purchase a book I go to my kindle library. Click the little more button and chose download and transfer via USB. Then chose my kindle and download that file. My kindle is incapable of any online verification. And I’m not going to spend $25 on a new Wi-Fi module and the time to replace something I don’t need.
I can save that file. By copying it to my kindle instead of moving it. And I’ve kept a compressed backup of my purchases over the years.
What I can not do is transfer that file to a new kindle and use it. It only works on that one device I download it for.
If I want to use it on another kindle or my phone I have to download it again for the new device. Assuming the title is still available online in my account.
One thing that does come and go without much warning is magazines.
My old CPU subscription is no longer on Amazon.
Nor GoreZone, Fliks, V-Collector.
But I have backups on my computer if I ever want to go back and copy it to my kindle to read something later.
I mentioned the 1984 issue myself. It happened once and Amazon was sued over it. The end result was a ‘promise’ they wouldn’t remove content from devices. Without guaranteed access to the content online later.
There are issues and concerns. But we all need to approach things accurately to push for changes.
Re: Re: Re:8 Is this the start of a d
"Click the little more button and chose download and transfer via USB. Then chose my kindle and download that file. My kindle is incapable of any online verification."
Except, you literally just described the process by which the DRM check is made.
"If I want to use it on another kindle or my phone I have to download it again for the new device"
So, you perform another DRM check. You’re really not making the argument you think you’re making.
Re: Re: Re:9 Is this the start of
Actually this is how the DRM is added to the file so no future check online is necessary.
It’s semantics but it is accurate and correct.
It’s the opposer of, say, a video game that goes online each time it’s loaded.