News

International publisher alliance shuts down piracy site

An international alliance of publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Elsevier and Pearson Education Ltd, has served successful cease-and-desist orders on a piracy operation with an estimated turnover of £7m.

The two platforms, sharehoster service www.ifile.it and link library www.library.nu, had together created an "internet library" making more than 400,000 e-books available as free illegal downloads. The operators generated an estimated turnover of €8m (£6.7m) through advertising, donations and sales of premium-level accounts, according to a report by German law firm Lausen which helped co-ordinate the alliance.

The other publishers involved also comprised Georg Thieme; HarperCollins; Hogrefe; Macmillan Publishers Ltd; Cengage Learning; John Wiley & Sons;the McGraw-Hill Companies; Pearson Education Inc; Oxford University Press; Springer; Taylor & Francis; C H Beck; and Walter De Gruyter. The alliance was also co-ordinated by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein) and the International Publishers Association (IPA),

Jens Bammel, secretary general of the IPA, said: "Today, the international book industry has shown that it continues to stand up against organised copyright crime.

"We will not tolerate freeloaders who make unjustified profits by depriving authors and publishers of their due reward. This is an important step towards a more transparent, honest and fair trade of digital content on the Internet," he said.

Alexander Skipis, Börsenverein c.e.o., added: "This case demonstrates, in particular in the context of current debates, that systematic copyright infringement has developed into a highly criminal and lucrative business."

 

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I don't publish academic books but would guess that the high prices must be needed to cover the production and editing costs of a book that sells in low quantities, plus delivery, warehousing etc. For this reason ebooks are a good alternative as they at least cut out the costs of printing and delivery, plus the commissions to the various middle men stocking and distributing the books to shops at the commission the shops need.

It doesn't cut out the cost of editing, proofreading, designing and converting to ebook format. For the students who talk about their expensive courses and student loans - I'm sure you will expect to be paid for the work you have done all of this to be qualified for.

As a student I had to buy expensive books and there weren't ebook versions even though it isn't many years ago that I did my last two postgraduate courses. Universities usually have good services set up to let students buy the course books secondhand and sell them on to students from the next year group. I did that.

Some insulting things have been said about publishers here. Many publishers only break even or make a small profit as this is a business with very tight profit margins. Many fail, especially at the moment. Publishing is an industry where a lot of people help by working for free in order to keep the cost of producing books viable. Publishers themselves often finance their company to keep it going and out of belief in the type of books they produce. The insults to publishers as a whole are unnecessary.

I'm not condoning piracy, but I would like to put this argument in perspective. Elsevier etc make much of their money not from books as much of the dialog here has focused on, but from large commercial science, tech and medicine journals (STM journals). This is still a profitable corner of publishing.

Keep in mind that the authors of these articles, i.e. these pirated files, are not *ever* paid for publishing, even in legit circumstances. That's the nature of academic publishing. You publish to get tenure, not to get a cheque. So the model is slightly different for Elsevier, Springer, etc. than it is for a commercial publisher like Random House, etc.

These publishers make their money -- and oh, do they make money -- by selling these articles back to academics in all fields via university libraries. Libraries will spend millions to access databases of articles. And the publishers have been hiking their fees by an average of 5% to 10% annually since the 90s. In fact, it's getting to the point where they are squeezing out book and independent journal publishers. It's a huge problem that many academics aren't aware of, because the libraries, not the faculties, pay the bills. Libraries are squeezed and these publishers are posting record profits. Google "Elsevier boycott" to get a bigger picture.

It's enough to make you want to, gee, upload it for free so people can access research. Although it appears that these pirate sites might have been reselling this stuff, which makes them just as greedy as the publishers themselves.

There are lots of ways to get around this bad deal, BTW, if you're an academic and you don't think these companies should be cloistering research for mass profit. Check with your libraries about holding on to your copyright when you publish, or ask about institutional repositories and open access alternatives. In some fields (physics, some areas of medicine) these are becoming just as prestigious as big traditional journals.

I recently finished a PhD and it is evident that many research students do download books from such sites as part of their research. While depriving an author of potential sales is a serious issue, for the majority of research students I spoke to about this, they would not have bought the books; they would have simply made do withouth them. Moreover, where a dowloaded book turns out to be really useful most actually go and buy a hard copy as they still prefer underlining, writing notes and carring the book around with them. So there is an argument to say that not only are authhors of academic books not being deprived of potential sales by such sites, but are actually gaining sales that they otherwise woud not have had. So in terms of academic publishing, I think the argument that dowloading a book necessarily harms authors needs to be rethought.

I accept that this is only anecdotal evidence, but in the past 5 years this has been the common story. Having spoken to other friends and colleagues at different universities, in various countries, a similar expereince is reported.

I think it would be interesting to see if there has actually been any research done, specifically on academic books, to substatiate the claims about the damage these cause to authors.

I had a professor at my University and he wrote a chapter of a book in a prestigious series of technical chemistry books (search for Wiley's Patai Series, every book cost more than US$ 900). These are excelent books, but really expensive due to their specificity. You will not be able to buy it if you are am undergraduate student, but you'll not need it anyway.
I asked him if he recieved any money at the time or if he's recieving money from royalties. He said no, they didn't paid for his work. Insteed he recieved a copy of the book (well, he could sell it for US$ 2000) and the possibility to put this achievement in his curriculum.
If you download that book, my professor (one of the autors) will never know because his income from this book will not decrease. I can not say the same for the Wiley company.
That really bogus me because the argument "if content should be free and accessible, how the author will pay his bills?" is somethimes pretty good, but I kept remember that J. K. Roling is millionaire because a few US$10,00 book (and what is following her book) while my professor (and probably the other authors) recieved US$0,00 for a US$2000 book.

I find it particularly interesting that some people are suggesting that sites such as this might actually increase revenue for the Publishers - I personally disagree completely.

Its the same argument that people have used for ages with music and film - if I watch a downloaded film for free, I don't think I would ever then go out and buy it off the back of that. What would be the point? Its the same with books - when I was doing my degree I used library books a lot, I never after using them went out and bought the book afterwards -what would be the point in using the library if I was just going to buy it in the end? It doesn't stack up - sites such as this are about saving people money, I think everyone using the argument that it could help publishers are just trying to justify there reasons for using a site such as this.

Whilst I understand on many occasions there are legitimate means for sites such as this, the problem is being able to police it from those books et cetera that are allowed to be on there and those that aren't - its much easier for publishers to get the site shut down in its entirety than wade through each individual book.

