Sunday, March 4, 2012

FREEDOM shouldn't be a CRIME.


But DRM STRIPPING is going to become the biggest thing on the internet. Not as big as porn, but still. BIG. Why is it BIG? Because file stripping equals freedom. The freedom to lend an ebook to your friend.

This is because as the growth in ebook demand continues to increase, access to legitimately free ebooks is decreasing. The reason is that the Big Six publishers are fucking stupid. If you want to borrow an ebook from one of the Big Six, your ability to get it from the library is down to almost zero.

Of the B6:
  1. Random House reportedly just raised their ebook prices to libraries by a million per cent. Or it might as well be, since we ain't gonna fucking pay it.
  2. Penguin cut sales to libraries altogether.
  3. HarperCollins limits how many times an ebook can circulate before the library needs to buy another copy, so we don't shop there, either.
  4. Macmillan doesn't sell to libraries.
  5. Simon & Schuster doesn't.
  6. Hachette don't neither.
If you don't know what means, the current NYT bestseller for fiction is Private Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan which is published by Hachette. So libraries won't get it. Kill Shot by Vince Flynn from Simon & Schuster is #2. And The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice is from Random House. Do I need to go on? We won't be getting any of these books for our patrons to borrow to for their ereaders or mobile devices.

Now, what happens when you take all the ereader and tablet and laptop users who have been behaving like good citizens by borrowing their ebooks from the library and you cut off their legal supply? They're going to get their fixes from the Dark Side of the internet. Or from each other.

Hey, Marge, Carol says, I just got Blah, blah blah, on my reader, do you want a copy?

Oh, I get my books from the library, Carol replies.

Not any more, Marge declares. The library can't buy any new books. The only way you're getting a copy is to buy one. Or not buy one.

Fuckity fuck! Carol curses because she's a regular library user. And then she says with a wink, Can I not buy one from you?

Ebook lending between individuals is going to explode when the legitimate supply dries up. When publishers remove the library from the supply channel, this flow of goods will just find a new route. And it ain't gonna mean more money for publishers.

Yes, I know all these people are going to steal the books, anyway. Libraries can't possibly satisfy the reading wants for 25 million people even when we are able to buy all the ebooks we want.

So why don't the B6 publishers care? Dunno.

Maybe they have a backup plan. Maybe they plan to sue Carol and Marge for $500,000 for each ebook they lend to each other. But how would they know?

Maybe the ereader knows? I mean, can an ereader tell which book you're reading by comparing the screen displays from a legal copy of a book and an illegal, stripped one? Even if you removed all the identifying markers from an ebook, the text is still the same; page 20 is page 20. Can an ereader detect which pixel configuration belongs to each book just by scanning the layout of page 20? And then determining that your copy was stolen? Again, dunno.

But what are library users to do when publishers make them criminals by removing this important legal access channel? Vive la libération!

and yes, I understand you can lend some ebooks to your friends, within limits, which can change, without notice... and if you've used it, how does Booklending work? it just uses the Amazon rules to allow you to lend a book to a stranger?

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