Yesterday we wrote about someone who downloaded a pirated copy of a game after he couldn’t gain access to the copy he’d already paid for. In that case, which most of our commenters supported, it was clear that the consumer was trying to resolve a problem created by the DRM. But what about if you own a printed copy of a book and you simply want to read the ebook version? Should you have to pay for a second copy? Randy Cohen, who writes the The Ethicist column for the New York Times, says downloading a copy you find online is ethical. [More]
Jessica Palmer at the blog Bioephemera recently had a bad run-in with a bookseller on Amazon, which she talks about at great length in a post. The mistake she made, she says, was that she didn’t exercise due diligence in researching the seller for complaints, and she didn’t read through all the many reviews on Amazon to see if the negative ones demonstrated a pattern. But her bigger issue is that there’s still no way to shame a bad retailer the way local news stations do with local brick and mortar stores, which is why it’s so important to stick by your complaints once you make them. [More]
Imagine trying to buy a book from Big Generic Bookstore and watching the cashier add $5 to the sticker price. “What are you doing?!” you cry out, waving a fist menacingly at him. “You look like you can afford it,” he says back to you with a hint of entitltement. That’s basically what a publishing industry expert said in a piece he wrote last week about ebook pricing. [More]
J.J. Luna, a former security consultant turned author, released a guide ten years ago that showed readers how get rid of paper and digital trails. The subject matter is probably a little too paranoid for most of our readers, but it overlaps with issues we talk about all the time here, like identity theft and online security. He’s just released a revised version, so he’s giving away the 2000 edition in PDF format for free. Well, in exchange for your email address. [More]
Borders CEO Ron Marshall has decided to move on to better things after only a year. The troubled bookseller is currently in the process of closing 182 of its Waldenbooks stores (more than half of them), and is generally being frowned upon due to its lack of initiative in getting into the e-reader market. (Amazon has the Kindle, B&N has the Nook, and Borders has um…hmmm…) Now they’ll have to find a new CEO to turn things around. [More]
If you’ve ever worked in a bookstore, you’re probably intimate with the practice of pulping mass market paperbacks. Publishers reimburse booksellers for inventory they don’t sell, but paperbacks are so cheap to produce that it would cost more to return them than to throw them away. Instead, stores tear off the covers, mail those back as proof of unsold inventory, and throw the books in the trash. [More]
The publisher of a series of home improvement books has announced a recall of nine of them, because of errors in their instructions on installing or repairing electrical wiring. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says no injuries have been reported so far even though the books have been published since 1975, which I think proves that nobody has ever actually attempted a project from any home improvement book. [More]
There is some sort of epic battle going on inside Zone #5 of dying book seller Borders to move as many units of the novel The Piano Teacher as possible. And goddamnit, people are just not pulling their weight, according to a string of emails from Zone VP Mike’s demoralized underlings posted on LiveJournal: “To the GMs of these 16 stores, thanks for nothing. Had you managed your inventory, processed your freight and/or effectively executed a simple expectation (SELL at least one Make/Key ITEM EVERY DAY), your team (Zone 5) would have won…If you can deliver we will finish one, one-hundreth of a percent ahead of Zone 3 for PTD sales of Piano Teacher. If not, we lose…again.” [More]
Shortcovers, an ebook retailer that I recommended to a Sony Reader owner last month, has morphed into something called kobobooks.com, and it’s now partially owned by Borders. If you own an ereader other than a Kindle, or if you read ebooks primarily on a smartphone, you might want to add it to your list of sources for ebooks. [More]
Cory Doctorow is self-publishing a book and documenting the process for Publishers Weekly. His latest column is about selling audiobook versions of his past works, and how both Apple and Audible have refused to budge on their anti-consumer policies when it comes to digital rights management (DRM) and end user license agreements (EULAs). Even though both companies get paid the same either way, and even though both Doctorow and his publisher, Random House, want to sell the content without these restrictions, Apple and Audible have said no. [More]
Books on managing your money better are an especially apt holiday gift this year. If you need some ideas, Vanguard recommends these 16 books. Mastering your personal finances, the gift that keeps on giving. [More]
Borders announced that 200 of their stores will be, in the words of their CEO, “right-sized” by January. The shredding focuses on Waldenbooks, Borders Express and Borders Outlet stores, mainly those in malls and airports. We kinda saw this coming.
Independent book stores can’t even buy new releases for the low prices that Target, Walmart, and Amazon are offering them to the public — which has led to rationing in order to keep the independents from buying and reselling the books at a profit.