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Books Piracy

Analyzing Amazon's E-Book Loan Agreement 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-wants-to-prop-up-your-dying-industry dept.
conel writes "The Economist has a knowledgeable mainstream take on the restrictions publishers are forcing on e-books. From the article: 'They wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations. First, that their limited license to read a work on a device or within software of their choosing is equivalent to the purchase of a physical item. Second, that the vast majority of e-books are persistent objects rather than disposable culture. ... Just as with music, DRM will be cracked. As more people possess portable reading devices, the demand and availability for pirated content will also rise. (Many popular e-books can now be found easily on file-sharing sites, something that was not the case even a few months ago, as Adrian Hon recently pointed out.)"
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Analyzing Amazon's E-Book Loan Agreement

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  • I've been imagining that it might be the camel's nose under the tent. Hopefully there will be some publishers who take maximum advantage of the book loaning and see a big benefit from it. I'm not expecting the big name publishers to take advantage of it initially, but hopefully some small names will and will gain from it. Optimistic, I know, but I'm looking on the bright side.

    Sean
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:38PM (#34150676)

      Are you kidding? The ability to lend a book once for 14 days if the publisher allows it? How is that a good thing?

      It's so ridiculously restricted it's essentially useless.

      • by icebike (68054) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @10:37PM (#34151668)

        You are exactly right. Its almost insulting that the offer it, probably doing so only to deflect regulator attention for violating consumer's rights.

        Its the same deal offered by the publishers to Barnes & Noble for Nook users. (Not Amazon's doing, in other words).

        They have found a way to end run the First Sale Doctrine, by controlling right after the purchase. Non infringing resale is essentially impossible, and even loans or gifts are not possible.

        The problem is no consumer group exists which can fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which is probably what it will take.

        • by jadavis (473492)

          The problem is no consumer group exists which can fight all the way to the Supreme Court, which is probably what it will take.

          Where did that come from?

          Sure, the e-book practices are bad. That's why I buy physical books.

          Legislation is not the answer here -- let alone asking the Supreme Court to somehow bestow some bizarre new "right" upon you out of thin air.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by icebike (68054)

            Why is lending or gifting what is supposedly yours a bizarre new right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Culture20 (968837)

        Are you kidding? The ability to lend a book once for 14 days if the publisher allows it? How is that a good thing?

        It's so ridiculously restricted it's essentially useless.

        And only once. Never ever again to the same kindle device. As if loaning it twice somehow is worse than once. I can see an automatic return after 14 days (I'd love that with real books; too many loaners gone for good), but the only once thing makes it heinous.

  • old school piracy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:38PM (#34150680)
    Ebook piracy has been around since before ebooks were commercially available. Even many years ago there existed a usenet board I used to frequent where a constant stream of books were distributed - painstakeingly scanned, OCRed and (hopefully) proof-read by enthusiasts. The selection was surprisingly comprehensive.
    It's been a long time since I was witness to the ebook piracy scene, but from what rumors I have heard the real action there now resides on a few DC++ hubs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by deisama (1745478)

      Yeah, I remember getting my first black and white PDA like 9 years ago and being so excited that I could read books on it.

      I still have them, thousands of downloaded books, sitting around in a folder somewhere probably taking less than 100 megs of space.

      I managed to get all of the Discworld, Sword of truth series, and Douglas adam's books plus a couple of series that aren't in print anymore. All before the kindle was even a glint in Amazon's eye.

      When you're dealing with that kind of dedication to scan inform

    • by hitmark (640295) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:30PM (#34151028) Journal

      What i find most interesting in all this was the news that when the last book of the harry potter series was released, it took german fans 48 hours to scan, translate and distribute a german ebook version.

    • Harry fake potter... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by js_sebastian (946118) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @12:35PM (#34155286)
      A friend of mine some time ago downloaded book four of harry potter as an e-book off some website, and read it. He then proceeded to download and read book five, only to find out that the story was completely inconsistent with the plot of book four... It turns out the book he had read was a fan-made harry potter spin-off, probably written before book four actually came out, but it was good enough that, while a few parts seemed strange, he did not notice it was a fake until he saw the inconsistencies to the following tome...
  • What's wrong? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brit74 (831798) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:48PM (#34150760)
    I don't find anything wrong with the lend program. I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos, but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone and think that it won't undermine the business. While the publishers "wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations", it seems like lots of other people want us to engage in another hallucination: that giving out unlimited copies won't turn into a financial problem for booksellers. For example, how many students are really going to buy their own digital copies of their textbooks, as opposed to passing around one copy for everyone? (Not that I really agree with the current economic model of expensive, often-updated textbooks, but I also can't agree with the pirates desire for unlimited free copies for everyone - as if that has no economic consequences, either.)
    • by hedwards (940851)
      The fact that it's limited to one 14 day loan if the publisher agrees to it. But, OTOH why miss a chance to bash people for not bending over for whatever the corporate masters want.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        It's a one time 14 day loan, you can't loan the same book twice. That's absurd.

        If it were just a 14 day loan it would be a bit ridiculous, but not completely unacceptable.

