In what world does it make any sense for an ebook to cost more than a physical book? The physical book needs to be printed, warehoused and delivered. The ebook just just bits in the cloud that cost cents to store and transmit to customers.
I do not personally think that this justifies piracy, but it might explain why some people feel justified in pirating books.
And the content is the same, you're paying for the same work. So you are paying $2 more for a ton of increased convenience.
You can rent physical DVDs from the library for free. Yet you pay for Netflix. Such a greedy publisher, enabling us to do things more easily.
Edit: I will add—as long as I end up with a DRM Free file, I don't personally care if the file came that way or not. But, to the extent that DRM Removal requires effort, I will consider that opportunity cost in addition to the price when deciding whether to purchase something.
Nearly all movies and TV shows I watch were purchased through iTunes, because TunesKit makes the DRM trivial to remove.
The experiment described in TFA is pretty clearcut. She saturated the torrents with fakes, and more people bought authorized copies.
But another experiment would be more interesting. Cut the price of the ebook substantially, and look at aggregate sales. After all, the marginal cost of ebooks is ~$0. And downloading torrents is more hassle (and more risky) than buying from Amazon or whatever. Maybe there's a price point that would minimize piracy and maximize sales.
We should absolutely expect any move off the $12 to cause a similar response. There is almost certainly a maximized price/units point on that curve somewhere below the $12... King's to the publisher brave enough to look for it first.
(It should be noted that its not just $12 right now either, its $12-plus-the-hassle-the-DRM-puts-you-thru).
And for what it's worth, this is basically how the music industry beat piracy.
The publishing industry hasn't come close to this. In fact, they're most well-known for an illegal price fixing scheme.
I did recently bin my Spotify subscription owing to privacy concerns but have returned - it's a pain to build up a library and then put it somewhere accessible (sometimes offline in an era of devices that aren't as big as the iPod I used to have) and I was optimistic to think that the value-add would be trivially replicatable. The weekly playlists are excellent too, so currently I'm prepared to pay a monthly convenience fee. If that changed too dramatically, I'd probably move back to piracy.
Netflix is a good example of faltering here where Spotify succeeded - I know 99% of the time that the media I want to watch isn't available on their platform whereas that's an almost non-event with the latter. Convenience is something people will almost always pay for.
Ebooks and physical books have different uses, different distribution, different benefits, different downsides. They aren't identical and it's not surprising or unfair that they're priced differently.
What's more, it costs a publisher far less to produce and distribute an ebook. So there is legit no good explanation that a consumer will accept for a higher priced ebook.
Isn't skim milk a side-product of making cream and butter, which is the "fat" part you mention? I understand your point, and the consumer side is definitely a factor in how jointly-made products are priced, but it isn't exactly irrational for it to cost less, even though it's made using whole milk as a feedstock.
Also, your local library gives you the ability to rent digital goods, in eBook and video form. I haven't tried audiobooks.
Yes you can carry 1000 books around (a rather theoretical advantage in many cases), it is smaller (not necessarily lighter), and it has backlight. And no trees cut down. But - experience is not even equal.
But your main point is valid, I think: the cost-centric view only makes sense when there is a free market, while in the market for a particular book, or even, in most cases, for a particular author, the publisher has a monopoly. So, if the people who buy ebooks are willing to pay more, that is what happens.
If the ebook is higher than the book i'd likely pirate it out of principle.
When business becomes visible to the consumer you run the risk of the consumer not liking the business. Things like limited runs of e-books (fucking really?), charging more for e-books, or releasing paperback weeks before the ebook are all consumer visible business.
I don't see e-books as a convenience, I see them as a more cost effective and eco-friendly way to obtain books because you don't have to pay for the paper, the binding, the press, etc. In this view the value of an e-book comes from the fact its cheaper, trying to charge more for that removes the whole point.
But in a larger view, I have always looked at value based pricing as cancerous. I avoid phones without removable storage for this reason, I avoid apple products ever since I got my first apple product as a gift, for this reason.
The price of an item should be the cost of the item plus a modest profit margin. Anything past that is crony capitalism.
