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Sunday, 14 July 2013

E-book vs. the LOCAL publishers

© Nirupam Banerjee, India 

Indian Bengali Publishers' oblivion about the E-book, was explained earlier by a Neighbour living in the immediate eastern house of mine (Sumit) as the reflection of their Anti-technology BIAS.

But now it seems: there is another aspect to their seeming ignorance (or lack of drive) about the E-book. This is COMMERCIAL.

The Western publishers, who are relatively Tech-savvy, (in fact much tech-savvy than the India-based Bengalee publishers) now sense the HEAT.

This is also systematically reported in the Internet. The Bengali publishers may or may not have been reading them. They might have intuitively sensed the DANGER—a danger arising out of even Ethical E-commerce. 

This is perhaps more dangerous than even the Piracy. The E-piracy is also an E-commerce. But such commerce can be prevented (or significantly threatened) by the Legislation. 

But what will happen with the e-Bookstore e-Commerce? 

Can Publishers ever take LEGAL action against the E-bookstore concept??—The conceptual/philosophical answer is a Big NO.—Because they are all Ethical;-)

In the West, companies like 
  • Amazon
  • Apple
  • etc
have started transmitting BOOKS on the E-book-E-commerce basis. And this 2E together is the THREAT.

In history (maybe I'm using the word a little advance)—each typical publisher had connection to B nos of bookstores & each of these physical stores had, say on average, N nos of physical book copies for sale (by the given publisher). Thus the publisher had BxN nos of book copies floated in the market.

Now the e-Stores provide N^ copies where N^ is practically/virtually INFINITE. 

Thus even if a publisher uses Amazon as the only e-Bookstore to connect (i.e. B=1) the availability of books becomes BxN = 1 x N^ = 1 x infinity = INFINITY.

This is exciting apparently.

But paradoxically, here lies the source of a radical NEW problem. Which seemingly threatens the Publishers. As the e-Bookstores become independent of the Publishers (for future supply of the same book) & enormously powerful.♦

Sumit's X-ray Insight

Sumit's X-ray Insight

Sumit, the guy to my next door in the east, forecasts/evaluates the future of the Bengali Publishers.

A great thing I earlier noticed about this eastern neighbour (especially since 2008) is that, he has a certain Intellectual Prowess to X-ray the SOCIAL problems. When I asked him: How do you reach the conclusions?—he replied: 'It requires Intellectual Insight.'

Let us now see how his INTELLECT scans the Bengali Publishers. He even forecasts.

Sumit opines that the Local publishing industry is actually dying out

On elaboration, he continued: 

These local publishers don't really update themselves. And they will never do so

Sumit even warned me:

"Be professional."

What do you mean?—I uttered.

If you ever write a book, do it in the ENGLISH.—Sumit explained.  

His main points about the Local/Bengali publishers:
  • They are not Arts-based; they are Arts-BIASED
  • They have specific topics, outside which they will never publish on their OWN
  • They are far away from the modern world of the Internet
  • They like to avoid Science & Technology 
  • They have a parochial mindset—unlike the Western publishers
  • They are frogs in the well; they don't even track where the global publishing is going  
To tell the empiric evidence of Sumit's INSIGHT, it may be well mentioned that when I asked in phone (February 2013) a simple compact question to, more than one, top publishers (Ananda & Deys) viz: 

"Do you sell E-books?"

the reply from the receptionist came in both cases, of the same type:

"What book? What did you say??"


"What E-book is???"

I was astonished to see the 'coincidence' of the exact style of answer from the two Publishing Houses, which people consider as belonging to the TOP publishers.♦

Does E-concept threaten the Publishers?


Nirupam Banerjee, India

The less cost @ E-concept of Book means...; what does it mean?

It means the Printing presses & the Binding shops & the physical Bookstores & the Dealers & the Distributors would be ELIMINATED from the landscape of the new Publishing Industry.

But the Publishers? (Who are at the centre of the Industry?) Do they still believe they will do survive this THREAT??

Publishers can survive only if their last resource—their PUBLICITY expertise—the most intangible skill in their profession—can't be ever overtaken by the Internet.

Almost anyone in the Industry now senses that the Internet essentially threatens ANY middleman between the Writer & the Reader!

But some are still hopeful that since the Publishers do possess an 'intangible' quality called the PUBLICITY skill, the technical Internet can never override this subtle role of their profession.

But the Internet also evolves just as the E-book evolves. For example, Google & Social-networking sites (together) are systematically starting to RIVAL even this much coveted historic skill of the Publishers. I'm not saying that Google or Facebook or Twitter (alone or in combination) has already won. But they can favour certain types of authors in this new landscape of Publishing. Look, many blogs are popular. They don't earn money. (Because they are not as synthetic as a book.) But they drive significant traffic even with their scattered performance! Had any publishers or celebrities endorsed/approved them? Often the answer is: No.

And yet they have picked up in the publicity skill.

This is perhaps because this is 21st century. And, and still, the Internet still evolves.♦ 

How E-piracy can dominate the Bengali Publishers both LEGALLY & ETHICALLY

How E-piracy can dominate 
the Bengali Publishers

© Nirupam Banerjee, India

Many people still WONDER how the E-piracy of the Bengali books still escapes the Law & Order situation?