    • Re:What's wrong? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LordNimon (85072) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:00PM (#34150846)

      I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos

      I think you are mistaken. There may be a few people who believe this, but my observation has been that the vast majority of Slashdotters are much more concerned about the right of first sale, which DRM-encumbered digital downloads do not currently allow. There's no way I'm going to spend $10 or $20 on an e-book if I can't sell it to someone when I'm done with it.

      • Re:What's wrong? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cynyr (703126) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:20PM (#34150960)

        or gift it to a friend, or let my kid take it to college, or... any number of other things i may do with a physical book involving lending.

      • Re:What's wrong? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:24PM (#34151278) Homepage Journal

        I'm really starting to believe that we could completely do away with copyrights and things would change very little. Musicians would still sell music, authors would still sell books. Lawyers would be the big losers, as would a few of the conglomerates that have divisions with the sole purpose of owning other peoples' intellectual property. Other than that, the world would go on pretty much as before.

        I'm still waiting to see any real data that shows the damages from widespread file sharing of copyrighted materials.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          "I'm still waiting to see any real data that shows the damages from widespread file sharing of copyrighted materials."

          You'll be waiting forever because there is none. In order for something to be taken, it must first exist. The profits that they could have had in the future (which is what they try to say the pirate steals) do not exist, and therefore can't be taken. Not to mention that, again, everyone in existence 'steals' profit that others could have had. You do that by merely choosing not to give someon

        • by icebike (68054)

          I'm really starting to believe that we could completely do away with copyrights and things would change very little.

          This issue has nothing to do with copyright. The discussion is not about violating anyone's copyright, or bilking the authors out of their due.

          Its not about unfettered reproduction, or duplication of the author's work.

          Its about loaning the book you bought to a friend for as long as you want, and when it is returned, loaning it to another friend.

          That is not a violation of anyone's copyright.
          This is not a copyright issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AdmiralXyz (1378985)

      I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos...

      Not really. "Information wants to be free" is used more when talking about the free/open-source software movement, or against locking down data in inaccessible proprietary formats. It's generally only used as justification for piracy in one of two contexts:

      1. As a straw man attacking people with a rightful opposition to invasive DRM schemes.

      2. By idiots who pirate things because they don't want to pay for them, and then flail around trying to find some kind of philosophical justification for their actio

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        "The reality is, there are always going to be fucktards who will look to the Internet to avoid having to pay for something."

        I'm sorry, but I don't see the problem with this. What are pirates taking by copying data? How are they harming others? If you say that they're stealing "potential profit," then I'm afraid that's illogical. For one thing, for someone to be taken, it must first exist. Profit that they do not yet have is not theirs (and thus the profit that they could have owned in the future does not ye

        • You are confusing "goods" with "creative effort". It costs more than $7.99 worth of an authors time to write a full length novel, have it edited, marketed and distributed. The cost for developing the content is amortized over the entire set of sales for the book (which are higher for physical media because of the printing, distribution, and paper costs)

          If you could duplicate a distribute a physical book for zero cost, that still doesn't change the fact that the author has spent a good portion of their lif

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            "If you could duplicate a distribute a physical book for zero cost, that still doesn't change the fact that the author has spent a good portion of their life and creative energy creating the work, and deserves to be paid for it if they choose to."

            But as I said, this is no more the fault of the pirate (who didn't actually take anything, mind you) than it is someone who chose not to buy the product (if they had bought it, the author would have had more money and would have been awarded for their creative effo

            • You're confusing "not interested in it" with "not interested in paying for it". Nobody thinks someone should have to pay for something they don't want.

              However, Most people that DO want the work would choose not to pay for it, if given the option.

              I'm not talking about Piracy, where you're doing something illegal. I'm talking about if copyright did not exist, and authors and publishers had no right to control distribution.

              You said it yourself. If you can get it for free, you'd rather do that. So would eve

              • "You're confusing "not interested in it" with "not interested in paying for it". Nobody thinks someone should have to pay for something they don't want."

                That doesn't matter. The fact of the matter is this: if they would have bought the product, the author would have had more money. Therefore, they deprived the author of potential profit similar to that of a pirate.

                "And few, if anyone, would compensate the author."

                My entire point is that piracy itself hurts people as much as someone simply choosing not to bu

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xous (1009057)

        I did by books at one point it time but I'm in a situation now where I don't have a lot of shelf space and I find e-books more convenient. The first time (and last time) I bought a e-book was a nightmare. I chose the Adobe PDF format because it was only format that was available on just about any platform. The provider would not EVEN RESPOND to my complaints regarding the undisclosed DRM which made it unusable on my Linux Laptop. Never again.