That analogy doesn't really work for me because I pay for my library through my taxes.
Physical persistence of a book, is way more practical in the short, mid, long run; to me.
As I've shuffled my physical possessions back and forth over the years and realized the toll they've taken, I'm happy with virtual books.
That said, I would really like to be able to copy and paste a quote once in a while, but DRM makes copy/paste a no-no.
No one should go into any of the following professions with any expectation of making money:
1) Writing of any kind (fiction, non-fiction, technical articles, journalism -- forget about it)
2) Digital art of any kind (see DeviantArt for millions of super-talented creations that haven't earned a cent)
3) Photography of any kind (see Shutterfly for millions of photos better than anything you ever took and yet no one will ever pay for)
4) Composing music or lyrics
It rather surprises me that software, a creative and digital medium like the above, is not futile and that you can still make a good living at it.
As far as I know not only are there more authors than ever, but more authors making a living than ever. What the Internet killed isn't being an author, but the exclusivity of being an author, which is a good thing for the majority of people.
The problem is that the egalitarian nature of the Internet (at least in the sense of barrier to entry) doesn't extend to society. When you might spend a significant part of your working life paying for housing, most other things are relatively unimportant for ones prospect of doing other things.
> It rather surprises me that software, a creative and digital medium like the above, is not futile and that you can still make a good living at it.
It is to some extent. But there is enough people entering the field for it to not be that noticeable.
It’s a different model, but I suspect more money is made because taking pictures is hard. The pictures are free (ie, included) but it costs a lot to hire a photographer.
That’s how software lives as a profession.
Source: my wife is a photographer and consequently I follow photographers more than I'd otherwise.
BLS  is forecasting -6% drop from 2016 to 2016, but 12% growth in self employed photographers.
So yeah, it’s not doing so well in general. But it’s gangbusters in her segment (all digital experience photography)
It's a power law thing — a small number of creators can make a living, a slightly larger number can make _some_ money but will still need a day job, and then there's a huge long tail of people who make nothing from their art.
My first career was doing academic science. As a grad student and postdoc, grants paid my salary. As a professor, universities mostly did. I never earned anything from stuff that I published. Indeed, I had to pay to have it published.
But of course, it was publications that kept me employed. And got me grants.
I don't know what that would look like for authors. But without an alternative, the publishing industry will demand police-state level DRM, and that would be horrible.
In particular, you believe it is possible to make a living writing software. Yes, indeed can be, as long as you write exactly the bespoke software your customer demands. If you would expect to be paid by someone to create software in general, there is no way. The internet is full of free software which can be compared to stock photos for photographers.
it was never easy to make money off of writing before. it still isn't. given than many more people are doing it the proportion of failures to successes is higher and the earnings are more widely dispersed.
people don't usually make money off of software directly but usually by using software to enable some sort of process that they can charge for.
software engineers make money the same way ghost writers, or script writers, or other real writing professionals make money. they get a spec and they implement it. the difference between professionals and artists is that professionals get paid up front.
You know that crowdfunding is a thing, right? If you're good at what you do, and choose a business model that's actually in line with the work you're doing, you don't NEED to care about piracy. You can fully monetize your work in a very consumer-friendly way, whwre the more people pirate it, the better!
The one creative medium that probably won't work well with crowdfunding models is live-action movies and AAA games. But that has more to do with just how incredibly costly these are to produce in the first place - it's really no surprise that people would balk at funding that kind of money, even in a distributed, "grassroots" way!
Anyone can write a story, create a drawing, or take a picture. It may be a bad story, a crude drawing, or a poor picture, but they can be done. However...software cannot be made by an novice. You can't wing it, have beginners luck, or stumble through it. No amount of "can do attitude" will make your code compile. Hence, you can still make a good living at it. If writing software was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Anyone can write code that compiles and does what they want with a bit of "can do attitude". Not everyone can write decent code that is maintainable.
What I will grant is that a novice is going to be completely lost if they try to start with a "modern" app. There's way too many moving parts. When webpack (implicitly included in e.g. create-react-app) fails to build because something's wrong in an implicit dependency, a novice is going to be totally screwed.
