Re: Schedule For Piketty Reading Group

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if things are getting too silly

"Those last two threads we did got very silly indeed. And that last one about the beds was even sillier. Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do, except perhaps my wife and some of her friends. Oh yes, and Captain Johnson. Come to think of it, most people like a good laugh more than I do, but that's beside the point. Now, let's have a good, clean, healthy outdoor sketch Piketty discussion."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:07 AM
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I'm going to avoid spoilers by not reading these threads until I know what happens to capital in the 21st century. What if it dies at the end?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:30 AM
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I haven't started reading yet. This red is looking more and more ominous.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:48 AM
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That's the idea. Fear the reading group.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:15 AM
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The East is red, radcom.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:24 AM
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But seriously, that seems like a reasonable schedule to me. I'd better start slogging through, given that I'm not as intellectual as most of you.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:25 AM
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I'm still wading through the intro. Is chapter one just as long?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:59 AM
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I read the intro last night! Yay, me!

... I also just gave up on a group hill climb ride, because I was about to throw up. Super demoralizing!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:57 AM
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I'm planning to write my summary while drinking bourbon on Sunday night. We'll see what happens.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:03 AM
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In the service of making this feel more like a real college class, of course.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:05 AM
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I think we should have some mechanism in place to ensure that everyone participating in the thread is drinking bourbon whenever posting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:14 AM
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Only stupid comments allowed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:29 AM
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I'm planning for most of my comments to be in the form of requests that people explain various confusing bits to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:45 AM
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The David Harvey review is here.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 12:10 PM
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I'm still wading through the intro. Is chapter one just as long?

It's a little shorter, with more graphs (so, for me, slightly less read time). I also thought that it went fairly quickly as it's introducing the major terms he's using, rather than giving you a broad overview of the entire book. (IOW, there's less to think about, IMO.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 12:36 PM
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I am obviously kind of dumb but I wish people would just call their introductions Chapter 1 and when they don't it is very hard for me not to just skip to Chapter 1. "Introduction" makes me feel, against all reason, that I am going to be reading the "Webster's Dictionary defines capital as..." part of a 7th grade paper, or anyway like the person hasn't really gotten around to saying what they want to say and is just clearing their throat. (I am as you may have guessed not going to be reading Capital because of aforementioned dumb.)


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 12:51 PM
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Finished the intro, started the first chapter. Some slight drinking was involved.

I do feel like I should start cataloging all the times he writes "I'll come back to this point" or the equivalent. It seems to happen a lot.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 12:54 PM
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16: It kind of is like that -- the introduction reads like "Trust me, this is going to be interesting once I get through all the defining terms and so on I have to do to get the book properly started." Sort of a non-rigorous outline.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 12:56 PM
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And presumably its also an artifact of the writing process. Aren't introductions generally the last part that gets written?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 1:05 PM
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I read the intro, a little drunk, after the Thursday meetup. Also, one of these books, which I forgot to take to the Boston meetup and return, is Simon Kuznets's Economic Growth and Structure: Selected Essays, which includes "Economic Growth and Inequality", so I reread that as well. There was a quote I thought I'd pull from it but it turns out it's already in the Piketty endnotes.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 1:18 PM
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The bar cannot be set too low for me. I set out to make a list of things in the introduction that I did not know/ hadn't heard about. The list itself is now so long as to be comical. This is going to become an experiment in perseverance and humility but you all are so funny I feel I can stick with it.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 1:22 PM
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And presumably its also an artifact of the writing process.

Indeed! Introductions are there in academic books so you can process the argument of a book quickly by reading the introduction, the first and last sections/paragraphs of each chapter, and the conclusion (with some brief examining of evidence and sources thrown in). It's a little sad how much writing is done just to satisfy the needs of people who are probably never going to read the whole thing in depth.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 1:23 PM
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Smearcase noooo, I was looking forward to you! Please jump in?


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 1:27 PM
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Finished the intro.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 2:38 PM
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This is drier than anything I've read in a very long time. It's good for what it is, but it sure ain't Gone Girl.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 4:40 PM
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Yeah. Needs more sex.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 5:49 PM
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16: Oh, Smearcase, please at least act as an amanuensis so we can keep up with your cat's thoughts.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 5:59 PM
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I'm figuring it starts slow - while Urple's suggestion that we skip the first couple of chapters was characteristically offbeat, I can see why one might go there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:01 PM
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But I understand the car chase in chapter 5 is epic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:02 PM
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I just read the introduction, which contains all of the good lines I heard about in reviews. This means either the rest of the book is comparatively dull, or the reviewers only read the intro too.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:11 PM
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It is a thing that troubles me lately, the suspicion that I have never made it through an entire book. Well, not very many anyway. At a bookstore just now, looking for the Masha Gessen book on Putin, it occurred to me that I had recently described her book on Pussy Riot to a friend as "riveting" and then failed to read the last 1/3 of it. So probably Capital would not go so well.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:13 PM
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Like I've said, the only reason I'm cheerleading this reading group is that I thought I should probably read this, and without some incentive I was expecting it to end up in the bought, skimmed, but not really read pile. I'm not sure how far I got through Nixonland, but I don't think it was the end.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:16 PM
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When Snark was reading Nixonland, it was super entertaining for me because he was always having SUPER INCENSED outbursts about things that had happened some forty years earlier. "OH MY GOD! THIS IS SO RIDICULOUS! HOW DARE HE!!"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:21 PM
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Smearcase, I'm pretty sure I'm at the back of the Unfogged class when it comes to reading comprehension and, despite some healthy competition, attention span, but am I going to let that stop me? Well, probably, but not preemptively.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:22 PM
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I'm pretty sure I'm at the back of the Unfogged class when it comes to reading comprehension and, despite some healthy competition, attention span

You're not really getting the hang of that list thing Megan had you working on.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:24 PM
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I dunno, 34.last is a start.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:29 PM
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I had never seen it laid out so explicitly that Madame Chennault -- whether it was at behest of the Nixon campaign, it's not clear to me and I think Perlstein also reserves judgment -- had intentionally sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks. I can see why LBJ was throwing the word "treason" around in private discussion.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:29 PM
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This is drier than anything I've read in a very long time.