        If I want a book these days I'll pirate it or get it from the libr

      • Re:What's wrong? (Score:5, Informative)

        by vikarti (1309635) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @01:14AM (#34152292)
        There are other cases except your 2,for example: There is a good SciFi series of 4 books. Except that it is impossible to buy ANY electronic version of 4rd one(it is in kindle store - but limited to USA only). Other electronic versions are available...in USA only again. (previous parts were sold via Baen's Webscription,and bought by me for example) What I should do?I was ready to pay.except they don't want to get money. Tried,honestly find ways.after 2 hours give up and fired up eMule,after some time problem solved(for me)
      • Re:What's wrong? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sjames (1099) on Sunday November 07, 2010 @01:49AM (#34152408) Homepage

        It's drifted quite a bit. At one time the implication of "information wants to be free" was related to "water wants to flow downhill" or "a gas wants to expand to fill it's container". It's just the natural order of things that if a single control on information fails anywhere just once, it's free. That's all. The Free Software movement pointed that out simply to show that Free Software is information in it's natural state.

        Another sense of the phrase is economic. The marginal cost of copying information is practically zero, so from an economic standpoint, that's what it should cost in a free market.

        Of course, producing the very first copy is not nearly free. From an economic standpoint, the market SHOULD be coming up with a way for people to pay for that first copy to be created directly rather than greatly overcharging for the copying but paying nothing for the part that is actually worth something. That process is being delayed as distributors cling desperately to the old now broken model using increasingly draconian laws and ever more complex and expensive DRM to create an artificial scarcity their model needs.

        Interestingly, most of the rabid free market crowd carefully avoids recognizing copyright as a HUGE manipulation of the market.

    • Re:What's wrong? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by grcumb (781340) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:41PM (#34151082) Homepage Journal

      I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos, but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone and think that it won't undermine the business. While the publishers "wish you to engage in two separate hallucinations", it seems like lots of other people want us to engage in another hallucination: that giving out unlimited copies won't turn into a financial problem for booksellers.

      Just for the sake of argument, let's accept that assertion of yours as truth: Infinite distribution necessarily causes financial problems for publishers. That doesn't explain why they would choose to give fewer lending rights to possessors of digital copies than to those who buy the paper object. Nor does it explain why they charge pretty much the same price for this reduced capability.

      We seem to be dealing (yet again) with anti-features [wiki.mako.cc]: The publishers are actually adding to the consumer's burden in exchange for nominally lowering the cost and 'allowing' them the convenience of reading an electronic copy of a given book.

      As the Economist rightly notes, this won't stand. Anti-features (including DRM) only need to be removed once. Argue however much you like about the rights of the author. As a writer, I'm pretty damn sympathetic. But realistically, writers have to adjust to the world as it is. People will share things that delight them. They do so with photos, with posters, books, music, TV shows and movies... in short, with everything they can.

      Yes, it puts creators in a quandary. Yes, it threatens livelihoods and, potentially, might even prevent the next great opus. But to attempt to remodel the world to fit an outdated vision? That's just insane. I don't mean stupid -it actually requires a fair amount of imagination to get there- I mean insane - nuts, cuckoo. The idea is premised on the fact that all of society (save the poor, beleaguered author) is wrong, and must change. Even if the first clause is correct, the second does not follow. And even if we accept it logically, we still have no hope of effecting that change through technical means.

      I suppose it is possible that we could change society. It's happened before. But we will not do it with DRM and anti-features.

      • Piracy will never prevent the next great opus. Society will ever place media created for profit in the same category as real art.
        • by grcumb (781340)

          Piracy will never prevent the next great opus.

          I know that [imagicity.com]. I was just granting that assertion 'for the sake of argument'. My point is that even if we grant that assertion as true, the methods being used to protect the author (the publisher, actually, but that's a different post) are inappropriate and ineffective.

        • No, but I'd bet freely copyable works would have prevented Star Wars, The Matrix, pretty much anything written by Steven King, and a lot of other stuff you probably would not be happy about losing...

          • To be honest, I really don't see the existence or non-existence of Star Wars as having a major impact on my life.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by man_of_mr_e (217855)

              Think of the cultural impact if someone went back in time and killed George Lucas in his teens. Wait.. that sounds like a good plot for a movie...

      • I'd like to also point out that the transfer from a physical to a digital copy removes restrictions. Back before this sort of thing was possible you certainly could lend your book out. Maybe you never get it back, or maybe whoever you lent the book to lends it to someone else. Or perhaps you do get it back. However, there is only one copy being passed around. It was a physical limitation. With a digital copy of a book no such limitation exists.

        Basically the content used to be married with the physical worl
        • by dwillden (521345)
          But with a proper implementation of the lending systems Amazon and B&N have cooked up it would be the same.

          I buy a book for my nook from B&N, I read it and decide I want to lend it to my brother. Currently my options are to A: Lend it to him for 14 days, hoping he has time to read it in that time, and that I don't want to lend it to someone else. B:Strip the DRM and share a copy with him thus committing IP infringement. Note that if I choose option A, but then want to lend the book to my mother
          • by tftp (111690)

            That is what we want to do. Currently the two largest sellers are trying to block the type of lending we've been used to, the type of lending that Libraries operate on, and the type of lending the Doctrine of First Sale guarantees us.

            The book sellers can't do that. They hate libraries already, but the libraries operate in the physical world. To borrow or return a book you need to go to the library, and there are only few copies available. So in the end libraries are just a drop in the ocean; if you want

      • Re:What's wrong? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by dwillden (521345) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:02PM (#34151758) Homepage
        This gives me an idea, perhaps someone should start a campaign with a site where you can print out Book lending agreements.

