More decline of books info

Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Martin Gill, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. Theophania Elliott

    Theophania Elliott Well-Known Member

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    Which introduces a problem for any publisher who wants to induce people to buy new instead of secondhand, or to use information on the volume of sales in the second hand market to inform future printing decisions. If people are buying second-hand when there is an opportunity to buy new, then they obviously don't want a new book (otherwise they'd buy one). If they're buying secondhand when there is no new book available, then yes, there may be a market for a new printing.

    There used to be 'used' software when you bought it on CD-ROM, or cassette, like buying video cassettes or DVDs. It's only digital downloads that's a problem in that regard - a problem blockchain technology has the potential to overcome. What the digital goods industries will do about it is a different question - you may be right; they may decide that the risks of creating a legal second-hand market are greater than the disadvantages of the current pirate trade. Or they may not. We'll have to see how it shakes out.

    But electronic money is legal tender in many countries: bitcoin gets publicity for its use on the darknet, but in London you can buy a burger, get hapkido or English lessons, or hire a Man with a Van with bitcoin. The European Court of Justice has also ruled that bitcoin should be treated like currency, rather than like goods - there's an article in the Telegraph which explains it if you don't feel you can stand the excitement of the ECJ judgement... Note: when the ECJ says bitcoin transactions should be tax free, they mean buying or selling bitcoins, like any other currency - you don't have to pay VAT, for example, when you buy your holiday Euros. They don't mean buying things with bitcoin. Transactions for goods with bitcoin are taxable like anything else.

    HMRC have thought about how bitcoin transactions should be treated, and the US IRS has provided guidance too. Digital currency is already here; it'll be interesting to see what happens.

    When thinking about currency, it's useful to remember that since we left the gold standard, it's all pretty much a collective fantasy anyway. That's why banknotes (in the UK) say "I promise to pay the bearer the sum of..." - a banknote is technically not money itself; it's a promissory note that can be exchanged for real money. Only, of course, if everyone agrees that it works as real money, then it is real.

    The same for gold, really - what's gold good for, when you get down to it? It's pretty, but you can't eat it, or build a house out of it, or keep yourself warm with it. It's only valuable because everybody agrees that it is. For that to happen, the substance must be rare, otherwise runaway inflation would cause currency collapse (excessive printing of paper money contributed to the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic of the 1920s).

    Bitcoin is the same: it has worth if people agree that it does. The only issue is making sure that - because it doesn't have corporeal existence - that one bitcoin gets passed on to another person like a physical object. Thus blockchain technology.
     
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  2. RX-79G

    RX-79G Well-Known Member

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    They might not want a new version of THAT book, but may want a new "collectible" print or a related book that is only available new at that moment.

    I don't think that is accurate. Programs that you can download to your PC from a source disc have required registration to work on your computer for quite some time now. The source disc does not allow you to keep cloning the program onto everyone else's machine. It is similar to DVDs have copy protection so they remain play only. Software is built to be one owner per copy, and often only own machine.

    Bitcoin is not dark money - the blockchain database is open so governments and the public can watch the transactions and ownership like real money.
     
  3. pambaddeley

    pambaddeley Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I used to get a lot of stuff through the post as there were several specialist SF/fantasy dealers then. Also a lot of towns had good second hand shops, now nearly all gone now.

    These days, if after a particular OUP book, Amazon and Abe Books are my first and second resorts. I do still buy new, but normally in ebook form these days as I'm trying to declutter. And I do check the charity shops which occasionally yield a goodie, and I'm a regular customer of the library. The problem with physical bookshops these days is that they aren't local and they seem to stock a very restricted selection.
     
  4. Martin Gill

    Martin Gill Well-Known Member

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    There is a market for "used" software. Search for MS Office 2010 on ebay, for example. It happens at an enterprise level as well... Used Software | Second-Hand Licences | Business Software | Licenses Supplier | usedSoft for example. Depending on exactly how you buy licences for enterprise use you may end up with lots of "old" software when you upgrade - say from one version of office to the next if you haven't gone with upgradable licences. This isn't just a desktop thing - you can even buy a second hand copy of SAP if you want. The challenge is that a lot of the enterprise software companies haven't got their heads round virtual only distribution and are still locked in licencing models that apply to the CD plus licence key world of the 2000's. Blockchain has very interesting implications for the re-sale or hand-off of ownership of digital goods - software, music, movies and books and more. It means you can tie the legal ownership, and more importantly exchange of ownership of digital goods to a contractually covered transaction.

    Personally I think the more likely challenge will be that the distribution mechanisms for music and movies will move faster than companies can adjust their business models - i.e. streaming will overtake "ownership" faster than the traditional distributors can work out how to sensibly price and monetize their products in a way that's both profitable and sensible to consumers. Essentially, see Blockbusters for details.

    How this applies to buying new ebooks I'm less sure. But I do think it opens up a potential second hand market.
     
  5. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    I've observed here before now that ownership of music and film is moving towards the subscription model. IMO it seems inevitable that the book world will follow eventually suit.
     
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  6. pambaddeley

    pambaddeley Well-Known Member

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