Author Topic: Libraries are unethical  (Read 4299 times)

TrudgingAlong

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Libraries are unethical
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:58:12 AM »
I recently read through a Facebook thread that started as someone trying to find a personal finance book at the library, but quickly devolved into people calling the guy cheap for not buying this supposedly life changing book (for the record, I borrowed it, too, and was super glad I didnít buy the book because it just wasnít useful to me where I was at in finances and investing). Then they took it a step further and started arguing how unethical it was to borrow a book and not pay the author.

The kicker? It was the ChooseFI FB group. I think it might be time for me to leave that one behind....

Gin1984

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 12:24:16 PM »
The author gets paid more for a library copy than a regular copy.

ditheca

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 01:27:22 PM »
Source on that Gin1984? Last I checked, my local library accepts donations...

AMandM

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2018, 01:33:16 PM »
Source on that Gin1984? Last I checked, my local library accepts donations...

But are they for the shelves? At my library, donated books go to the used-book-sale fundraiser.

TrudgingAlong

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2018, 01:56:40 PM »
Yes, that argument was brought up. They didnít seem to care. My property taxes are several hundred a year, so no way am I not going to use the library, nor do I want all these books cluttering up my house.

Basenji

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2018, 02:24:29 PM »
Edited:

I am pro-library all the way.

Data point because I was curious what my library does with donated books:

From the website of my local library

Make a Donation

Donated items are reviewed, and a small percentage of donations are added to the libraryís circulating collection. The majority of donated materials are sold in book sales, sponsored by [Group], which raise funds to enhance library services. Donating used books and media is a wonderful way to support the library.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 01:26:15 PM by Basenji »

Gin1984

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2018, 02:52:35 PM »
Source on that Gin1984? Last I checked, my local library accepts donations...
It was told to me from my librarian from San Jose Public Library.  I don't have any other proof. 

SwordGuy

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2018, 02:58:11 PM »
I can tell you that when I wrote my book, and my wife wrote hers, that neither book contract said we got paid more when a library bought our books.

I call BS on that librarian.


sherr

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2018, 03:38:31 PM »
The author gets paid more for a library copy than a regular copy.

Libraries (sometimes? usually?) pay more than usual for their books because they get the "library binding" which is sturdier and more durable. However I doubt the author sees any more money, they get a per-sale amount.

However the number of books that all the libraries all across the country constantly buy is enormous, so it's a little silly for people to be complaining about it. It's just a guess, but I bet most authors sell much more to libraries then they do to the general public. Probably the only exceptions are people who have already made a name for themselves like Stephen King, and even so they probably would never have made it big in the first place if not for the accessibility of their work through libraries. Very few people just buy random books from no-name authors to see if they're good.

Kimera757

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2018, 05:05:46 PM »
Does anyone have figures for ebooks? I heard libraries have to pay a lot per "copy" of an ebook (they can only lend so many "copies" at one time, so you often have to wait).

prudent_one

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2018, 07:02:39 PM »
I use the heck out of our library. I can even request books from other libraries that have to be mailed - last one I needed was located in a library 10 states away.  From my POV the library has the best cost-benefit ratio of any taxes I pay. I could never afford to buy all the books I have read.  Nor could I afford to subscribe to all the databases and other online resources I have online access to via our library card (Morningstar, language classes, full text search of hundreds of periodicals, 3 million songs with no DRM, etc. Fantastic.

An interesting claim that libraries are unethical - it ignores the innumerable reference works that would simply cease to exist if libraries weren't buying copies.  Geez, reminds me of my co-workers who feel they know everything that's going on by reading the Google news home page. A month ago I heard one of them complaining that the township park (baseball field, a slide, little merry-go-round) adjacent to their property is being rebuilt with a state grant and it's going to be a "splash park" meaning it will be overrun with kids being dropped off for the day all summer long. Noisy, litter, etc.   I asked why she didn't go to the township meeting when it was being discussed and raise her concerns, but she claimed she had "no way" to know when that had happened. I saw it in the newspaper. She doesn't need a newspaper because she has the internet.  I said I guess the internet doesn't tell you everything the newspaper does, and you can read it for free at the library.  I wish I had stopped talking before I said that because the atmosphere has been quite frosty ever since.