Huh. I've been thinking that the tone is surprisingly chatty and approachable compared to what I was expecting from a serious book about economics.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:36 PM
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I don't think I've ever read a serious book about economics.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:41 PM
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I once read Adam Smith. To save us money, the prof assigned a photocopied edition. To annoy us, I guess, he used a photocopy of an edition so old that has medial 's' in the old school style. I could barely read it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:45 PM
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That seems like some sort of philosophy final exam question on authenticity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 6:47 PM
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Because I am experiencing a brief respite from a stupid period of sleep-depriving overwork, I have the freaking theoretically waiting for me at a local B&N that had it in stock. Nothing better than adding new completely self-inflicted behindedness guilt onto existing mountain of same. I blame Obama.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:09 PM
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Anyone who needs an unlicensed copy, let me know.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:24 PM
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I put Nixonland back on the metaphorical shelf so I could read this. I'm hoping I manage to get back to it, its really quite good.

I think the basic problem is that all books need to be about half as long as they are.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:32 PM
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I got about halfway through Nixonland. Knew too many spoilers.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:33 PM
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Read the Intro and Chapter 1, part way into Chapter 2 now. I don't think it's all that dry, but definitely read the Intro if you can.


Posted by: Dave W. | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:33 PM
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43: X. Trapnel is a modern-day Johnny Appleseed.

(Was unsure if I needed the link or not; he was thoroughly covered in our Ohio History courses, but I have no idea if he is at all well-known in general.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:40 PM
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I didn't get my copy yet after all and am deciding whether to just go to bed or watch a documentary or read more of the intro in French, though I've been informed that's the sort of thing a person should be ashamed to say. But my real humblebrag is that I finally moved Selah out of the dressing room to Mara's room and can read in bed without threat of waking anyone for the first time in months. This is heaven!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:43 PM
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I finished three chapters of the World War II spy book. It really passes very quickly over the early, inept attempts of the Nazis to establish agents in Britain. Which makes sense from a narrative point of view. But, it seems interesting in and of itself. A bunch of foreigners parachuting into England, being extremely conspicuous during a very wary time, and getting caught might make a better movie than 1941.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 7:45 PM
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47: I thought I knew a fair amount (especially since the girls love singing a Johnny Appleseed song) but I hadn't known the , so thanks for the link!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:02 PM
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he was thoroughly covered in our Ohio History courses

I've been surprised that in Illinois for instance there isn't the same state history requirement I experienced in Ohio, 7th grade.

I could--and probably still could, given enough time--mark all the rivers, identify the Western Reserve, Miami Conservancy and all the rest, and talk for hours about Pickawillany, Blenerhasset Island, Thomas Worthington's Adena, Clement Vallandingham and Morgan's Raid, Karl Fisher, Boss Kettering.

Illinois people know less than I do about their state. Something about Big Shoulders and little cat feet...


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:06 PM
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I have no idea if he is at all well-known in general.

He is.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:10 PM
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43: seriously? Of a first edition work of scholarship published by a not-for-profit press? I suppose you believe what you believe, and you may even be right, but man, you're making me think seriously about embracing Halfordismo.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:12 PM
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47: Apparently, I've only read sources that leave out the creepy bits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:13 PM
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Although that article contains a lot of stuff I didn't know, like that he was a Swedenborgian missionary.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:13 PM
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Well now, we were taught all the stories about the animals, and none about the women.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:18 PM
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Anyway, if anyone wants a copy that I translated from French into Latin and then engraved in tablets hewn from a single giant cedar that I felled using only a hand-axe in the British Columbia backcountry, please let me know.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:18 PM
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57: The Haidas are going to be pissed when they find out.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:24 PM
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If they don't like this kind of craftsmanship, then fuck them. Also, I initially read Haidas as Hasids and had no clue what you were talking about: "Sure, yeah, the Hasids are always pissed about something, I guess."


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:28 PM
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56 would make a nice moreover.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:28 PM
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That would really hurt, VW, if I hadn't decided that if I'm not smart enough to make my html work, I probably shouldn't be reading French either. Let the Fire Burn is only streaming online for another 3 days, so I've started watching that even though I mentally call it The Fire Next Time every time I think of it instead, because I'm not smart enough etc.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:28 PM
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After my original topic exploded in my face, I thought about writing a dissertation about MOVE. But back then, it was still too soon. I assume, given this film, that somebody must have written a decent book on the topic.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:33 PM
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Hmm, if so, I'm not finding it.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:34 PM
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53: It's a fine line between smart and stupid profiting from labor rather than intellectual property.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:36 PM
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Under halfordismo, mentioning Johnny Appleseed will be a capital offense.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:36 PM
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Steal This Research


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:37 PM
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Discuss.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:38 PM
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65: But some apples have worms in them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:39 PM
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67.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:41 PM
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62: Doesn't seem so, or I haven't found it. There are a few books from the '90s, which does seem soon. I'm appalled I didn't know about it, though I guess not having started kindergarten at the time is a good enough excuse.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:41 PM
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70: yeah, I remember the coverage from when I was a kid. It was, as you can imagine, all over the news.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:43 PM
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67:

Q: What were Clayton Lockett's last words?

A: Either these drapes go or I do.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:44 PM
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It's odd that there doesn't seem to be a definitive history of the MOVE episode. There's so much there: racial politics of the late 70s/early 80s, the top-dog Democrats orbiting the story, the ostensible failure of urban renewal, etc. It's super weird that one of T/om S/ugrue's students at Penn hasn't written that book.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 8:46 PM
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Yeah, it could hardly be more relevant to my interests. I am fascinated. (And trying hard to figure out how the kids' dreadlocks were started; does indeed look to be with different techniques than the adults'.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:04 PM
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I remember the atmosphere in the press then, too. Year after we were married, the year I graduated law school.

