Monday, March 14, 2011

Loaded for Bear

Today I’ve got my 12 gauge loaded up and I’m taking aim. There are some bad bears in these woods—bears that are out to get us—and I’m not going to stand idly by and keep my mouth shut. So authors and readers gather ‘round. Be aware of what is going on.

I’ve chatted with a lot of readers, and they are simply out there to read and enjoy our books. That’s it. No hidden agenda whatsoever. Those of you I’ve chatted with online are not engaged in sharing e books. YOU understand. It’s those misguided, so-called industry insiders who are not quite with it where e books are concerned in the first place that I’m targeting. Dinosaurs who are terrified that print books are going to vanish. Dinosaurs who believe that an author published within the e book industry is not a real author and their books have no real value. And I’m also gunning for those individuals whose character I question because they think it’s okay to engage in sharing e books when it’s clearly against the law. You know who I’m talking about—those people who are out to get anything free regardless of how much it costs someone else.

I saw a post on a group from a fellow author who was talking about a librarian who posted a Reader’s Bill of Rights. Now I won’t repost the link to this blog because I don’t openly advertise this kind of thing. Just as no one should ever repost a link to a piracy or sharing site. Why spread the mess around? But I’m sure if you need to find it, you can.

This librarian pretty much advocates giving away e books. As soon as someone buys one of our e books, this librarian thinks it’s okay for the buyer to share it. Uhhh…well, if it were a print book and they bought it and shared it with their bridge club, that might be okay. But it’s NOT! It’s a freaking e book. And when an e book gets shared it ends up on a pirate site or a sharing site and is shared thousands upon thousands of times. The “sharing” is UNLIMITED—INFINITE. Not so with a print book. GET A GRIP! A print book could not physically remain intact being shared that much.

Points the author of the post tries to make—and I am paraphrasing only—will not quote this person at all:

1.  That authors benefit from allowing unlimited usage of our books because downloading them is so technical and it’s hard for readers to understand—different e book readers limit you this way or that and therefore it’s all so difficult that readers will just give up and not read e books.

EXCUUUUSEEEE ME! The way the digital industry is growing by leaps and bounds, carving its way into the print realm and basically forcing big time print publishers to now embrace e books and sell them—even going all digital in some cases or simply creating a new arm to their businesses that is all digital—it would seem that readers are not quite as clueless as the blogger believes they are. I’m damn sure techno-stupid, but I know lots and lots of readers out there who with little effort have figured out how to download books to their Kindles and Nooks, Kobos, and Sonys. It’s different—sure. But do we toss the baby out with the bathwater just because it might be a little bit of trouble until we get the hang of getting the water the right temperature? Hell no. So the argument that e books are just too damn hard to download and therefore readers will buy print instead just doesn’t hold water, now does it?  So thank you very much, Mr. Librarian, I’ll take my chances and just figure that most people who can read can also read instructions as to how to download a damn book!

2.    That books should be available across the board in any format the reader chooses. In other words, whatever you can download with a Kindle, you should be able to download on a Nook or Kobo or whatever.

Uhhh…thought you could already do that. You simply choose the format you like. However, I think what he is referring to is downloading it once and then being able to transfer it to any other reader you like. Okay, but why? I don’t know about everyone else, but I think most people choose and own one reading device. Well, maybe you owned a Kindle and then bought a Nook. But do you really need or want to transfer your reading material back and forth between these devices? Maybe you do want to be able to read from one device or another. But I’d think that would be more along the lines of having a back up copy some place or maybe on a smaller device you stick in your pocket like an IPhone or one of those mini e readers. Sorry, I’m not quite up on all the techno stuff with e readers yet—Anne Rainey gave me a lesson and I read everything over at Dear Author about them, but still… It would seem to me, at least, that having e books available as one format or being able to universally transfer them from device to device is more about SHARING books than it is about convenience to readers. I can maybe see myself having a book on my Sony and then having another copy on my smaller Sony in order to have it in my purse so I can read at the dentist’s office, but really? I don’t think even that would be necessary. E readers are pretty small and easily tucked away or carried, aren’t they? Not only that but the last time I checked we lived in the Unites States of America. Ever heard of the concept “free enterprise”. Manufacturers DO have the right to decide how to sell their wares. And to tell you the truth, they have the right to do so in such a way that they pay for their research and development. Maybe someday e readers will be universal. But now? Not a chance. And hells bells, that’s not up to the author anyway. But I sure as hell don’t begrudge the manufacturers of e readers for making money. Not at all.

3.   That readers are somehow crippled by the inability to quote from our work or share passages.

Uhhh…Well, as an erotic romance author—uhhh…quoting MY work?---uhhhh…Go ahead. Make my day!
(but get my written permission first, okay?) LOL Hey, I don’t get this at all. Do readers really want to read a book and share passages from it? I’ve never done that. I mean, sure, I might email a buddy and say, “ohhhh I just read the most amazing line in this book!” And then give my buddy the line. But honestly? WTF? This librarian must be talking about something Sarah Palin wrote—not me. Surely not me. LMAO But in all seriousness, I think the poster was talking about readers discussing a book within some sort of group setting. Okay, well, that applies mostly to print books and book clubs. The poster is definitely immersed in the world of print and trying way too hard to make e books conform. They won’t. They can’t. Different animal. Yes, there are discussions on Yahoo goups with regard to certain books. But I’ve never known anyone that had to post or print out sections of a book in order to discuss it. As authors online, we post excerpts, chapters even, of our work and that should be enough. We give away free reads all the time. We are online with OUR readers. We are incredibly accessible.  Like I said, different from print altogether. So, saying that as an author, by disallowing sections of my books to be reprinted or quoted without my permission is hurting my readership and screwing with sales is a dog that just won’t hunt. Final answer? Just get permission before you quote someone’s work. The book is not yours to do with as you please. Print or e book. With that said, I have no issue whatsoever—and I doubt any other author does either—with a group of readers getting together and discussing a book and using printed out sections to do so. I have no issue with the Kindle Sharing Program. And I am most certainly not worried about libraries lending books. The poster does not understand what it’s like to have your books downloaded for free thousands upon thousands of times, thereby depriving an author of their livelihood. It’s just that simple. These are two entirely different issues. One is legitimate use of our e books and the other is a matter of outright theft.