God bless Ben Franklin for establishing the library concept in the US.

wordnerd

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2018, 07:12:41 PM »
I happened to read this Zadie Smith essay (http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2012/06/02/north-west-london-blues/) today. It articulates so many of the reasons I love libraries.eta: I got the collection of essays from the library. I think Zadie would approve.

Quote
All libraries have a different character and setting. Some are primarily for children or primarily for students, or the general public, primarily full of books or microfilms or digitized material or with a cafť in the basement or a market out front. Libraries are not failing ďbecause they are libraries.Ē Neglected libraries get neglected, and this cycle, in time, provides the excuse to close them. Well-run libraries are filled with people because what a good library offers cannot be easily found elsewhere: an indoor public space in which you do not have to buy anything in order to stay.

In the modern state there are very few sites where this is possible. The only others that come readily to my mind require belief in an omnipotent creator as a condition for membership. It would seem the most obvious thing in the world to say that the reason why the market is not an efficient solution to libraries is because the market has no use for a library. But it seems we need, right now, to keep re-stating the obvious. There arenít many institutions left that fit so precisely Keynesís definition of things that no one else but the state is willing to take on. Nor can the experience of library life be recreated online. Itís not just a matter of free books. A library is a different kind of social reality (of the three dimensional kind), which by its very existence teaches a system of values beyond the fiscal.

I donít think the argument in favor of libraries is especially ideological or ethical. I would even agree with those who say itís not especially logical. I think for most people itís emotional. Not logos or ethos but pathos. This is not a denigration: emotion also has a place in public policy. Weíre humans, not robots. The people protesting the closing of Kensal Rise Library love that library. They were open to any solution on the left or on the right if it meant keeping their library open. They were ready to Big Society the hell out of that place. A library is one of those social goods that matter to people of many different political attitudes. All that the friends of Kensal Rise and Willesden Library and similar services throughout the country are saying is: these places are important to us. We get that money is tight, we understand that there is a hierarchy of needs, and that the French Market or a Mark Twain plaque are not hospital beds and classroom size. But they are still a significant part of our social reality, the only thing left on the high street that doesnít want either your soul or your wallet.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 07:58:13 PM by wordnerd »

aasdfadsf

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2018, 10:05:18 AM »
It's kinda weird how people who are in thrall to get-rich-quick advice are also conscientiously in favor of the scammer taking their money. It's like they've internalized the logic of the scam but don't seem to realize who the mark is.

englishteacheralex

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2018, 10:26:40 AM »
Thanks @wordnerd. I have a lifelong reverence for libraries.
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NykkiC

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2018, 12:32:41 PM »
I canít speak for the US but Australia has a program to compensate publishers/authors for the supposed lost sales due to library books. I donít think itís huge (and probably becomes peanuts for most authors by the time the publisher has taken their cut) but it is in addition to what was spent to buy the library copies.

Overall, I find the argument that borrowing books from libraries is unethical to be... unconvincing. Itís not as though libraries get books for free; they buy them and that money goes to the publisher and, eventually, the author. Then they can lend them out, just as other book owners can lend their copies to orhers. Yes, thereís a difference of scale but thereís also social benefits to make up for it (encouraging literacy and transfer of knowledge, having a good location to deliver other services, promoting community, ect).

The argument against libraries also implies that most, if not all, borrows are lost sales. As any voracious reader will tell you, reading a lot gets expensive very fast if you need to buy all the books and I have frequently read or enjoyed books which wouldnít have made the cut for purchase. And thatís not even getting into being able to take a chance on something totally random (a dictionary of Medieval English concepts was surprisingly interesting, for example, but I mever woul have found it in a bookstore never mind bought it).