I've just read the Inquirer's collection. The part about the neighbors, who called for help against MOVE, saw their houses destroyed, saw the rebuilding become a disaster of shoddy workmanship, had to fight for compensation and through it all had to endure drive-by shouts of "Murderers" from who knows who was an aspect I'd never heard of.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:30 PM
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53: I torrented a copy too because neither Blume nor I felt like carrying the hardcover on our plane flights and the kindle edition costs the same as the hardcover, basically, so no sorta to heck with that. But we did buy the one copy complete with grease stain on the front dust jacket so it's the circle of life etc.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:33 PM
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But we did buy the one copy

So I don't know enough or care enough about this topic to wade very deep into the weeds, but I tend to think that if you bought a copy of the book, you're entitled to torrent another copy. I base that on the fact that if you photocopied your original copy -- for personal use, of course -- nobody, least of all me, would say boo.

Again, though, trapnel knows and cares way more about this stuff than I do, so it's just not worth a fight to me. Moreover, I'm conflicted: I think scholarly best practices -- the pursuit and dissemination (because I'm a feminist) of knowledge -- may well be antithetical to the basic tenets of intellectual property.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:40 PM
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I think scholarly best practices -- the pursuit and dissemination (because I'm a feminist) of knowledge -- may well be antithetical to the basic tenets of intellectual property.

I'm inclined to agree, but on the other hand there are real costs involved in research and its dissemination, and those have to be paid somehow. We've currently got a setup where the research itself is supported either publicly or by nonprofits of various sorts (including private colleges and universities), while the dissemination is paid for through the same system of publication used for non-scholarly books and periodicals, a system ultimately supported economically by the laws surrounding intellectual property. If that system fails, as appears to be happening now, something needs to take its place, and it doesn't seem like anyone's quite figured out what that should be. Funding it the same way as the underlying research seems like an obvious choice to me, but I have no particular expertise here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:49 PM
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77.1: but the law is no more on your side than trapnel's. I mean, arguably if you hand-photocopied the whole book for personal use it would be, but god forbid you get access to an already-scanned version, or whatever.

And, you know, the reason trapnel torrented it is that it has succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of HUP or Piketty, who is now a much richer man than he was a few months ago. Also, trapnel is downloading it to take part in a reading group which has lead directly to, what, thirty sales? Forty? And his participation makes that reading group more appealing, presumably. So I don't even know how to make it a net negative for Piketty or HUP. If trapnel were a relevant academic he'd already have a free copy, but because there aren't the right analytics to figure out his influence, he doesn't.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:50 PM
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There are now 66 holds on the one copy at my local public library. I didn't log in to check, but I assume I'm still around 29th on the list and that the copies the library ordered still have not arrived because all you people and your cats have been taking the new copies that you find.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:52 PM
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I am proud to say that I have neither purchased nor stolen this book and have no intention of reading it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:55 PM
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I don't know (or care) enough to reply to 79.1 79.2 seems weird to me, but maybe it somehow follows logically or legally from 79.1. Regardless, I think -- and again, I'm not especially clear about this -- that given the current structural constraints, people probably shouldn't be stealing fresh scholarship that's being published by non-profit presses. Counter-intuitively, I think that might be especially true in the case of something like Piketty's book, because the main arguments and data are already in broad circulation, so the thief is stealing minutiae that represents the author's labor above and beyond the knowledge produced for public consumption.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 9:58 PM
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Parts of 79 spells out what I meant to be cryptically hinting at in 66 and 66.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:00 PM
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teo is going to steal the brain of someone who has read the book.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:01 PM
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Shhh!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:01 PM
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To be clear, I don't follow why it's important that HUP and Piketty have done better than expected on Capital. University presses publish lots and lots of books knowing that almost all of them will lose money. That business model is possible because UPs are subsidized and also because they hope to have the occasional hit. Piketty's book is that hit. A few years ago, UC Press did the companion book for Planet Earth -- or whatever the hell the series was called -- and made a ton of money. All of that money went toward publishing shit-ass dissertations that got lots and lots of worthless drones tenure at third-tier institutions that launder federal financial aid money. The glamor of producing knowledge!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:02 PM
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Stealing labor!!??


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:02 PM
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Based on the latte rpart of this thread, I'd judge the book discussion group to already be a success.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:05 PM
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82: well, but this is the part where stealing is a weird word, right? Trapnel wants this book because it is super popular; the book is super popular because people are talking about it; people (hundreds of thousands of people) are buying it due to previous. You have to weight the percentage chance that trapnel would have bought it against the sum of the chance that he will buy it in the future when it is less of a pain in the ass and the chance that he will convince even one other person to buy it. Given that it is actually a giant pain in the ass right now and there is some serious time sensitivity involved in his possessing the book maximally influencing somebody else to buy it, "stealing" in this case could easily be the outcome that leads to the most money ending up in the hands of the author and publisher. Which money, not incidentally, likely isn't even their primary goal in publishing this,


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:05 PM
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That business model is possible because UPs are subsidized and also because they hope to have the occasional hit.

In other words, their business model is a hybrid of those of universities and commercial presses, which makes perfect sense of course but exposes them to the inherent risks in both models.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:05 PM
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First sale rights to paper books allow you to make a copy for personal use, as far as I know. I think you can lend it (the copy) too, but maybe you can only lend the original.

I don't know about DRM-free digital editions, but generally there are no first sale rights on ebooks and usually the licensing is set up so you aren't exactly buying it in the first place. Or at least you don't really own it, so you can only share if that's an explicitly permitted use.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:05 PM
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Even if it is being taken out of the hide of Thomas Piketty.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:05 PM
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92 following on to 88.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:07 PM
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Wait, Von Wafer is Von Wafer again?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:07 PM
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One of the sentences in 89 is terrible. Hopefully my point is clearish.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:08 PM
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94: Yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:12 PM
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Steal this comma,


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:12 PM
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95: sort of? I mean, not really, no. I guess I still don't see what you're saying -- until the end there, when we can certainly reach comity on Picketty very likely not having given a lot of thought to making money when he inked the deal for an English-language version of his book with HUP. The idea that this book would catch fire the way it has must to be one of the longest of longshots in the modern history of publishing.