I know having had experience in academic publishing that a large amount of the reason behind the high price is down to the nature of academic publishing - where as a fiction title might turn over 5,000 copies in a year an academic title might do the same in 3-5 years. As a publisher you have to plan for those differences, it is also a much higher priced book to make. Whilst I do agree sometimes the prices are eye wateringly high, it is not just about publishers being greedy. I agree a lot with what Adele Ward said in regards to publishers end profit, I don't think many people realise just how low the profit margin can be in the end. Many of the "big" publishers are only big because they are part of a large multi media company - rather than independent.

Whilst knowledge and passing on that knowledge is great and should always be something we strive for, its not something that is free. Academics might not always receive large sums of money for the work they have published, but they still agreed for said work to be copyrighted and used in that book - they still gained from it for there reputation et cetera. You can't expect publishers to work for free, in the same way that you can't expect someone like Tesco's to just hand you your groceries for free.

It should be noted, that not all books in library.nu were copyrighted. Many were in the public domain or out of print and not accessible elsewhere.

By closing access to these books indiscriminately this "international alliance of publishers" has only shown their commitment to making money, and their total disrespect for knowledge, and culture in many ways.

Information is free, and when concealed still tends to be free.

For each book-sharing place closed by this "international alliance of publishers" ten more will pop up.

It seems quite a coincidence that a few days ago, library.nu redirected to books.google.com and still now, when searching for library.nu, "google books" comes first

It should be noted, that not all books in library.nu were copyrighted. Many were in the public domain or out of print and not accessible elsewhere.

By closing access to these books indiscriminately this "international alliance of publishers: has only shown their commitment to making money, and their total disrespect for knowledge, and culture in many ways.

Information is free, and when concealed still tends to be free.

For each book-sharing place closed by this "international alliance of publishers" ten more will pop up.

It seems quite a coincidence that a few days ago, library.nu redirected to books.google.com and still now, when searching for library.nu, "google books" comes first.

There's an idea!!
To all Writers, would be writers, publisher and book sellers, library.nu is an internet library which included as mentioned in the article more than 400,000 books. Those who paid for membership or donation would not hesitate to pay for a reasonable membership fee where they can still access the knowledge while publishers and such could share or receive royalty fees, considering the millions of users or potential users around the world it would be rather rewarding.

I agree with many of the comments, that a downloaded eBook is not a sale lost, but rather, a book read where otherwise would never be heard of.

I would not be surprised if Google Books was in on it, as websites such as library.nu kill any prospect to Google a book. Google makes big money despite the inferior quality of access.

The closure of local libraries
The real reason for the closure of local libraries is the introduction of eBooks, magazines and newspapers, where they can be read in the comfort of ones home, or on the move in the advent of the free movement of information on the World Wide Web.

For those claiming for lost labor
It is never a loss for the writers or publishers, as the eBooks are excellent chance to review the books, giving the reader a real first hand chance to evaluate the content. It is a valuable chance for newcomers to get their material read and receive recognition where sometimes they might not get. also the big names in the publishing business get more exposure and prestige having their published materials more available to masses.

Remember, in the music industry some leading names started out on youtube. and for the crying writers, besides selling their hard covers, if it was fiction, they have a better chance to get to the big screen and earn millions, where the non-fiction writers make their money on TV as specialists, or lectures and conferences and such, where normally they are valued for the number of sales, it could also be valued for the number of downloads.
It is a matter of adjusting to the 21st century

The vast majority of published authors make a few hundred or at most a few thousand - and that from books they've worked on for years. The vast majority of books in print are technical, written by experts in their field. They put all that work into forming their work into a cohesive whole and then writing it all out, and then spending months editing and checking. They wouldn't do it for the pittance they earn, but they do it for other reasons - the kudos of seeing a book with their name on it. The kudos of "being published". the kudos of being a recognised authority.

Now... if there were no incentive for the publishers to publish, and if there were no incentive for these learned people to write, the the books go unwritten, and the knowledge is never dessiminated, popularised or broadcast to the wider audience.

This issue is not about fiction writers. Most would write on regardless. It's about engineers, programmers, biochemists, horticulturalists, archaeologists etc etc.

In what way is it a "moral right of netizens" to make those people work for nothing? Are they your slaves? What have you done to deserve everything for free?

I'm as big a critic as anyone of corporations, but this is the wrong target. If the "I demand it free" brigade get their way on this one, all that technical knowledge will still be there, but you'll never get access to it. It'll never get beyond the "knowledge monopoly" ie corporations, governments and the research institutes they fund.

So the foul-mouthed triumphalists here should get their heads out of their free-download fantasy/sci-fi trash fiction, and stop being dupes of the corporations.

Personally I think hiding information is a crime !
Suppose people from developing country who dont have money to buy books.
If they have access to free digital library like this, he can do many things. Who is earning money from books ??
Only publishers are earning !
My professor had written a book and he downloaded the book from the aforementioned site, since he dont have the digital copy of his own book. So who is the villain here publisher or the people. Publishers earn 90% of the profit from books, authors are just their leg licking dogs.
In my opinion knowledge is a valuable thing than any other thing hence doing a little crime to get the knowledge is not a sin. In my opinion everything should work from charity.

In answer to those who are arguing that authors don't lose income - this isn't just about authors. A number of people work on a book including editors, proofreaders, designers and production departments. The author is often rewarded by the fact that it's necessary to have reputable publications in order to have certain jobs. But it would be unfair to expect editors, proofreaders and the rest to do this work for free.

People seem to be accepting that authors should have some reward, but there tends to be this negative attitude towards others working in publishing. Their work is vital. They studied in order to be qualified to have the skills necessary to bring out professional books. It's remarkable to me that students, who are investing in their future by going to university, don't feel others who have studied deserve to be paid for their work. It's not a huge amount in publishing. If people were motivated by money they would be putting their skills to use in much more lucrative types of work.

And the comparison with the music industry doesn't apply. Music companies have other ways of making money, including performances. Most publishers don't. I do take the point made by one person that some of these academic publishers are setting unfair prices and demands and that does need to be sorted out.

I'm curious about one point. In order to do well as a student you need to give accurate references, including page numbers and full details of each book uses for research. For this you need a printed copy, unless you're using PDFs which are exactly like the printed book. Or did this pirate service provide PDFs?

These publishers are fascists. They're too incompetent to provide e-copies themselves, and yet they wish to ban the exchange of knowledge. What more does not one need as a demonstration of how petty the human race is?

