E-books not so easy to find at the library

  • Article by: LAURIE BLAKE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 26, 2012 - 7:23 AM

Wondering why your library doesn't have an e-book version of the latest bestseller? It might be because the publisher refuses to sell one.

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oaktree68May. 26, 12 2:15 AM

Actually, I am not wondering why my library does not have ebooks available as I understand that they should not be available until my library is willing to fairly compensate the publisher and author for the risk that they have taken.

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parker0910May. 26, 12 4:25 AM

I understand and agree the publishers on this one. Traditional books wear out over time making libraries repurchase the title if they want to keep it in their inventory. This is not the case with electronic media. They need to license E-books. Be it for a specific amount of time or for a specific amount of downloads.

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samiamMay. 26, 12 5:49 AM

Book publishers need to get with the program or they will go down the same road as the record labels. It is very very easy to download a pirated copy of a book and given their methods of trying to gouge the consumer most people don't feel bad doing it.

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swmnguyMay. 26, 12 8:32 AM

Intellectual Property law is one of the largest obstacles to progress in America. The basic structure of such laws hasn't changed since the Romans. It certainly hasn't kept up with technology. As a result, you have companies buying up patents and sitting on them, to keep new products off the market. You have "patent trolls" who don't do anything except make money from lawsuits.

The record labels have fought so hard to keep an outdated business model that is full of waste, but benefits labels and executives at the expense of artists, to the point that many artists are opting out and going direct to the consumer on the Internet.

The same problems are going on in book publishing. They have no idea how to handle electronic content. They're frantic to keep the advantages they have over writers and readers, but the technology has passed them by. When books, made with paper and ink and costing a great deal to make and distribute, were the only way authors could publish, the business model made some sense. But now, anyone can turn a book into a workable chaptered PDF file. The only value a publisher adds now is indexing, and market visibility so readers come to the right download site.

All the people saying e-books are the end of civilization are the same kinds of people who said that the printing press would end culture, back in the 1500's. Everybody who has had an unearned advantage for a long time and now has no idea how to react to having to play on a level field. Publishers add almost nothing to what authors and editors do, but they've taken the most money until now.

The laws won't change until the market sets the new standard. And I, for one, can't wait.

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plummpjMay. 26, 12 8:58 AM

80 percent of book publishing costs are in the printing. The future of book publishing has to be with e-books. It's just going to take publishers some time to figure out a business model that works or book publishing as we know it will disappear.

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reader2580May. 26, 12 9:05 AM

How many books at a library other than best sellers ever wear out? Have anyone ever visited the non-fiction section of a library? Some of the books are so old I feel like I am in a museum. Libraries often sell off old books so they certainly don't all wear out.

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fritsch52May. 26, 1210:14 AM

And this is exactly the reason that BitTorrent sites like the piratebay and demonoid continue to thrive. This is a new economy, a new way of doing business but the same old business models that defy the reality of the situation.

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jrspacemanMay. 26, 1210:54 AM

As many authors have learned, publishers only compensate them a small amount compared to the price of books. Most of the costs are in the production and distribution, which is why authors traditionally haven't published their own books. Times have changed, and with the elimination of the production and distribution costs authors can publish their own books in electronic form. Many are, at less than $4 a book. Marketing and the payment systems are their only costs. No publisher is skimming money from this, so the author comes out ahead. That is the future, and we are seeing it now. Publishers need to realize their business model is changing, and that the physical production process is becoming obsolete for books. Messing with libraries instead of working with them to create a new business model is a bad idea.

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sternitzkyMay. 26, 1211:08 AM

"The hitch is that publishers... want readers to buy e-books, not borrow them from the library". This is no different than for paper books.

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StarquestMay. 26, 1211:37 AM

Book publishers are the record labels of the 2010s. They're dinosaurs. They probably always hated libraries anyway -- sharing is just communism after all.

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