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Why the book publishing industry is still freaking clueless
Topic: Media 9:49 pm EST, Feb  6, 2010

So here we have an article written by an author who not only drinks the kool-aid, he is also apparently soaking in it.

There's a rather huge gap of logic involved in this post, where he actually expects us to believe that an individual eBook costs more to make than say, the $14.95 hardcover.

Since there's no real chance this guy is ever going to come around I'll resummarize why he was having problems keeping his books on Amazon.

The publisher is dumb and slow to adapt. They're insisting on selling the eBook for the same price as the paper book. They're not paying for storage or printing or shipping or any of that, and they could be shipping a literally infinite number of copies for the same price as one copy--but demanding that they still need to charge the same amount of money for the electronic version as the print version.

The author is dumb for believing what his publisher is telling him, and by the look of it they led him around the important bits of the conversation and simply tricked him into thinking they were having a frank and honest discussion. Key here is the phrasing he used that says it takes "extra" money to produce an eBook edition. Sure, you might need someone to double-check the typeset, but I fail to see how this can't be the same person that did the typesetting on the printed version of the book--or why it can't be done at the same time. It's not like we're still in the days where some guy manually typeset every single letter in a printing frame--all this crap is handled electronically now.

He rambles on at length about how many paper books sold versus how many electronic books sold. It's no big suprise that by comparison, not a lot of eBooks are selling. They require an expensive eBook reader which may or may not still be supported or even usable in 20 years, and paper books don't fail due to expiring DRM licences. This is what happens when you require DRM which we know to be prone to these failures. I bet he never even thought to ask his publisher what the ratio of ebooks sold vs total ebook readers was, and how it compares to how many paper books sold vs Amazon's normal buying volume.

...and lastly, everyone knows there's a large chunk of money tied up in the books, themselves. It's not the marketing, it's not the royalties--it's the physical act of printing and storing and shipping and inventoring a bunch of slabs of compressed tree pulp. In it's physical form, it's a non-trivial cost and it doesn't exist with an eBook, yet we're being asked to pay for that by practically every single goddamn publisher out there. If you've not looked into eBooks before the Kindle came out, it was the same story all over. The sale price of the electronic version of a book was exactly the same as the printed paperback almost everywhere, every time. It's no wonder no one's quick to adopt these things. What's not to like about a copy of a book you don't really own, that might one day become unreadable due to bureaucratic snafu or lack of legal obligation to keep the DRM updated, and that you can't really pass on to your grandchildren (because again, you don't really own it).

Amazon's demand that the eBooks be sold for no more than ten dollars isn't exactly looking for fodder to fulfill their monopolistic dreams of a Kindle on every schoolchild's desk and two or three in every home--they're looking to drag the book publishing industry into the 21st Century, and they're willing to ignore the kicking and screaming to do it.

Why the book publishing industry is still freaking clueless

L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day -
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:09 pm EDT, Sep 30, 2009

Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate calls his new book "Three Felonies a Day," referring to the number of crimes he estimates the average American now unwittingly commits because of vague laws. New technology adds its own complexity, making innocent activity potentially criminal.null

L. Gordon Crovitz: You Commit Three Felonies a Day -

Nissan makes EV's sound-themable
Topic: Arts 3:02 pm EDT, Sep 20, 2009

Since there's apparently been a problem with EVs not making enough noise to scare pedestrians back into the crosswalk, Nissan has now decided to add sound effects to their vehicles for conspicuity (and probably to open another revenue stream for the RIAA). Imagine sitting next to the overpass thirty years from now and hearing something that sounds like an Eno soundtrack as cars whizz by.

Nissan makes EV's sound-themable

The most glorious iPhone app ever invented
Topic: Technology 3:10 am EDT, Aug 25, 2009

OKay, so there's a little bit of chauvanist in me, but you have to admit that for ninety-nine cents, this is a pretty sweet "toy" for the phone. Trust me, after seeing the video you will agree.

Not safe for work. No way, no how.

Probably won't make the girlfriend smack you, but you never know...