Publishers (as a whole including production staff) keeps a high percentage of the sale price of a book: 90%?? NOT authors

Library.nu can serve as an example of business model: 1 dollar month with access to hundreds of book (knowledge) with millions of clients.

So publishers MUST decrease their appetite for living at the expenses of authors and so decrease sales price

FInally, the chance to review a book as from library.nu allows to evaluate the usefulness of a work, "if you like it, buy it"

For about a year, I used to search for books in Library.nu.
Around February 8, “library.nu” started redirecting to Google books, then, on February 15, library.nu was finally closed and disappeared.

After that, I also found many books in "Library Genesis", but on February 24, the site “free-books.us.to” started redirecting to Google books too. Although a mirror site "gen.lib.rus.ec" still works.

I do not know who will be the next book site to disappear, but it is not difficult to guess that Google is behind all this.

So, it seems that all the effort Google has put into scanning millions of books worldwide, and currently only allows us to see mostly crippled versions of them, is not related to providing access to knowledge to the whole world, but to monopolize knowledge distribution around the world.

People use gigapedia to TRY books and then if they are good, they will BUY them. Paolo Coelho, the well-known writer, explains that the sales for his books increased BECAUSE his books were pirated.

http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/01/20/welcome-to-pirate-my-books/

Remarkable! Its genuinely remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea about from this article.

Unfortunately, interests of publishers and interests of their authors conflict.

Authors want to access literature otherwise hardly reachable, and publishers are making this literature unavailable, hoping to maximize profits.

Unfortunately, their policy will result in decline in quality of publications. And this is a further threat to publishers, as well as loss of authors' loyalty to publishers in general.

If the policy won't be changed, authors will start to look for other ways to distribute their products, avoiding conservative publishing industry.

Hopefully, such a way will be found.

I don’t like to post on blogs and forums, but I have collected a lot of disappointment, frustration and indignation about some of the issues discussed in this thread.

I. About scientific publications. A lot of people who posted here are students. But they are not the only ones to be influenced by the practices of the publishers. Take my example: I have graduated a long time ago, I have bought my share of textbooks, even expert text books, I still buy them when I really need one. I have subscriptions to three specialised journals. But I still need – sometimes – information about unusual, uncommon things that I can’t find in my own collection.. I live in a small town so I don’t really have access to a university library. Therefore I have to look up on internet and usually I actually find answers – but nearly always the respective scientific articles/papers are not free to download. I would not necessarily mind about that if the prices wouldn’t be so enormous. We are talking about 30-40 Euro/Pound/Dollar, according to the country’s currency. Why are the prices so high? Could someone explain me?

My proposition to the publishers: run a traffic count and find out how many people are hitting those links and how many are eventually paying and downloading the articles. Maybe you will find out that lowering the prices (in my opinion 1-2 euro per paper is enough!) will bring you in the end higher profits!

My solution for the meanwhile: I have found some open resources, i.e. American universities who are developing and maintaining open teaching files and case collections. There are some attempts in Europe too, but not so good (until now).

II. About fiction books. I have a really big collection of books (about 5000). I have at home a special room for them, I spent a lot of money to build bookshelves all around the walls. The older books I have are already yellowed, I don’t have much more free space left and I have to consider the ecological issue – about felling trees. So I decided to buy myself an e-reader. What I don’t understand is why are the prices so high (i.e. for new releases 15-20 $), the same as for hard covers? I thought an e-book would cost less…

My proposition to the publishers: create a system which allows you to lend e-books on a very big scale (to a lot of people), on the same time and at very low prices. A sort of world wide online library. People should pay per item or have a subscription. Limit the lending time to 14 days. I read about public libraries in the USA which try to start this but they only supply inland customers. Why don’t you use for example the services of Amazon? It already created Lovefilm – an online video shop – which is remarkably good functioning – in my opinion. I also read - when I bought my Kindle – that some of the publishers allow you to lend a book, that you purchased on Amazon, to another person – just once and only for 14 days. So I think that the means to control the whereabouts of a lent book are already there and you can use them on a greater scale.

III. About e-books. Because I read a lot and I like to experiment with new authors – and because I don’t have unlimited financial resources – I tend to buy used books at lower prices. When I don’t like them I try to resell them. But now I have an e-book-reader.

My very important question: How can I get rid of those e-books that turn up to be mistakes/ bad investments? Will there ever be a market for second-hand e-books? If not, and if I am stucked with books that I don’t want anymore – than, I think I made a mistake buying an e-book-reader.

Hans, I think that the personality of the owner of library.nu, his intentions (apart from restoration of the site) are actually not so much relevant and of concern for majority of people who visited his site and now disappointed with its shuttening. In my opinion, what we see and have at the moment is a visualization of a more general conflict between mainly science and business in contemporary realities. There is a need, an urgent need for scholars all around the world to communicate and discuss their ideas (we do this through texts mainly), to know what's going on in the field of study, to look through thousands of texts in order to find a few really relevant ideas and it is only possible by having an opportunity to visit libraries, virtual libraries (that's why the site is "library.nu"), because old ones (buildings) can't cope with these goals too often. And there is a need for business to earn money (it's their main and essential goal, nothing wrong with it - it's just business). We can see this conflict on different levels: from institutional to intrapersonal.
But we do really need WORLDWIDE VIRTUAL LIBRARY on acceptable terms in order to be able to do our job excellent as our students and colleagues wait from us.

I think each book should have a mandatory ebook edition which is really cheap in comparison to the same book and hence, who really wants the book just go and buy it. Just like what is happening with music nowadays.

Ohhhhhh .... do someone know what the internet is? Anyone? Internet is a virtual place, real internet has no rules, everyone can choose to use it or not.

Internet is not a distribution channel of some corps. Internet is unsafe same for me as for u! i'm the internet same as u if i'll stop, u stop everyone stop using the internet what they will sell by net?

Get the fucked up everyone who thinks about internet as a distribution channel of selected human!

I don't advocate pirates, they make internet really unsafe. But if i'm going to selling my ideas by the net firstly i'll do everything to make it safe...

Using primitive safety of products is same as e.g. i wrote number of my VISA, its CVV code, expiry date and hope that no one use it.
Stupidity has no border...

Please>>>>>>>>>>> Don't be a stupid!!!

I would love to be able to disseminate knowledge for free. I would love to be able to edit writers for free and give books away for free. It takes me long hours every day of the year to do this work. I take about half a day off at Christmas.

