Monday, April 9, 2012

Can donations help (fight) piracy?

My views on ebook piracy are explained in detail in Free illegal knowledge and how (not) to deal with it, where I argue that it is essential for people to have easy access to books. Furthermore, once books are digitized it is impossible to "remove" them from the web, therefore conventional ways of fighting piracy by closing down illegal websites are terribly ineffective.

An alternative way to reconciliate the two opposing forces is making its first successful steps under the name The 99 cents movement. Many authors are currently selling their ebooks for $0.99 and many more remain consistently in the zone $1-$10 which is a good start, but the lack of academic textbooks in this range is disheartening. In this article I will argue that by having an easy way to donate money to authors, more people will be convinced to lower their prices.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Amazon vs Apple and publishers

While the war to make ebooks available at very low prices might just be beginning, it looks like there is at least one giant called Amazon fighting on our side. Big names like Apple and publishers like Simon & Schuster Inc., Hachette Book Group, Pearson, Macmillan and HarperCollins might be standing against us, but now that the dispute is taken at the level of giants we can expect big changes to the malleable scenery of ebook selling.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal,  the US Justice Department has warned Apple and the five publishers mentioned above that it plans to sue them for colluding to raise the prices of electronic books. This comes following Amazon's decisions to reject deals with publishers that would allow Amazon to sell their ebooks at any price.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 reincarnated might have closed its doors but in one of my previous posts somebody left a comment that its reincarnation is already online. Although, there was no link mentioned (and you will not find such a link anywhere on this blog either) if I can find the site, you can too. True enough it looked as if it contained the same files as Maybe not the ones uploaded over the last week before its closing, I got the impression that it was more like a snapshot of the a couple of months old, but close enough. There was also no option as far as I could tell for users to upload books but the downloading was significantly simplified to just one click.

Saturday, March 3, 2012 and the 99 cents movement

My previous post was an open letter to authors and publishers to fight piracy by lowering the prices of their ebooks to $1. What I didn't know when I was writing it was that many authors were already familiar with a similar concept, although for very different reasons: the 99 cents movement. This is nothing more that simply have your books selling at $0.99.

Although some writers tend to argue against such a pricing model, others have already encompassed it. Even if for them is mainly a tool for promotional purposes, at least it is a step in the right direction. As a particular example, Joe Konrath tried an experiment in selling some of his books at $0.99 inspired by the success of Victorine Lieske. The results were good and now he plans to always have some of his books selling below $1. So why doesn't everybody do it?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Open letter to authors and publishers

keywords: gigapedia, vs publishers, intellectual property, copyright, books, ebooks, piracy 

Dear author/publisher,

you are most likely aware that the biggest site facilitating the illegal distribution of electronic books known as (and previously as gigapedia) closed its doors earlier this month. This presents the ideal opportunity for new competitors to take its place. In this letter I would like to argue that it is in everyone's best interest that you are the one who steps in and I would also like to explain how that will make the world a better place as well as make you a profit.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Free illegal knowledge and how (not) to deal with it

keywords: gigapedia, vs publishers, intellectual property, copyright, E-library, books, ebooks, piracy

1. Introduction (formerly known as Gigapedia) was the biggest site facilitating free (illegal) access to electronic books worldwide. It discontinued its service on February 2012 after a coalition of a dozen publishers served it with a cease-and-desist order. The publishers claim that more than 400,000 books were available on and that the annual turnover of the site was more than $10 million, the press release of the proceedings can be found here.

Such big numbers definitely indicate a popular website and it is safe to deduce that thousands (if not millions) of people were affected when the site went down. In the following article I try to assess if the consequences for closing the site are overall positive or negative. Since I have no particular affiliation with and since similar websites continue their operation today I will refer to all of them collectively as E-library.