The stupidest thing I've heard in a long time

This is the place where you can vent whatever's on your mind. Feel free to go off on extended rants or brief blurbs about whatever's rocking your world.

Moderators: D. Phillips, Jake

Mixmaster Shecky
Honorary GLONO Board OG
Posts: 3118
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: West Michigan

The stupidest thing I've heard in a long time

Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:32 am

From Playlist, an article about Digital Rights Management. A conservative mouthpiece weighs in with this shrewd observation:

DRM, which allows copyright holders to control how customers access content, could lead to new pricing models favorable to consumers, said James DeLong, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), a conservative think tank. For example, instead of paying $30 for a new book, consumers may soon be able to pay $3 for a digital copy that lets them read it once, he said.

Limited-use works will be cheaper than unlimited works, DeLong said.

Before DRM, “you could do what you want with it,” he said. “But is that a good thing?”


The big bold text is the stupid part.

D. Phillips
GLONO Team Member
Posts: 2892
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2001 8:00 pm

Re: The stupidest thing I've heard in a long time

Postby D. Phillips » Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:15 am

Mixmaster Shecky wrote:From Playlist, an article about Digital Rights Management. A conservative mouthpiece weighs in with this shrewd observation:

DRM, which allows copyright holders to control how customers access content, could lead to new pricing models favorable to consumers, said James DeLong, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), a conservative think tank. For example, instead of paying $30 for a new book, consumers may soon be able to pay $3 for a digital copy that lets them read it once, he said.

Limited-use works will be cheaper than unlimited works, DeLong said.

Before DRM, “you could do what you want with it,” he said. “But is that a good thing?”


The big bold text is the stupid part.


Yeah, just because you bought something doesn't mean you should be able to use it as you like. C'mon, this is America!

trainwreck2
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 1132
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:55 pm
Location: not sweden like some losers here!

Postby trainwreck2 » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:45 pm

i can see the advantages in a limited scope (cheaper access for a book to read once), but id think or at least hope people will reject most of these stupid aspects of DRM

miss carol
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 4113
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2002 10:39 am
Location: Toronto

Postby miss carol » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:49 pm

Once? Suppose I really like the book and want to read it again? There goes the public library system.

Mixmaster Shecky
Honorary GLONO Board OG
Posts: 3118
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: West Michigan

Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:36 pm

I think this just perfectly illustrates the dysfunctional thinking of conservatism in general, which these days comes directly from corporate philosophy.

"They think they want freedom, but they don't realize how it can overwhelm them. Better we make the decisions for them - and if it just happens to skyrocket our profits, well so much the better."

It's the same kind of smug, ego-centric outlook that flourished so well at Enron.

Chris G
Dotman
Posts: 1215
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 12:40 am
Location: N.Y.C.

Postby Chris G » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:47 am

.


The stupidest thing I've heard in a long time

Mixmaster Shecky wrote:I think this just perfectly illustrates the dysfunctional thinking of conservatism in general...

They think they want freedom, but they don't realize how it can overwhelm them. Better we make the decisions for them...


Conservatism? I have my own problems with conservatives, but the whole: "True freedom is too much for you people, we know what's best for you..." pretty much sums up the nanny state.

I also cannot find the most remote stretch of an analogy to connect copyright and intellectual property law in the publishing industry with accounting fraud in the energy trading market.

But bringing things back to the topic at hand...

This "$3 to read once" business model, essentially digital book rental, may or may not fly. Right now, ebooks are in their infancy. I give it another decade or more to see what form they take when they finally go mainstream. I personally love physical books (the clutter of them around my home is always in constant competition with my minimalist design philosophy).

For myself, the two major attractions to an ebook would be:

A.) Having the iPod book- A book that held all my favorite books where I could carry my entire library around in my pocket at all times.

B.) The "search" key. Man, what I'd pay to give my personally library a search key!- 'Look through every book I own, and find every references to Frédéric Bastiat...'

For my money, this read-once-and-terminate payment model would be of no interest at all.

