I would like to share a few observations about the nature of the independent author community, based on the Internet discussions that preceded the suspension of LendInk (see https://www.facebook.com/pages/LendInk/124974504234948 and check out the threads and comments from August 2), as well as my own experience as an ebook author:
* Even though indie authors are using the Kindle platform to publish their work, many are not aware of the "fine print" governing their participation in the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program or KDP Select.
* Technology skills are very focused in this community. Authors are generally very good at using Internet discussion boards and other Web channels to promote their work. But not everyone understands the differences between reading devices (which are significant) or how secondary software features work.
* On the production side, many authors are turning to services like Smashwords or freelancers to handle the conversion of Word files to the formats that Amazon/Sony/BN/etc. accept for upload.
* There is a lot of sensitivity around price (see the comment thread starting here: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2012/03/barry-joe-scott-turow.... ) and free giveaways (like KDP Select, http://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect ). This translates to intense worry about whether authors are losing out or getting cheated in some way.
In my opinion, the factors listed above as well as the general reluctance of people to read through EULAs and long FAQs disassociates authors from the processes and policies that govern how their work is distributed, marketed, and sold. This, in turn, can lead to serious misunderstandings.
I am not excusing the witch hunt that took place, but am simply trying to identify the factors that led to LendInk being suspended.
They're probably just going by what they feel is 'normal' with "real books", which isn't an entirely unfair starting point.
It's no surprise this sort of thing would pop up. It's not unlike the problems that arise due to things like car sharing and airbnb, when insurance companies and landlords get involved.
Insurance companies are probably willing to let it slide if you let someone else who's insured drive your car, and landlords generally allow you to have guests. But lending your car to complete strangers, for money, and letting complete strangers stay at your apartment, essentially short-term sublets, are not really what they are prepared to tolerate, at least not without altering the terms and rates they charge for coverage or rent.
Not just probably: I called my insurance to put someone on my insurance, and the customer service rep grilled me about how often they would use it and for what purpose ("Are they using it to commute to work?"), and then strongly recommended I not buy any additional coverage, stating that my existing coverage covered them as well, no problem.
In the UK insurance companies will go out of their way to deny claims.
Insurance companies are just out to make as much money as possible; in Europe their life is hard because they don't enjoy the ridiculous margins from crazy markets like US healthcare, they have to obey stricter regulation, and suffer from heavy rates of fraud in many countries.
EBay Germany has plenty of RHD cars listed from German sellers.
And what side the steering is on doesn't really matter if you're just going to chop it up for parts.
* Libraries are physical spaces linked to one geographical community.
* Libraries have a limited number of physical copies to lend out.
* To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home (or read it there).
Compare and contrast with a web site linking potential lenders/borrowers:
* Geography is not much of a limit.
* Ebook copies (limiting the discussion to Kindle) are managed by Amazon, but are only scarce artificially - in their 'natural' form, ebooks are not a scarce resource.
* Clicking on a web site to get a book is far, far easier, quicker and more convenient than going to a library.
That's just off the top of my head. Presumably, if you were not being willfully obtuse, you could think of a few differences too.
I don't understand how anyone can hope to discuss this stuff in a rational way if they're not going to look at the facts as they are.
Which may have many more users than this group had. How many users does a library in NYC serve?
Libraries have a limited number of physical copies to lend out.
These lending systems are much more limited: each copy can only be loaned once. http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=2...
To read the books in the library, you have to physically go there, check it out, and take it home (or read it there).
But back then you also had to physically go to a book store, buy the book and take it home. Borrowing wasn't much more difficult than buying.
I haven't used a library in 15 years that couldn't send you a book, as long as you were a member/library card carrier.
Your differences are largely superficial and orthogonal to the discussion, but I suspect you and I are not going to be able to agree on this point.
About as superficial as the difference between Amazon.com and Smith Family Book Store ( http://www.smithfamilybookstore.com/welcome.html ).
The possibility for a web site to scale up outstrips the wildest dreams of pretty much any librarian who traffics in physical books.
I don't get why people don't see this.
My local library does e-book lending online through Overdrive. Almost any e-book format, generous checkout times, etc. You can search tens of thousands of libraries here:
Right now. Is there any kind of hard limit on the number of users a site like that could have?
I'm not happy about this.
Their own interpretation of what should be is fact in their minds. The book is to be lent this way, the message of the story is this and the character is to be interpreted this way.
From what I understand, there were a half dozen or so other sites that would facilitate ebook lending, and we were all pressured by Amazon similarly. Most of those sites are no longer around.
My only point was that Amazon does not support people who run these ebook lending sites, and I don't think there's much of a future in it.
I doubt Amazon pressured them into shutting down considering LendInk is sending business their way.
They're being unreasonable and pushing people who cared enough to to jump through that to just buy or pirate it.
EULAs are long unwieldily things, but if you're publishing digitally understand what terms you agreed too before raging out at some slight.
Did you perhaps mean to say publisher, rather than author?
Being outside the US does nothing to make a person immune to US laws and law enforcement.
> Amazon has made it quite clear
> they do not support sites such as LendInk
Amazon doesn't 'support' blogs on various topics, but many of them may be on the affiliate program.
It is possible to run a site like this and stay on Amazon's good side, but not easy.
And yeah, it's a shame. Obviously the authors didn't realize what they agreed to (or at least the implications of that). They should have some action taken against them for false DMCA notices.
If so, something is insanely wrong here. Very wrong. Sounds very much like this was a very legit business taken down by pure paranoid ignorance.
ilamont's top comment sums up the set of circumstances (I would be less generous and call it a "mentality") that led to all these knee-jerk reactions. Heck, it didn't use to be called a "vanity press" for nothin'.
I wonder if next they're gonna go for Amazon because they're posting reviews.
It is however an expensive path to bring a case (and defend one) and damages aren't always massive so it isn't really worthwhile unless you have money to burn scaring people away from telling stories (true or not) about you.
For example, that guy who got caught in a Nazi-themed sex dungeon...