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. identicon
    Susan Solomon, 18 Nov 2011 @ 10:43am

    Every "Tiny" New Step

    What we're seeing with Amazon is nothing new. Having practice law in then entertainment field from the 70's through the esarly 90's, I experienced the onset of what has become raging new technolgy--CD's instead of LP's, disgital sampling, the development of home vidiotaping from television. What we're experiencing today is similar to the development of recording at a time when sheet music was basis of a composer's income, and then redio stations couldn't understand why they needed tom pay royalties for using copywrited material (after all, they insisted, they were promoting the music; making iut more popular. In each instance, operators of the new technology can't understand why the creators of what they sell must be paid for their work. In the record industry digital sampling issues were significantly resolved when RIAA and groups representing the publishers and writers negotiated the approach to royalites. If course, that didn't happen until numerous lawsuits were filed.

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