I support myself and two children with my work. If I could be pointed in the direction of the shops that will give us food, the engergy companies that will give us fuel, and all the other places that will support us for free (because it's so terrible of anybody to be doing it for a buck) then I'll be able to edit and publish for free.

If you want publishing outlets to continue and to work hard in a culture where there's a real bookselling crisis, then it's important to respect copyright.

What I'm about to say refers to academic texts rather than fiction. I appreciate it's different in that field, writers live off the income from their novels but the world of academic publishing is different.

I think it's a shame that Gigapedia has been shut down. I'm a PhD student in the UK which means I can access all of the university libraries in the country if I visit them, physically speaking. Electronically I can only access my own university library and the journals it subscribes to. Gigapedia was a great way for me to read books that I have already, through my tuition fees, paid to access temporarily (and photocopy relevant sections). I bought some of the books I have downloaded online (I don't think ebooks will ever completely replace real books for everyone, and yes I do have an e-reader). The others I would never have bought, only browsed in or borrowed from a library.

I think there have been some very good points raised in this discussion. Publishers need to wake up, especially publishers of academic journals. Yes, they need to pay their staff and make some profit, but not a penny of the profits actually goes to the researchers who write those articles. The publishers charge university libraries a small fortune for the journals. In the UK, a huge amount of taxpayers money goes into the higher education system, and rightly so. In that respect, more access to this research should be given to the public. The cost of a single journal article can be as much as a book. Academics who write books receive very little for their labour too, as low as 2% in some cases, yet publishers typically charge £15-£30 for an academic text. While an academic with a job has a salary, it isn't fair that she puts in all of those extra hours to write a book, in addition to the work paid for, and receive a meaningless income from it when the publishers make a lot of money and also restrict access to it.

If I ever write a book, and there is another gigapedia around, I will send them a copy of the ebook. If I'm going to put years of work into a project only for a private company to profit from it, paying me a pittance in the process, then it may as well be out in the public domain.

Academic publishers have some excellent staff who contribute to the writing and editing process, but they are paid a salary for the work. The academics get very little and the publishers don't advertise very much either. The smaller ones can't afford it and the bigger ones only go for a few select spaces meaning that it's mostly going to be higher education students and scholars buying these books anyway.

It looks like there are some publisher employees on this forum, getting a little defensive. I wonder if they have bought every ebook they've read, mp3 they've downloaded, and film they've watched on their electronic devices.

In their current way of operating, the publishing companies face what the music industry faced when mp3s and filesharing first appeared. Metallica and some other greedy musicians shut down Napster but they couldn't stop filesharing.

A good point was raised about open electronic libraries where you can access pdfs, perhaps for a fee for different levels of access. Spotify is a good example of this, you register to access a library of music with advertising, but you pay for better access and less adverts. Many university libraries sell limited borrowing privileges to non members but cannot do so on a large scale without it being detrimental to fee paying students. With e-books, that won't happen. It seems to me like this is a potential way forward. Academic work can still go on but it will be shared, more accessible. Researchers are already putting selections and pre-prints of their work on the open access repositories of their institutions. As this develops further, the publishers will grow less and less important. An electronic access library that can be used for a fee would still mean publishers could get a cut, but not have a monopoly, unless for example you were paying for access to the titles of a particular publisher at a time. It would however be like paying a fee to each record label for access to their artists, I don't think people would go for that in the long run. It does look as if the publishers will not have their way forever. If they adapt soon enough, they can still get a slice of the pie. But they will have to accept that they won't be able to have their pie and give only the crust to the researchers from whose fruits they profit (ahem).

Thanks for reading to the end.

rubbish.

Viva library.nu

Viva library. nu fans and owners.

Very recently,I noticed that my Library.nu account is nowhere there. While looking for an answer, I came across this site and got to know about issues. I agree with the ILLEGAL download issues, but there are some books which are no longer reprinted as hardcopy. Seriously, I was about to upload some antique books in pdf form I have collected from my friends studying in USA and other countries.
To the publishers, this may come non-profitable, but truly for students in so called 3rd World country, this site was a blessing as they can hardly spend money for buying good books. Don't stop this...let the knowledge flow freely. Authors are duly credited. But probably, its more than a mere issue of money..for the author, it is the publishers who are not getting profit.

There was a useful contribution on page one of this thread about free gas, free food, free clothing, free housing... freeloaders in other words, but it was taken down by the Booksmeller. If somebody earns their living as a writer, whether they are a ghost writer writing celeb biographies or a geologist funding his/her field trips by publishing papers in a journal, then his publishers have a duty to defend his income. Full stop. There is some articulate comment above from the side of "piracy", but most of it is inarticulate and immature nonsense. Okay, I may not like their comments because they are reactionary, anti-establishmentarian, seditious etc and that is fine when you are fifteen - good luck to you. Yes - in 1976, I too was a punk, and I still have the Buzzcocks singles to prove it. Nowadays, my mortgage payments are more important to me than my right to wear a dayglo badge on the high street, and these people will eventually turn turtle too. Keep fighting the fight, ye publishers of the world. Make us much money as you can.

Why was my comment removed? Because I was less than nice to some IP thieves? The censorship on this site has become a joke.

Hi Preserved Killick. Anyone can mark your comments as unsuitable, which makes them disappear from the site, and they will be reinstated in time. However, please refrain from personal abuse in your comments. Thanks

Indeed - comments seem to be being removed on a whim. My comment earlier this morning had nothing insulting nor controversial in it. I'd like to know whether this is a techincal hitch (or pirates raiding the Bookseller internet files!) or some strange policy as yet undeclared.

Ridiculous.

Katie - would you please review my earlier comment of today and comment on here about what was abusive about it?

This is a real shame. Gigapedia was an invaluable source of information for many graduate students in mathematics, such as myself. We used it in an honest way to do honest research and to be labelled as 'free loaders' is nothing short of a joke. Mr Bammel should take note of the recent public effort to boycott Elsevier, by very prominent and very respected mathematicians, because of Elsevier's unfair trading standards. I only hope that gigapedia finds a way to resume there business and that the above publishers realise that a book of science should be available to everyone and that this availability should not be dictated by financial profit!

Most recent Anon: another one who's missed the point. You have failed to understand that without profit, there would be no 'book of science' at all. I don't see which part of this is so hard to understand: these things to not spring into existence from thin air.