4.   Sharing? Well, the poster believes that authors benefit from sharing because so many readers have found their favorite authors after a friend has loaned them a copy of a book.

The poster is clueless and does not understand the difference between e books and print books. And once again, they ARE different animals. One has an infinite life and the other doesn’t. As far as me worrying over losing sales because I don’t want someone sharing my book with someone else on the off chance they might buy my next book???? I’m not worried. I love new readers. Want new readers. But if I have to give away half my book sales in order to do it then I lost out big time, didn’t I? Right now I have a book on a pirate site that has had well over five thousand downloads. I very stupidly trusted a publisher who told me flat out they would take care of all piracy issues. And when I reported the issue to the publisher nothing was done. Not like Ellora’s Cave where I am published now. Nope. EC has an amazing lady, Kelly, who goes after these pirates and share sites with great gusto! So this bad publisher I fell in with went out of business and my book is still up there. I figure at this point I’ve lost right around $12,000.00 in royalties. Any way you figure it, that’s just plain wrong. I wonder if the poster of the Reader’s Bill of Rights would like to cut that much money out of his librarian salary.

I want to make it clear that my views on e book piracy and sharing are in no way a personal attack on the author of the Reader’s Bill of Rights. However, the poster’s lack of understanding—probably based on the fact he is deeply involved in the world of print as a librarian and new to the e book world just like everyone else—is quite evident and he should expect some pretty tough criticism of that post. As a matter of fact, it would seem there have been some personal attacks made on the librarian’s character at this point as evidenced by a more recent blog entry. The poster of the Bill of Rights says they are entitled to be treated with respect—and I so agree—and not like a potential criminal. I can only assume the reference to being treated like a criminal is based on DRM—basically limiting access to e books so they CAN’T be shared over and over. What I don’t understand is why everyone thinks it’s okay for a company like Microsoft to limit the number of downloads you have to your $150.00 copy of Microsoft Office so the program can’t be shared over and over, yet this librarian is up in the air because authors don’t want their blood, sweat, and tears downloaded thousands of times for free. The poster believes he has the right to archive the e books he purchases So do I. The poster also believes he has the right to share those e books. No, he doesn’t and shouldn’t have that right. The poster also believes he has the right to resell the e book he purchases. In response to that I can only say that the poster needs to walk a mile in the shoes of e book authors.

In the librarian’s latest post, he claims that we have a right to our opinion but not to our own set of facts. Well, to that I say: Get YOUR facts straight and you won’t have any problem with another set of facts being presented to you. We are, after all, entitled to defend our livelihood, and therefore SHOULD present the facts as they really are.

What are the facts?

Sharing e books takes the meat and potatoes off my dinner table. Reselling e books does the same thing. If you want to pass along my book to your best friend or your cousin Margaret who can’t afford to purchase a lot of reading material—so be it. But if Cousin Margaret uploads my book to a sharing site or resells my book, I’m going to be upset. And I will have every right to be.

I urge readers and authors to think this through. How would you feel if you were an artist and your work was duplicated over and over, thereby making your work less valuable—not in demand. How would you feel if you ran a construction company and the owner of the house you were building suddenly demanded that you build another bathroom for free—after all, she paid for the first one, didn’t she? So why not give her another for free? How would you feel as a teacher if you worked all day long teaching a sixth grade class just to have the principal come along and tell you that you must work on Saturday to teach another sixth grade class for free because—hey, after all, the school system already paid you once. Let’s just give away everyone’s work. It’s all been paid for once.

I urge all supporters of authors who are published in the e book industry to take a stand. Would love to have your support of this issue right here on the Three Wicked Writers Plus Two Blog. So leave me a comment, please. Thanks to all! Happy reading and writing.

49 comments:

Harlie Reader said...

Morning! I don't think ebooks should be shared, borrowed, and in any other way. I think its wrong and it cheats the author and publisher. Plus, I think it cheats the reader. If you "borrowed" an ebook from someone, how are you assured that it was even complete? Meaning, that the other reader didn't delete something or change something in the text.

Just a thought.........

Harlie Reader said...

BTW, I'm a reader not an author.

Morning everyone. Great post!

Savannah Chase said...

I think that no matter how much the book industry grows and ebooks grow there will always be people out there who are close minded and think that their view is the right view. People do not understand how much work goes into creating a book and everything that comes along after you have sold your work. It hurts that people out there don't care and give your books out for free or even sell them. I think we the author community have to look at other ways to protect our work.

Destiny Blaine said...

Good morning, Tess!

Wow. You nailed this topic. I agree with you on sharing e-books. It’s disheartening to think a librarian posted a list about reader’s rights without turning the coin and discussing the other side. I haven’t seen the referenced post and probably won’t look for it, but I’m glad you’re focusing on this issue today.

The majority of our readers are dedicated readers who understand authors do have a right to earn their income. However, I realize there are those out there who just don’t stop and think about what they’re doing. As an example, I recently overheard one of the teenagers here mention downloading movies and music for free. After I pointed out what could happen if everyone in the world downloaded movies and music without paying for it, the kid said, “So you’re saying Modest Mouse could just disappear—vanish—because they won’t be able to make a living?”

Rather than tell the young man I had no idea who MM is, I simply said, “Exactly. Why would Modest Mouse want to go into a studio, work to perfect their music, and then get nothing in return?”

The young man’s reply? “Because they’re doing what they love. Their music is their life, man. You just don’t understand. This group is music. They’re passionate about what they do.”

And I don’t understand? Hmmm….

I thought about that later. Writers are most definitely passionate about their work. However, something occurred to me after talking with this young man. Maybe some readers—like the librarian you ran across—believe authors are doing what they love because the love of the written word is their life. They love writing so much they’d willingly write for free. They don’t think about the money aspect because they’re only thinking about themselves—how they can get something for nothing. However these folks have forced writers to think about their own best interests as well.