Also, if you want me to stop saying "steal," I'm happy to do so.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:13 PM
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89: while I'm generally on your side, the one thing that complicates this is the existence of a Kindle version. If trapnel or anyone else wanted an electronic copy of the book, they could have one in 5 minutes.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:13 PM
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Also, I don't think the book is hard to get at the moment. The shitty bookstore in town here has piles and piles of copies as of yesterday. And the one I bought for a friend through the Harvard Bookstore shipped Friday and arrived in NYC today. Is this relevant to your argument? I have no idea!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:14 PM
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Oh and 33 was totally me. I kept having to put the book down because I was so pissed off.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:16 PM
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Let Von Wafer be Von Wafer again
Let it be the pseud it used to be.
Let it be the commenter with back pain
Seeking a thread where he himself can speak free.


Posted by: Plankton Huse | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:22 PM
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102 is great! I really wish Plankton Huse would become a recurring Opinionated Grandma-type character.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:35 PM
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Which would inevitably lead to comments in a couple years with signatures like "Plankton John Hughes".


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:44 PM
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I really wish I had chosen the pseud Plankton Huse.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 10:44 PM
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You have to weight the percentage chance that trapnel would have bought it against the sum of the chance that he will buy it in the future when it is less of a pain in the ass and the chance that he will convince even one other person to buy it.

No, we really don't. He had the option to not be a dillhole and just buy the Kindle version. Like teo said, motherfuckers need to get paid.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-17-14 11:47 PM
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To be fair, I assume Piketty himself has already been paid well for the research behind this book, so the motherfuckers that need to be paid most are really the HUP employees who worked on getting the book out. I'm pretty sympathetic to them, even though I'm sure they're mostly middle-class white people, since I came pretty close to being in a similar position myself, and of course I'm a middle-class white person too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 12:01 AM
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General Request to People Reading Paper Copies: If you're referring to something the man says in the chapter, please don't say e.g., "On page 67", because it will drive those of us with e-copies mad to the extent that we will pay Gerry Adams to come to your house and shoot you in the legs. "Near the beginning", "about a third of the way through", etc. will do fine.

Thank you.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:09 AM
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I'm surprised to learn that ebooks don't preserve pagination, but then I've never used any myself and am accustomed to PDFs, which do.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:24 AM
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Some do, some don't. Kindle native mode doesn't.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:29 AM
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Huh. Sounds like some standardization is in order.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:31 AM
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Nook versions tend to give page numbers. But most of the books I have on the Nook are free pdfs using Adobe Digital Editions, so they're more likely to have the pagination encoded (since in the ADE interface you usually see page images).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 2:04 AM
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I don't wish this, exactly, but it would be pretty funny if the reading group were brought down before launch by your paper v. Kindle v. Nook v. iPad squabbling.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 3:56 AM
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Cosigning 108.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:11 AM
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106: you often say that like it's an argument, but it isn't one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:11 AM
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And in turn, I promise not to gloat about how easy it was to look up "autarky".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:13 AM
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Piketty, who is now a much richer man than he was a few months ago

Wait, really? I would have guessed he made something in the $10K range. How do royalties work? I'm trying to scale based on someone I know who recently wrote a textbook telling me that his first royalty check was roughly enough to buy one copy of the book.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:20 AM
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How many copies did your friend sell? Typically, your first royalty cheque will be on a few hundred sales, not millions. Also, if your friend was contracted on a percentage, what was his book sold for?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:25 AM
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117: I mean, it sold hundreds of thousands of copies, right? If his royalty share is a dollar per thirty dollar book that's already not terrible, and I assume it could be significantly higher than that.

Anyhow to the "people gotta get paid" argument: sure, obviously. I want them to. But the list of people who can (and have) decide that somebody should get to read the book for free includes not just the author and publisher but every single person who bought a copy of the book, not to mention every library that has copies. If trapnel had acquired a copy that way everybody would be admiring him for his thriftiness. Contrariwise, the amazon version costs nearly as much as the hardcover and includes no right to loan or resell the book and other things that reduce it's value to the purchaser besides (no cat pictures, for one). So sure, people gotta get paid. But given that it is never the case that somebody gets paid every time somebody else reads their book -- and I think almost all commenters would agree it should not be the case -- that isn't what we're arguing about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:28 AM
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Sifu, I'm normally down with acquiring digital goods illicitly when 1) they're not legally available or 2) the price of digital rights seems outrageous, but neither of those is the case in this situation. Are you taking some hard "no intellectual property rights" line? I'm not really sure where you're coming from.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:28 AM
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Yeah, I was assuming a few hundred sales, which would imply the royalty paid per book was less than 1% of the cost. Based on that I would have guessed Piketty is getting maybe 30 cents per book sold, or something along those lines. Google tells me royalties are typically 10% of the cost of the book, but that seems incompatible with what I've heard from several textbook authors over the years, which was usually more like 1% or less.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:30 AM
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Poking around on the internet suggests that the book probably is paying royalties in the ball-park of 10% of net receipts. So yes, he's probably getting more than a dollar per book and so has likely made a lot of money.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:31 AM
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1%er bastard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:31 AM
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Also, it's false that you can't loan a kindle book.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:32 AM
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But it can only be loaned once, so it's not at all like a real book which you actually own.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:34 AM
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in the ball-park of 10% of net receipts

It really does seem like Google is pretty sure of that. But that's confusing. So the first royalty check of the guy I know covered only 10 sales? He had definitely sold a lot more copies than that.

I've also heard other people say things like "if I assign my textbook to a class of thirty students, I do get paid royalties, but it's only enough to buy me a decent lunch." But the 10% number would work out to roughly $300, which would be more than lunch.

I guess I'll have to trust Google and conclude that everyone I've heard talk about their royalties is either downplaying them for some reason or got an unusually bad deal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:35 AM
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I've also heard other people say things like "if I assign my textbook to a class of thirty students, I do get paid royalties, but it's only enough to buy me a decent lunch." But the 10% number would work out to roughly $300, which would be more than lunch.

This seems like the type of claim one would exaggerate down, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:42 AM
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114: have you tried? A vanishing minority of kindle books actually have that feature, an they are never new releases that are selling well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:42 AM
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Yeah, I'm confused too, because I'd also gotten the impression from talking to authors that it was pennies a book not a dollar a book. I haven't found a good explanation yet.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:43 AM
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120: I'm not... I will try to explain myself in a second, instead of going down to the conference I'm at.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:48 AM
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Different authors get different royalties. Henley had a series of posts about this (ebook pricing and author pay) on his blog, back in the day.

