“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.”
― Douglas Adams
So here is the question: If you have 8,058 ebooks on your ereader that you never intend to read - and they cost the publisher $0 and the author was never going to get a royalty for them in the first place - did a crime actually take place? Do these ebooks actually exist or are they just literary packing peanuts? What if this person reads Carl Sagan’s Cosmos soley because it showed up unexpectedly and then seeks out Sagan’s other work legitimately in print because of it? Is this now marketing? What if this person decides to rent Girl With A Dragon Tattoo from Netflix because of this? Is this now promotional?
Before the torrent download none of these works may have even been in the consciousness of the reader. Since the download the latent potential for a positive commercial impact has been increased 8,058 times. Withing this torrent file the infinite vastness of the internet that competes with a book like Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 for attention shrank to just 8,057 competitors. For this reader has this torrent just become one of the greatest book discovery engines available today? ~ eP
I torrented a kindle library final and I had no idea how much was in it. Wow what, I could never read all these books in a lifetime. Like I have my own personal library. I checked my nook and it has about two thousand of them on it and they all work, I feel like I’m in a dream…
This is a very good piece from the WSJ on piracy and the difference between music and books when it comes to digital transition. http://on.wsj.com/JPYJ42
Of course both products are very different. Over the 400 years we have been trained to think of books as a self contained artifact and a physical product acquired and lovingly shelved in your home or library. Music’s “product” is the sound emitted invisibly from a speaker, often enjoyed communally and broadcast for free, turned on at will pouring from speakers like water from a tap. Vinyl, cassettes, and CDs were packaging and since the demise of the album cover just soulless containers. Training us to buy digital music by the download is like training us to buy bottled water. Convenience and prestige help but if you’re thirsty you can always find a water fountain or turn on the tap. The closest thing books have had to a public fountain are libraries.
That is the big question in digital book’s future. Will we see book’s content become a utility like water pouring/streaming to our screens like tap water? As we move away from native apps and the internet becomes the entertainet will we stop thinking of books as artifacts themselves and consider the words like music or television images - something we pay for monthly for unlimited access like cable, electricity, or water?