The thing is—I can’t write for free and I don’t know too many authors who can. If I’m not paid for my writing, I’m forced to get a day job and hundreds of writers are right there lined up behind me. Plus, quite honestly? I don’t want to write for free. I like to think I’m a fairly generous person but I’ll be the first to tell you, I want to be paid for my work because like most full-time writers, I work hard for my income.

The notion that writers are doing what they love because they love creating magical storylines for readers to enjoy is fine but I love being paid for what I do because it allows me to keep my day job. Writing is my day job and I never take this career for granted. I’m blessed because my readers have supported me and others like me. In turn, I try my best to support all readers—offering giveaways, incentives, etc. whenever possible—but I can’t write for free and few authors can…or will.

If we don’t get a grip on the sharing issues, a lot of talented writers will disappear. Their stories will be forever left as unwritten. And that’s when our industry will face a catastrophe because great writers have emerged from the e-industry, writers many of us have come to adore.

Additionally, a great number of these writers are already in print so the notion that e-writers aren’t real authors is quite foolish. E-book authors lock up the top spots at Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as other major third party retail sites like Bookstrand and ARE. Thanks to e-publishers and their authors, readers have unlimited entertainment choices in all genres. This is the new age of the written word and we should do everything in our power to protect those behind remarkable books.

Fantastic post, Tess.

Destiny

Anny Cook said...

Sigh. My retirement would be far more comfortable is people didn't STEAL my royalties. Yep. It's theft. No amount of wiggling will make it different.

Most pubs now have their books available in e-pub format. If you initially save your book to the computer you should be able to transfer it to any device you own (except maybe Kindle). The deal is this...the companies that market digital readers want you to BUY BOOKS! They've all converted to e-pub format to address the issue of multiple readers. So that issue is a non-starter, Mr. Librarian.

Here's the way I feel. When Mr. Librarian is willing to give up his paycheck to anyone who needs the money (and hey! wouldn't that be most of us?) then we'll discuss giving away my books for free.

Until then, I just know that I can document about $50K in sales gone down the tubes. And I'm a little no-name unknown author. What would the figures be industry wide? That's a lotta $$$.

The other thing I would like to address is the issue of genre. Frankly, most outside the industry have the perception that e-books are all of the steamier variety and therefore not worthy of worrying about. This was clear in the early days of e-books. It's only in the last year or so when mainstream books are pouring into the digital sales streams that THOSE authors are suddenly waking up and screaming about piracy. It seems the shoe is on the other foot now.

Molly Daniels said...

I'll admit, I didn't understand this concept until I became published myself. And then I saw what happened to my second print book:
Customer A bought a copy from me.
Readers B, C, D, E, and F borrowed it. Did they buy it? No. Have they bought the first book in the series? No.

Have they bought my first two e-books? No, because they like print.

But my point is, say the book had been an e-book. And they shared it. I've just lost 5 royalty sales.

Instead of making $60, or even $90, I only gained $10 or $15 (I can't remember what I charged). That's a huge difference.

Tess MacKall said...

Hiya Harlie Reader (M)...LOL

Hugs to you and thanks so much for your support. You're the reader I know and love. You GET IT!

Tess MacKall said...

Yes, ma'am, Sav, we most certainly do need to look at any and all ways to protect our work. No one wants to work for free and it is beyond me as to why anyone would think an author should.

Tess MacKall said...

Destiny! Been meaning to email you with a hello. You must be keeping your nose to the grindstone.

I so agree with you that the majority of our readers are dedicated and get it. They know what we are saying when we ask that our work not be shared. I love my readers.

Like you I'm passionate about my writing. But I think I deserve to be paid for it. It's hard work. My books are MY creation and I should be compensated fairly.

Because the poster of this Bill of Rights is a librarian, I honestly felt some real prejudice with regard to e books. Our books just seem to be made of air and therefore have no value. Why has no one ever worried over sharing and reselling print books?

Probably because they can only be shared so many times based on the physical aspects. Plus, you buy a print book for twenty bucks, read it, try to resell it at your garage sale and you'll be lucky to get five for it. Not worth it.

The arguments made by librarians and those who believe our books should be free just don't work. This is our work and we should be compensated. And those who share and resell our books should be prosecuted and fined that $250,000.00 that the FBI promises.

Until there are some test cases out there--until someone is actually prosecuted for sharing--we're going to continue to see sharing. Just like in the music industry...and btw, I've given the same lecture to my kids about sharing music that you have. lol

Hugs to you, hon. Thanks so much for stopping in and getting into the discussion. Great points!

Tess MacKall said...

You know, Anny, I've been thinking along the same lines you have. Here we are involved in this major major industry change--the popularity of e books--and it all started within the erotic romance genre.

Now everyone is on the bandwagon. And when the erotic romance industry started making money then publishers took another look at digital publishing. Erotic romance isn't a real genre or worthy of looking at--a library wouldn't want us to donate our books--yet we had sense enough to get in on the damn e book industry, didn't we?

So yep, now everyone is sitting up and taking notice. Bunch of crap for sure. Makes me want to slap someone for sure. LOL

Tess MacKall said...

Those numbers add up, don't they, Molly? I've lost thousands. And it really is upsetting.

I know authors who have quit writing--just like Destiny said--because it's just not worth it if our books are going to be given away.

BrennaLyons said...

Some comments I would love to make...besides "GREAT POST!"...

There is nothing complex about ebooks. If this librarian is that technologically challenged, she shouldn't read them. eBooks are about choices, not replacing print.

No, you can't universally purchase the same ebooks on every sale site, but that is based on where the publishers and authors not only choose to sell the ebooks (for convenience and for cost/time concerns...I load books to 15 distribution channels a week, and there are still more I can't reach or don't feel are worth the time to load to!...as well as for contract concerns, because not every site has a decent contract for us to sign) or are capable of selling them. Much as I adore Fictionwise, they haven't approved new publishers to sell there for 18 months. I do apologize that not every book I've written is at FW, but the fact is, if FW won't get on the ball and approve my new publishers, they won't get my books, and they are losing twice as much money from every book not being loaded there as the authors are...or more. If readers demand every book be available on every site, they need to tell the sites to get on the ball and find a way to streamline the payroll to do it for publishers. The individual concerns of which sites bring in enough sales to bother selling there is very personal.

