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经济学人:难以预料的实体书借阅经济

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Business.

商业。
Libraries and e-books
图书馆和电子书
Literary labours lent
文学劳动力已借出
The uncertain economics of lending virtual books
难以预料的实体书借阅经济
LIKE a tired marriage, the relationship between libraries and publishers has long been reassuringly dull. E-books, however, are causing heartache. Libraries know they need digital wares if they are to remain relevant, but many publishers are too wary of piracy and lost sales to co-operate. Among the big six, only Random House and HarperCollins license e-books with most libraries. The others have either denied requests or are reluctantly experimenting. In August, for example, Penguin will start a pilot with public libraries in New York.
就像是一个令人疲惫的婚姻,图书馆和出版商之间长期存在着无聊的关系。然而,电子书的出现引起了它们的心痛。图书馆知道,如果它们想保持自己存在的价值,就需要数字化的设备,但对于许多出版商而言,由于在盗版和失去销量问题上太过谨慎的态度,而不予合作。在最大的六家出版商中,只有兰登书屋和哈珀?柯林斯出版社授予了绝大多数图书馆电子书的许可。其它出版社或是拒绝了这项要求,或是在勉强进行试用。例如,在八月份,企鹅出版社将在纽约的公共图书馆开始试验。
Publishers are wise to be nervous. Owners of e-readers are exactly the customers they need: book-lovers with money (neither the devices nor broadband connections come cheap). If these wonderful people switch to borrowing e-books instead of buying them, what then?
出版商感到紧张是明智的。电子阅读器的所有者们恰恰是他们需要的顾客:有钱(而既不是设备或是便宜的宽带连接)的爱书人。如果这些了不起的人们由借阅电子书而变为购买电子书,将会怎样呢?
Electronic borrowing is awfully convenient. Unlike printed books, which must be checked out and returned to a physical library miles from where you live, book files can be downloaded at home. Digital library catalogues are often browsed at night, from a comfy sofa. The files disappear from the device when they are due (which means no late fees, nor angst about lost or damaged tomes).
电子借阅非常方便。与印刷版书籍不同,电子书籍文件在家就可以下载,而不需要去离家几英里外的实体图书馆借阅和还书。人们常在晚上在舒适的沙发里浏览数字图书馆目录。当文件到期时,它们将自动从设备上消失(这意味着没有滞纳金,也无需担心丢失或损坏煌煌巨著)。
Awkwardly for publishers, buying an e-book costs more than renting one but offers little extra value. You cannot resell it, lend it to a friend or burn it to stay warm. Owning a book is useful if you want to savour it repeatedly, but who reads "Fifty Shades of Grey" twice?
这对出版商而言却很尴尬。购买一本电子书比租用一本的花费更多,然而带来的收益增加却相当微小。你不能把电子书二次售出或是借给朋友,甚至不能将它烧了以取暖。如果你想重复品味一本书,那么拥有一本书是非常好的,但谁愿意读第二遍《格雷的50道阴影》?
E-lending is not simple, however. There are lots of different and often incompatible e-book formats, devices and licences. Most libraries use a company called OverDrive, a global distributor that secures rights from publishers and provides e-books and audio files in every format. Some 35m titles were checked out through OverDrive in 2011, and the company now sends useful data on borrowing behaviour to participating publishers. Yet publishers and libraries are worried by OverDrive's market dominance, as the company can increasingly dictate fees and conditions.
然而电子借阅并不简单。电子书的格式、设备和许可证之间有极大不同,并常常不能互相兼容。大多数图书馆所采用的是OverDrive公司提供的电子书,这家全球性经销商确保了来自出版商的版权,并提供所有格式的电子书和音频文件。2011年,高达三亿五千万的条目通过OverDrive公司借出,这家公司现在正通过输出借阅行为相关的有用数据参与到出版商中来。OverDrive的市场占有率让出版商和图书馆担忧,因为这家公司可以提高授权费用和条件。
Publishers were miffed when OverDrive teamed up with Amazon, the world's biggest online bookseller, last year. Owners of Amazon's Kindle e-reader who want to borrow e-books from libraries are now redirected to Amazon's website, where they must use their Amazon account to secure a loan. Amazon then follows up with library patrons directly, letting them know they can "Buy this book" when the loan falls due.
去年,当OverDrive公司与世界上最大的在线图书销售商——亚马逊合作之后,出版商们有点恼火。亚马逊Kindle阅读器的所有者们现在如果想从图书馆借阅电子书,就将被带入到亚马逊的网站上,在那里,他们必须使用他们的亚马逊账户来为他们的借阅提供担保。亚马逊还进一步与图书馆的老主顾们直接交涉,告诉他们若是借阅过期,则他们可以直接"购买这本书"。
