No ebooks for you

As I have mentioned recently, the majority of my reading is currently done via ebooks on my Kindle.  And though I do buy some ebooks, mainly indie titles or during sales, my primary source is my local library via the Overdrive system.  And since my primary genres are sci-fi and fantasy, I ran into an unexpected issue recently; I’m kind of uncertain how I feel about it and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

After reading VE Schwab’s Vicious (you can read my glowing brief review here), I was eager to pick up the sequel Vengeful, which came out September 25, 2018, published by Tor Books.  However, when I went to place a hold on it on Overdrive, I found that there was only an audiobook copy, no ebook to be found. I thought that was strange, so while I waited, and waited, and waited months for the audiobook I did some digging.  

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Last summer, sci-fi/fantasy publisher Tor, a division of Macmillan, announced a test wherein they would only sell ebooks to libraries after a four month waiting period.  They suspect that library lending is cutting into their sales, so by restricting the digital copies they sell to libraries they hope more people will buy their ebooks. Here are some are some articles with more detail from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.

I had vaguely seen this in passing last year, but for some reason had not expected it to affect me.  I have to admit, once I discovered why I was unable to get a library ebook copy of Vengeful, it had the exact opposite effect on me.  I had briefly considered buying a copy instead of waiting for it, but after finding out about Tor’s plan I absolutely refuse to buy it.  Maybe that’s just me being stubborn, but I really dislike feeling almost like the publisher is manipulating me. I personally buy most books only after having read them from the library first; you can argue whether that’s fair or not, but it’s a strategy that I am comfortable with.

Of course plenty of other people are upset about Tor’s plan also.  The ALA issued a press release on it, and John Scalzi (a Tor author) wrote a very fair-minded response to many fan complaints.  (Among other things he points out that Tor was one of the first to abandon DRM on their digital books, and that the four month delay does not apply to print copies.)

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license
Ebook between paper books by Maximilian Schönherr

I understand that Tor is running a business, but this move does not seem designed to foster goodwill with their customers.  I am certainly less inclined to buy any of Tor’s books right now.

Presumably my library will be able to get an ebook copy of Vengeful on January 25 (they don’t have a print copy right now either for whatever reason).  Maybe I’ll be able to read it at some point after that, or maybe I’ll just move on to other books (my to-read list is certainly long enough). Tor did express that this was a test, but there’s no information on how long they expect the test to go on (it’s “open-ended”), nor have I found any updates on how their sales have been since last summer.

Have any of you run into this same issue with Tor ebooks?  What are your thoughts? Should I just suck it up and get used to sci-fi audiobooks? 😀

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

From Dublin.

The impressive architecture of the Trinity College Library in Dublin is perfect for long perspective shots.  The columns, rows of books, and curved ceiling  of the “nave” create some fascinating intersection points.  This is called the Long Room for obvious reasons.  It houses the medieval Brian Boru Harp in addition to many, many old, rare books.

The Long Room is part of the Old Library, which also houses the famous illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, the Book of Kells.

It also may look familiar to Star Wars fans as it bears a striking similarity to the Jedi Archives as shown in Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

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From Co Kerry.

Well, I’m not sure how to top last week’s photo of the Trinity College library as my favorite place I visited in Ireland.  So we’ll go with a picture of my future home!  Haha, right.

Muckross House is a manor in Killarney built in 1843 and donated to the Irish nation in 1932.  It became the basis for Ireland’s first national park.  The cycling tour we took of Killarney National Park was one of my favorite activities of the trip, and though we didn’t get to go inside the manor house, I thought it was beautiful.  I love Tudor-style houses.  I can just picture myself living here as if in a Victorian romance!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Favorite Place

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be…

From Dublin.

I always feel at home in a library.  Nothing so comforting as rows upon rows of books, and the library at Trinity College is particularly beautiful.  Reading is my favorite pastime.

I’d also like to be in Ireland right now, which is a beautiful country with wonderful people.  Plus it’s at least 10 degrees warmer than Ohio right now!  I hope I’ll make it back there someday.

Weekly Photo Challenge: I’d Rather Be…

Neither the Empire nor the Jedi are good at libraries

As you were watching Rogue One, did you hear a little voice in the back of your head?  Maybe it said something like: “Wait. The Empire doesn’t do cloud storage? All their info is located on Scarif?  And then they just blew it up?”

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Then you told that voice to shut up because you were too busy having fun watching an awesome movie to worry about the Empire’s inadequacies in data storage.

But in case you want to explore that line of thought further, check out this post about digital archives in Rogue One (a lesson in what not to do).

Some of the author’s points include:

  • the actual physical storage and recovery system is inefficient
  • there are no layers of security; once you’re in, you’re in
  • the Empire and Rebellion apparently use the same file formats
  • ineffective use of metadata

He goes on to point out that the Jedi were no better.  Jocasta Nu, in particular, I always thought was a terrible librarian.  On her watch, whole star systems were deleted from the archives, not to mention that she was totally condescending and unhelpful to the Jedi trying to do research.

Incompetence/stupidity can be lame as a plot device, but I think Star Wars does pretty well with it.  I admit that I did kind of like that Tarkin blew up the archives to cover up everything (and undoubtedly blame it all on Krenic).  The Empire is the kind of government where things don’t have to work well, they just have to work in your favor.