As for being crippled by not being able to cut and paste? You can't do that with a paper book, moron. Not you. The librarian. When I'm involved in a discussion of Sherrilyn Kenyon's hunters, and something hinges on a quote, she allows us to post a quote on the Yahoogroup for discussion, but guess what? I pull out my print book, prop it up, and type the quote in by hand, with the information about page and version. So, they are too lazy to do the same with ebooks and complain about it? I'm not crying.

I posted my answer about sharing on the blog in question already. It's six paragraphs or so long, so I won't bother to repost it here.

Brenna

Tess MacKall said...

Brenna! Would love to have your comment to the blog on sharing posted. I swear, I'm so tired of trying to convince everyone that this is a new industry and all the bugs aren't worked out yet---but dammit!--don't steal from me. It's just that simple.

And when you have a so-called award-winning librarian trying to convince people to do just that, it's a bit much for me to take. I don't mean to get nasty with anyone, but whatever happened to putting yourself in the other person's shoes?

I'd certainly go to anyone's aid if someone was stealing from them. I sure as hell wouldn't condone it or join in. And for a librarian to do that--keeper of words--is just unforgivable to my way of thinking.

Oh, and I'd heard that about FW. There are just too many different variables to factor in here and therefore no simple answers. I know one thing and one thing only that is a fact. I wrote my books and I don't give permission for anyone to give them away or resell them. Period.

BrennaLyons said...

Here's what I posted on her blog...

I am anti-DRM, and I agree with you that far. I think a lot of people are clueless about how the tech really works, since there are very few cases where you can’t move your books to whatever you own. Even as an author, access is one of my primary concerns, let alone as a reader.

I don’t agree with geographic limitations on sale…nor do I agree with Amazon’s policy of giving a lower percentage rate to authors, when an overseas reader purchases an ebook. That is complete bull! But that’s what we deal with from them. Is it any wonder that some publishers turn it off, when we get shafted just by having an overseas sale?

I don’t agree with using DRM, since it doesn’t work anyway and only inconveniences honest readers in the first place. Beyond that, it’s not difficult to break DRM to enjoy full access. I’ve told the senators and Justice Dept that the focus shouldn’t be on DRM breaking. It should be on piracy, where it rightly belongs. The circuit court seems to agree somewhat, since the newest case law (on software…not ebooks specifically) established a line between breaking DRM to access and breaking DRM to pirate. That’s something I’ve asked for for years.

Luckily, most indies don’t use geographical restrictions or DRM. NY Conglomerate is your #1 offender there. Can you force them to change? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s worth it to try. I’d jump on the bandwagon of any organized effort, because it gets really lonely over here telling them they are screwing up. Make them see their readers are upset by their actions.

Now…where do I part from seeing eye to eye with you?

I do not and will never agree that there should be first sale doctrine on ebooks, since you make copies of ebooks automatically (backups of your hard drive, for instance…saved in your download files…and sometimes the library saved for you on an ebook sale site, which you cannot delete, so you are making an illegal copy to sell the ebook in the first place). With paper books, you pass the book to someone else, and it’s gone from your hands…no extra copies. That’s not so with ebooks. There are dozens of possible places you still own a copy of one when you “sell” or “pass it along.”

For instance… Physically emailing the ebook to someone temporarily makes 6 or more copies of the book…the one on your C drive (assuming you don’t also have copies on handheld devices, other laptops and desktop machines you own, you didn’t copy it from one place on your machine to another and leave the first…), the one in your sent files, the one your ISP stores for a period of time, the one in the received file on the other end, the one their ISP saves for a period of time, and the one/s they ultimately save to their device/s. So, even if you don’t have any backups stored anywhere (on your machine or off), you’re making illegal copies to pass it. Since most people don’t even know all of those copies exist to remove them, and some can’t be removed (backups on CD/DVD, libraries on sale sites…), it’s almost a given you are making copies you can later access, even if you scrub the one from your C drive and the one from your sent mail file. Legislators took that into account when making laws for ebooks.

And don’t get me started on the pirates out there who misrepresent that burning a copy onto a CD makes the work their IP/copyright, so they can sell them. Rolling eyes. Back to the subject…

To boot, there is no wear and tear on ebooks. Where popular library books in mass market might wear out in a year of heavy use, that will never happen with an ebook. Backward compatibility makes this impossible, and programs like Calibre make it possible to keep reconverting the book into more useful formats. Another reason I say a lot of people are clueless about the tech. Unless the book is DRMd (in which case you’d have to break DRM first), you can convert nearly any format into any other format. I routinely do this for work. Piece of cake.

BrennaLyons said...

Cont...

If you don’t want to invest in ebooks as a finalized transaction, that’s fine. There are legal library systems for ebooks that authors support. There are also sharing systems for ebooks on the Nook and Kindle. Get together with friends that own the same reader and have similar reading tastes and set up a system where you become each other’s share partners. That’s what the system is there for. Instead of screaming that you can’t resell an ebook, try using these methods to invest less money in them, which would (monetarily) work out the same for you as reselling the ebook after purchasing it…and less up front money and less hassle for you, in the long run.

BrennaLyons said...

Um...part one didn't post?


I am anti-DRM, and I agree with you that far. I think a lot of people are clueless about how the tech really works, since there are very few cases where you can’t move your books to whatever you own. Even as an author, access is one of my primary concerns, let alone as a reader.

I don’t agree with geographic limitations on sale…nor do I agree with Amazon’s policy of giving a lower percentage rate to authors, when an overseas reader purchases an ebook. That is complete bull! But that’s what we deal with from them. Is it any wonder that some publishers turn it off, when we get shafted just by having an overseas sale?