This arrangement nudged Penguin to end its deal with OverDrive earlier this year. The publisher's new pilot involves 3M, a rival distributor that does not yet support the Kindle. "Ultimately Amazon wants to control the library business," says Mike Shatzkin, a publishing consultant.
这一约定迫使企鹅出版社在今年早些时候终止了它和OverDrive的合约。这家出版商的新合作者包括3M公司,OverDrive的竞争对手之一,一家尚未支持Kindle的经销商。"亚马逊最终想控制图书馆事务。"出版业咨询师麦克?肖特金说。
Library users-nearly 60% of Americans aged 16 and older, according to Pew, an opinion researcher-are a perfect market for Amazon. It woos them by making loans on the Kindle uniquely easy. Late last year Amazon also unveiled its Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which lets its best customers (called "Amazon Prime" members) borrow free one of thousands of popular books each month.
根据民意调查研究机构皮尤的数据,16岁以上并占美国人口数近60%的图书馆使用者,是亚马逊最好的市场。它通过在Kindle上极其便利的借阅程序,从而取悦了他们。去年晚些时候,亚马逊还推出了Kindle所有者的借阅图书馆,这个图书馆允许亚马逊最好的客户(被称为"亚马逊会员"的成员)每月在上千本畅销书中免费借阅一本。
Library boosters argue that book borrowers are also book buyers, and that libraries are vital spaces for readers to discover new work. Many were cheered by a recent Pew survey, which found that more than half of Americans with library cards say they prefer to buy their e-books. But the report also noted that few people know that e-books are available at most libraries, and that popular titles often involve long waiting lists, which may be what inspires people to buy.
图书馆的支持者认为,借阅图书者也就是购买图书者,而图书馆则是这些读者发现新作品的重要根据地。许多人为皮尤研究机构最近的调查而感到欢欣鼓舞,这项调查发现,超过一半拥有图书馆卡的美国人说,他们更喜欢购买他们的电子书。但是这项报告也指出,几乎没有人知道电子书在大多数图书馆都是可借阅的,而那些畅销书籍常常有着很长的等候借阅名单,这也许将促进人们的购买行为。
So publishers keep tweaking their lending arrangements in search of the right balance. Random House raised its licensing prices earlier this year, and HarperCollins limits libraries to lending its titles 26 times. Penguin plans to keep new releases out of libraries for at least six months, and each book will expire after a year. Hachette is engaged in some secret experiments, and the others are watching with bated breath. In Britain the government will soon announce a review of the matter. The story of the library e-book is a nail-biter.
因此出版商在不断微调他们的借阅合约以找到最恰当的平衡点。兰登书屋在今年早些时候提高了授权价格,哈珀?柯林斯出版社限制图书馆借阅条目的次数为26次。在企鹅出版社的计划中,新书从出版后到进入图书馆,至少要等六个月的时间,且一年后就到期。阿歇特出版社正在进行一些秘密实验,而其它出版社则在屏息观望。在英国,政府不久将宣布一份这一事项的报告。电子图书馆的故事实在是一个令人高度紧张的故事。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
convenient [kən'vi:njənt]

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adj. 方便的,便利的

 
rival ['raivəl]

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n. 对手,同伴,竞争者
adj. 竞争的

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switch [switʃ]

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n. 开关,转换,鞭子
v. 转换,改变,交换

 
wary ['wɛəri]

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adj. 小心的,机警的

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survey [sə:'vei]

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v. 调查,检查,测量,勘定,纵览,环视
n.

 
popular ['pɔpjulə]

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adj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的

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incompatible [.inkəm'pætəbl]

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adj. 不相容的,不能并存的,矛盾的

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dictate [dik'teit]

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vi. 听写
vt. 口述,口授
n

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announce [ə'nauns]

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vt. 宣布,宣告,声称,预示
vi. 作播音

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ultimately ['ʌltimitli]

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adv. 最后,最终

 


关键字: 实体书 借阅 经济

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