I haven't ever tried loaning a book. But look, I feel chiseled in some ways by ebooks and some other digital content, but maybe my threshold for "I will not be ripped off!" is just higher than yours. If someone wants to charge me slightly less than a paper book for gains in convenience and portability, with some loss in my rights to the book, I say, meh, fair enough.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:00 AM
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Kindle books are systematically overpriced for what they are. The availability of piracy is an important counter-weight to that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:05 AM
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Okay, so briefly: if we want to attach moral force to trapnel not buying the book we have to figure out what parts of it are moral and immoral, right? So presumably there is a social value to trapnel reading the book over and above the marginal money benefit to th various people involved in selling it. If that wasn't true, libraries would be massively immoral (n.b. some people on the strong intellectual property side do I think believe something like this). But that's hard to calculate, so let's just talk about the money. The money goes to some bookseller, HUP, and Piketty. If the bookseller is some kindly local shop with bespectacled employees and a warm vibe or whatever the money that goes to them is obviously a net good, but if it's amazon the money that goes to them is at best neutral, so on average we're just talking about the money that goes to HUP and Piketty, because I think everybody can agree them getting a lot of money for taking on this project is a good thing.

So then the question is how much money do Piketty and HUP get if trapnel torrents vs. does not torrent the book. Let's say their share of each sale is, what $15?

If he torrents it, their expected return is p(trapnel buys it right away = 0)*$15 + p(trapnel buys it later)*($15 - whatever discount rate) + p(trapnel convinces somebody else to buy the book)*$15*(n people he convinces to buy the book)

If he does not torrent it, their expected return is p(trapnel buys the book)*$15 + the value above from convincing other people to read it, where p(trapnel buys the book) = 1 - (p(trapnel gets the book from the library) + p(trapnel borrows a copy) + p(trapnel decided not to buy or read the book))

If he decides not to buy or read the book because it's too much of a pain in the ass to get it in time for the reading group, then the chance that he will convince anybody else to read it gets much, much lower, which means that term essentially goes to zero. If he reads the book right away, that term could actually dwarf the value that they get from him buying the book -- he's a well connected guy who talks to lots of potential customers for Piketty, and if he participates in the reading group he'll be very engaged in the book. He could easily convince several people to buy the book (I myself have convinced, I think, four). Do you think it would have been in HUP's interest to get LB a pdf copy if she couldn't track down a version she was interested in buying in time to start the reading group? Obviously so, right? Did they get their money back from (presumably) giving Brad DeLong a desk copy? Again, gotta be obviously so.

And as far as "well, he could just buy the kindle book", the moral force is really different -- kindle books, though I buy them and read them, are a fundamentally suckier product in a lot of ways, and are bad for libraries, used booksellers, and probably for consumers in the long run. They are usually relatively inexpensive, but in this case the kindle book is priced almost the same as the hardcover, which seems pretty damn price-gougey to me.

So, I dunno, I'm not going to assign probabilities and do all the math, since I really should get to the conference, but I don't think it's as simple as all that. In this case my intuition is that trapnel makes good money and the hardback is a nice physical object and he should go buy a copy, but the idea that it's intuitively obvious that it was a social -- or even economic -- harm for him to torrent the book is wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:08 AM
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And incidentally, the way that I solved the conundrum in 133 for Piketty was to buy a copy, and I generally don't pirate books because they generally seem like a pretty good value (for interesting, meaty shit like Piketty) or in the case of less-serious books because I'm lazy and the kindle store makes it easy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:10 AM
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And as far as "well, he could just buy the kindle book", the moral force is really different -- kindle books, though I buy them and read them, are a fundamentally suckier product in a lot of ways, and are bad for libraries, used booksellers, and probably for consumers in the long run.

There's no reason this has to be true. Well, the used booksellers, I suppose. But if libraries were properly funded, there's no reason they shouldn't be able to say "You're 29th on our list for the hardcover, but here, our e-lending version has no waitlist."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:15 AM
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Remember that libraries have to pay much much higher prices for ebooks than for books (because for ebooks they have to get a license that allows them to lend and that's way way more expensive). I think there's a decent argument that supporting the current ebook regime is immoral. (Doesn't stop me from buying them of course, as convenience trumps trying to sort out these complicated moral calculations.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:23 AM
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Right, I sort of meant to nod at 136 as well - they should be priced and more affordable for the better-funded libraries. But inherently, yes, let's have e-lending along with hard copy lending. Is all I'm saying.

God, the convenience of e-copies just makes me dizzy with happiness, for real.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:27 AM
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And that's for the publishers that allow libraries to buy ebooks at all, which they don't all do.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:28 AM
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But publishers will never voluntarily allow libraries to buy ebooks at the old prices unless congress changes the law for ebooks to be what it was for books.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:34 AM
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Publishers wouldn't allow the existence of libraries if it were up to them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:35 AM
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Right, and the point is that every time you buy an ebook instead of a book you're closer to the world where publishers have the power to finally kill libraries (like they've always wanted to).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:39 AM
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To 133, I'm just not really a consequentialist/utilitarian, so I'm not inclined to try to tease out the costs and benefits with any degree of specificity (and I'm not sure how one could, practically, come to anything but an educated guess for any given purchase/nonpurchase). My moral calculation is much simpler, and follows from my 120: 1) is this market hopelessly distorted by corruption or historic effects that now have perverse consequences? and 2) is the seller proposing a cost or terms that most reasonable people would find outrageous?

Neither of those really seems to be the case here. Business is a dirty business, and Amazon plays hardball, but look at heebie's 137; lots of people feel the same way. This seems like a case where Amazon won, the market has spoken, and they're charging a price for a bundle of rights that most people find pretty favorable. At that point, I say, this sucks in some ways, but I'm signed up for this legal regime, and if it's not obviously hijacked in some way, I'm going to abide by the law.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:39 AM
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I'd say that the legal regime is obviously hijacked because the first sale doctrine is an essential part of the whole copyright compromise. When the publishers broke their half of the bargain (allowing reselling and lending, having works enter the public domain after a reasonable time), I don't see why I should have to hold up my half (not copying).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:44 AM
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Right, and the point is that every time you buy an ebook instead of a book you're closer to the world where publishers have the power to finally kill libraries (like they've always wanted to).