I don’t agree with using DRM, since it doesn’t work anyway and only inconveniences honest readers in the first place. Beyond that, it’s not difficult to break DRM to enjoy full access. I’ve told the senators and Justice Dept that the focus shouldn’t be on DRM breaking. It should be on piracy, where it rightly belongs. The circuit court seems to agree somewhat, since the newest case law (on software…not ebooks specifically) established a line between breaking DRM to access and breaking DRM to pirate. That’s something I’ve asked for for years.

Luckily, most indies don’t use geographical restrictions or DRM. NY Conglomerate is your #1 offender there. Can you force them to change? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s worth it to try. I’d jump on the bandwagon of any organized effort, because it gets really lonely over here telling them they are screwing up. Make them see their readers are upset by their actions.

Now…where do I part from seeing eye to eye with you?

I do not and will never agree that there should be first sale doctrine on ebooks, since you make copies of ebooks automatically (backups of your hard drive, for instance…saved in your download files…and sometimes the library saved for you on an ebook sale site, which you cannot delete, so you are making an illegal copy to sell the ebook in the first place). With paper books, you pass the book to someone else, and it’s gone from your hands…no extra copies. That’s not so with ebooks. There are dozens of possible places you still own a copy of one when you “sell” or “pass it along.”

For instance… Physically emailing the ebook to someone temporarily makes 6 or more copies of the book…the one on your C drive (assuming you don’t also have copies on handheld devices, other laptops and desktop machines you own, you didn’t copy it from one place on your machine to another and leave the first…), the one in your sent files, the one your ISP stores for a period of time, the one in the received file on the other end, the one their ISP saves for a period of time, and the one/s they ultimately save to their device/s. So, even if you don’t have any backups stored anywhere (on your machine or off), you’re making illegal copies to pass it. Since most people don’t even know all of those copies exist to remove them, and some can’t be removed (backups on CD/DVD, libraries on sale sites…), it’s almost a given you are making copies you can later access, even if you scrub the one from your C drive and the one from your sent mail file. Legislators took that into account when making laws for ebooks.

And don’t get me started on the pirates out there who misrepresent that burning a copy onto a CD makes the work their IP/copyright, so they can sell them. Rolling eyes. Back to the subject…

To boot, there is no wear and tear on ebooks. Where popular library books in mass market might wear out in a year of heavy use, that will never happen with an ebook. Backward compatibility makes this impossible, and programs like Calibre make it possible to keep reconverting the book into more useful formats. Another reason I say a lot of people are clueless about the tech. Unless the book is DRMd (in which case you’d have to break DRM first), you can convert nearly any format into any other format. I routinely do this for work. Piece of cake.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Right on Tess! I am about fed up with thieves trying to justify their illegal activity. I have hope that the publishing companies and RWA will find a way to halt the piracy proliferated by disreputable people. In the meantime, I'm glad to see readers and authors standing up for what's right and fair. I love it when you get fired up, Tess. Great blog.

BrennaLyons said...

And this was my answer to the subject of unlimited library lending on another blog today...

I've found that it's very difficult to find middle ground with the librarians. I've tried with two separate librarians and had to walk away from both discussions without a single resolution made on the subject. I realize they have the idea that we're stripping away the benefits of ebooks by setting limits, and we are to some extent (but any DRM does...and while I'm usually anti-DRM, this is the single DRM I have supported since it was presented by Fictionwise/eLibwise at EPICon 2004!).

But there MUST be a middle ground that we find that does not include limitless lending on ebooks for libraries. Both sides will shoot themselves in the foot, if they keep up the way they are going. If I fight tooth and nail to stop limitless lending of ebooks on pirate sites, why in the name of all that's holy would I want to grant it to libraries? I wouldn't. No sane author, in a system like the US has (with no payment to authors for library lends), would want limitless lending, unless he/she isn't in this business to make money or is choosing to allow it with certain books as many of us use free reads or low-cost books to build an audience. In the same way that many of us give a handful of paper copies to the local library (knowing they will eventually wear out), how many of us would supply every library in the world with limitless paper copies of every book we write in perpetuity? It fails the common sense test. No one does that. No one would.

But librarians are notoriously blind to this fact, it seems. They don't see the impact on authors of limitless lending. They don't see the way this will affect the money we make from our work, and that cannot be left out of the equation and have any sort of consensus occur.

No one is FORCING a library to purchase a second copy of an ebook. Simply put, if they purchase a print book in mass market of a popular title, a title that is checked out every time it checks in, it may well wear out and start falling apart in a year or year and a half and have (basing it on the lending times of my local libraries) between 20 and 39 lends before it falls apart. It is THEN at the discretion of the library to replace it or not...or to purchase additional copies of a fast-lending book or not during that wear and tear time to extend lending life that way. No one FORCES the library to purchase another copy of a book that has worn out. They can choose to let it go out of their circulation and depend on inter-library loan to bring copies to local readers when their own copies have been retired. They often retire books for nothing more than shelf space for newer titles, to boot. Saying we are forcing them to do anything is a bunch of bunk. No offense, but it's a fact. No library is forced to replace a book that has lived its useful life, and this limit system is no more than establishing the useful life of an ebook to protect authors and publishers.

Could the number of lends allowed be higher? ABSOLUTELY, in my opinion. Personally, I'd see no problem with setting a lend of 52...even as many as 100 for a library. But that's me and not the entire industry. I'm willing to work to meet libraries halfway. This dogged determination of the libraries to accept no limits will never have us seeing eye to eye. It completely dismisses the author in their quest to have an endless supply of lends of a book. Unfortunately, without authors, they have no books anyway. Circular argument.

Nanny said...

Great post Tess. I know of the reference post and blogged about it myself. Perhaps I'm being naive but I like to think that this post was done with good intentions, but ignorance. The author thinks that ebooks and print books are the same, yet as you pointed out they are not. I'd also like to believe this is the chase with the sharing/ reselling. At least given he is a librarian I hope that's the case.

Tess MacKall said...

Fantastic response to the librarian, Brenna. The life of an e book for the purpose of lending from a library should not be anymore than that of a print book. And that's me--you--us--being fair I think. I'm all for libraries. All for lending. But there has got to be a common sense element in all of this somewhere. We cannot give away an infinite amount of books. Which, as I said earlier today, is why the print industry has never said anything about loss of royalties from library lending. THAT'S common sense.

