Offline Book ‘Lending’ Costs US Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion

Hot on the heels of the story in Publisher’s Weekly that publishers could be losing out on as much $3 billion to online book piracy comes a sudden realisation of a much larger threat to the viability of the book industry. Apparently, over 2 billion books were loaned last year by a cabal of organisations found in nearly every American city and town. Using the same advanced projective mathematics used in the study cited by Publishers Weekly, Go To Hellman has computed that publishers could be losing sales opportunities totaling over $100 Billion per year, losses which extend back to at least the year 2000. These lost sales dwarf the online piracy reported yesterday, and indeed, even the global book publishing business itself. From what we’ve been able to piece together, the book lending takes place in libraries. On entering one of these dens, patrons may view a dazzling array of books, periodicals, even CDs and DVDs, all available to anyone willing to disclose valuable personal information in exchange for a card. But there is an ominous silence pervading these ersatz sanctuaries, enforced by the stern demeanor of staff and the glares of other patrons. Although there’s no admission charge and it doesn’t cost anything to borrow a book, there’s always the threat of an onerous overdue bill for the hapless borrower who forgets to continue the cycle of not paying for copyrighted material

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