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Library E-Book Lending Poses Rising Problem for Publishing Industry
#1  kyrilson 07-25-2019, 10:25 PM
Not a fan of this "windowing" technique.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/e-books-make-macmillan-rethink-relationships-with-libraries-11564063800?mod=flipboard


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#2  rcentros 07-26-2019, 04:42 AM
Quote kyrilson
Not a fan of this "windowing" technique.
Not either. But it looks like some of the publishers have figured out that higher eBook prices have led to more borrowing and less buying. Maybe that collusion deal with Apple wasn't such a good idea after all.
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#3  pwalker8 07-26-2019, 08:02 AM
Quote rcentros
Not either. But it looks like some of the publishers have figured out that higher eBook prices have led to more borrowing and less buying. Maybe that collusion deal with Apple wasn't such a good idea after all.
Or maybe it's simply there is no price that can compete with free, so the price of ebooks has no effect on library lends.

Based on the article, the Tor experiment said that ebooks sales increase when they delay releases to the library, thus windowing makes a lot of sense. It also mentioned that other publishers are going with a pricing based on the number of lends rather than a flat price, much like Amazon pays authors in their monthly ebook service. Once again, makes business sense.
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#4  jhowell 07-26-2019, 08:06 AM
Quote rcentros
Not either. But it looks like some of the publishers have figured out that higher eBook prices have led to more borrowing and less buying. Maybe that collusion deal with Apple wasn't such a good idea after all.
I think that a lot of factors have made borrowing more appealing to a lot of people, myself included. Most people have no further use for a book after they have read it once. The effort involved in borrowing is about the same as making a purchase. Spotify, Netflix and similar services have gotten people used to the idea of not owning content. Purchasing an e-book is inherently less permanent than purchasing a physical book, it is really purchasing a license that can be revoked or not honored over time. All of these factor in.

These days I only purchase a book if it is something I want to read immediately and there is a long hold list at the library.
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#5  meeera 07-26-2019, 08:35 AM
Quote pwalker8
Based on the article, the Tor experiment said that ebooks sales increase when they delay releases to the library, thus windowing makes a lot of sense.
If the Tor "experiment" were actual science, they would have simultaneously windowed half of their titles, carefully matching titles on both sides for popularity, and gone to every effort to eliminate other confounders. They did none of this.
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#6  Calenorn 07-26-2019, 09:34 AM
Quote meeera
If the Tor "experiment" were actual science, they would have simultaneously windowed half of their titles, carefully matching titles on both sides for popularity, and gone to every effort to eliminate other confounders. They did none of this.
Because, you know, they're a BUSINESS. Not angling for a research grant.
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#7  meeera 07-26-2019, 09:38 AM
Quote Calenorn
Because, you know, they're a BUSINESS. Not angling for a research grant.
Yes. Hence my skepticism about taking what they say were the results of their "experiment" as gospel truth. If they had wanted valid results, they would have put a moment's thought into designing an experiment that might have a hope of delivering that. They didn't. This wouldn't have required postgraduate level thinking - more high school. Or smart middle-schooler.

But I've been regularly quite impressed at how business and economics grads can display a level of scientific thinking well below that.
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#8  haertig 07-26-2019, 10:46 AM
The eBook publishers (and other digital content publishers) chose their path when they came up with the concept "You don't own this, you are just licensed to use it on our terms, that we may choose to change over time. We have ultimate control over what you can or cannot do with it, despite your payment to us."

For me, in part it has come down to this:

(1) "If you BUY this eBook from us, you don't own it, but you pay for it. You only have a license to read it, and only on the devices we let you to read it on."

(2) "If I BORROW this eBook from the library, I don't own it, but I don't pay for it either (other than with my taxes)."

So what's the difference? You don't own it in either case. But in one case you pay for not owning it, and in the other case you don't. Is it any wonder that choice (2) may be getting more popular? My current practice for fiction novels - which has changed over time to be more library centric - is to always, ALWAYS, check the library first, and only then consider purchasing the book if the library route is unavailable/unappealing.

The publishers came up with the "license, not own" concept to increase their profits and control. This was a positive for them. But there are a few negatives as well - as some customers will determine that the license concept is not in their best interest, and decide to borrow from the library instead. And naturally, the publishers wish to shut down this alternate way for customers to obtain books. It looks like they are trying "windowing" now. But rest assured, they would rather cut libraries totally out of the picture if they could. I'm sure they will attempt this total cut-off in the future, if they haven't started already.
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#9  leebase 07-26-2019, 11:07 AM
Quote pwalker8
Or maybe it's simply there is no price that can compete with free, so the price of ebooks has no effect on library lends.
Not only free. Library books have always been free. But, with ebooks, you don't have to go to the library. Not to check the books out, not to return them.

Heck, you are a profligate spender if you pay for something you could get for free just as easily as buying.
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#10  leebase 07-26-2019, 11:10 AM
You HAVE to have a "you don't own it" stance with a digital good. Otherwise you get "sell one copy, share infinitely".

Digital goods are inherently different. Better in many ways. Deficient in other ways.

There is no such thing as a "used ebook".
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