        Each agreement will state in appropriately scary legalese that it authorizes the purchaser of the book to lend the book once, for a period of 14 days to one individual of their choice. Upon completion of the 14 day period the lender is legally obligated to recover the book from the lendee, even if their not done reading it yet, and that they are legally prohibited from ever lending that book again.

        Then place these lending agreements, one (and one only) per book at every book store they can get them into.

        We can complain about it all we want here in cyberspace, but the only way to really point out how flawed these "Lending programs" really are is to let hard copy buyers feel the same frustration at such ridiculous rules which totally violate the right of first sale.

        If you figure out how to make a profit off this idea, I want a can of Mt. Dew as payment for use of my intellectual property of the idea. ;) I know, the idea really isn't worth that much, but ya gotta think big.
      • Just for the sake of argument, let's accept that assertion of yours as truth: Infinite distribution necessarily causes financial problems for publishers. That doesn't explain why they would choose to give fewer lending rights to possessors of digital copies than to those who buy the paper object. Nor does it explain why they charge pretty much the same price for this reduced capability.

        If publishers could control physical books like they can ebooks, they would have forced those limitations a long time ago.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by icebike (68054)

        As the Economist rightly notes, this won't stand. Anti-features (including DRM) only need to be removed once. Argue however much you like about the rights of the author.

        The thing is, the system set up by Barnes and Noble and copied by Amazon rendered ebooks to the same status as paper books.

        It made it very easy to loan a book, and prevented you from reading it or loaning it again to another person till the first person returned it. It was a beautiful thing. It would even handle gifting, by severing all of the original owner's rights to reclaim the copy.

        Then the publishers stepped in and said, No Way. Lend it once in your entire life, and only for 14 days.

        Here they were

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      it seems like lots of other people want us to engage in another hallucination: that giving out unlimited copies won't turn into a financial problem for booksellers.

      I guess you've never heard of Baen Publishing? They have been giving out free copies of books for years, and not just one or two, but hundreds of popular, current books. The put CDs in their hardback books with a copy of a lot of that authors work, plus other, plus the book you just bought and ask you to distribute copies of the CD. They aren't

      • I guess you've never heard of Baen Publishing?

        Umm. no. And, isn't that really the point? They certainly aren't popular enough for most people to have ever heard of them. And how do you know if they're going out of business or not? Have you seen their financials?

    • Re:What's wrong? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:46PM (#34151098) Homepage

      it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone

      What you don't seem to understand is that B&N's lending policy doesn't come remotely close to this -- in fact, it doesn't remotely come close to what you can do with a printed book. If I give the book to you, you can keep it as long as it takes you to finish reading it -- no need to return it in 14 days. If you want to borrow it again next year, you can ask me and I'll probably let you. In fact, I might just tell you to keep it, in which case you own it now, and you could loan it to other people or pass it along, too. I could also loan it to someone other than you, if I chose to keep it.

      None of this is possible with the B&N e-reader loan policy. With a Nook, I can loan the book to you once. You can only have it for 14 days, after which it disappears from your Nook and reappears on mine. And from that moment forward, I can never lend it to anyone ever again. Not to you, not to anyone else. And that's that. That is a far, far cry from what people expect when they purchase a book.

    • "I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos, but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone and think that it won't undermine the business."

      You are deluding yourself into thinking you have offered some kind of insightful criticism, and the mods are feeding your delusion. Nobody is claiming that authors shouldn't be compensated for their work, as you imply. The argument is also not that you should be able to make unlimited copies and han

    • I don't find anything wrong with the lend program. I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos, but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone

      I don't want the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone. What I want is the ability to read the book I've purchased on all of the devices I own, not just those which Amazon is willing to support.

      To give a specific example: I use my Kindle DX to read mostly at home and during long travel (vacation etc), and my Android phone on short trips (getting around within the city), waiting in lines, and other similar cases. Now, while there is a Kindle app for Android, it sucks for a variety of reasons: the UI i

    • "but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone and think that it won't undermine the business"

      Sounds like a problem with our capitalistic society rather than the process of handing out free information.

      "For example, how many students are really going to buy their own digital copies of their textbooks"

      Why would they? Some of them simply can't afford it. Education is far more important than money.

      "but I also can't agree with the pirates desire for unlimited free c

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054)

      I don't find anything wrong with the lend program. I realize Slashdot has a certain "information should be free" ethos, but it doesn't make much sense to build in the ability to give unlimited copies to everyone and think that it won't undermine the business.

      You have managed to TOTALLY miss the point here.

      B&N and Amazon have developed a mechanism which would support lending books, but preventing the lender from reading it while it was on load. They have a mechanize to make an e-book exactly line a printed book.

      The ebook is locked on the lender's kindle/nook for the duration of the lend.

      So there is no "unlimited copies" nonsense.

