On 5/16/06, Jeff R. firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
that some pissant little freak would advocate this action at all. I
was similarly annoyed that people reacted as badly to Dave T.'s
announcement that the Rails 2nd Edition would be the same price.
These people have done a lot for the Ruby community.
They deserve your financial support. Don’t be a pissant thief. Even
temporarily. There are “sample chapters” for a reason.
Agreed, we should support the PragProg guys so they can continue to do
the great stuff they have been doing.
David Black’s book (“Ruby for Rails”) is not published by the PragProgs.
[…] As an undergraduate, or what you might call “a pissant” student,
Pissant thief, not student. There is a difference.
I read a copy of The Pragmatic Programmer that I BORROWED from a
professor, and I seriously believe it changed the way I approach life.
[…] That same dirty, bent-up copy was passed around between many of
my friends, and we all regard it as classic. […] Oh, but maybe I
should never have looked at that copy my OS professor lent me. It was
evil and wrong to not pay the authors for their hard work, wasn’t it?
What if he had just sent me the PDF to read instead? Would that have
produced a substantially different outcome?
Borrowing a physical book makes it unavailable to others. This is the
basis of libraries (and libraries are going to have to find a new model
as more and more books are published electronically). You knew that the
book belonged to the professor. If there had been a PDF of it (and there
isn’t a legal one as far as I know), the professor would have been able
to give you a copy with no inconvenience to himself and you would have
had no incentive to delete the copy of the book when you were done
reading it, and every incentive – and example! – of passing along that
PDF to other friends, each of whom would then have their own copy of the
Life is not that black and white, and downloading a PDF to peruse, or
to read in its entirety, is barely different from checking out a book
from the library or borrowing from a friend.
No, you’re wrong. With the borrowed book, you must return it. With the
illegally copied PDF, there’s no incentive for you to delete it – or
even do the right thing and buy the book. Consider Baen’s successful
experiment of Webscriptions. There are books that I have read from the
free site and not turned around and bought anything further from that
author, or have not bought the paperback or hardcover books. There are
others, though, that I have done exactly that (David Weber’s books,
I think taking a hard line attitude like this is not only useless,
because we will never digress back to “the way it used to be,” but it
is also counter productive. The way you succeed as an author or
publisher is not by punishing your future clientele, but by trying to
win them over as passionate fans. If you can get people engrossed they
will end up buying much more than one book, and in the long run that
is how you make a living.
This statement has nothing to do with the complaint. The reality is
that this is the way that all publishers have always had to succeed
… except maybe textbook publishers.
But this is David Black’s first book, and one of Manning’s first PDF
releases. Do we really want to discourage Manning from embracing a new
model of publishing which encourages unencumbered PDF releases? Not me.
This is black and white. The asshat who was speaking on IRC was
advocating theft. Temporary or no, it’s still theft. I don’t care if the
copying costs are nil: the price of the PDF is cheaper than the book
In the end, building a larger community of rubyists, who will almost
all buy books eventually, is the most important factor for the
survival of the authors, like your friend David, that we would like to
support. If a few people are first introduced to this world through
ultra-illegal, black market copies of PDF versions, big deal. My
guess is if they dig it they’ll buy the next copy so they can read it
Except that … the conversion rate for that is minimal. Don’t get me
wrong, I believe that the unencumbered PDF model is the right direction,
and that the pricing on them is good. But there are sample chapters for
perusing for a reason, and now that the book is in stores, you can
peruse it at the store if you want to see more than the sample chapter.
What I know is that the actions here strongly discourage publishers and
authors from writing and publishing books in other than traditional