And everyone should be able to see that point. There MUST be a finite length of life given to e books within the library system.

And all of that should translate into understanding the issue of sharing and piracy in general. I particularly love the point you make about a library NOT choosing to buy another print book to replace one that is worn out. Not so with an e book.

And I'm seeing one of your posts in email but not here on the blog. Hmmm...going to refresh and see if the longer post on sharing comes up.

Tess MacKall said...

LOL Thanks for lovin' my "fired up", Sarah. Sometimes I think I need to keep my mouth shut. But this topic is just too important.

RWA? That's a dinosaur. They still don't think of e published authors as anything but a nuisance. But someday they will HAVE to recognize us and give us respect.

It's slowly but surely happening right now. Anny's comment made me think about that. WE--erotic romance authors--started the e book revolution. And we need respect. LOL

Anonymous said...

There are so many great comments already posted. I posted my comments a couple of days ago on several sites. as I'm doing now. I've deleted their website address. For those who may have already read my comments, I appoligize. I've also removed my usual signature line.
# # #

The reader, as far as I can tell, has not been or is being harmed in any way or cheated, so why do you need a eBook user's bill of rights? They have a choice of buying a book or not. After all WRITTING IS A BUSINESS.
I'm a new author with 2 books to my credit. It takes months or even years for an author to write a book. It takes several more months, even years to sell the book to a publisher and get it published in what ever format it gets published in. Most authors do not get a dime until the publisher sends them a royalty check. So why are you trying to deny an author compensation for his work. I write first to tell a story, but I also write to bring in additional money to help make ends meet. I'm not a rich person or even upper middle class. My wife and I own 2 business and a seasonal business. We are both handicapped. Every penny we get in is already spent (for bills and groceries), just like most of us. I know that some of my author friends who have been pirated, not nice. Our biggest weapon against this type of theft is the copyright laws. The publishers and distributors use this DRM and other tools to prevent theft. So now you think that everyone will play nice and not steal money from the authors and publishers by giving away hundreds or thousands of copies of my or any other authors books. Grow up. Why pay for it if you can get it for free.

My first book first came out as an E Book. I did a radio interview. Without telling me the radio host posted a free download of my book on their radio site. I made 2 calls. First to my publisher to tell them what was going on and the second was to the radio station/ DJ and told them to remove my book from their site. My publisher also contacted them and threatened them with a lawsuit. My book ws removed. We figured wa had lost about 250 sells. That translates to about $1,200. That DJ took just over $400 out of my pocket. If I stole $400 from you, would you just let it go and not say or do anything about it. I don't think so. But you think it is OK for you to take money from me.
I am a professional writer / author. I deserve to be paid for my work. One day I hope to be able to support my family with my writing. I can't do that if you are stealing my work. The biggest problem is that large amounts of people (thousands of them) can steal my work. With print books, you don't have that problem. A hard copy book can only be passed around so much.
Your so called eBook bill of right IMHO would never work. You're putting to much faith in people doing the "right" thing. That is how this pirate thing got started in the first place. To me this looks like another attempt to justify stealing and help legalize it.
Oh and FYI back when books were starting to be printed with a printing press. They were very expensive and not that many people could read or write.
This is my opinion and I do not like your eBook Bill of Rights. I am planning to post this reply on several of the sites I belong to, hoping to expose this for what it really is.

G W Pickle

Tess MacKall said...

I too believe the poster had good intentions, Nanny. As I mentioned, I believe he is simply bogged down in the world of print and does not understand what e books really are. And definitely does not understand the difference between e books and print OR what his proposals would do, ARE doing to authors and their livelihood.

But that kind of post is dangerous as there are those who will believe it and take it to heart. Can't have that. We need rebuttal and plenty of it.

C. Zampa said...

ankI DON'T understand why anybody can NOT see it as exactly what it is...stealing.

I've seen so many arguments over this, and you'd be suprised...or maybe not...how many authors defend this. They stand that premise that it actually sells more books that it loses. As you said...excuse me? How is that possible? Sure, for print books, maybe. But ebooks can be duplicated and duplicated and duplicated, endlessly. That could amount to, depending on the popularity of the work, a vast amount of lost revenue.

Thanks for the post, Tess.

AuthorCasey Sheridan said...

I'm right behind you, Tess.

A lot of these "pirates" do it because they can. They don't care about the author, publisher, etc.

Sharing eBooks is illegal. Copyright infringement, but these dirt bags use all sorts of reasons to justify what they do. And a few authors out there, not many, that think it's okay.

I'm with you, Tess. Couldn't agree with you more.

Tess MacKall said...

It seems pretty black and white, doesn't it, Carol. Gets me every time I have to defend my position on this. I feel as though I'm beating my head against a wall.

Nothing in life is free. Not my hard work or yours. And when you try to tell me I've got to do it over and over again for free? Uhhhh...talk to the hand. LOL

Tess MacKall said...

I don't know what's going on with Blogger, but not all comments are showing up. I'm getting them via email but not here on the actual site. So I'm going to repost these comments and hope they show up. First one is by G.W. Pickle


There are so many great comments already posted. I posted my comments a couple of days ago on several sites. as I'm doing now. I've deleted their website address. For those who may have already read my comments, I appoligize. I've also removed my usual signature line.
# # #

The reader, as far as I can tell, has not been or is being harmed in any way or cheated, so why do you need a eBook user's bill of rights? They have a choice of buying a book or not. After all WRITTING IS A BUSINESS.
I'm a new author with 2 books to my credit. It takes months or even years for an author to write a book. It takes several more months, even years to sell the book to a publisher and get it published in what ever format it gets published in. Most authors do not get a dime until the publisher sends them a royalty check. So why are you trying to deny an author compensation for his work. I write first to tell a story, but I also write to bring in additional money to help make ends meet. I'm not a rich person or even upper middle class. My wife and I own 2 business and a seasonal business. We are both handicapped. Every penny we get in is already spent (for bills and groceries), just like most of us. I know that some of my author friends who have been pirated, not nice. Our biggest weapon against this type of theft is the copyright laws. The publishers and distributors use this DRM and other tools to prevent theft. So now you think that everyone will play nice and not steal money from the authors and publishers by giving away hundreds or thousands of copies of my or any other authors books. Grow up. Why pay for it if you can get it for free.