      Its just like a printed book. You lend it, you don't have it. Wait till you get it back and lend it again. Or give it away. Yo

  • Doing it wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:55PM (#34150796) Homepage

    - It's often more expensive than a hard copy
    - Its purchase does not affect the cost of getting a hard copy later (nor vice versa!)
    - It is intangible and can (and will) be remote-deleted for the flimsiest of excuses.

    Why are we supposed to buy this again instead of getting something made of paper?

    • Re:Doing it wrong (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:02PM (#34150868)
      Convenience. Just like with convenience foods typically costing more than doing it yourself. Of course, that's more the rationale than the reasoning. The reason is that they can get away with it.

      Personally, I like ebooks, but I do expect to be able to use them as I please. I like the way that O'reilly media handles their ebooks. The specifics depends a bit on the book, but most of the recent books are available via several different formats, including epub. My main complaint is that if you buy the book through their store rather than the android market that there seems to be no way of converting between the two.
    • by aeoo (568706)

      Why are we supposed to buy this again instead of getting something made of paper?

      I don't. I get all my books on paper. ebooks are raw deal.

  • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @07:57PM (#34150810)

    We need to start treating digital copies like books. We don't own the content, but we should own the copy we purchased, and we should be able to do with them what we want.

    Obviously there are some natural limitations that apply to books that would need to artificially applied to ebooks, but we can already apply them, as this piddly excuse for a loan policy proves.

    The concept is easy: a function in the software that ties an ebook to the device and only allows transfer to another device if it successfully ties it to another device, and then disables the ebook on the original device. That would make ebooks behave exactly like regular books. Then you wouldn't need a stupid loan policy, you'd just give your friend your copy of the ebook, just like you would a physical book.

    I seriously do not understand why this has not been done yet, or why they insist on these stupid "loan" functions. Just move the ebook off the old machine and onto the new! Leave it up to the owner of the book to get their copy back, just like physical books. We've been able to "move" (copy then delete) digital media for ages.

    Seriously, it's not that hard. Why the hell are they making it so complicated?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's a bit harder than you might think..
      If my personal vault of ebooks dies, how do I transfer them to someone? Or, is that the logical equivalent of my house burning down with all the contents?

      Frankly, the probability of my ebook reader dying/getting lost/stolen/destroyed is MUCH higher than my house, not to mention that paper books have a fairly decent lifetime. I've got books that are 100 years old and still perfectly usable. Yes, I also have paperback trash that is falling apart after a decade or so.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        If my personal vault of ebooks dies, how do I transfer them to someone?

        If your book burns in a fire, how do you get a new one? That's right, you buy a new one

        Or, is that the logical equivalent of my house burning down with all the contents?

        Yes, it is. If you keep all your books on your ebook reader, and you lose/break/whatever your reader such that they cannot be retrieved, you should be SOL.

        Since the rest of your post flows from the above two mistaken (in my opinion) premises, there's no need for me to respond to what follows them.

        • by MoonBuggy (611105)

          Yes, it is. If you keep all your books on your ebook reader, and you lose/break/whatever your reader such that they cannot be retrieved, you should be SOL.

          Your suggestion of tying the books to a single device necessitates them being stored in one or two places (reader, computer, or split between the two). Those 'places' are, by their nature, fragile electronic devices that hold many thousands of books - the actual data storage part easily fits in a pocket. It's a hell of a lot harder to safeguard a micro SD

          • by icebike (68054)

            Both Amazon and B&N maintain a virtual book shelf for your purchases. As long as they are in business, you can re-download the books you purchased, to stock the replacement Nook/Kindle after dropping the original in the lake or whatever.

            Further, you can backup your own purchase at any time. And you can restore it to any device that support the decryption method.

            Both B&N and Amazon use the same technique. Encrypt the book with your name and Credit card number. Things you would not be willing to g

      • by dwillden (521345)
        Uh, back up? Maybe? The current ebook readers have a life expectancy of two to three years. The books purchased from the seller of the reader (Amazon/Kindle, Barnes & Nobel/Nook) are held on-line for your re-download at no cost.

        With the Nook (and I'm sure it's the same with the kindle) you can get reader apps for your Mac, pc, or other smart device and thus can have the books stored there as well.

        Books from other sources you just keep backed up like any-other slightly valuable data.
    • by PCM2 (4486)

      The concept is easy: a function in the software that ties an ebook to the device and only allows transfer to another device if it successfully ties it to another device, and then disables the ebook on the original device. That would make ebooks behave exactly like regular books. Then you wouldn't need a stupid loan policy, you'd just give your friend your copy of the ebook, just like you would a physical book.

      Um... this is exactly how e-book loaning works. The part that's the "stupid loaning policy" is the part where B&N and Amazon only allow you to do it once, and only allow the transfer to be in effect for 14 days. They don't "need" to do it that way, certainly. In case you missed it, the fact that they've decided to do it this way anyway is what makes people so mad.

      • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        When I said disable I actually meant delete, I hit submit before I realized that mistake. It should be a permanent but freely repeatable transfer.

        The B&N and Amazon plans prove that this can work just fine, but instead of doing something that made sense (an actual move), they chose to do this ridiculous one-time temporary copy. It's stupid. Why didn't they just give us the real deal? Like you said, as far as the hardware/software is concerned it's almost exactly the same thing, and is actually less

    • by EdIII (1114411) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @11:41PM (#34151952)

      Your way way way off.

