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Industry news: UK young adults prefer print, a really expensive book, and an intellectual property skirmish worth noting

November 30, 2013

Nearly two-thirds of UK young adults prefer print to ebooks

In a survey conducted earlier this fall in the UK by Voxburner, 62% of 16-to-24-year-olds in the UK preferred physical books to ebooks. The study was carried out from September to October of this year. The main reasons for the surprising results are that readers have an emotional connection with books and they perceive print books to be a better value than ebooks. Other reasons for the preference are a fondness for holding the product, lack of device limitations, and ease of sharing. (The survey was not exclusive to books and included other types of digital content.) Just as surprising, a near-majority (47%) said they preferred physical newspapers and magazines over online content.

What this means to you: First of all, if you’ve read this blog before, you shouldn’t be surprised by these results. Young people have been resistant to ebooks. When I asked my daughter about it, she said that with text books, you can’t make notes in the margins and you lose the “it’s about halfway through the book on the right-hand side toward the bottom of the page” approach. That’s text books, thought. To hear that a generation that cut its teeth on digital everything prefers paper books–and by almost 2-to-1–is a large surprise. However, the rate of increase for digital content has slowed recently. As we’ve opined before, it’s possible the revolution won’t have an r.

Book of Psalms sells for $14.2 million

As much money as JK Rowling and Stephen King have made, King David still has one up on them. A copy of the book of Psalms was sold for $14.2 million at auction, making it the most expensive book ever sold. The book is one of 11 remaining copies of the Bay Psalm Book, the first book printed in English in America. It was purchased by David Rubenstein, a collecter and the co-founder of the Carlyle Group. The previous record for sale of a book was $11.5 million for James Audubon’s Birds of America in 2010. The Bay Psalm Book was first printed in 1640, with an original run of 1700.

What this means to you: Probably not much. It’s interesting, though.

Mean old Beastie Boys sue over girl empowerment ‘parody’–that might also be an ad

The headlines almost write themselves. The Beastie Boys, the rap band whose biggest hit, (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!), is an anthem to being rude, crude, sexist, and socially unacceptable, are suing GoldieBlox over a possible parody of their song Girls. The song’s lyrics include “Girls — to do the dishes/ Girls — to clean up my room/”, which are rewritten to say “Girls — to build the spaceship/ Girls — to code the new app.” Not only parody, but a good message to girls. Except the the parody is also an ad and Goldieblox is a toy company, not a band. And although the Beastie Boys object to their songs being used for advertising, they aren’t suing Goldieblox. Goldieblox sued the Beastie Boys for the right to the parody (a suit they’ve since withdrawn). Further digging shows that Goldieblox, the good-hearted small toy company that wants to empower girls, also has some draconian terms of use. For instance, if you link to their website, you can’t say anything bad about them. With the lawsuit withdrawn, this story is likely to die, but Goldieblox lives to sue again.

What this means to you: Maybe you don’t dig the Beastie Boys. Maybe you think girls should be empowered. And you probably don’t understand what in the name of MC Hammer this has to do with writing. It’s simple. Actually, it’s kind of complicated, but we’ll get there. The Beastie Boys advocate free use–that is, the ability of people to do things like parody without being sued. So when the Beastie Boys were involved in legal wrangling with a company that wanted to empower girls…well, you do the math. And with the discussion about intellectual property writes evolving because of digital issues, cases like these are worth watching, even if they don’t involve books. In this case, the digital angle wasn’t involved. But the concept of fair use was. And fair use can often include your intellectual property being used in a manner you don’t approve of.

 

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One Comment
  1. Prolific Pete permalink
    November 30, 2013 9:24 am

    I prefer print books as well, for the reasons stated, and it’s refreshing to see that the younger generation gets it.

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