I have not missed the point. There are researchers out there who have written excellent books and have made them available for free. Online. These books are regularly referenced in the literature and are as credible as any other. I do hope that this will become the norm at some point in the near future. So you are wrong to say that without profit there would be no 'books of science'. No they do not spring into existence from thin air, but instead from the efforts of those who are trying to contribute to their community (not from those who are trying to rip that community off). Again, the same publishers who are claiming that the free distribution of these books is 'criminal' are the same publishers who are actively ripping off university libraries all over the UK (and in France - at least). Do not take my word for it. Search yourself.

If someone wants to give something, anything away for free then that is their affair. But if someone hopes to make a living by exchanging a product or service for money then they are entitled to do so (nobody is forcing anyone to do anything, nobody is being 'ripped off'); if you attempt to access or distribute their work without reference to them or their agent then you are in the wrong. Don't want to pay for it? Don't pay for it; stick with all those free 'excellent books' you tell us are out there.

@Preserved killick.

You are absolutely right. Part of the problem lies with the people who are agreeing to work with these publishers (and I would bet my bottom dollar that they are the same people who were contributing to library.nu, but anonymously of course). I was probably not being explicit enough (here I am being sarcastic (just so that I don't feel left out)): I am speaking of those who are already making a living from research. I am not speaking on behalf of J. K. Rowling. I don't think I have at any point refused to reference anyone (that is called plagiarism - it is a different issue).

For the third time (I think): Currently there is a public attempt to boycott Elsevier because of their unfair trading systems. One of the cited reasons is that Elsevier use a bundling scheme where a library is required to pay for journals that are not wanted in order to get the journals they actually do want.

I sense that there was a suspicious tone in your last post. So for the third time (I think): Search for it yourself. Don't take my word for it!

Hi Fonts. As I have stated several times before on the site, we don't take down comments unless they contravene our rules. Many of the comments on this -seemingly very controversial- story have been "marked as unsuitable" by someone and so disappeared, I have just reinstated them all, including yours. There was nothing in your post that was abusive. Thanks again, Katie

Often publishers only break even although it's easy to imagine that this kind of thing (stopping piracy) is done to make a big profit. Most publishers aren't raking in the cash, although that myth persists. I'm not sure how much academic publishers make as I'm not working in that field.

I know I've been warned about taking on academics as authors because there's a tendency among academic authors not to help promote books too much. The reward comes from having publications, and also the necessity in an academic career of having reputable publications. So it's not just about money for academic authors. I do know people who work in academic publishing and don't see huge profit margins.

I can see the problem for countries where people can't afford books and need to study, but, as somebody said, I couldn't afford to feed my family if I selected, edited, and published books for free. So the books wouldn't exist.

There should be a legal solution to this. It would be a lending library of ebooks and I think many publishers would agree to making this freely available to the people in parts of the world where buying books is too expensive. In fact there are other lending libraries building up for ebooks including in libraries in the UK. I'm happy to have all of our books in lending libraries. People do still buy them, so lending libraries aren't a problem for sales while helping those who need to borrow the books for free.

Dear Anon. You are right. I have a neighbour who is a plumber. He is happy to help friends and neighbours out free of charge occasionally. This is because he earns a reasonable living from being a plumber, and is good-hearted. You, presumably would expect him to do ALL his plumbing work, for anyone, for free. Because it would - your words - contribute to the community. So you are right - the community would be a much better place if everyone did everything for free. Unfortunately my plumber would have his house reclaimed by the mortgage company, his car taken off of him, his children put into care and so on. But that would be fine, because in your world property (including intellectual property) is theft, and all we want is a great community where everyone gets everything they want, when they want it, for free. We're worth it - the l'Oreal Generation. Because ....well, like, that's the future, man!

Dear Fonts for the Memory,
I don't have much experience in plumbing. I have relatively little experience in research. But no one is asking anyone to work for free. Academics do not get paid by publishers to publish their papers (a colleague of mine had to pay the publisher to publish!). They are paid by their university/institution to do research. And as a result papers get published. I am saying that as a result books should also get published. Again, an academic gets paid for her research and as a result they produce books (just like they produce papers).

I am not being over idealistic here. In the mathematics community this is already happening. Again don't take my word for it. Search it yourself.

I didn't mean to say that there are no science books available for free. My comments only relate to the ones that are sold. If there are plenty available for free then I suppose there's no problem with them being offered on these services. The thread is about piracy.

On a slightly separate note, an author friend of mine gives her book away for free. Then she found that people were selling it in their own names. There are all sorts of reasons why this is important, and it's not just about publishers making pots of gold.

The comparison with the music industry doesn't really work either. Music companies have other ways to earn a living, and if you're working at something full time you usually need to earn something. They make money out of music performers. As publishers we generally only have one product to sell, and that's the book. I know there are some publishers who might have other sources of income, but for many or most of us we do depend on book sales for all of our income or just to break even by paying for costs.

The music industry may be able to keep going with other sources of income. Publishers can't and publishing outlets would close for those authors who want to have a publisher.

Knowledge is not free. Free market capitalism does not allow anything to be free.

This is the worst type of assault on information. People who have money go to buy books anyway! I am a second year uni student and I'm not gonna spend any money on books I will only use once, seeing as my library has nothing. Publishers are the worst type of scum on earth and I long to see the day when free information will be available everywhere and the greedy fat cats will go down as a shameful mark on the history of knowledge!!!

Long live piracy!!

Dear Anonymous 23
If you buy books in your second year and only use them once, you're not going to do awfully well in year 3 are you?
Back in the day when publishing fat cat capitalists like myself (ie people on fairly average incomes) did degrees, we used to buy a second hand copy of a book and sell it back to the second hand book shop at the end of the year, making neither a large investment nor a major loss. Ever thought of this for yourself, instead of assuming the world owes you a living for free?
Good luck with the free petrol when your degree enables you to buy a car...

"Back in the day when publishing fat cat capitalists like myself (ie people on fairly average incomes) did degrees, we used to buy a second hand copy of a book and sell it back to the second hand book shop at the end of the year"

How is that second hand bookseller really that different from library.nu? The publishers made no more money out of that book after the first person bought from the retailer. We made donations to library.nu and read a second hand copy. The only difference is that technology allows more than one person to buy that secondhand no-longer-needed copy.

It is called progress and progress is not the domain of only the rich. The world does not owe anyone a living, but it also should not deprive anyone of the means to improve themselves.

Dear napster killed the video star

In your day you probably had a free education.