This is true. I spend way more on e-books than I would spend on hard copies, because I'd use the library otherwise and I haven't gotten in the habit of borrowing library e-books.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:47 AM
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142.1: the consequentialism was a tribute to the introduction to the Piketty.

But anyhow, when it comes to amazon and kindle ebooks I definitely disagree with you, so I think we have found the nub.

In general I think the legal regime for IP is increasingly designed to reduce consumer leverage and rights, but that's not really relevant here, maybe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:48 AM
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I'm reading this in the kindle app on iPad / iPhone and I get page numbers from the print ed, percentages and the weird ebook formatted number.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:59 AM
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Authors receive royalties after a) the press recovers production and other costs associating with publishing and selling the book; b) the book earns out any advance against royalties; c) the press figures out what the sales actually are.

Also, royalties at UPs are typically paid out annually, so Piketty hasn't gotten a dime yet, I wouldn't think, unless he received an advance, which he probably did, though I bet it was much smaller than most of you would imagine.

Assuming that in the end he sells 250,000 copies of the English-language edition of the book this year (and that seems like a pretty high number to me, because there will be tons and tons of returns), and assuming that the book wasn't hugely discounted (which it was, actually, almost everywhere and almost all the time), and assuming reasonable costs for production and publicity (which are very hard to figure on a book like this, which has actually be promoted like no other UP book that I can remember), I'm guessing (and this really is a total guess, but it's probably not to terribly far off the mark) he'll earn somewhere in the ballpark of $100-200k. Then he'll pay roughly 50% in tax, probably.

As for e-copies, royalty schedules are even more fucked up, and authors make basically nothing. Both academic authors and publishers hate e-books for a reason. The only thing they hate more is Amazon. And piracy.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:23 AM
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I have an idea: everyone should post their latest book contract.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:23 AM
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Nothing in 147 should be considered an argument for or against intellectual property.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:25 AM
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Kindle books are systematically overpriced for what they are. The availability of piracy is an important counter-weight to that.

Neither one of these statements makes any more sense to me than, "Gumballs are systematically overpriced for what they are. Breaking the glass on gumball machines and releasing a cascade of free gumballs is an important counter-weight to that." There may be more substance to what you mean, but there certainly isn't to what you're currently saying. I'm guessing you're using shibboleths as a shorthand for argument, though, so whatever.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:29 AM
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I guess what it comes down to is that I wish I understood the pro-piracy argument a bit better, and this thread isn't helping me very much (sorry, sifu). Again, I only ever get as far as what I said up in 77.2: the most basic tenets of good scholarship may be antithetical to the concept of intellectual property. But even then, I'm not sure, and I wouldn't mind having someone make that argument in a way that grapples with current structural constraints.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:32 AM
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Wow, Unfoggetarian really hates publishers. Damn those publishers, running roughshod over Amazon.com! Damn their so-called "e-books" which for some reason I can't lend to people without a license, and I can't make millions of copies of without it being "illegal", as if some sort of software was involved.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:34 AM
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Good morning Von Wafer!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:35 AM
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150: There have been lawsuits filed alleging that publishing companies and the like have conspired to inflate the price of e-books. The publishing companies have lost these lawsuits and one of them gave me $.78 cents. It strikes me as pretty well proven that e-books are systematically overpriced via conspiracy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:36 AM
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I count Amazon as a publisher. I don't know if that is technically correct and I don't care. (Because 152 made me think my comment would be confusing.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:37 AM
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That is, it seem that Amazon publishes ebooks, but retails regular books. Mostly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:37 AM
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It's weird how systematic overpricing via conspiracy is illegal, but systematic underpricing via monopsony isn't.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:37 AM
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One more and I've tied Von Wafer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:38 AM
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Now I have to do three more.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:38 AM
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155. I would be astonished if there were any legal or vernacular definition of a publisher other than "one who publishes". Therefore Amazon is a publisher (among other things).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:41 AM
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And turns out B&N does not have a copy at the local store revealing continuing gaps in their inventory system which are surely part of their continuing lossage to Amazon. And the gods of capital were happy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:03 AM
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The campus bookstore had at least three copies on Tuesday.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:07 AM
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I'm not sure that I'm reading sifu (and maybe spike and others) correctly. But if I am, it seems that their beef is primarily with Amazon. In which case, let me suggest that they take the fight to Amazon -- hack the site or whatever, rather than allowing authors and university presses to be caught in the crossfire.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:12 AM
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"Gumballs are systematically overpriced for what they are. Breaking the glass on gumball machines and releasing a cascade of free gumballs is an important counter-weight to that."

But what if he did it as part of joining a gumball appreciation group and told everyone how awesome the gumballs were? Probably a net jump in gumball sales, so it's all good.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:22 AM
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106: you often say that like it's an argument, but it isn't one.

Just stop already. You obviously know that money has to be flowing back into these enterprises to keep them going. Trapnel's not a starving child in a third world seeking to gain knowledge any way he can. He's a dude in San Fran with a good paying job. But instead of lobbying a few bucks towards the book's author and the people who helped make it happen he torrented a copy for nothing and then offered it up to everyone else. There's no godamn reason to do this.


Posted by: gswit | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:31 AM
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Damnit, who took my f. Trapnel probably torrented it and gave it away.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:32 AM
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No way am I getting into this, you all know my views. Unilaterally deciding that you have the right not to pay people for things they are legally entitled to be paid for because of your personal assessment that you are more deserving than they are is and always will be almost always a dick move, pure and simple, unless you're Jean Valjean taking bread to feed your family which sorry none of you are even close.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:55 AM
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167: yes, all is most definitely for the best in this best of all intellectual property rights regimes.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 8:59 AM
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Sifu and Halford are both wrong, and shrill. Come, let me show you the way.


