eReading Over My Shoulder

Reading & Writing

Reading
My friend Mike Cane gets very exercised and shouty about eReading, but it’s usually because he has a good point to make on his site.
Here he points out the absurd tangles everyone is getting themselves into over how many people can read a single book. The iTunes and Sony eReader stores allow for downloaded copies to be shared by up to five users – well, of course you might lend an ordinary paperback out to friends – but the NY Times and the Authors Guild are shocked, leading to this hilarious statement from Sony:
‘You could pick four friends [to share books with] as long as they’re on the same account and you’re comfortable that one of those folks in that [group has] the credit card on that account.’
I just want to know what’s going to happen when somebody wants me to autograph one.

6 comments on “eReading Over My Shoulder”

  1. Steve says:

    Lets find out the next time I’m in London!

  2. I.A.M. says:

    The biggest threat to publishers making the absolute largest sales figures are the Public Libraries. Do you realise that they buy a book, and then lend it — for FREE! — to anyone who walks into their building with a library card? It’s shameful! To think that a single book is read not by one single person — which is as God meant it to be — but by potentially hundreds and even thousands of people?!? This is not only not legislated against, but Government funded! Think of the copies which could avoid being pulped! Think of the jobs saved! The brandy purchased for office wet bars! The lunches served for cherished authors!

    [gets down off soap box top make room for next ridiculous ranting fool]

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Do you mean to tell me that when you buy this e-reader thingy that there is a limit to the number of times you can read whatever title you buy?! Well, not much use to university students then, who have to go back and forth in books to write their term papers (or does everyone download those, too?. And what about all of us Bookcrossers who encourage others to read our books? And people who just enjoy a certain book or author so much we want to read it again… and again …. No, these are people who do not understand the written word in any way, shape or form.

  4. I.A.M. says:

    There is no limit to the number of times “e-reader owner A” can read their book. That would be nigh-on impossible to implement, and the rage would be impossible to defend the developer from.

    The licence referred to above was that one person could let four other people have a copy of the ‘book’ to read, in the same way one might ‘lend’ a ‘friend’ a ‘book’ which was ‘good’.

    My point was that Libraries were akin to Bootleggers who ‘lent’ copies to ‘readers’ who would then not ‘buy’ a ‘book’, thereby reducing ‘sales’ to people who actually ‘paid’ for a book so that I might enjoy ‘food’ and pay ‘authors’ for their ‘stories’.

    This is the sort of rubbish that gives the whole e-book thing a bad rap: conclusion jumping based on marginal comprehension of technology, fuelled by advocates for destruction of all paper-based books stating their extreme views so that some middle-ground might be discovered where all views are accepted.

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Sorry about that. I’m big on middle grounds, actually.

  6. Anne Hill Fernie says:

    Interesting editorial in the ‘Literary Review’ about the issue of author royalties re. e.books. As stated, the only indispensible factor in the whole equation is the author. If the ebook thing really takes off (god fobid…) I can really see storm clouds ahead over this issue…

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