Hi Padsmom. I think the difference is the length of the equation in which everybody benefits. Publisher sells new copy to bookshop, makes few quid. Bookshop sells to student, makes more than the publisher. Student sells it back, earns some of inital outlay back, next student buys it, and on it goes. The book lasts for years. Everyone seems to think the publishers are all millionaires. Publishing is very risky and very expensive. A book is expensive because paper is very expensive, oil - to ship the books around the world - goes up every week, retail space is expensive. Many academic publications sell in the hundreds, not in the hundreds of thousands. In order to make it cost effective to publish them at all, the books that DO sell well need to provide turnover ie income to fund the others.

The argument about providing things for free so to better the world is naive in the extreme. Do people think that the water pumps in Africa that provide clean drinking water for villages are provided free? No - they are bought from producers at reduced rates by charities who then provide them for free. Do people think that the tents and beds that Live Aid provided for starving people in East Africa were provided free?No - they were bought at major discounts from suppliers and provided free by the charity. Lots of publishers sell their books at massive discounts - to the extent of making barely any profit at all - into African and other third world countries, or to charities who then provide them for free. The idea that publishers only want their books to be read by rich people is so silly. Publishers want everyone in the world to read their books. 5000 copies sold at £5 a piece isn't nearly so good as 100,000 copies sold at £2 a piece!

Dear Anonymous 5685 - it's nice to see that all the free books you've stolen have made you articulate and able to argue a point with style and grace. If I could do as you suggest I assure you I would, but despite my free education at the hands of a Labour UK government it's not a trick I've perfected yet. And hey - the students, with all their debt... I am paying for them now eh? Several of my own children, plus all the others via my taxes. You however, I suspect, are not supporting any.

Meanwhile, the Google Books settlement drags on in the US, with a trial expected in July.

While much of library.nu content was commercially available, it also included some rare and out-of-print works which were unavailable through legitimate channels.

Until a solution is found to permit legal e-distribution of orphaned and out-of-print books, scholars and researchers will do whatever it takes to get access to the references they need, even if it involves so-called pirate sites.

Publishers have only themselves to blame for this situation. Stop blocking the Google Book settlement, then your stance will be more coherent and less compromised.

Also, consider the plight of people like Anonymous22 above. Some of the online commentary in the wake of the library.nu shutdown came from graduate students in developing countries, who had suddenly lost access to a vital fount of technical, financial and scientific references, and had no feasible way of replacing it.

One hopes that an eventual Google Book settlement will include provisions for licensing e-book access to libraries, including those in developing countries. Long term, this is important to the survival of English as a dominant language of science, scholarship and culture.

A culture that's locked up behind forbidding tollgates, for the absurdly long periods provided in the Sonny Bono Copyright Act, will atrophy. This incipient decline is already visible at the margins.

Most writers -as well as artists, write a single book in their life worth reading. And most worth reading books have been written by people that stood outside the publishing establishment. Once they wrote a masterpiece and got accepted in the publishing establishment, they went on writing one book per year- that is often in their contract- just repeating themselves and bullshiting around- that 's what the phrase "by the author of x" on book covers implies. (I mainly have in mind here Marques after "100 years of solitude".
This means that if writers stop getting paid for what they write, we ll lose no masterpiece- just some repetitions, and some books that were not worth reading -or writing- in the first place...

@Napster killed the video star

No way do the 'booksellers' make more than the publisher when it comes to academic books. I spend my life having students, similar to myself, telling me they can get the books a third of the price on amazon or whatever because the publishers sell the books to us (W's) at a ridiculously high rate and we can't afford to discount them (from such a high base cost). I wouldn't buy textbooks (in fact I don't, can't afford to on a booksellers wage and a limited loan - I have to plan (and fight) with others to borrow them) if it wasn't for the fact I work in a bookshop and its a perk I can get discounts.

Without quoting specifics, because I both don't have them to hand, and I probably can't anyway, standard textbooks cost £40-£60 a go and I'd say we get perhaps maximum 10-20% out of it, if we're lucky. If publishers are not making anything more than that, then we as an industry need to question the entire supply chain because if on the whole 1 academic textbook provides only, call it 30% revenue at best, something has gone drastically wrong.

I recognise the amount of effort and research that goes into making papers and textbooks, being a student under several researching scientists who do publish. I also recognise the limited markets a lot of these publications have, but considering that we're in both a recession and digitising period, if we can't both lower the cost of textbooks, making piracy less of an issue, because lets face it - at £60 a pop for a textbook for a 1 term module, no wonder many students are looking elsewhere for the information - as well as improve our margins across the supply network through better coordination, cutting down excess costs, targeting and tailoring our services to better suit the consumer and taking advantage of the latest in technology which most students are doing etc, this industry won't survive. It'll be Amazon Inc. Apple Inc. and Google who will be in charge and our industry will be irrelevant and subject to their whims, not our own.

And that sounds worse than what we have already.

I don't publish academic books but would guess that the high prices must be needed to cover the production and editing costs of a book that sells in low quantities, plus delivery, warehousing etc. For this reason ebooks are a good alternative as they at least cut out the costs of printing and delivery, plus the commissions to the various middle men stocking and distributing the books to shops at the commission the shops need.

It doesn't cut out the cost of editing, proofreading, designing and converting to ebook format. For the students who talk about their expensive courses and student loans - I'm sure you will expect to be paid for the work you have done all of this to be qualified for.

As a student I had to buy expensive books and there weren't ebook versions even though it isn't many years ago that I did my last two postgraduate courses. Universities usually have good services set up to let students buy the course books secondhand and sell them on to students from the next year group. I did that.

Some insulting things have been said about publishers here. Many publishers only break even or make a small profit as this is a business with very tight profit margins. Many fail, especially at the moment. Publishing is an industry where a lot of people help by working for free in order to keep the cost of producing books viable. Publishers themselves often finance their company to keep it going and out of belief in the type of books they produce. The insults to publishers as a whole are unnecessary.

I'm not condoning piracy, but I would like to put this argument in perspective. Elsevier etc make much of their money not from books as much of the dialog here has focused on, but from large commercial science, tech and medicine journals (STM journals). This is still a profitable corner of publishing.

Keep in mind that the authors of these articles, i.e. these pirated files, are not *ever* paid for publishing, even in legit circumstances. That's the nature of academic publishing. You publish to get tenure, not to get a cheque. So the model is slightly different for Elsevier, Springer, etc. than it is for a commercial publisher like Random House, etc.

These publishers make their money -- and oh, do they make money -- by selling these articles back to academics in all fields via university libraries. Libraries will spend millions to access databases of articles. And the publishers have been hiking their fees by an average of 5% to 10% annually since the 90s. In fact, it's getting to the point where they are squeezing out book and independent journal publishers. It's a huge problem that many academics aren't aware of, because the libraries, not the faculties, pay the bills. Libraries are squeezed and these publishers are posting record profits. Google "Elsevier boycott" to get a bigger picture.