TrudgingAlong

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2018, 01:17:54 PM »
Iíd think libraries are also important to getting an authors name out there. Iíve also read many books I never would have picked up except it was free, so why not? Iíve recommended some of these books to others, who probably bought them because they donít frequent libraries.

I really, really appreciate libraries. I vote yes for any levy for them as I consider it the only tax money I truly donít mind spending. With kids, too, I canít imagine Iíd have gotten them to be readers without the library. We bring home probably 20 new books a week, most of them picture books. My oldest has nearly read through the YA section and has started picking up more adult books (heís 13). We buy books for Christmas and birthdays always, but no space for them at home, so we keep the favorites only.

To me, libraries are a huge part of mustachian and becoming financially independent, so I mostly posted because I could not believe I was reading that argument in a group dedicated to that.

MoStash

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2018, 03:50:15 PM »
Does anyone have figures for ebooks? I heard libraries have to pay a lot per "copy" of an ebook (they can only lend so many "copies" at one time, so you often have to wait).
Public librarian here. It is not unusual for us to pay $80 or more for an e-book which can only be checked out to one patron at a time, just like a physical book. Another model is "metered", where there is a pre-set number of circulations and then the license is done.

Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2018, 03:58:58 PM »
Does anyone have figures for ebooks? I heard libraries have to pay a lot per "copy" of an ebook (they can only lend so many "copies" at one time, so you often have to wait).
Public librarian here. It is not unusual for us to pay $80 or more for an e-book which can only be checked out to one patron at a time, just like a physical book. Another model is "metered", where there is a pre-set number of circulations and then the license is done.

Academic collection management librarian here. Our Ebooks cost about $120 on average for a single user version. We pay considerably more for a multiple user Ebook. Ebooks are much more expensive than print, and most have obnoxious DRM.

There are also collections of Ebooks available by subscription but that is a lease model.
Most donated books aren't added to the collection because they are not likely to circulate.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 04:00:33 PM by Pigeon »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #18 on: April 15, 2018, 04:13:15 PM »
Since we have librarians here, I have a question regarding purchasing.

Every now and then I will hear about a book getting a lot of press, place a hold and I end up number 487 or so in line. It looks like my library purchases many, many copies of those books. For example, there are 66 physical copies of Hillbillly Elegy, and I could swear it was more than that when it was in the news. I've seen cookbooks with over 100 copies.

Even accounting for the fact that my library system has something like 15 branches, it seems like an awful lot of books to purchase. What happens to them once the hype dies down? Is there some sort of bulk pricing going on?

Also, inter-library loans, how do libraries determine whether to charge for them? My previous library had them for free, the current charges $5 per loan.

MoStash

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2018, 04:57:25 PM »

Even accounting for the fact that my library system has something like 15 branches, it seems like an awful lot of books to purchase. What happens to them once the hype dies down? Is there some sort of bulk pricing going on?

Yes we get a discount (differs by publisher). The new Comey book is $29.99 and I paid $16.73 for it, plus a few bucks for shelf-ready processing and cataloging. You can lease bestsellers. We don't. We aim for no more than 10:1 ratio for holds:copies. We start withdrawing when there are more than two on the shelf. Then we sell them in the bookstore for .50 or $1.

Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #20 on: April 15, 2018, 05:12:46 PM »
Re inter library loans, it's going to depend on the finances and cooperative arrangements for the library in question. It most likely costs your library substantially more than $5 to process the ILL transaction. My library uses $40 as an average cost. There are staff costs for both the loaning and borrowing ends, courier or shipping costs, costs to participate in cooperative arrangements, and there may be costs for a bibliographic utility. There may be copyright fees if it is an article.