There's a nontrivial market for bespoke art and music too, so if artists and musicians need a steady income, they have those options.
You're right, though, the scene sucks. Computers and the internet have destroyed the incentive for creativity. Absent a total Butlerian jihad scale ban on computers, the best solution I can think of is standardized, strong DRM at the hardware level implemented by a consortium of OEMs and backed up with force of law DMCA style.
How many sales would she have had if there were absolutely no copies available online for free for any of the books?
I admit, I pirated when I was young because I didn't have any money and many books weren't available in my country (or would only become available after some years). Now that I have money and I'm into reading, I spend a lot more on books than I would have if reading wasn't available to me.
The study was done with public funds, but since publishers didn't like its findings, it was buried. So publishers are misusing public money to try and mislead people into supporting more restrictive copyright laws, and they're using lobbying and legalized bribes to get elected officials to pass those laws.
They use lies, deception, and bribery in a hostile attempt to reduce our freedom so they can increase their profits. So why the hell should we respect their IP, when every cent they earn will be used against us?
Books take a lot of effort to get through. If you are going to read a book you're really going to invest time into it. (assumption: everyone that would actually purchase the book intends to read it)
Movies are just an hour or two. Not much time investment. Many times people will sit down to watch a movie they don't care much about just to kill time, or put it on in the background. Like someone might pirate a movie because they 1) can't find it playing in theaters around them (more common than you think) 2) friends told you not to waste your money 3) you're bored of the shit on Netflix and need some other background noise while you browse the internet.
Music is often used as background noise too, and I imagine this changes the psychological impact of piracy.
Also, I think I lot of people feel like the movie studios, record labels, and publishers are just over charging them. It's not hard to see, especially with the first two. A $20 movie (before popcorn) for an hour and a half of "ehh" and the studio made tens of millions of dollars in box office. Or knowing an artist gets chump per album sold (or worse when streaming). I would suspect people take this same notion to books. Especially when they see that an ebook is more expensive than the physical one. Most people interpret this as "well that's messed up". But I'd also imagine that book sales are hit harder than music and movies (at least to the artists).
After discovering the EPUB/MOBI formats and the joy of having text dynamically scale on my phone/tablet, it's very difficult to go back trying to read an extensive document in PDF. On anything but a PC it just feels archaic.
On the other hand, as of today, technical documents, scientific articles, anything with nontrivial illustrations/typesetting has to be displayed in PDF to avoid unexpected results. Maybe we'll see changes in this regard, facilitated by the emerging interactive jupyter-like document formats, but PDF is here to stay for a while.
Also PDF can be text (instead of scanned pictures, etc) and can easily be converted to any other text format, from EPUB to TXT.
More on topic, please do pay for creative (and technical!) work that you get for free (legally or otherwise), if you enjoy it.
For my experience from the time where I spent more time on leisure sites and fandom sites, it's pretty likely we would organize a scavenger hunt and had a lot of discussions if we encounter a fake ebook with the characteristics described. That certainly would look like a viral marketing campaing.
However, the problem with "piracy doesn't hurt sales" is that it is only true when you provide a service just as good as the pirates.
If buying your book on amazon is a hassle, moreso than downloading a PDF on a forum, then people will pirate it. Amazon requires you to search the book, put it in your basket, go to checkout, pay, then download it on your kindle and read. The forum download requires you to download it and put it on your kindle. Maybe it is time for a Netflix for Books, especially with more digital books being sold.
That my assertion holds water is I think proven by piracy being on the rise again, now that streaming services have more exclusives, making it harder and more expensive to get the shows legitimately.
She doesn't seem to see the irony in:
> someone who pirates the book was never going to buy it anyway, so it’s not a lost sale.
Yet her whole story is pointing out that there was a point in time when a whole bunch of people were eagerly awaiting book 3 but the only actual way they could get it was to download a pirate copy of the "e-arc". She does see how the piracy on book 3 hurt her on book 4, but doesn't seem to believe that the root problem was that the only way for legitimate fans to join an ongoing discussion about the piracy-released version of her book was to also pirate the book.