Posted by: David Broder | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:02 AM
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167 -- I believe the better analogue is Robin of Loxley. I've been wondering in VW was trolling, since everyone's views on this subject are known.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:04 AM
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170: Yeah, I don't know why I bothered to say anything. But the pro torrent arguments tend to irritate me in the same way as rich Republicans explaining how it's a net good that they dodge taxes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:14 AM
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I presume once the actual reading group starts we will all find comity in the need to stick it to the man*.

*Who says he his holding a copy for me at a store location a few miles further on down the road.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:19 AM
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My general view is that it is reasonable to have strong IP loosely enforced, or loose IP protections strongly enforced. But, if we end up having strong IP protections strongly enforced, then, as a creative society, we are fucked.

Kindle represents a model of strong IP protection strongly enforced, and I resent the hell out of it. I'm still going to use it, mind you, because dead tree publishing is archaic. But I'm not happy at all about the way ebook distribution system, as it has emerged, hands control over to IP rights-holders and distributors.

Piracy represents an alternate distribution system, and of course it is a system that has many faults of its own. But piracy also has an important fundamental benefit, which is that it puts control over the use of culture back into the hands of the people. And as long as Amazon has to compete with piracy, I think the worst abuses will be curtailed. Ultimately, the continued existence of viable options for piracy is one of the few counterweights we have to a system in which incumbent IP-rights holders have control over every aspect of how content is consumed.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:26 AM
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The first thing about Piketty to seriously annoy me is his use of modern, historically set, popular film and TV to underline his points - Mad Men, Titanic, even Django Unchained.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 9:36 AM
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After all of this I feel almost embarrassed to clarify that I did, in fact, buy the kindle edition, but then stripped the drm because I don't like using the kindle app, and was offering copies of the ePub I generated from my kindle version.

I've said this before, but my sense is that 'supporting the production of cultural goods' is a duty, but an imperfect one; you don't need to buy every one you consume, but you should do your part, given your means, to generally support the ecosystem. My means are much greater than they were a year ago, so $20 for the book wasn't a big deal. Would I have bought it at 50 or even 30? Probably not.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 10:09 AM
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Damnit dude, I retract calling you a dillhole.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 10:20 AM
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I also paid full price to see Godzilla yesterday.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 10:25 AM
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Question about the reading group itself.

I just read the introduction this morning, and am enjoying it a great deal. I find the prose surprisingly readable and the pace is nice. I'm looking forward to chapter 1 later today.

As I find things that seem interesting, and would like to bring up as possible items for discussions, what sort of notes should I be preparing? I know that Halford is going to do the introductory post, and I'm happy to just wait and see what sort of conversation that stirs up, but it's also tempting to start writing up some ideas of my own (if I have time today), and if I'm just curious if there's any sense of how we want to organize the conversation.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 10:56 AM
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You should definitely post a 'here's the post Halford should have written' comment, if that's what you're asking.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:07 AM
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writing up some ideas of my own ... I'm just curious if there's any sense of how we want to organize the conversation.

Although these notes, in conformity with custom, come after the book. the reader is advised to consult them first and then study the book with their help, rereading them of course as he goes through its text, and perhaps, after having done with the book consulting them a third time so as to complete the picture. I find it wise in such cases as this to eliminate the bother of back-and-forth leafings or searchings by either printing out the notes and clipping together the pages with the text of the thing, or, even more simply, pirating a copy of the same work which can then be posted interleaved with the notes on a blog like the one I am now commenting on from this wretched motor lodge, with that carrousel inside and outside my head miles away from New Wye. Let me state that without my notes Piketty's text simply has no human reality at all since the human reality of such a book as his (he being too skittish and reticent of being accused of plagiarism), with the omission of many pithy lines carelessly rejected by him. has to depend entirely on the reality of its author and his surroundings. attachments and so forth, a reality that only my notes can provide. To this statement my dear economist would probably not have subscribed, but, for better or worse, it is the commentator who has the last word.


Posted by: Charles Kinbote | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:24 AM
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What Trapnel said. If you have thoughts that seem as if they'd lead to discussion, write them down and bring them up in comments.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:31 AM
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I also paid full price to see Godzilla yesterday.

Now I feel guilty about having snuck in.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:32 AM
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Shorter 180: Nerds!!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:32 AM
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182: So much so that you've resorted to non-standard idiom.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 11:34 AM
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So I guess 147 means my colleague had a really small royalties check because the publisher had to recover costs first, but all his future checks will be much larger? I thought he implied otherwise, but probably I misunderstood.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 12:49 PM
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If anyone goes full Kinbote on Piketty in the comments here I will love you forever.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 12:50 PM
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Also, the Syracuse airport wi-fi provider is blocking the "Stripping" thread with some ominous warning about how my request for inappropriate material has been logged.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 12:51 PM
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It's mostly an Ohio State thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 12:56 PM
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Huh. I thought that was a pretty safe-for-work kind of place, but they must have kept me away from the sinister side of campus.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:04 PM
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You're thinking of The Ohio State, not an Ohio State.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:16 PM
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Maybe we can discuss how economist suck at naming their variables.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 1:53 PM
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I bought the book but I will be traveling, so I would appreciate an e-copy. Thanks, trapnel! (I don't know if it's even possible for me to acquire a legal e-copy using a Linux device. I can't use any of amazon's video download or streaming services and I assume their e-books don't play nicely with Linux either.)


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 2:05 PM
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I think you can run a Kindle app under wine, but it might not be recent enough to work with newer books. I spent a fair amount of yesterday evening failing to install Adobe Digital Editions because I want to read a book about Linux while using Linux and the library copy requires Adobe DRM.

