Annoyed Librarian
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Librarians Whine Over Price Hikes

If it wasn't bad enough that Apple was "censoring" Seth Godin last week, Random House did something even worse. They tripled the prices libraries have to pay for Random House ebooks, and boy were there a lot of annoyed librarians after they did. One might think that a book that never wears out that can be loaned in perpetuity might be worth triple the price of a books that wear out. It seems only fair to charge more for a book that lasts forever. Alas, that’s not what we’ve come to expect. Instead of thinking of ebooks as books that last forever, we think of them as books that don’t have all the expensive physical associations of print books, like paper, glue, and actual people who sit at desks writing them. We think that ebooks should cost less than print books. After all, Amazon charges less for their ebooks, and if Amazon charges less it must be because the book costs less. That much is obvious. Of course there is the fact that ebooks have significant ...
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“Censorship” at Apple

A kind reader sent me this article in which Seth Godin accuses the Apple bookstore of censorship because Apple won’t carry one of his free ebooks that contains links to Amazon enabling readers to easily purchase books in his bibliography. His argument is either naive or self-serving. Given that it’s Godin, it’s pretty easy to decide which. First of all, if the book is widely available elsewhere, then it's not censored. That's the basic flaw in all the "Banned" Books Week nonsense. Nevertheless, the gist of his claim is clear: “what’s inside the book shouldn’t be of concern to a bookstore with a substantial choke on the marketplace. If it’s legal, they ought to let people read it if they choose to.” That sounds pretty good. It’s basically the ethic of libraries. You want to read it, we’ll try to get it for you. Libraries have a self-imposed obligation to provide access to information, and in many cases even “information.” That’s what we ...
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