If your library is well funded it may eat these costs, but if not it may need some cost recovery or subsidy mechanism.

nancyjnelson

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #21 on: April 15, 2018, 05:53:15 PM »
I love libraries and am a heavy user of my local one.  That said, I end up purchasing a few books every month because my library (including the inter-library loan system my library belongs to) doesn't carry them - anything other than classic science fiction, a lot of the new fantasy, books on psi phenomena, etc.  While many books are keepers, others are not and I donate them to my library.  While many of the books end up sold at the local book sale, I was happy to see that several of the books I donated are now part of my library's collection.  I'm glad that my donation is helping to introduce other library users to a wider selection of books and subjects that my local library normally wouldn't carry. 

norabird

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #22 on: April 15, 2018, 06:02:59 PM »
I love this thread! Of course libraries increasingly are valuable for their social services in education and programs. I recommend those interested check out the long, slow but fascinating doc on the NYPL, Ex Libris. As someone in publishing, I also really appreciate the work librarians do supporting authors and judging prizes and giving recognition to new and worthy voices. They’re such huge advocates for the written word.

marble_faun

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #23 on: April 15, 2018, 10:38:20 PM »
Libraries are unethical?  Sheesh.  I don't understand this worldview at all.

(Is it unethical to borrow anything, because it deprives someone somewhere of profits?)

Libraries are so valuable and great. I love that in communities across America, even in the tiniest of towns, there's usually a free place where you can sit, read, check out books, and use the internet.

Everything else in our country seems to be becoming so commercialized and scammy. Libraries remain awesome.
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thesis

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2018, 08:57:52 AM »
Oh, goodness. Saying libraries deprive authors of revenue forgets that simply selling a used book "deprives" the author of revenue from the sale of a new book. In fact, the library cuts out the middle man for reselling books, as the book returns to the collection and gets passed on to the next reader. If I really want a book and don't want to worry about whether it's currently checked out or not, I'll go out and buy the book myself. In that sense it may even increase sales, if the book is worth it.

Also, libraries are using ebook subscription services, which cost money but generate revenues for the providers of these services and the authors/publishing houses that product those books.
My closest library also has a massive dvd collection, so it kind of feels like blockbuster back in the 90s except free :). This even discourages piracy and helps low income families enjoy entertainment. Cheap skates like myself also derive some great benefits ;)

I loved wordnerd's quote above. Libraries truly are public spaces that don't require anything from you. I never thought of it like that.
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wenchsenior

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2018, 09:43:51 AM »
Yes, that argument was brought up. They didn’t seem to care. My property taxes are several hundred a year, so no way am I not going to use the library, nor do I want all these books cluttering up my house.

Several hundred, eh? Sounds terrible :wink:

In other news, libraries are fantastic. I use mine weekly and donate all our personally owned books (of which we probably have at least 600 that I'm trying to work my way through, not counting another few hundred technical science/biology books at husband's workplace) after we read/use them, unless we have a friend or family member that wants a particular one.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 09:45:29 AM by wenchsenior »

Stache-O-Lantern

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2018, 01:09:02 PM »
Libraries are unethical?  Sheesh.  I don't understand this worldview at all.

(Is it unethical to borrow anything, because it deprives someone somewhere of profits?)


Sure, all books should be burned after the first reading, lest anyone be tempted to read it again and hurt the economy.

Also, more than one person listening to recorded music at the same time is intellectual property theft.  ;)

Maenad

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2018, 02:47:21 PM »
The libraries-are-unethical viewpoint is so tone-deaf classist, I'm disgusted. There is no way my parents or I could have afforded the vast number of books I consumed as a child - should I have been cut off from knowledge because I was poor?

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2018, 03:02:21 PM »
I'll bet the same people think sharing information without compensating authors via Wikipedia is just fine.

Public libraries are one of the most democratic institutions in existence.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #29 on: April 16, 2018, 03:10:37 PM »
I was told:

*libraries receive a steep discount per copy
*libraries ultimately spend more than cover cost on processing it into their system
*the author [or other owner] doesn't receive more at the time of purchase
*in my country's system, authors of fiction receive payment per borrow
*in my country's system, authors of nonfiction receive no payment per borrow

If someone cares, I'll see if I can dig up the official statements I received on those points.