She didn't want the e-arc released for book 4 for the wrong reasons. It was not that she wanted to avoid a scenario where the only way fans could get a book they were eagerly awaiting was to pirate it, she just wanted to avoid the e-arc copy being the copy which is pirated.
I don't see how her "proof" proves anything other than the fact that piracy exists. Neil Gaiman's experience directly contradicts her belief as well.
Except when it isn't. The last time I was on vacation I learned the hard way that sometimes the Kindle will create an entry for a new book but only download it when you try to read it...
So I'd recommend opening all newly purchased and "downloaded" books beforehand to make sure the books were really downloaded.
The competition operates with zero cost to the consumer, works 24/7 to bring the newest content to the end user as fast as possible and has more employees. Amazon doesn't compete with that.
Nowadays you can buy a lot(if not all) Amazon ebooks with a single click, and the Kindle will sync it automatically. No basket or checkout involved. You won't get a pirated copy on a kindle that fast and uncomplicated.
You can find and buy one on the device itself, or find and buy one on Amazon and it'll magically show up on the device. It literally is just clicking a single button.
I can't even imagine a way you could remove any steps from the process if you were designing it from scratch.
>> no idea how to get a random PDF onto my kindle.
That and the book price is not competitive with piracy.
I still think that piracy should be legal, while breaking a contract and redistributing should be punished. This shouldn't happen automatically (like the copyright infringement letters in Germany) or handled by taxes (like the hard disk tax in some European countries), it needs to be handled in court, as a breach of contract.
The fact that this is not the default and that your government/ISP is selling your data so easily, really points out how this is just lobbying from the media corporations and the umpteenth case of corruption of the government.
What if justice is too slow? Complain about your inefficient public courts and push for a private, faster system.
If you look at this from a wider perspective, people able to make money passively work once and gains for months or years to come.
It depends on the type of good you're producing - but it can be wildly profitable or put you on a diet.
Given you're profiting from selling one thing to many, it should be your problem enforcing and/or suing people sharing your work.
You have one-to-many benefits, you get one-to-many costs.
Will piracy kill some content and push the market in a different direction?
Most likely, but that's what people want.
You can see it in software with SaaS, in movies with Netflix, in music with Spotify.
I know it sucks to be in the spot of penniless painters, but it's how society evolved.
You need to evolve yourself.
It doesn't matter that the author still has a copy or whether you think you're "stealing". None of that matters. You can do whatever you like, so long as you give money to the author before you consume their thing. That's the deal, take it or leave it.
Frame the transaction that way, and at least you won't get so many people who think they haven't done anything wrong.
I pirate most of my ebooks because they're typically poorly made ports of the physical books. When I truly enjoy reading a book, I order a physical copy and add it to my shelf, so the physical copy becomes a) a conversation piece in my home 2) a decoration 3) available for my next read. But because I do most of my reading on the subway or while travelling, I still lean toward using my Kindle most of the time.
For example, if a movie costs more than $5 to rent on Amazon Prime, I'm probably gonna pirate it. Not because I think I "deserve" to do so, but 1) it's possible and 2) minor hassle < $5.
I've been using the library lately anyways. I'm so far behind on books that I've wanted to read that there's no real reason to follow new releases, so the library typically has what I want.
It’s the only reason I would ever consider downloading a PDF of a book. I buy it and love it, only I can’t take it with me on top of the 1000 other things in my bag. So now I’m looking for a pdf..
> Tip: Log in to your account to avoid repeating this across your devices.
Damn. Oath are unmitigated evil. And that BS does not satisfy GDPR. Needing to track for personalized ads is not a valid business purpose.
Anyone have a reachable link?
This seems like step one of issues to solve, don't pre-release ebooks.
I imagine if the e-arc was leaked after the release date (after the vast majority of people bought an ebook copy), then the e-arc would have had a negligable affect on sales.
There's no counter-argument because you have no argument at all, just a brazenly re-defined term.
A rational discussion requires shared language. You've thrown that out the door right at the start.