When Book Piracy Will Get Huge
Right now, scanning a book is a colossal pain in the ass and at the end of the day, you only get a stolen scan, not an actual stolen book.

So right now, the only markets for book piracy are people who don't mind reading online scans, people who have tremendously expensive (non-proprietary) ebook readers, and people who are willing to print up a book on their own printer paper and read it like an English teacher grading an end-of-semester essay.

Book piracy is like porn: pictures of what you want. But with the Espresso Book Machine, here comes real pirate satisfaction!

What if you could steal the blueprints for an actual book and print it up at your local copy shop for five dollars in five minutes?


You: Oh shit, I want to read all the James Bond books in order. But I don't want to wait two weeks for Amazon to deliver them. I want to have them right now, a big long stack of color-coded books that sit on my shelf in a long perfect row like motherfucking candy.

(run run run run run run run)

Barnes and Noble Clerk: Uh, we have "Diamonds Are Forever" and "Thunderball." Those are the two big sellers...

You: Fuck you. Get out my way.

(run run run run run run run)

The Strand Clerk: Ian Fleming. F-L-E-M-I-N-G. No, I don't think we have any of those books...

You: Of course you do. Let me see that computer.

The Strand Clerk: That's not our policy. Also, you wouldn't know how to work it.

You: Just tell me where they are.

The Strand Clerk: We don't carry them. You'll have to check the USED racks outside.

You: I already did.

The Strand Clerk: Security!

(run run run run run run run)

You: Maybe this incredibly tiny independent bookstore run by this beautiful lady who is actually reading a book will be able to help me. Madam, ahem, if you wouldn't mind, I need all of the James Bond books in order.

Independent Book Dealer: Oh yeah? It's gonna take an hour, but sure.

You: Seriously?

IBD: Sure. We'll just print them up for you on our Espresso Book Machine.

McNally Jackson Books in SoHo will be getting New York's first Espresso Book Machine later this year

You: What?

IBD: It prints up any book you want, as long as we carry books from the publisher. Additionally, we can print ANY OTHER BOOK from a .pdf too, as long as you have the .pdf.

You: Oh really. Uh, start printing those James Bond books. I'll be right back.

(run run run run run run run)

You: I'm back. I've got this CD full of .pdfs I need printed. Uh, they are Espresso Book Machine formatted.

IBD: Sure thing. It's a five dollar flat fee for .pdfs.

You: Fine.

(wait wait wait wait wait wait)

IBD: Are you sure this is a legal copy of Harry Potter you are printing from your CD?

You: Totally.

IBD: Because unless the company has a deal with us, the Espresso Machine won't be able to tell that it's a pirated copy.

You: It is totally a legal copy of Harry Potter.

IBD: Because if you stole this scan online and are just printing it on this machine, there's no way we can stop you, you see, unless the publisher has done a deal with us to protect their scans by feeding the stolen version into our machine and checking against it. I'm not going to stop you. I'm not going to turn your money down. I am not an idiot.


IBD: And if you buy your own machine...why, those publishers wouldn't EVER be able to stop you. Would they?


For a negligible price, the blueprints of a book will let you replicate a book instantaneously. Imagine if you could plug a recipe into a machine and get a meal. Would you ever cook again? Would you ever "order out" for food?

You would not.

Current book piracy is frustrating and silly because you can't pirate what you actually want (actual books). But with the Espresso Book Machine, this distinction collapses and the scan of a book becomes not only a facsimile, but also the DNA of a reconstructible object.

So how do you protect these scans and ensure that people pay the right amount for the books they want so that writers get paid?

The only answer is persistent online web pages of book scans that are protected like porn and are just as easy to access. It's what Google is doing. If people want a hard copy, they pay you, and they get access for a limited time to both the online edition and the ability to print copies from an Espresso Book Machine at cost. Access to the online edition confers other benefits as well, such as the knowledge that your money is going DIRECTLY to the writer at a percentage heretofore unheard of by the publishing world. No more "royalties." Just PAYMENT. People know that by stealing books they are stealing from the actual author and robbing them of their ability to write more books.

And I fully believe that publishers can make better persistent online web pages than Google can. Why aren't they doing this? Why why why why?

NOTE: With the Espresso Book Machine, you will also be able to hack the .pdfs to personalize your books however you want. In five years, this is what Harry Potter novels will look like on the STREET:

(Redesigns courtesy of M.S. Corley)

Posted by miracle on Mon, 29 Jun 2009 15:50:02 -0400 -- permanent link

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