I think the author [or subsequent owner of the rights] should get to decide whether it's available free or not. They can research the various schools of thought and make their own decision. Just like hairdressers, plumbers, other teachers, etc.

It also seems a simple solution to have libraries pay the contentís owner a royalty per borrow regardless of the genre.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 10:54:51 AM by jooniFLORisploo »
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netskyblue

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2018, 03:40:07 PM »
I think the author should get to decide whether it's available free or not. They can research the various schools of thought and make their own decision. Just like hairdressers, plumbers, other teachers, etc.

If the author sells his book to a publisher, it's the publisher who makes decisions about things like that, not the author.  The author done sold the rights.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2018, 03:49:33 PM »
If the author sells his book to a publisher, it's the publisher who makes decisions about things like that, not the author.  The author done sold the rights.

Yes. When an author has sold their rights to these decisions, the buyer of those rights would get to decide.
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TrudgingAlong

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2018, 11:48:57 PM »
Yes, that argument was brought up. They didnít seem to care. My property taxes are several hundred a year, so no way am I not going to use the library, nor do I want all these books cluttering up my house.

Several hundred, eh? Sounds terrible :wink:


Haha! I wish! The couple hundred is the libraryís portion. The part I donít mind paying 😜

Dicey

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2018, 07:06:38 AM »
PTF
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Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2018, 07:23:13 AM »
If people are up in arms about libraries being unethical, how about rental centers, car rental places, etc.?  How is it fair that somebody gets to buy post-hole digger or a Ford pick-up truck and rent it out over and over again?  Not only are they depriving manufacturers of repeated sales of these items, but unlike libraries, they are making a profit off them?

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2018, 09:21:27 AM »
I recently read through a Facebook thread that started as someone trying to find a personal finance book at the library, but quickly devolved into people calling the guy cheap for not buying this supposedly life changing book (for the record, I borrowed it, too, and was super glad I didnít buy the book because it just wasnít useful to me where I was at in finances and investing). Then they took it a step further and started arguing how unethical it was to borrow a book and not pay the author.

The kicker? It was the ChooseFI FB group. I think it might be time for me to leave that one behind....
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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2018, 10:21:24 AM »
When it comes to reading, there's more than one way to consume. I'm delving into this a bit as I put my niece and niece-in-law through part of their college degrees. You don't always have to pay top dollar for brand-new textbooks because although new editions come out every few years, buying used books and paying to rent textbooks are also viable options. The latter two options are still pricy, but how often is there really a need to buy and hold especially with eBooks available?

I understand wanting to own a book I'll read regularly or use as a reference and mark up with highlighted sections. Highlighting a book is going to destroy or consume some of its resale value. So will reading in the bathtub or carting the book around in a backpack. But if a person consumes less of the textbook-- suppose they only read it without highlighting it or cracking the spine-- shouldn't it make sense to be able to resell it? We buy and sell used houses and used cars all the time.
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jooniFLORisploo

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Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2018, 10:56:49 AM »
When it comes to reading, there's more than one way to consume. I'm delving into this a bit as I put my niece and niece-in-law through part of their college degrees. You don't always have to pay top dollar for brand-new textbooks because although new editions come out every few years, buying used books and paying to rent textbooks are also viable options. The latter two options are still pricy, but how often is there really a need to buy and hold especially with eBooks available?

I understand wanting to own a book I'll read regularly or use as a reference and mark up with highlighted sections. Highlighting a book is going to destroy or consume some of its resale value. So will reading in the bathtub or carting the book around in a backpack. But if a person consumes less of the textbook-- suppose they only read it without highlighting it or cracking the spine-- shouldn't it make sense to be able to resell it? We buy and sell used houses and used cars all the time.

Unfortunately, textbook publishers have invented ways to get around the used book market.  In the sciences and social sciences, students increasingly are being told they must use textbooks that come with access codes that get them online access.  It's almost the same price to buy the text plus the code and the code alone.  All the homework sets, quizzes and other supplemental materials are done online.  The codes are single user and expire in a year or a term, depending on the course. 