      From the very beginning we needed to treat books like digital copies. Hundreds of years ago I would have bought the argument that the act of creating the book took as much or more effort than writing it. The printing press forever changed that.

      Where you have already gone down the wrong path is a fundamental misunderstanding, or complete disregard, for copyright law.

      1) All intellectual property at the moment of creation belongs The People . This is to ensure that we always possess a rich culture of art, literature, and technology. After all, everything is created by building on the works of others. Perhaps the very first cave dude that invented fire might be able to claim true originality, but I am sure there was some cave dude before that who figured out that living in caves was better.

      2) In our current society, at the moment of creation, We The People grant a number of limited and specific rights to the creator. This is copyright law, and in some cases, patent law. As a people, we decided it was in our best interests to temporarily allow the creators control over their works. Distribution, profits, etc. It was never meant to be permanent.

      Your idea involves, quite simplistically, technology and law that should not exist. The only way to implement your idea is to lock down so-called cyberspace into a totalitarian regime of complete and utter control. For without this complete and utter control, DRM is doomed to failure. We can shake our fists against the Pirates, but they are simply representing the true behavior of our society; we love to share information. For good or bad, this behavior will persist and continue despite our constant ethical debates in various forums.

      Furthermore, it is absolutely evident that these controls (often DRM), grant the creator effective rights and control beyond the scope and intent of copyright law .

      The vast majority of the populace simply lives in ignorance. That is simply a state of being, and not a character flaw. Few understand the true implications of the cyberspace we created. Society created an additional dimension. It has its own topology, its own space, and very clearly interacts with the physical world we live in. Consider SCADA systems that are supposedly protected, personal and confidential data held in various spaces, e-commerce, virtual online worlds, etc. It goes on and on. Cyberspace can clearly be affected by our actions here, and actions in Cyberspace can profoundly affect us, regardless of whether we initiated them or were even aware of them.

      We would need to completely dominate that space in order to ensure that governments could control it. Cyberspace could not exist according to the ideals of Freedom, Privacy, and Anonymity in order to control it on a large scale.

      THAT is what people are missing. You are growing up, living out your life, and people are still yet to be born, in our new world with little practical knowledge of this new dimension of our existence. In the name of Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt, Ignorance, and Greed we are handing over the keys, and the very control, over this critical dimension of our lives with barely an acknowledgment.

      I know, it sounds crazy and intense, and how much tin foil do I have on my head right? It can't really be that complicated right? You would be so wrong.

      You need to choose which is more important. Locking down Cyberspace in order to effect these controls on it, or making sure that we will remain free.

      *******

      Your idea is not treating digital copies like books either. You simply misunderstand what a book really is. It is, quite simply, a physical medium in which the copyrighted material can be enjoyed. That enjoyment is entitled by rights given to you from the copyright holder. One could say, the book is proof of your rights.

      What we really need is for all copyrighted material to be sold with what am

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:13PM (#34150926)

    I was moments away from ordering a Kindle - I had added it to my Amazon shopping cart and had started to add some e-book titles. Then I noticed the used book prices. Every one of the 5 e-books I had picked out were priced at $9.99, while used books with shipping came out to prices ranging from $4.50 to $9.99 including shipping.

    While I understand that people that travel a lot may prefer an e-book for the convenience, I do 90% of my reading in my living room. Why would I pay $139 for a device plus a premium price on each book just to have a fancy gadget? I'm not one to run out and buy the latest bestseller and I have enough books on hand to not find it hard to wait a couple weeks for a used book to arrive.

    I could even resell the books after I'm done and make the effective cost even cheaper (printing a priority mail label takes a couple minutes, so there's hardly any inconvenience). Though in reality, I donate my books to a local charity.

    I don't expect the publisers to allow e-book resales, but unless they cut their book prices significantly, they are going to have a hard time competing against paper.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      hogwash.

      New books range from 9.99 to 14.99. Older books are cheaper. Classics are free (thanks project Gutenberg) and the good stuff (sci-fi) even recent sci-fi is normally 6 bucks or so. Heck Anathem is 7.99. Sure you can get used books for super cheap and even market place paper backs cheap as well, but we are talking about bookstore prices here, nit bargain bin copies.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hawguy (1600213)

        How can you say "hogwash" if you haven't even read what I wrote? I clearly said used books. Why buy new when the words on a used book are just as legible as a new book? I rarely keep a book after I read it, so I don't care if the cover is torn or the pages are a little dogeared.

        I'm not talking about bookstore bargain bin prices,I'm talking Amazon used books delivered to my door.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        Sure you can get used books for super cheap and even market place paper backs cheap as well, but we are talking about bookstore prices here, not bargain bin copies.