It's enough to make you want to, gee, upload it for free so people can access research. Although it appears that these pirate sites might have been reselling this stuff, which makes them just as greedy as the publishers themselves.

There are lots of ways to get around this bad deal, BTW, if you're an academic and you don't think these companies should be cloistering research for mass profit. Check with your libraries about holding on to your copyright when you publish, or ask about institutional repositories and open access alternatives. In some fields (physics, some areas of medicine) these are becoming just as prestigious as big traditional journals.

I had a professor at my University and he wrote a chapter of a book in a prestigious series of technical chemistry books (search for Wiley's Patai Series, every book cost more than US$ 900). These are excelent books, but really expensive due to their specificity. You will not be able to buy it if you are am undergraduate student, but you'll not need it anyway.
I asked him if he recieved any money at the time or if he's recieving money from royalties. He said no, they didn't paid for his work. Insteed he recieved a copy of the book (well, he could sell it for US$ 2000) and the possibility to put this achievement in his curriculum.
If you download that book, my professor (one of the autors) will never know because his income from this book will not decrease. I can not say the same for the Wiley company.
That really bogus me because the argument "if content should be free and accessible, how the author will pay his bills?" is somethimes pretty good, but I kept remember that J. K. Roling is millionaire because a few US$10,00 book (and what is following her book) while my professor (and probably the other authors) recieved US$0,00 for a US$2000 book.

I find it particularly interesting that some people are suggesting that sites such as this might actually increase revenue for the Publishers - I personally disagree completely.

Its the same argument that people have used for ages with music and film - if I watch a downloaded film for free, I don't think I would ever then go out and buy it off the back of that. What would be the point? Its the same with books - when I was doing my degree I used library books a lot, I never after using them went out and bought the book afterwards -what would be the point in using the library if I was just going to buy it in the end? It doesn't stack up - sites such as this are about saving people money, I think everyone using the argument that it could help publishers are just trying to justify there reasons for using a site such as this.

Whilst I understand on many occasions there are legitimate means for sites such as this, the problem is being able to police it from those books et cetera that are allowed to be on there and those that aren't - its much easier for publishers to get the site shut down in its entirety than wade through each individual book.

I know having had experience in academic publishing that a large amount of the reason behind the high price is down to the nature of academic publishing - where as a fiction title might turn over 5,000 copies in a year an academic title might do the same in 3-5 years. As a publisher you have to plan for those differences, it is also a much higher priced book to make. Whilst I do agree sometimes the prices are eye wateringly high, it is not just about publishers being greedy. I agree a lot with what Adele Ward said in regards to publishers end profit, I don't think many people realise just how low the profit margin can be in the end. Many of the "big" publishers are only big because they are part of a large multi media company - rather than independent.

Whilst knowledge and passing on that knowledge is great and should always be something we strive for, its not something that is free. Academics might not always receive large sums of money for the work they have published, but they still agreed for said work to be copyrighted and used in that book - they still gained from it for there reputation et cetera. You can't expect publishers to work for free, in the same way that you can't expect someone like Tesco's to just hand you your groceries for free.

It should be noted, that not all books in library.nu were copyrighted. Many were in the public domain or out of print and not accessible elsewhere.

By closing access to these books indiscriminately this "international alliance of publishers" has only shown their commitment to making money, and their total disrespect for knowledge, and culture in many ways.

Information is free, and when concealed still tends to be free.

For each book-sharing place closed by this "international alliance of publishers" ten more will pop up.

It seems quite a coincidence that a few days ago, library.nu redirected to books.google.com and still now, when searching for library.nu, "google books" comes first

It should be noted, that not all books in library.nu were copyrighted. Many were in the public domain or out of print and not accessible elsewhere.

By closing access to these books indiscriminately this "international alliance of publishers: has only shown their commitment to making money, and their total disrespect for knowledge, and culture in many ways.

Information is free, and when concealed still tends to be free.

For each book-sharing place closed by this "international alliance of publishers" ten more will pop up.

It seems quite a coincidence that a few days ago, library.nu redirected to books.google.com and still now, when searching for library.nu, "google books" comes first.

There's an idea!!
To all Writers, would be writers, publisher and book sellers, library.nu is an internet library which included as mentioned in the article more than 400,000 books. Those who paid for membership or donation would not hesitate to pay for a reasonable membership fee where they can still access the knowledge while publishers and such could share or receive royalty fees, considering the millions of users or potential users around the world it would be rather rewarding.

I agree with many of the comments, that a downloaded eBook is not a sale lost, but rather, a book read where otherwise would never be heard of.

I would not be surprised if Google Books was in on it, as websites such as library.nu kill any prospect to Google a book. Google makes big money despite the inferior quality of access.

The closure of local libraries
The real reason for the closure of local libraries is the introduction of eBooks, magazines and newspapers, where they can be read in the comfort of ones home, or on the move in the advent of the free movement of information on the World Wide Web.

For those claiming for lost labor
It is never a loss for the writers or publishers, as the eBooks are excellent chance to review the books, giving the reader a real first hand chance to evaluate the content. It is a valuable chance for newcomers to get their material read and receive recognition where sometimes they might not get. also the big names in the publishing business get more exposure and prestige having their published materials more available to masses.

Remember, in the music industry some leading names started out on youtube. and for the crying writers, besides selling their hard covers, if it was fiction, they have a better chance to get to the big screen and earn millions, where the non-fiction writers make their money on TV as specialists, or lectures and conferences and such, where normally they are valued for the number of sales, it could also be valued for the number of downloads.
It is a matter of adjusting to the 21st century

The vast majority of published authors make a few hundred or at most a few thousand - and that from books they've worked on for years. The vast majority of books in print are technical, written by experts in their field. They put all that work into forming their work into a cohesive whole and then writing it all out, and then spending months editing and checking. They wouldn't do it for the pittance they earn, but they do it for other reasons - the kudos of seeing a book with their name on it. The kudos of "being published". the kudos of being a recognised authority.

Now... if there were no incentive for the publishers to publish, and if there were no incentive for these learned people to write, the the books go unwritten, and the knowledge is never dessiminated, popularised or broadcast to the wider audience.

This issue is not about fiction writers. Most would write on regardless. It's about engineers, programmers, biochemists, horticulturalists, archaeologists etc etc.

In what way is it a "moral right of netizens" to make those people work for nothing? Are they your slaves? What have you done to deserve everything for free?

