The Quincannon Publishing Group
Why Our Titles Are Not Available as E-Books
E-books are a technological marvel and a growing market. But like so much in this digital age, the product was marketed before any safeguards were put in place. Almost half of the world's digital book piracy occurs in the United States. No other country comes even remotely close to that percentage. The argument for such a high number is not due to our population's literacy rate or our number of publishing companies. It seems that Americans simply do not respect the intellectual property of others.
Google has been scanning books to which they do not own any property rights. Their claim that it is "fair use" has not only been proven to be false but what's more their attorneys had to have known that it was a false claim when the scanning project started; they just tried pushing the envelope to see if they could get away with such piracy and set a precedent.
Amazon scanned classic books for its Kindle reader only to get sued because some of those classics were still protected by copyrights held by the authors' estates—clearly stated as such on the copyright pages of those books but Amazon didn't know how to interpret the length of a copyright and was too lazy to try and find out such very important information.
Libraries and universities, who wouldn't have wasted money for paper and toner to photocopy books are now scanning when it is illegal to do so. That is clearly stated in any variation of the phrase on the copyright page of most books:
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including the internet, photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher (and/or Author).
Even with books which were printed before the digital age, the protection is implied in the very phrase: All rights reserved.
Project Gutenberg is a much more legitimate operation in that it offers rare old books (usually classic in nature) which have long fallen into the public domain (i.e. their copyrights have clearly expired).
Google's so-called altruism to ensure that all the world's books are available to all the world's readers is, of course, not altruistic at all. Google makes money by placing ads on the site which offers these books thereby generating profits for Google.
When the Google lawsuit was brought by publishers and authors, it was both amusing and infuriating to read the comments posted online by the reading public. Here's why: no one making such comments had any understanding whatsoever as to how the publishing business works. And the predominant assumptions that all authors and publishers are greedy and/or millionaires is ludicrous. Publishing companies are not entities with unlimited money which is supplied to them from heaven. Publishers pay to produce an author's work; pay to design and layout that author's work; pay to print that author's work; and pay to advertise that author's work. As in any business, publishers try to make a profit from that gamble—and it is a gamble. The author who has spent months and even years writing in solitude is entitled to earn a wage for his or her talent. The copyright of that work — the right to dictate how it is copied — is usually held by the author (the law dictates copyright length for well past an author's lifetime) or by the publisher for nearly as long. At no point does the reader have any rights in this equation. Readers may be entertained by an author or gain knowledge from an author, but they have no right to copy in any form whatsoever the property of that author. Selling his or her work is how an author earns a living. If you go to a doctor or a hospital and don't pay for services, it goes to a collection agency. If you stiff a plumber or an electrician, it goes to small claims court. If you go into a store, gather items off the shelves and then leave without paying for them, you get arrested for shoplifting. So when authors and publishers sue to protect their intellectual property, they are not being greedy, they are protecting their products. It is how they survive.
We really do wish we could release our titles as e-books but as long as it remains so easy to illegally copy things digitally, we must refrain from entering that corner of the publishing market.
Copyright © 2011
The Quincannon Publishing Group
All rights reserved.