walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

"Battle of the Books", Jeff John Roberts (kindle)

Short, non-fiction piece by a GigaOm blogger; it covers (parts of) the lawsuit(s) against Google Print/Books. It's an excellent summary with a few irritating errors. In examples of class action lawsuits, Roberts refers to "exploding SUVs": exploding tires, okay, rolling SUVs, okay, exploding SUVs? Not so much.

This error, however, is a lot more serious:

"In 2005, the publishing industry was already being buffeted by the hit-or-bust model. Worse, the possibility of digital doom loomed on the horizon. In this coming storm, publishers feared the market for their fat and profitable hardcovers would dry up and be replaced by invisible bits of computer dust that sold for next to nothing. While the advent of devices like the Kindle offered new platforms for reading, they threatened to inaugurate a new era of impossibly low ebook prices."

The kindle, obviously, debuted in 2007 (notably, after the Sony ereader, itself in the future in 2005; there's another confusing sentence about Sony trying to gain market share from the Kindle, when it was more about trying to avoid losing all of it) and the pricing scheme associated with it would not be anticipated, _at all_. So this is not as bad as that ludicrousness someone perpetrated a few years ago about designing the early PC on laptops, in a communitarian environment (really, nothing is that ludicrous), but it still is jarring.

If Roberts ultimately updates this piece (we should see a final decision sometime soon, ironically, based on the Fair Use argument which Google abandoned, pissing off EFF -- yeah, seriously, EFF is going to win one), perhaps he'll do an edit pass and catch things like this. But even if he doesn't, I'd still reread it if he produces an updated version (or read an addendum if sold separately) because it is, overall, a really excellent summary of a complex and important case.
Tags: book review, non-fiction
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