[bksvol-discuss] Re: Publishers and Bookshare As a Library

Hi everyone!

I got an Audible account in August. I had one years ago, but didn't use it, because with IE, I was unable to listen to book samples. I discovered that using FireFox, I am able to listen to the samples just fine, so, the night I discovered it, I was listening to sample after sample just because I could.

Audible's prices are a bit high imho, so, when they had a sale, I took advantage of it.

Debby

At 03:53 AM 12/13/2009, Gary Petraccaro wrote
Nicely done. I'm thinking about getting an Audible subscription, but hesitate precisely because of Amazon's behavior vis a vis the Kindle access. I have not made up my mind.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Monica Willyard" <rhyami@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, December 12, 2009 2:35 PM
Subject: [bksvol-discuss] Publishers and Bookshare As a Library


Denise, you're right. I see the logic in your point in that Bookshare
doesn't work like a local public library. There is an inequity here. Yet
Bookshare's existence was created by another inequity that publishers
knowingly chose not to rectify. Bookshare stands in the gap, providing a
service we cannot get elsewhere, even if we are prepared to pay for it.

It costs us over $1,000 for equipment to scan and read a book for ourselves,
not even counting the cost of the book and the time taken to scan it. Yet
any person who can read normally can walk into a library, get a book, read
it, and return it with ease. All they have to pay for is the gas to get
there or for someone to drive them. My dad has read 54 novels this year, all
bestsellers, without paying a dime. The library is 10 minutes from our
house, near our grocery store. He pops in for a book, and he's happy as a
clam.

We generally don't have that option, except for the small amount of books
available with NLS. There are over 35 million books out there, and the NLS
only has around 65,000 of them, half of which have been retired due to age.
The NLS has destroyed thousands of our books, against our will, because they
were supposedly too old or not recorded well enough. We actually have a
total catalog now of about 40,000 books through the NLS. Out of 35 million!

Is Bookshare totally fair to publishers? Probably not. Then again, is it
fair that we have to pay dearly for a scanner and software just to read one
book when they already have that book in electronic form? I'd say no. So
there is unfairness on both sides. I think the person with the deeper
pockets, greater muscle, and the clout to act should be the party to take a
step forward. Then I'm ready to meet them halfway.

This is an issue where I feel a lot of frustration. To me, this whole thing
boils down to one issue, business 101. You sell what customers want to buy,
and they pay you for it. Your customers show you what they want by their
spending actions and feedback. That's not happening here, and it's not
Bookshare or any of us causing it. The publishers will not sell us what we
want to buy. And when Amazon started making it possible on the Kindle, the
publishers stepped on us like we were little black ants under their boots.
If I treated my customers that way, I'd go out of business right now.

I'd be happy to pay for books if publishers would make fully accessible
versions of their books available. My Audible account reflects this in
abundance. All publishers need to do is give us access to TTS on the Kindle
and a secure Braille converter for their e-pub format. Both actions are
simple to do at a very low cost to the book industry as a whole. They can
still use DRM, and they would find that print disabled people read a great
deal more than the general public. Since they're not willing to address this
issue, I'm not willing to give up Bookshare to possibly prevent them from
losing money. When they treat me like a customer worth something, I'll
become one, and a loyal one at that.

Publishers don't seem to remember that their customer matters and that if
you treat a person like a non-customer, you will lose money. This is
economics 101, what every kid learns in high school. Action comes first,
than comes the reward of a sale.

Finally, since I need to buy and scan books for Bookshare if I want to read
them, I am annoyed that I have to find a home for the print book when I'm
done with it. It's of no use to me since I can't see it or read its contents
myself. I use a free site to swap it for something else, and the publishers
scream bloody murder for not getting a royalty from that swap. If they want
me to stop doing this, they need to treat me like a customer, let me buy
books I can read, and enjoy their profits. I'll enjoy not needing to scan
and can spend that time doing something with my family.

Ok, climbing off my soap box now. (smile)

Monica Willyard
"The best way to predict the future is to create it." -- Peter Drucker

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