My first book first came out as an E Book. I did a radio interview. Without telling me the radio host posted a free download of my book on their radio site. I made 2 calls. First to my publisher to tell them what was going on and the second was to the radio station/ DJ and told them to remove my book from their site. My publisher also contacted them and threatened them with a lawsuit. My book ws removed. We figured wa had lost about 250 sells. That translates to about $1,200. That DJ took just over $400 out of my pocket. If I stole $400 from you, would you just let it go and not say or do anything about it. I don't think so. But you think it is OK for you to take money from me.
I am a professional writer / author. I deserve to be paid for my work. One day I hope to be able to support my family with my writing. I can't do that if you are stealing my work. The biggest problem is that large amounts of people (thousands of them) can steal my work. With print books, you don't have that problem. A hard copy book can only be passed around so much.
Your so called eBook bill of right IMHO would never work. You're putting to much faith in people doing the "right" thing. That is how this pirate thing got started in the first place. To me this looks like another attempt to justify stealing and help legalize it.
Oh and FYI back when books were starting to be printed with a printing press. They were very expensive and not that many people could read or write.
This is my opinion and I do not like your eBook Bill of Rights. I am planning to post this reply on several of the sites I belong to, hoping to expose this for what it really is.

G W Pickle

Tess MacKall said...

And here is a comment by Brenna Lyons that chose not to show up for some odd reason. Hope it does here. She makes some very good points on sharing. Brenna posted these comments on the actual librarian's blog in response to the Reader's Bill of Rights.


Here's what I posted on her blog...

I am anti-DRM, and I agree with you that far. I think a lot of people are clueless about how the tech really works, since there are very few cases where you can’t move your books to whatever you own. Even as an author, access is one of my primary concerns, let alone as a reader.

I don’t agree with geographic limitations on sale…nor do I agree with Amazon’s policy of giving a lower percentage rate to authors, when an overseas reader purchases an ebook. That is complete bull! But that’s what we deal with from them. Is it any wonder that some publishers turn it off, when we get shafted just by having an overseas sale?

(continued in next post as blogger will not allow all of this to be posted.)

Tess MacKall said...

More from Brenna Lyons--continued from her previous comment:

I don’t agree with using DRM, since it doesn’t work anyway and only inconveniences honest readers in the first place. Beyond that, it’s not difficult to break DRM to enjoy full access. I’ve told the senators and Justice Dept that the focus shouldn’t be on DRM breaking. It should be on piracy, where it rightly belongs. The circuit court seems to agree somewhat, since the newest case law (on software…not ebooks specifically) established a line between breaking DRM to access and breaking DRM to pirate. That’s something I’ve asked for for years.

Luckily, most indies don’t use geographical restrictions or DRM. NY Conglomerate is your #1 offender there. Can you force them to change? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s worth it to try. I’d jump on the bandwagon of any organized effort, because it gets really lonely over here telling them they are screwing up. Make them see their readers are upset by their actions.

Now…where do I part from seeing eye to eye with you?

I do not and will never agree that there should be first sale doctrine on ebooks, since you make copies of ebooks automatically (backups of your hard drive, for instance…saved in your download files…and sometimes the library saved for you on an ebook sale site, which you cannot delete, so you are making an illegal copy to sell the ebook in the first place). With paper books, you pass the book to someone else, and it’s gone from your hands…no extra copies. That’s not so with ebooks. There are dozens of possible places you still own a copy of one when you “sell” or “pass it along.”

For instance… Physically emailing the ebook to someone temporarily makes 6 or more copies of the book…the one on your C drive (assuming you don’t also have copies on handheld devices, other laptops and desktop machines you own, you didn’t copy it from one place on your machine to another and leave the first…), the one in your sent files, the one your ISP stores for a period of time, the one in the received file on the other end, the one their ISP saves for a period of time, and the one/s they ultimately save to their device/s. So, even if you don’t have any backups stored anywhere (on your machine or off), you’re making illegal copies to pass it. Since most people don’t even know all of those copies exist to remove them, and some can’t be removed (backups on CD/DVD, libraries on sale sites…), it’s almost a given you are making copies you can later access, even if you scrub the one from your C drive and the one from your sent mail file. Legislators took that into account when making laws for ebooks.

And don’t get me started on the pirates out there who misrepresent that burning a copy onto a CD makes the work their IP/copyright, so they can sell them. Rolling eyes. Back to the subject…

To boot, there is no wear and tear on ebooks. Where popular library books in mass market might wear out in a year of heavy use, that will never happen with an ebook. Backward compatibility makes this impossible, and programs like Calibre make it possible to keep reconverting the book into more useful formats. Another reason I say a lot of people are clueless about the tech. Unless the book is DRMd (in which case you’d have to break DRM first), you can convert nearly any format into any other format. I routinely do this for work. Piece of cake.

Tess MacKall said...

I find it so hard to believe that authors can support sharing and piracy in any way, Casey---but they do.

They simply liken it to a library and believe it will get them more readers in the long run. None of which is true.

Everyone just needs to follow the letter of the law and let's be done with this.

Fiona McGier said...

By and large the authors who support free "sharing" of their books are the ones who make huge advances, and sell lots of hardcovers and paperbacks. To them, any eBook money would only be pocket change. Plus they do book signings and have tee-shirt sales, etc. To them there is no problem. Hell, for even a fraction of Neil Gaiman's money, I'd be dancing in the streets while I made a U-tube video extolling free eBooks. But since I'm e-published, I'm not so happy about the whole its-on-the-internet-so-its-free idea.

BrennaLyons said...