Faculty like them because they are easy for the faculty.  The quizzes and homework basically grade themselves.  If you are teaching a large lecture course, that's a huge time savings.  Of course, it's a huge disservice to the students to require them to shell out for these things. 

DS

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2018, 11:00:37 AM »
ChooseFI FB group blows. Left after a moderator posted a screenshot of someone else's fb about a car. If that's the message from the admins, then the group is just about making themselves feel better and puff up their egos. No need for that garbage.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2018, 11:09:57 AM »
The libraries-are-unethical viewpoint is so tone-deaf classist, I'm disgusted. There is no way my parents or I could have afforded the vast number of books I consumed as a child - should I have been cut off from knowledge because I was poor?

Though the same applies to food, clothing, shelter, group education, recreation, hiking, and clean drinking water. Many children and adults in the US, Canada, and elsewhere are unable to consume these because they cost money to access.

Where do we draw the lines?
What things -and whose work- should be free?
(In my dream world, every necessity would be free for everyone.)

If we apply it to books, should we not apply it to these other (I would say more critical) things? If we don't apply it to these, should we start also paying royalties for mass borrows?
what a waste of a window i say

robartsd

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2018, 11:24:42 AM »
Unfortunately, textbook publishers have invented ways to get around the used book market.  In the sciences and social sciences, students increasingly are being told they must use textbooks that come with access codes that get them online access.  It's almost the same price to buy the text plus the code and the code alone.  All the homework sets, quizzes and other supplemental materials are done online.  The codes are single user and expire in a year or a term, depending on the course. 

Faculty like them because they are easy for the faculty.  The quizzes and homework basically grade themselves.  If you are teaching a large lecture course, that's a huge time savings.  Of course, it's a huge disservice to the students to require them to shell out for these things.
Another favorite trick of textbook publishers is to change out the problem sets in books so that an old edition of the same text does not have the problems needed for assigned homework. This often limits used textbook life to just a few years. For at least on course I got the problems out of the reserve text at the campus library and used an old edition of the text for studying the concepts covered. There were a few courses where the textbook was so unimportant that there was no need to buy the book. My policy became 1) buy used copies of every required book that you fully expect to use as soon as possible (limited used text supply) and 2) do not buy new books until the day you will actually use it (even if the course that needs the book isn't offered the next term, the bookstore usually keeps it on the shelf until 2-3 weeks from the end of the term).

The courses that I've taken that used textbooks with online access codes have not required the online component. Sometimes the teacher recommended the resource as optional, but often the teacher told the class that it was a silly gimmick of the textbook publishers that didn't really add value.

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #42 on: April 17, 2018, 11:43:55 AM »
When it comes to reading, there's more than one way to consume. I'm delving into this a bit as I put my niece and niece-in-law through part of their college degrees. You don't always have to pay top dollar for brand-new textbooks because although new editions come out every few years, buying used books and paying to rent textbooks are also viable options. The latter two options are still pricy, but how often is there really a need to buy and hold especially with eBooks available?

I understand wanting to own a book I'll read regularly or use as a reference and mark up with highlighted sections. Highlighting a book is going to destroy or consume some of its resale value. So will reading in the bathtub or carting the book around in a backpack. But if a person consumes less of the textbook-- suppose they only read it without highlighting it or cracking the spine-- shouldn't it make sense to be able to resell it? We buy and sell used houses and used cars all the time.

Unfortunately, textbook publishers have invented ways to get around the used book market.  In the sciences and social sciences, students increasingly are being told they must use textbooks that come with access codes that get them online access.  It's almost the same price to buy the text plus the code and the code alone.  All the homework sets, quizzes and other supplemental materials are done online.  The codes are single user and expire in a year or a term, depending on the course. 

Faculty like them because they are easy for the faculty.  The quizzes and homework basically grade themselves.  If you are teaching a large lecture course, that's a huge time savings.  Of course, it's a huge disservice to the students to require them to shell out for these things.