        Except that if this current approach takes off there will never ever be any more used books. I'm sure the publishers think that's a good thing for them. But they aren't thinking it through. The used market supports the new market. If they can't resell your used copy, that's effectively a price increase for anyone buying new. Furthermore, lack of cheap used books means less opportunity for an author to build an audience. People are much more willing to risk 50 cents on an author they've never read befo

        • by BLKMGK (34057)

          Oh but the publishers say that we're getting a bargain with their high prices because it's a huge discount off of new LIST prices. Mind you I've never paid list for a book! These books are also way more portable so of course they are a better value. And you know printing presses cost a ton of money so eBooks have to help support that. No seriously! Go read through the last year's worth of posts on the Macmillen blog http://blog.macmillanspeaks.com/ [macmillanspeaks.com] I swear these guys think their customers are stupid...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BLKMGK (34057)

        Where are you seeing these prices for new Sci-Fi? Last I looked they sure as hell weren't $6. All of them I've wanted have been higher with a little love note from Amazon pointing out that the price is now set by the F'ing publisher. Some of them were even more expensive than new paper books. The industry has gone the way of the music industry so far as I'm concerned. Screw 'em.

        Here's an example from the action stuff I've been reading lately - check the paper and Kindle pricing. http://www.amazon.com/The-Sp [amazon.com]

    • by obarel (670863)

      The only thing is that you can have 1000 classics included in the price you pay your ISP. I hope you like "The Black Tulip" and "Pinocchio".

      That, and as many PDFs as you care to download. I wouldn't recommend printing "Handbook of Applied Cryptography" and the used price is $43.00 on Amazon right now. But you can download it. Also, something like Peopleware is still cheaper in Kindle format than the cheapest used version.

      But I tend to agree with you - I've seen (and bought) some sweet bargains for used book

  • eBook piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:17PM (#34150944)

    I avoid eBook piracy by simply by reading the classics [gutenberg.org]

  • by Decker-Mage (782424) <jack_of_shadows@yahoo.com> on Saturday November 06, 2010 @08:23PM (#34150982)
    Baen Books has been posting e-books, several formats available, for several years now. And, curiously enough, it's the authors that make the choice. I have a solid library of their titles that are loaded on all my machines to read during down-time (waiting on something) and all of them, including ones that I initially wouldn't have bought in book form normally, are here in the pulp as well. So, it's a good deal for the author, give me a book that may have me buy the series, rather than miss a potential sale.

    A rather radical thing that I recently encountered was a hardback Baen Book ("Rats, Bats, & Vats") that had a CD with several dozen titles from Baen on it that encouraged you to make a copy and give them out.

    As for the e-book community, yes, they are alive and well in the newsgroups last time I looked (August I believe) and you can get what you want in almost any format. Then again, that's been true of anything that can be presented in electronic form pretty much since newsgroups (NNTP) came to be. Just as with the cracking community (hell Apple should know what with rooting the iPhone) you'll always see them out there. Keep the price point low enouigh and frankly most people won't go to the effort of finding, downloading, etc., since you never going to know what you get (unusable/, malware, and lawsuit, oh my!).

    And before anyone professes that this is incorrect, go back and take microeconomics again, specifically opportunity costs. The beautiful thing about iTunes, iPhone Apps, NetFlix, downloadable software, and e-book marketplaces is that they have been an ecometrician's wet dream for statistical market behavior. I don't think that this was the intent of the providers of music, apps, and video, but there you have it. Saved us a ton of research grant money. Thank you!
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:02PM (#34151170)

      Their free ebook program has pretty conclusively proven that books that are past their peak sales mark (usually 2-6 months after first publish) see a substantial increase in sales after publishing the ebook for free.

      Don't hide it, promote [baen.com] it!

      The prime palaver section really details why this works, but the lengthy introduction on the front page is good enough for it to make sense to most people.

      This quote really sums up the real problem quite nicely:

      Income doesn't derive from preventing theft, it comes from making sales. A certain amount of loss due to theft is simply one of the overhead costs. Obviously, taking simple measures to eliminate as much theft as possible is sensible. But at a certain point -- and much sooner than you might think -- the measures you take to prevent theft can start cutting your income.

      • Income doesn't derive from preventing theft, it comes from making sales. A certain amount of loss due to theft is simply one of the overhead costs. Obviously, taking simple measures to eliminate as much theft as possible is sensible. But at a certain point -- and much sooner than you might think -- the measures you take to prevent theft can start cutting your income.

        One of the best descriptions of opportunity cost for both buyer and seller I've encountered in a long time. And the fact that it has to be described is a fundamental damning indictment of "modern education".

    • by proxima (165692)

      Baen Books has been posting e-books, several formats available, for several years now.

      As someone completely unfamiliar with their authors and catalog, can readers of Baen books provide some recommendations? Anything available as an ebook (free or otherwise) would be of interest to me.

      This is one advantage of the larger stores - it is usually straightforward to find the bestsellers within any given genre. For those of us new to a genre (or new to the modern works in a genre), this can be a helpful starting

      • To begin, a link: Baen Books Free Library [baen.com]

        The problem here is you didn't described what books you like! I read pretty much everything that isn't nailed shut and I'd be there with a claw-hammer prying the nails out. No joke. Even just pointing at a genre (Science-Fiction, Fantasy, etc.) isn't good enough these dsays. For instance, in Science-Fiction you have Military Science-Fiction (a favorite here given my background), Space-Opera (still alive and kickin'), even cross-over series such as the Recluce
        • by proxima (165692)

          My impression was that Baen books is primarily science fiction. I've drifted from that genre over the years, but I'm a fan of many of the "classics" (Dune, Foundation series, the Ender series, etc).