Very interesting Question! And I appreciate even if they still wonder!!  

 There are various models of Piracy. Maybe they have evolved. From one to another. And one of the latest models is quite  subtle. (Which is now being perhaps simulated by more than one Start-ups: just in the Non-piracy direction i.e. 'in the direction of taking permission' instead.)


The most remarkable feature of this INNOVATIVE model by the Pirates is that, the cost of any Book is reduced to the status of that infinitesimal concept in Calculus!!!

Once you pay a fee per unit time (e.g. in Month)—then you need not think about any money any more. Per book money? Forget about it! The Price of a Book? Forget about it!—You can enjoy a given password i.e. use it to read a LIBRARY in the Internet (as floated by the Pirates by simply 'ripping' the Tree-books page by page & uploading them online in the comfortable file-formats). The E-pirates call it: 

We rip Tree-books.

To tell further, in Australia (2007) the LEGISLATION is changed to allow this 'ripping' as Legal!!! The NEW law calls it 'format-shifting'. And the Law of the Land there is applied not only to Music, TV programs, Movies, etc but even to Books. [Reference: Adrian Hon's ARTICLE on "Death of Publishers"]  

This means, if a book is ever published as Tree-book (paper book) in West Bengal, and someone buys it here, but then flies to Australia, and rip it (scan it page by page) and upload it all into the Internet from a Computer located in the land of the Kangaroos—THEN IT'S ABSOLUTELY LEGAL.

Why the Australia is the 1st in the planet to make the format-shifting (e.g. ripping a Music CD or a Radio program into the mp3) a very LEGAL thing, is another interesting question indeed. One reason I know, at this moment, is that—the Australians believe—

The Technology had gone so far ahead (by 2007) that it is just IMPOSSIBLE to carry out 'Policing' on such file-change (or format-shifting) activities.  

The philosophy of new legislation might be that, it is the Publisher or the Writer who should rather be the PIONEER (the 1st one) to launch their works online, leaving the Pirates without the option of using an Advocate who could in turn use the defence: 

"Look, Honourable Justice! It is my client—the E-pirates—who have rather HELPED much more people to read this book. What the hell the Publishers or the Authors were otherwise doing? In fully reaching people??" 

There seems to be an implicit message—in the Australian Legislation—that every Writer & Publisher should go for at least the E-book version. Or otherwise: risk the Piracy of seeing their Tree-book getting 'ripped' in the Internet.


It is clear that the E-pirates have had some logic. You can't overdrive them in the Court. The case may well linger. Some Pirate websites have, as far as I also know, in-house lawyers.

Back to the Business Model :

Suppose you are a member of an E-piracy website (costing Rs. 20/month). Once you pay it, before the beginning of every month, you get a Password. Which may however change from member to member, and even from month to month (based on say a computer-generated random number; thus no manual labour on the part of the Pirates). And the password is just like a key to open the Main Room of this Online Library. You there finish say 5 books per month. In fact you are allowed to read at your own pace.   

So what's the cost coming up per book—if we need to so evaluate?

The answer is curious!! It is = 20÷5 = Rs. 4 only!!

Now that the E-pirates have an increasingly huge collection and that your pace also increases, just imagine where can the cost/book parameter potentially drop to.  

But unlike the physical library, the capacity of collection can be much more & also the arrival of members within a given time can be much more too. Say within a month every potential reader at the Bengali language arrives in. Say this population is B lakhs. Also let the no. of Pirate members in this website (including their Lawyer & other Speciality Experts) be P.

Then just imagine: how much monthly average can each in the Group earn, POTENTIALLY?

The Answer is: 20B÷P.

Now, just further imagine: if the no. of Pirates behind the site (including their professional Advocate etc) is made equal to the Integer representing the monthly subscription in the Rupees?? That is, WHAT IF P = 20??

Then each Pirate's income (if the share is equal among them) = B lakhs Rupees/ month.


Note:- If your pace of reading is N no. of books finished per month and the monthly subscription you pay the Pirate site is R rupees, then the cost (say C)of a book with respect to you—as we have already seen in 20÷5=4 rupees—is:

C = R÷N. 

Now, as R→0 (the Pirates' offer of only Rs. 20/month to pay them—equalling just two cold drinks here in West Bengal—makes me simply recall the high school calculus class of Limit) or N→∞ (if people's reading speed is considered 'limitless' e.g. of the Yogis) we get:

Lt C = Lt (R/N) = 0 
R→0         R→0 


Lt C = Lt (R/N) = 0 
N→∞       N→∞

In practice, the Pirates convert the above two theoretical ideas (as not all readers are Yogis, thus N has a finite limit) (& also as the Pirates can't work for FREE, thus R has a non-zero limit)...into the following brilliant synthesis:    

The cost of book = R↓/N↑ = C↓↓

i.e. R is very small & N is very high so much so that C is too much small. Like practically the differential amount in Calculus (dC)!
Thus the E-pirates distribute each book PRACTICALLY for free!!
And yet they can make huge money, potentially!!!♦