Authors Guild Threatens Amazon For Daring To Allow Library Lending Of Ebooks

from the how-out-of-touch-are-they dept

Ah, the Authors Guild. I don't think there's any group out there that has done more to hold back authors and important innovations that those authors need. Any new technology or innovation that comes along, the Authors Guild reflexively freaks out about it. Full text search to help you find books you might want to buy? Not allowed. Letting ebook readers use crappy text-to-speech to read aloud? The Authors Guild makes up a mythical "audio right," and threatens to sue. Then, of course, this is the same Authors Guild who is suing Google for scanning books and suing five universities for making it easier for students to access orphaned works.

So I guess it should come as no surprise that the group is now freaking out about Amazon's extremely limited "lending library" feature for ebooks. The service lets Kindle owners "borrow" one book a month for free. To appease potentially angry authors and publishers, Amazon made it clear that this doesn't actually impact revenue to publishers.
The "vast majority" are there following an agreement with the publishers to include the books for a fixed fee, while "in some cases", Amazon said it was purchasing the title under standard wholesale terms each time it is borrowed, "as a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents".
The Authors Guild's response is to continue to portray itself as out of touch and clueless on important innovations. It suggested that none of the books in the "lending library" are there legitimately. And it doesn't care that Amazon still pays when the books are borrowed. Because the Authors Guild's out of touch views also seem to include a scorched earth provision, where any new innovation they don't like must be destroyed if it ever so slightly changes the way people enjoy books.

Filed Under: ebooks, lending
Companies: amazon, authors guild

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  1. icon
    Rikuo (profile), 17 Nov 2011 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Every "tiny" new step threatens a TOTAL loss of control, though!

    ALL uses? Ever hear of fair use?
    I particularly wouldn't like it if say, Stephen King (my favourite author) published a new hardback and said that anytime I read it, since he's the all-mighty author, he hereby dictates that I have to be strapped to a machine that will electrocute me if someone looks over my shoulder. Or I sneeze too loud.
    Now, I want you to read that, and then try and explain to me again why total control is the only justifiable arrangement.

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