You could also possibly emulate Android and run the Kindle app on that. I've considered it but haven't tried it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 2:27 PM
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I have procured my copy and am currently reading it at a bar where I stopped to eat. My wife will undoubtedly prioritize my reassembling the toilet, however.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 2:52 PM
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Email me if you want the ePub, L, since I'm not sure I have your address.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 3:39 PM
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I don't know if it's even possible for me to acquire a legal e-copy using a Linux device. I can't use any of amazon's video download or streaming services and I assume their e-books don't play nicely with Linux either

You can do all of these Amazon things, at least on Ubuntu (possibly you need to add some plugins/packages). What Linux distribution/release are you using?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 4:02 PM
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The Kindle Fire is basically a Linux machine, so running the app should be possible on other Linux devices too. Should.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 5:32 PM
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Done with Chapter 1! I've already found issues to pick with the translation of the introduction.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 6:49 PM
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Do you have the original?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 7:53 PM
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The introduction's available in French from Piketty's website. I may pick up a copy of the original; his writing style is clear enough that it's not horribly slower going for me than the English version.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-18-14 10:13 PM
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Interview with Piketty


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 2:46 AM
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We have run into a scheduling snag on the first discussion post. Please stand by -- something will go up no later than tonight.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 7:59 AM
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Is the problem that you're at work? I can post if you email me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:04 AM
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No, no, this is good!

[Person who hasn't yet read chapter 1]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:09 AM
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Agreed! [person who still hasn't even got his damn copy yet. YOU HAVE FAILED ME, WATERSTONES.]


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:12 AM
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Piketty mentions this kind of situation in a footnote. He will return to this point later.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:15 AM
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Is the problem that you're at work? I can post if you email me.

I did start writing something yesterday and could turn it into a post if that would be helpful.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:22 AM
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Given people who are still bookless (or haven't done the reading), let's push the first post back to Wednesday, 5/21.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:25 AM
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Goddammit, I crammed last night to get through chapter 1. It's not fair!


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:28 AM
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Now I have three more days to feel guilty that I'm not even going to buy the book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:29 AM
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Not that I'm complaining. Until you start, I haven't actually avoided intellectual development.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:29 AM
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Was just finishing it now. Will go back to sleep.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:30 AM
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Are people going to be reading in French too? I'd been skipping this as didn't want to be annoying folks by reading in French but if there will be others...also was planning to get a copy in Foyle's in about three weeks but may have to hustle one before then.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:31 AM
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Read it in French if you like. But if you comment in French I will run your comments through Google Translate, repost them, and then respond as if you'd meant to say however they come out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:32 AM
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211: Don't worry about it. Piketty doesn't classify intellectual development as capital anyway.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:41 AM
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Fair enough!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:49 AM
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214: I plan to comment in English, but in an atrocious French accent.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:51 AM
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Ah, the laziness of the Waterstones? My faith! Species of idiot!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:54 AM
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Love it: "Although, as a mercenary, he does not hesitate to perform any number of criminal acts for his clients, Batroc has, by his own rights, a strong sense of honor, and he will turn against any client whom he feels has unfairly deceived him into committing crimes to which he might not otherwise have agreed."

His accent alas is not mentioned among his "Powers and Abilities."


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 8:57 AM
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re: 217

Mon frère dans la savate!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:05 AM
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Summary just sent! Holy crap was that a pain in the ass to write.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:05 AM
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... and, in conclusion, Halfordismo!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:07 AM
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Sent, maybe, but not received. Which did you send it to -- LizardBreath @ thenameoftheblog.com, or elizardb @ warmpost.com ? Or my RL work email, which I can't remember if you know?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:12 AM
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I replied to an email I got from you earlier, and also sent it to what looks like your personal gmail address, in addition to lizard breath at name of blog.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:39 AM
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And received. I know I'm all over the place on the scheduling here, but rather than waiting for Wednesday, given that we now have the post in hand, I'll put it up tonight when I get home from work. All the slackers have another couple of hours to do the reading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 9:43 AM
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155. I would be astonished if there were any legal or vernacular definition of a publisher other than "one who publishes". Therefore Amazon is a publisher (among other things).

Unless you're being sarcastic, I don't see why you'd think that at all. Of course there are more precise definitions, both legal and vernacular. For instance in English libel law, "publisher" is a defined term, expressly distinguished from printers, copiers, distributors and booksellers, who are not liable for the defamatory statements of others. To the extent Amazon actually publishes the e-books (ie has editorial control and is responsible for bringing it to the market), it's a publisher. To the extent it's just selling books published by other people, it's not.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:08 AM
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Warmpost: for when your letters absolutely must be disturbingly lukewarm.

Picked up the ebook this morning, rereading the introduction (which I had read through earlier on the Kindle preview). I wish there was a way to tell which footnotes have additional info and which are just references, as clicking on the superscripted footnote link is difficult at best (iOs Kindle app), and near impossible when the footnote is at a portion of the screen that's active for some other reason. What frustrating UX.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:09 AM
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226. Not being sarcastic at all:

"publisher" means a commercial publisher, that is, a person whose business is issuing material to the public, or a section of the public, who issues material containing the statement in the course of that business.

i.e. "one who publishes."

I never suggested Amazon were only a publisher. They are also a bookseller and pretty much a general retailer. But their business includes issuing material (ebooks) to the public.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:21 AM
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But, like I say, that definition is qualified in the next few paragraphs to exclude book (and magazine) sellers among others. When they're just selling stuff, they're not publishers. I'm sure they do actually publish ebooks (eg the Kindle user guide), but they're not legally (or vernacularly) the publisher of, say, Piketty's ebook.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:50 AM
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I think Amazon is the actual publish for most of the sex with dinosaur books.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:53 AM
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To be clear, the point I'm trying to make is that the paper book/ebook distinction doesn't magically make Amazon a publisher. They're a publisher of ebooks to the extent they do things that a publisher of paper books does. The simple fact of distributing the electronic file and making the hardware to view it doesn't transform them into a publisher.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 10:53 AM
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231. I count Amazon as a publisher because they are publishing (at no financial risk to themselves, but that's a different issue) the novel written by a friend of mine; I count them as a bookseller because they sell Piketty's book, in various formats; I count them as a general retailer because they sell coffee filters.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 11:03 AM
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|| Halford, will life change as a result of today's Sup Ct decision? I'm not going to look back, but I don't understand the logic of not allowing renewal rights to be assigned, and instead having them pass to heirs. |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 11:31 AM
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So, will we have less time to read chapter 2, to get back on schedule? I've been not-bothering to read.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 3:57 PM
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233 -- it's a very big deal for what I do specifically and many of my clients, but I don't think it has broader social implications for much of anybody.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-19-14 4:05 PM
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