Posted by: Paul A. Forsyth | March 18, 2013

List of Links

1. Online publisher JManga sent an email to users informing them that will be concluding its retail and viewing services. The Daily Dot reports: “all user accounts had been deleted early yesterday morning, and that all of the website’s content, including popular in-progress manga series which are currently only available through JManga, would be taken down on May 30. No, you could not get refunds for your purchased works. No, you could not download copies.” This is a problem with certain formats of e-books. It’s one thing if you’re downloading a pdf file or the like. But when an e-reader simply accesses a book that is stored else-where, possession is more…tenuous. As Paul Constant says, “The comics that users paid for will just be gone, forever. This is the problem with e-book buying situations like Comixology and Kindle books. When you’re just buying access to an e-book and not the file itself, you’re not really buying anything. You’re just licensing the book, and your access to it can be removed at any time.”

2. Via Tyler Cowen, Der Spiegel has a story about e-books and the publishing industry in Germany. An extract:

Book revenues have been crumbling for the last two years, a development that will only accelerate, and brick-and-mortar bookstores have been steadily losing ground for the last five years. Long derided by publishing houses, e-books, though still a minority phenomenon in Germany, are experiencing tremendous growth. Today, about 11 percent of Germans are reading digital books on devices like the Kindle and the iPad, up from only 4 percent two years ago. In the United States, e-books already make up more than 15 percent of volume in the bookselling industry, mainly because they are more affordable. All of this indicates that margins will continue to shrink, as the book business becomes increasingly hectic, nervous and profit-driven.

“The golden era of publishing, that is, of reading, contemplation and literary education, has somehow come to an end,” says Michael Kr├╝ger, the outgoing head of the Munich-based Hanser publishing house, who has the reputation of being one of Germany’s last great publishing figures. Many people no longer view book publishers “as a stronghold of culture, but merely as a transshipment point for cultural products,” says his successor Jo Lendle, the current head of the Cologne-based DuMont publishing house.

Even publishing executives not known for their pessimism, like Kiepenhauer & Witsch Publisher Helge Malchow, expect continued decline in the industry in the coming years. Others say that sales could even drop by more than 20 percent in the coming years. “For decades, the publishing business was pretty much the same,” says Malchow. “It is now entering a crisis for the first time, and everything will look different after that.”

3. Orin Kerr: How should the Fourth Amendment apply to aearching a cell phone incident to arrest?

4. When the Patent Office uses the term “parallel universe,” I don’t think they mean what most of us think about when we talk about parallel universes.

5. From Foreign Policy, a photo gallery of Syrian refugees each holding the one thing that they made sure to take with them when they fled their homes. My favorite is the young woman who has her diploma, which will allow her to continue her education in Turkey until she can return to Syria. I also liked the buzuq and the jeans.

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