They might be easy, but the multiple choice answers aren't always correct and you get zero feedback when you notify the publisher. I'm not talking about questions where there's more than one plausible answer, I'm talking about something basic like omitting part of a ruler's name (specifically the II or III) so that the "correct" answer refers not to the person who actually won a key battle or instated a significant policy change but to his father or grandfather.

I'm not a fan of mandatory online components of courses that aren't marketed as such. If I want to sign up for an online or hybrid course, then that's what I do. Marketing a course as being in-person and then requiring extensive online activity as part of the grade is dishonest. But to my thinking that's just an example of the large scale laziness I see in post-secondary education overall.

Forcing students to purchase computers and bandwidth and consume overpriced and inaccurate rehashings of the text in online format is only possible when the instructors are complicit. It's possible to conduct an entire course *without* a textbook at all. I've seen it done.
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Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #43 on: April 17, 2018, 11:45:00 AM »
The authors are paid for the copies of the books purchased by libraries. Libraries aren't stealing the books.

One other thing to keep in mind is that libraries tend to do a lot to promote authors.  They do displays, hold speaker series, sponsor book clubs, etc.  People learn about new books and authors in the library.  Yes, some people will only borrow those newly discovered materials through the library, but lots of others will go out and buy at least some new books.  People who use Overdrive to read library books also buy ebooks.   Most authors that I've met have been big supporters of libraries. 

As bookstores have closed, relatively few titles tend to be sold in big box retailers.  Libraries are a place where readers can browse and get their hands on the works of authors.  Library conferences are also attended by publishers, who know that librarians aren't the enemy.

Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2018, 11:53:51 AM »
Quote
Forcing students to purchase computers and bandwidth and consume overpriced and inaccurate rehashings of the text in online format is only possible when the instructors are complicit. It's possible to conduct an entire course *without* a textbook at all. I've seen it done

Yup.  There is a whole movement to try to get faculty to adopt open educational resources (OERs).  That includes open source text books.  It really frosts me to see students being forced to shell out $200 for an access code to Pearson or McGraw Hill for a 100 level course.  Economics 101 is pretty much economics 101, and there are good open source text books out there.  The faculty can adopt these materials and they often have a Creative Commons license.  For higher level courses, a reading list of articles and book chapters, coupled with OERs can be tailored much better to the content than picking out a text.  I've seen students walking out of the bookstore in tears.

kaders

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #45 on: April 17, 2018, 11:56:33 AM »
When it comes to reading, there's more than one way to consume. I'm delving into this a bit as I put my niece and niece-in-law through part of their college degrees. You don't always have to pay top dollar for brand-new textbooks because although new editions come out every few years, buying used books and paying to rent textbooks are also viable options. The latter two options are still pricy, but how often is there really a need to buy and hold especially with eBooks available?

I understand wanting to own a book I'll read regularly or use as a reference and mark up with highlighted sections. Highlighting a book is going to destroy or consume some of its resale value. So will reading in the bathtub or carting the book around in a backpack. But if a person consumes less of the textbook-- suppose they only read it without highlighting it or cracking the spine-- shouldn't it make sense to be able to resell it? We buy and sell used houses and used cars all the time.

Unfortunately, textbook publishers have invented ways to get around the used book market.  In the sciences and social sciences, students increasingly are being told they must use textbooks that come with access codes that get them online access.  It's almost the same price to buy the text plus the code and the code alone.  All the homework sets, quizzes and other supplemental materials are done online.  The codes are single user and expire in a year or a term, depending on the course. 

Faculty like them because they are easy for the faculty.  The quizzes and homework basically grade themselves.  If you are teaching a large lecture course, that's a huge time savings.  Of course, it's a huge disservice to the students to require them to shell out for these things.

They might be easy, but the multiple choice answers aren't always correct and you get zero feedback when you notify the publisher. I'm not talking about questions where there's more than one plausible answer, I'm talking about something basic like omitting part of a ruler's name (specifically the II or III) so that the "correct" answer refers not to the person who actually won a key battle or instated a significant policy change but to his father or grandfather.