The most glorious iPhone app ever invented

Dear Handmark, please DIAF, kthxbai~
Topic: Technology 6:33 pm EDT, Aug 18, 2009

Dear Handmark,

Earlier this week I gave your little Pocket PC app--called Pocket Express-- a shot. Your privacy policy looked reasonable, but seemed to have neglected to mention that your app would stealthily mail you my phone number, which you would promptly begin using to send me SMS spam.

SMS spam costs me twenty cents per, and for this twenty cents guess what you get? You get your app immediately uninstalled from my phone, and I can assure you I won't be considering any of your products in the future, either. Now you might be asking why on earth I pay twenty cents a message when so many people have unlimited SMS plans. I am paying that because Sprint isn't bright enough to block it properly, and charges $5 more a month I'm not interested in spending because you see, unlike the rest of America, I realize that when I need to get a quick message to someone, if we both have cell phones I CAN FUCKING CALL THEM UP AND JUST SAY IT.

It's amazing how much ill will twenty cents can generate.

Because pissing potential customers off with unsolicited, poorly formatted SMS spam is something you should be firing someone over.

Dear Handmark, please DIAF, kthxbai~

Why the ancient custom of leaving unwanted children to the elements is still possibly useful
Topic: Video Games 4:34 pm EDT, Jun 23, 2009

Someone's mom cancelled his WoW account and one of his siblings was nice enough to hide a video camera in his room so that we can see his reaction.

Why the ancient custom of leaving unwanted children to the elements is still possibly useful

Bozeman Montana doesn't really think much of keeping passwords SECRET
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:41 pm EDT, Jun 18, 2009

Horrifyingly, Bozeman MT has taken an unfortunate step further in the decay of the privacy of individuals by adding a few new lines to their job applications.

These lines are to be filled in with the names of whatever social networking sites you might be on, including your username and password there.

It's one thing to pull explicitly public (but restricted) information like credit records and background checks to screen potential employees, but inquiring about private affiliations is rather questionable. Asking for explicitly private login information which the users of said sites are by contract bound to not reveal has got to be legally actionable by someone--especially since it amounts to an outright invasion of privacy and violation of law.

For those who haven't had it sink in yet, should Bozeman, MT actually use anyone's username and password to invade their prospective new employee's facebook account, it would be a violation of law.

Bozeman Montana doesn't really think much of keeping passwords SECRET

Introducing The Possibly Noteworthy Remix Service
Topic: Technology 2:36 pm EDT, Jun 14, 2009

After a years of development work, the technology has finally been perfected that allows users all over the internet to review the disjointed web clippings of possibly noteworthy in almost realtime.

Go check it out if you haven't already.

Introducing The Possibly Noteworthy Remix Service

Federal Reserve Inspector General says they've lost HOW MUCH?
Topic: Current Events 11:14 pm EDT, Jun  1, 2009

I am a little surprised that I didn't see anything about this in the media yet. I can somewhat understand why it's being kept low-key at the moment but still...


Someone going to get soooo fired.

Federal Reserve Inspector General says they've lost HOW MUCH?

The Lecture Warner Music Doesn't Want You To See
Topic: Society 12:57 am EDT, Apr 30, 2009

Many of you've already heard/seen this, and by now some of you have probably heard about the eff-up of epic proportions that Warner Music has made by issuing a DMCA takedown request of one of, get this, Lawrence Lessig's presentations about copyright and copyright law.

Well, if you haven't yet seen the lecture, now is as good a time as any. In fact, go ahead and forward it to your non-technical friends and relatives as payback for all those dancing hamsters. If you're lucky they'll watch it and they might learn something.

Notably, they might learn that this "copyright war" is seriously mucking up the human experience as a whole, and it's not the "pirates" who are exactly at fault. They might think about a few points like that the unwholesome arrangement we have at present is teaching children beyond a doubt that the rule of law is not to be respected, it's to be skirted around as long as no one important notices them. It's teaching them that they have no actual rights to anything at all, and that they can't usefully contribute to culture so they might as well just sit back and consume what they're given.

They might for a moment consider the effect these factors are going to have twenty years down the line, and whether or not they're going to want to be a part of that future at all.

The Lecture Warner Music Doesn't Want You To See

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