I'm as big a critic as anyone of corporations, but this is the wrong target. If the "I demand it free" brigade get their way on this one, all that technical knowledge will still be there, but you'll never get access to it. It'll never get beyond the "knowledge monopoly" ie corporations, governments and the research institutes they fund.

So the foul-mouthed triumphalists here should get their heads out of their free-download fantasy/sci-fi trash fiction, and stop being dupes of the corporations.

Personally I think hiding information is a crime !
Suppose people from developing country who dont have money to buy books.
If they have access to free digital library like this, he can do many things. Who is earning money from books ??
Only publishers are earning !
My professor had written a book and he downloaded the book from the aforementioned site, since he dont have the digital copy of his own book. So who is the villain here publisher or the people. Publishers earn 90% of the profit from books, authors are just their leg licking dogs.
In my opinion knowledge is a valuable thing than any other thing hence doing a little crime to get the knowledge is not a sin. In my opinion everything should work from charity.

In answer to those who are arguing that authors don't lose income - this isn't just about authors. A number of people work on a book including editors, proofreaders, designers and production departments. The author is often rewarded by the fact that it's necessary to have reputable publications in order to have certain jobs. But it would be unfair to expect editors, proofreaders and the rest to do this work for free.

People seem to be accepting that authors should have some reward, but there tends to be this negative attitude towards others working in publishing. Their work is vital. They studied in order to be qualified to have the skills necessary to bring out professional books. It's remarkable to me that students, who are investing in their future by going to university, don't feel others who have studied deserve to be paid for their work. It's not a huge amount in publishing. If people were motivated by money they would be putting their skills to use in much more lucrative types of work.

And the comparison with the music industry doesn't apply. Music companies have other ways of making money, including performances. Most publishers don't. I do take the point made by one person that some of these academic publishers are setting unfair prices and demands and that does need to be sorted out.

I'm curious about one point. In order to do well as a student you need to give accurate references, including page numbers and full details of each book uses for research. For this you need a printed copy, unless you're using PDFs which are exactly like the printed book. Or did this pirate service provide PDFs?

These publishers are fascists. They're too incompetent to provide e-copies themselves, and yet they wish to ban the exchange of knowledge. What more does not one need as a demonstration of how petty the human race is?

Publishers (as a whole including production staff) keeps a high percentage of the sale price of a book: 90%?? NOT authors

Library.nu can serve as an example of business model: 1 dollar month with access to hundreds of book (knowledge) with millions of clients.

So publishers MUST decrease their appetite for living at the expenses of authors and so decrease sales price

FInally, the chance to review a book as from library.nu allows to evaluate the usefulness of a work, "if you like it, buy it"

For about a year, I used to search for books in Library.nu.
Around February 8, “library.nu” started redirecting to Google books, then, on February 15, library.nu was finally closed and disappeared.

After that, I also found many books in "Library Genesis", but on February 24, the site “free-books.us.to” started redirecting to Google books too. Although a mirror site "gen.lib.rus.ec" still works.

I do not know who will be the next book site to disappear, but it is not difficult to guess that Google is behind all this.

So, it seems that all the effort Google has put into scanning millions of books worldwide, and currently only allows us to see mostly crippled versions of them, is not related to providing access to knowledge to the whole world, but to monopolize knowledge distribution around the world.

Remarkable! Its genuinely remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea about from this article.

Unfortunately, interests of publishers and interests of their authors conflict.

Authors want to access literature otherwise hardly reachable, and publishers are making this literature unavailable, hoping to maximize profits.

Unfortunately, their policy will result in decline in quality of publications. And this is a further threat to publishers, as well as loss of authors' loyalty to publishers in general.

If the policy won't be changed, authors will start to look for other ways to distribute their products, avoiding conservative publishing industry.

Hopefully, such a way will be found.

I don’t like to post on blogs and forums, but I have collected a lot of disappointment, frustration and indignation about some of the issues discussed in this thread.

I. About scientific publications. A lot of people who posted here are students. But they are not the only ones to be influenced by the practices of the publishers. Take my example: I have graduated a long time ago, I have bought my share of textbooks, even expert text books, I still buy them when I really need one. I have subscriptions to three specialised journals. But I still need – sometimes – information about unusual, uncommon things that I can’t find in my own collection.. I live in a small town so I don’t really have access to a university library. Therefore I have to look up on internet and usually I actually find answers – but nearly always the respective scientific articles/papers are not free to download. I would not necessarily mind about that if the prices wouldn’t be so enormous. We are talking about 30-40 Euro/Pound/Dollar, according to the country’s currency. Why are the prices so high? Could someone explain me?

My proposition to the publishers: run a traffic count and find out how many people are hitting those links and how many are eventually paying and downloading the articles. Maybe you will find out that lowering the prices (in my opinion 1-2 euro per paper is enough!) will bring you in the end higher profits!

My solution for the meanwhile: I have found some open resources, i.e. American universities who are developing and maintaining open teaching files and case collections. There are some attempts in Europe too, but not so good (until now).

II. About fiction books. I have a really big collection of books (about 5000). I have at home a special room for them, I spent a lot of money to build bookshelves all around the walls. The older books I have are already yellowed, I don’t have much more free space left and I have to consider the ecological issue – about felling trees. So I decided to buy myself an e-reader. What I don’t understand is why are the prices so high (i.e. for new releases 15-20 $), the same as for hard covers? I thought an e-book would cost less…

My proposition to the publishers: create a system which allows you to lend e-books on a very big scale (to a lot of people), on the same time and at very low prices. A sort of world wide online library. People should pay per item or have a subscription. Limit the lending time to 14 days. I read about public libraries in the USA which try to start this but they only supply inland customers. Why don’t you use for example the services of Amazon? It already created Lovefilm – an online video shop – which is remarkably good functioning – in my opinion. I also read - when I bought my Kindle – that some of the publishers allow you to lend a book, that you purchased on Amazon, to another person – just once and only for 14 days. So I think that the means to control the whereabouts of a lent book are already there and you can use them on a greater scale.

III. About e-books. Because I read a lot and I like to experiment with new authors – and because I don’t have unlimited financial resources – I tend to buy used books at lower prices. When I don’t like them I try to resell them. But now I have an e-book-reader.

My very important question: How can I get rid of those e-books that turn up to be mistakes/ bad investments? Will there ever be a market for second-hand e-books? If not, and if I am stucked with books that I don’t want anymore – than, I think I made a mistake buying an e-book-reader.