I'm not a fan of mandatory online components of courses that aren't marketed as such. If I want to sign up for an online or hybrid course, then that's what I do. Marketing a course as being in-person and then requiring extensive online activity as part of the grade is dishonest. But to my thinking that's just an example of the large scale laziness I see in post-secondary education overall.

Forcing students to purchase computers and bandwidth and consume overpriced and inaccurate rehashings of the text in online format is only possible when the instructors are complicit. It's possible to conduct an entire course *without* a textbook at all. I've seen it done.

Academic librarian here. Because of all the issues above, at our campus, we're working with faculty to produce free digital textbooks for students, and make them available in print for the cost of printing. Faculty are already the ones providing the content to the textbook companies, and they are becoming just as tired as students of the increasing costs and new editions. Check out openstax for an example: https://openstax.org/. (I do not work for openstax, but know of many faculty using their content). Because of the specific type of copyright they put on the materials, anyone is free to reuse, edit, reproduce, retain, etc. the materials!

kaders

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #46 on: April 17, 2018, 11:57:51 AM »
Quote
Forcing students to purchase computers and bandwidth and consume overpriced and inaccurate rehashings of the text in online format is only possible when the instructors are complicit. It's possible to conduct an entire course *without* a textbook at all. I've seen it done

Yup.  There is a whole movement to try to get faculty to adopt open educational resources (OERs).  That includes open source text books.  It really frosts me to see students being forced to shell out $200 for an access code to Pearson or McGraw Hill for a 100 level course.  Economics 101 is pretty much economics 101, and there are good open source text books out there.  The faculty can adopt these materials and they often have a Creative Commons license.  For higher level courses, a reading list of articles and book chapters, coupled with OERs can be tailored much better to the content than picking out a text.  I've seen students walking out of the bookstore in tears.

You beat me to it! We're also promoting OERs at my college library/campus!

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #47 on: April 17, 2018, 12:20:16 PM »
re: Textbooks

1. In two recent courses, I was required to use the online component, at very high cost.

2. Like others here, I found some content or answers incorrect. The tech was also very glitchy. Like others here, I found the publisher was unwilling to repair any of it; they seemed entirely unconcerned. In my case, the two teachers also didnít give a crap about the content errors or impact on mark.

3. I was a small-time publisher. One day, I received a note explaining that a sociology textbook had published one of our articles, without our permission. After thousands were printed, the articleís owner was due $150, but that was payable only if x, y, z additional conditions could be met, which they couldnít because too much time and [events] had passed. This is how textbooks are compiled?? We develop content and make it available for free, someone pastes it into a uni textbook, and the author is never paid? Gross.
what a waste of a window i say

ducky19

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #48 on: April 17, 2018, 01:38:31 PM »
I first read the title of this thread as "Liberals are unethical"... lol

discuss...

Pigeon

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Re: Libraries are unethical
« Reply #49 on: April 17, 2018, 02:32:01 PM »
re: Textbooks

1. In two recent courses, I was required to use the online component, at very high cost.

2. Like others here, I found some content or answers incorrect. The tech was also very glitchy. Like others here, I found the publisher was unwilling to repair any of it; they seemed entirely unconcerned. In my case, the two teachers also didnít give a crap about the content errors or impact on mark.

3. I was a small-time publisher. One day, I received a note explaining that a sociology textbook had published one of our articles, without our permission. After thousands were printed, the articleís owner was due $150, but that was payable only if x, y, z additional conditions could be met, which they couldnít because too much time and [events] had passed. This is how textbooks are compiled?? We develop content and make it available for free, someone pastes it into a uni textbook, and the author is never paid? Gross.

It is gross, but as an intellectual property lawyer I used to work with was fond of saying, there are no copyright police, so if you find your copyright has been infringed, you often have to take legal action to get satisfaction.