Fiona,

You are so right. That's what I said about Neil Gaiman. He doesn't even see ebooks as real books. He makes the distinction between ebook and real book (aka print book). Baen proved long ago that the free first ebook in a series can help spur the sale of print of the entire series, including that first one (so the reader has the full series on the shelf), but no one has successfully proven that the same works for ebook. Especially not rebuying the first book IN ebook.

Brenna

Tina Donahue said...

Good post, Tess - had to be said.

Kathleen said...

Excellent post and insight into a looming situation. You didn't mention whether some of these pirate sites are America based or offshore. For the ones in this country I think we have some recourse but the ones offshore, we have little defense at the moment. I am not familiar with international, intellectual property rights regulations and how they can help the e-publishing industry and authors. Anyone have any ideas?

Kissa Starling said...

Touchy subject all around. You're right about the general public not understanding the difference between and ebook and a print book.

Harlie- I like your point about readers changing something. Not that is a scary thought!

Anyway, I believe this will get better because I'm an optimistic person and I say so. : ) And I will educate readers along the way.

Tess MacKall said...

You're right, Fiona, those who make huge advances or have big sales in general can afford to support giveaways. I think we do right much in the way of contests myself. There contests are all over the place in the e publishing world. Not so with print. Or at least NOT to the degree you'll find with e books.

Free doesn't necessarily translate into sales. Not at all. For instance, some of you may have read at Dear Author last week that Ellora's Cave is discontinuing free reads. Why? Because they have not translated into sales for authors.

Personally, I think we do much better with free reads in general if we give them away via review sites or directly from our own sites.

What happens when you constantly give something away? It becomes LESS valuable.So for someone to say that allowing our books to be shared will give us new readers and bigger sales in the long run is just irresponsible.

Tess MacKall said...

Thanks, Tina. You knew I just HAD to say it, didn't you? LOL

Tess MacKall said...

Kathleen...that's a big worry and a whole 'nother set of problems, isn't it? We can't control the sharing and piracy of e books within the US where there are laws in place to protect us. How the hell will we do it worldwide? Too many questions and not enough answers for sure.

Tess MacKall said...

Hiya Kissa! I love your optimism. Hope some rubs off on me. LOL

Unfortunately, I don't see any of these issues being resolved anytime soon unless the law of the land steps up to the plate and enforces the law.

Margaret Tanner said...

I agree with every word you wrote. As far as I am concerned the librarian and others like him/her are advocating theft. No point in sugar coating it, they are "peddling stolen goods" i.e. my books which I sweated blood and tears over, and should be held accountable. Bet they wouldn't like it if I kicked in the door of the library and stole all their books, then either gave them away or sold them at some flea market.

regards

Margaret

Tess MacKall said...

LOL I thought about the same thing, Margaret. How would the librarian feel if I came to his library, checked out a whole bunch of books and simply never brought them back. Now I know this happens with libraries, but it's stealing, isn't it? And I'm sure libraries frown upon that type of thing. Yet it's okay for them to be able to do whatever they want with our work???? Odd reasoning for sure.

Samantha Gentry said...

Well said, Tess. Sharing an ebook is literally taking money out of the author's pocket regardless of how the offender chooses to reationalize it. And, of course, it is illegal and theft of intellectual property in violation of copyright law.

Laura G. said...

BRAVO! The world is going digital, so this librarian dude better jump on the bus. But truth be told, the guy's worried about being out of a job...the digi world threatens his livelihood. But print will be around for decades to come. The music industry had this same problem...and I've read rumblings of the ebook industry putting security devices in place so you can't share your ebooks unless you do pysically hand your ereader to someone else...HEY, that would be just like sharing a print book! LOL Hope this librarian dude finds this post of yours, Tess!

James L. Hatch said...

Ignoring that you don't hunt bear with a shotgun, I believe the problem stems from one significant difference between print and e-book. When a print book is loaned, the owner no longer has it. He/she either has to try to get it back, or buy another. E-books can be copied, so both the recipient and original exist at the same time. And on and on. The only way I can see control being effective would be some type of central distribution with time-stamped copies, but that would require considerable sophistication and a change to existing readers. Seems like there's no solution. People, being what they are, will always get what they can for free. This is a depressing topic to be sure.

Tess MacKall said...

Hmmm...no bear hunting with my shotgun? Hmmm...in the South we just pick up anything that is handy and aim, darlin'. How many bear rugs you got in your house, James? Didn't know you were a bear hunter. No worries. I'll just break out the 30-06--that should work for brown bears--which we have in my area. But then again? Maybe my Glock 21 or if in a pinch? My .357. Than again maybe I'll just go hand-to-paw with a damn axe!

Yep, this is a depressing topic for sure, James. Even more depressing when you consider the fact that there are those out there who openly support and DO break the law. Wonder if they think it's okay for a burglar to break into their homes and steal from them? HA! When it hits close to home, nobody likes it.

As I said--these people need to walk a mile in our author shoes.

Tess MacKall said...

Woot! Hiya Laura. The librarian dude has had enough problems on his own blog. I don't think he wants to talk to anymore e book authors, Laura. LOL

I'm sure his intentions are good--however misguided. He's only trying to protect his territory--libraries--and they are damn sure worth protecting. But he just doesn't get the fact that we are only trying to protect OUR territory.

Shoshanna Evers said...

Great post! I have a Google alert that tells me every time one of my books is pirated, and it happens All.The.Freakin.Time. Grrrr. You're right though - Kelly at EC is great about sending take-down notices!

Tess MacKall said...

Hi Shoshonaa. Yep, Google alerts is great. At least we KNOW when it happens. And Kelly is definitely johnny-on-the-spot with those take downs. I just wish all publishers were as vigilant.

Tess MacKall said...

Exactly, Samantha. And most readers understand this. But there is a particular group on the Net who are ravenous about sharing. Unfortunately, I had the hmmm..."honor", lol, I've hearing from one on another blog yesterday. A very antagonistic individual who takes every argument and basically tells authors we're stupid. A very insulting man for sure.

I soooo love the readers I talk with on groups. They make me glad to be a writer. And thank God I don't run into too many like that guy. Goodness, he's mean-spirited.