          Perhaps the best recommendation would be a great book by an author with many other books available. That way if I like the first I know where to go next for similar fare. The real issue is that I really hate starting a book and not liking it; I want to finish it and it just nags at me when I don't. Fortunatel

          • Just 'cause it's (primarily) Science-Fiction doesn't mean we can't have fun. Rick Cook's Wizard Series is awfully (sometimes the puns can be as bad as a Xanth novel ;-) fun. Eric Cook's and David Drake's Belisarius series practically defines the most recent alternate history genre (okay a bit of an exageration but not by much), lately. Lackey's Serrated Edge novels are pure urban fantasy as best exemplified elsewhere by Seannan McGuire or Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or Kim Harrison, heck a lot of what I
      • by Eythian (552130)
        Just browse though and see what grabs your eye. I quite like the 163x series (the first one or two are free, and then I was forced to buy the whole damn set.) Also, perhaps grab some of their magazines (Baen's Universe, IIRC - also in ePub) which might be good for getting an overview of what they have. Be careful, they very much subscribe to the "first hit's free" philosophy, only the subsequent hits are also cheap :)
  • Who cares about what Amazon does not want you to do with the books? Removing the DRM completely is not entirely trivial (yet; it shouldn't be hard to write a 1-click app that does it, it's just that no-one bothered, so far as I know), but the instructions [nyquil.org] are out there.

    • Who cares about what Amazon does not want you to do with the books? Removing the DRM completely is not entirely trivial (yet; it shouldn't be hard to write a 1-click app that does it, it's just that no-one bothered, so far as I know), but the instructions [nyquil.org] are out there.

      Personally, I care because when I pay money to Amazon for a Kindle book, I'm sending them an implicit message that I approve. That I consider it acceptable for them to be locking me in to their walled garden and stripping me of my basic consumer rights while pretending that this is normal and nothing has changed and this is still a "sale", no really, it is.

      I do not approve. I do not consider it acceptable. And I do not believe that Amazon will ever grow an ethical backbone on this issue until they start los

    • by dreampod (1093343)

      Presumably Amazon. If it is just as easy for me to pirate the book in the first place than to strip the (unethical) DRM from it, I'm likely to just pirate it in the first place. If I do that then Amazon loses out on what I might have shelled out for that.

      • I guess you could put it that way. I also remember now hearing something about Amazon selling Kindle (not DX, but the smaller ones) at a loss after the recent price cuts, supposedly because they can make it up from ebook purchases. If true then in my case they're losing money since I purchase very little from them.

  • A "few months ago" I wouldn't have thought about pirating a book. I could get my favorite books for under $10 and I was reading them like crazy. Then here comes iPad and the bullshit deal Apple setup with the publishers to let THEM set the price and break Amazon's lock on E-books. Publishers, led by Macmillan, put the hurt on Amazon, and now they too are forced to let Publishers set book prices. Damn near overnight my buying of books came to a screeching halt as nothing I was interested in reading could be had for what I felt was a reasonable price. Some of the books I looked up were CHEAPER in hard copy! Books that have been out 6-7 YEARS for $12++?!

    So I too looked towards Torrent sites and elsewhere and sure enough there was tons of books available. I haven't bought a single book from Amazon, hard or soft copy, since this change in pricing went into effect. the sad thing is that E-books are so small no one ever just shares one, it's ineffective. Instead you see huge collections thrown together in order to make the file size decent.

    Thankfully some authors are getting a clue! Hopefully more will follow this guy's lead -> http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

  • My wife's been hounding me to by a kindle. Let's see, $150 for a device that needs charging and costs roughly the same per book which may or may not work 3 to 5 years from now versus a book I own forever can loan to anyone and reread 50 years from now if I feel like it.

    I have every book I ever bought, including pulp sci-fi from 30 years ago. I'm free to loan them to whomever, reread them whenever. I really really have a hard time seeing the attraction of switching.

    Saying I'd now be free to loan it to s

    • by Yosho (135835)

      Let's see, $150 for a device that needs charging and costs roughly the same per book which may or may not work 3 to 5 years from now versus a book I own forever can loan to anyone and reread 50 years from now if I feel like it.

      While ebooks have their disadvantages, you're making a very stilted argument.

      The Kindle's other pros include:
      1) The ability to dynamically resize the text and adjust the font face (in case someday you have a problem reading tiny print).
      2) You can access every ebook you have from a single location that weighs much less and takes up much less space than a stack of books.
      3) You can read other types of media than DRMed ebooks, including plain old TXT and PDF files, and there are lots of classic pieces of litera

  • It's an e-book. If you're not willing to abide by the rules of the vendor, just go to a real live book store and buy an actual book. End of problem.

For every bloke who makes his mark, there's half a dozen waiting to rub it out. -- Andy Capp

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