I think this James DeLong fellow is deluding himself when he speculates that these 'read once' digital books will replace $30 hardcovers. People who buy the hardcover edition want to 'own the artifact'. For whatever he may know about technology or intellectual property law, he appears to know very little about human psychology or marketing. That said, I can imagine it doing well with romance novels and thriller fiction. The type of mindless stuff people read to kill time on long airplane flights. Here's the rub- these books already sell for pretty cheap in paperback. $3 read-once digital version doesn't sound too competitive for books that already sell for as little as $5.99. How much of that is production, distribution and retail markup? How much is margin? How much is marketing? What percentage is the writer's royalty? I don't know what kind of profit is built into a cheap paperback (miss carol works at a bookstore, right? perhaps she knows) Then you'd want to know another number- how many times is a typical cheap paperback gets read, including by different people: siblings, spouses, coworkers, and friends who share books. You will still have some marketing costs, and writer's royalties. A pretty simple equation should tell you what you can sell that book for to be read only once, and have the same "per read" profit margin as a regular paperback. Essentially eliminating the production and distribution costs, passing the savings down to the buyer, and collecting the same profit.

I just did some superficial research and it seems that a paperback has an 11- 12% margin. Let's go with 12%. Another search tells me that cheap paperbacks today are going for between $5.99 and $7.99. Let's split the difference and say $6.99. That's 84¢ profit on every cheap paperback. Royalties will differ based on how much name the writer has. My 30 seconds of googling tells me 6% for the average writer. So 42¢ has to be built into the price for the writer. As for marketing cost per book, my cursory search tells me it is all over the charts. I'm going to extrapolate to 10%. My bet is they will spend less promoting the ebook version because of lower volume in an infant category, the title will piggy-back on the brick-and-mortar marketing dollars for a while. Let's go light, and say they put 5% into ebook marketing. We get 35¢.

Now, if the ebook were not "read once", this back-of-the-envelope calculation would say we should sell at $1.61. But we're building in this read-once termination.

Ad rates for print advertisements in magazines are calculated with numbers that take into account that, depending on the magazine, more than one person looks at each copy. Spouses share their issue of TIME, girls share their fashion magazines with one another, trade publications are shared throughout a department in a company, etc. I cannot find any hard numbers for an average reader, I also don't know how many times most books are read over again by the same reader. If one in three people read a book twice, that's 1.33 reads per book. If every other person shares the book with one other person, that 1.5 different readers per book. So, I'm going to go with these made up numbers. I'm going to add the extra third that is read twice and the half that is read by a second person (if I wanted to get really technical, I'd count the one half of second readers that then read it twice after it gets handed down, but neh...). So, based on my bogus numbers, each cheap paperback is read 1.83 times.

So, if I am correct that the best target for a terminating ebook is a reader of disposable paperbacks, then the cost per read-once ebook should be 88¢.

Time will tell whether there is a market for this. If so, people will buy them, and it will thrive. If not, people won't be interested and the business model will die. The marketplace will decide.

How conservatives or Enron or politics at all supposedly factor into this, I have no idea.


.

Mixmaster Shecky
Honorary GLONO Board OG
Posts: 3118
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2001 8:00 pm
Location: West Michigan

Postby Mixmaster Shecky » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:11 pm

Chris G wrote:.
Conservatism? I have my own problems with conservatives, but the whole: "True freedom is too much for you people, we know what's best for you..." pretty much sums up the nanny state.

I also cannot find the most remote stretch ...yak yak yak.


Jeez, over-analyze much?

The point I was trying to make was just that the attitude is the same - 'daddy knows best'. I think the questioning of whether or not consumers really want the freedom to do what they want with the media they purchase sums up the current conservative (or more precisely, neo-con) philosophy, in both politics and business.

Chris G
Dotman
Posts: 1215
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 12:40 am
Location: N.Y.C.

Postby Chris G » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:47 pm

.


Mixmaster Shecky wrote:...'daddy knows best'...


Once again, the nanny state is a product of the left, not the right.

Mixmaster Shecky wrote:sums up the current conservative (or more precisely, neo-con) philosophy, in both politics and business.


I think the point is, you use these terms, when clearly you know nothing of what you speak.

Neocon refers to a movement that began in the late 60s, from a group of liberals who believed in leftist policies of taxing to fund large social and entitlement programs but did not embrace the 60s counter culture movement. 50s liberals that were ostracized by 60s culture.

