I was reading an MSNBC linked article the other day about an author discovering he had be “napsterized” and that his book had been turned into an e-text and was being distributed on the web.
The Day I Got Napsterized
“First they came for Metallica. Then they came for Tom Clancy. And then they came for me”
He mentioned the newsgroup alt.binaries.e-book so I went to take a look out of curiosity and Oh.My.God. Imagine walking into a library and seeing all your favorite fiction and non-fiction titles on the shelves with signs saying “All books free, take it home and keep it forever.”
The best of new and classic fiction, technical books, great literature all hanging on digital branches waiting to be plucked. Some people are posting entire collections and there are thousands of titles! And the worst part is that it takes only a few minutes to download entire books on a 56k modem unlike the 15-20 minutes for each napster song.
Obviously these are copyrighted works and the authors should be paid for people using their intellectual labor. I’m going to resist plucking these but why does every interesting thing on the net have to pose some moral dilemma.
Ack! So you share with us so I can be tempted too? You realize that’s like dangling hard drugs in front of an addict, don’t you? It’s so wrong and I won’t do it, but it’s a little bit like my visions of the afterlife that involve being locked in a room with the entire literary output of humanity.
I will not, will not, will not go to alt.binaries.e-book.
While I can almost see the temptation to DL books from the net, I cant see really getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. One of the best things about reading is curling up in bed, sitting on your back porch in the evening breeze, or soaking in a hot tub and getting lost in a wonderful tale. How in the world could one enjoy sitting in front of your computer and staring at the screen. I would get antsy in less than one chapter. Printing up an actual novel would not really be a good idea either. Aside from the cost in paper and ink cartridges, the pages would be too cumbersome for the tub.
Agree that books on computer and books as books are two different things. I’ve tried Microsoft’s Reader and Project Gutenberg. I’ve downloaded books offered for free. I even bought Stephen Ambrose’s “Nothing Like It In The World.”
I have yet to finish a book I downloaded. Not only is the paper product a thousand times more convenient and less risky to spill coffee on, but it’s far more portable, far easier to read, and far more pleasurable an experience.
Hell, I’ve bought Twain first editions and read out of them (Yes, I buy firsts to READ them!). It’s a great feeling holding a book over a century old, that’s been passed through the hands of other readers.
Now, saying all that, I like using the DLed books as reference works, and if I needed that kind of material, I could see the advantage of using them. A medical database that’s searchable and updateable should be a boon for doctors trying to keep up with the mass of information out there. And I’ve used on-line dictionaries and translators in my work and play.
I suspect that a lot of people may be DLing the stuff just because they’re compulsive about it. I doubt they’re really reading it.
Au contraire! the eBookman is the most wonderful device known to man. Or woman, as I am. I travel a fair amount for my job, and I won’t buy paperbacks. Hate 'em. One of my biggest fears is running out of reading material while on the road. With downloaded books, on an eBookman, that NEVER happens. It’s smaller than a hardcover, easy to view, and a joy to own.
That said - I won’t download illegal freebies. I download from pay sites like Amazon, where the authors receive the deserved royalties. I also love the fact of owning a real, solid, paper book. They’re just not practical to travel with.
I’m in agreement about the satisfactino of a real, paper book, and I also see the point about libraries, and most of all, the idea that authors should receive appropriate compensation for their work. But for me, the tempting part is that a lot of the things I like to read are both out-of-print and usually not circulating from libraries. I would buy these titles if they were for sale (and not at rare book prices), or get them ILL if they circulated. Some people like the challenge of tracking this stuff down at thrift shops and used book stores, but I say screw the challenge, I want to read the book.
But I will still not use that site. However, I hope that sites like this will make more publishers see that there is some market for obscure titles, and will make their out-of-print titles available online for legitimate purchase.
Ooh, that hurt. I actually had a moment there when I was tempted. And after all my sermonizing at my napster-don’t-give-a-damn-about-copyrights friends. Geez, we all need to be reminded we’re human, I guess. But I’m ashamed I was actually tempted. I thought better of myself than that. Damn.