They were originally Democrats that felt a growing estrangement from their own party. They began to find their footing when they took liberal or socialist "great society" ideas usually reserved for domestic programs and applied them to foreign policy.

An incomplete but simple explanation of the traditional conservative foreign policy position is that there are lots of bad people in the world, and plenty of bad governments, and limitations to what our one nation can do to 'change the world' outside of the US, and the western world. Therefore, foreign policy should respect the sovereignty of other nations, even if we may abhor their own domestic policies or even their heads of state. In our foreign policy, we should only be concerned with protecting and advancing American interests. Who we have to do business with and what we have to turn a blind eye to in that pursuit in an unfortunate reflection of the realities of an imperfect world.

An incomplete but simple explanation of the traditional liberal foreign policy might involve using American power, and money to influence nations to adopt American principles of freedom, and human rights. The belief that we should not do business at all with people who are "bad" or do not respect human rights.

Neocons rejected both views. They came into the Republican party as recent converts that believed in liberal, big government social programs, and wished to apply these principles to foreign policy (tax the citizens, and throw lots of money at the problem). Hence, true conservative says, Saddam Hussein is a nasty character, but he servers US interests because he is a secularist in the middle of the muslim middle east, and a thorn in the side of Iran. If contained, he keeps the region stable. Neocons say, NO, we can "fix" the middle east. If we are willing to spend the money on a military intervention, we can 'change the world' by applying a big government solution to a foreign policy problem just as we do with domestic social issues. Hence, a war in Iraq.

This is why old school conservative like to call neocons, "Liberals with Guns."

What any of this has to do with copyright law, I have no idea.

I gave my two sense on this schmuck's bad ebook idea.

We both seem to think it's a bad idea for different reasons. On that matter, we can just agree to agree, eh?


.
Last edited by Chris G on Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:19 am, edited 3 times in total.

miss carol
GLONO Board Maniac
Posts: 4113
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2002 10:39 am
Location: Toronto

Postby miss carol » Sun Nov 12, 2006 7:46 pm

Ok, I'll do my best to describe how books are priced. Chances are you won't believe me, but nevertheless.

Books are unlike any other consumer product regardless of where they're published. The publisher develops a profit-and-loss statement that factors all costs including overhead. I think the mark up may be around 30 per cent, but I'm not sure. The publisher arrives at a list price that the market can bear for the format of book (all prices in CDN$): hardcovers $35-40, trade paperbacks $20-25, mass market $11.99, art books $40 + . The retailer buys these books at a discount from the publisher: anything from 20 per cent (particularly if it's an academic special order) to 50 per cent (for the big chains). The retailer then sells at the publisher's listed price (as printed on the cover/jacket) and can discount as it pleases, usually at less than what it was discounted itself (i.e., buys at a 45 per cent discount, sells at 30 per cent to the consumer).

This is one difference between books and, say, shoes. The biggest difference and the one that can (and has) mean bankuptcy for a publisher is returns. Whatever a book retailer cannot sell gets returned to the publisher. The contract between the retailer and the publisher sets out a specified term, which is about a year. Some big chains ignore that and send literally skidloads back.

Bear in mind, I'm talking about traditional retailers not drug stores, remainders, CostCo, or corporate sales. That's an entirely different deal that I've yet to figure out myself (I feel my headach returning just thinking about thinking about it.)

Now there are a few wrinkles in this scenerio that will bore the hell out of anyone without a vested interest, but that's the codensed version.

As for ebooks, well, I'm not sure how they'll do. My guess is they'll explode in the tech, educational, and business sectors and do nothing in fiction and literary non-fiction. It has mainly to do with how the books are used: work versus relaxation. Electronic devices don't do well in the tub :)

I hope that answered your question. For most small or mid-sized publishers, there's not a lot of money made.

As a sidebar, you might be interested in Akashic books (http://www.akashicbooks.com)in NYC. The publisher used to be in Girls Against Boys. The house has a pretty interesting list.

O!
GLONO Board Pimp
Posts: 230
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 11:22 pm
Location: Near the singularity. . .

Postby O! » Tue Nov 14, 2006 12:23 am

Does anything worthwhile ever come out of "a conservative think tank?"


Return to “Rants and Raves”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Steeler [Crawler] and 2 guests