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Fiscal and Economic Aspects of Book Consumption in the European Union

May 4, 2015 Comments off

Fiscal and Economic Aspects of Book Consumption in the European Union (PDF)
Source: University of Southern Denmark

One of the available and yet underappreciated tools in cultural policy at the national level is the reduction of VAT rates for cultural goods and services. We document the standard and reduced VAT rates in EU-28 countries in the period from 1993 to 2013 and explore the underlying determinants. We further introduce a simple theoretical framework to explain how reduced fiscal rates are expected to decrease prices and increase quantities of the consumed cultural goods and services. We then estimate quantitatively that a decrease in the VAT rate for books by one percentage point is associated with an economically significant drop in the price by 2.6 percent. Finally, we show the positive effect of a fiscal rate reduction on the book expenditure of well-off households, where a one percentage point decrease in the VAT rate for books leads to an increase in expenditure by 2.7 percent.

All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing

February 25, 2015 Comments off

All of This Has Happened Before and All of This Will Happen Again: Innovation in Copyright Licensing
Source: Social Science Research Network

Claims that copyright licensing can substitute for fair use have a long history. This article focuses on a new cycle of the copyright licensing debate, which has brought revised arguments in favor of universal copyright licensing. First, the new arrangements offered by large copyright owners often purport to sanction the large-scale creation of derivative works, rather than mere reproductions, which were the focus of earlier blanket licensing efforts. Second, the new licenses are often free. Rather than demanding royalties as in the past, copyright owners just want a piece of the action — along with the right to claim that unlicensed uses are infringing. In a world where licenses are readily and cheaply available, the argument will go, it is unfair not to get one. This development, copyright owners hope, will combat increasingly fair use — favorable case law.

This article describes three key examples of recent innovations in licensing-like arrangements in the noncommercial or formerly noncommercial spheres — Getty Images’ new free embedding of millions of its photos, YouTube’s Content ID, and Amazon’s Kindle Worlds — and discusses how uses of works under these arrangements differ from their unlicensed alternatives in ways both subtle and profound. These differences change the nature of the communications and communities at issue, illustrating why licensing can never substitute for transformative fair use even when licenses are routinely available. Ultimately, as courts have already recognized, the mere desire of copyright owners to extract value from a market — especially when they desire to extract it from third parties rather than licensees — should not affect the scope of fair use.

100 Books on Europe to Remember

February 24, 2015 Comments off

100 Books on Europe to Remember
Source: European Parliament

Welcome to this dedicated new web space freely available to the public which presents, in at least one official EU language, a selection of the 100 Books on Europe to Remember.

The European Parliament has attempted to make a comprehensive selection of academic, intellectual and political works on the European idea and the development of the European integration process, taking into account the vast geographical, linguistic and intellectual spectrum of ideas.

CIA — Studies in Intelligence Volume 58, Number 4 (December 2014)

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Studies in Intelligence Volume 58, Number 4 (December 2014)
Source: Central Intelligence Agency

In Memoriam: Jack Downey [PDF 94.2KB**]
Ambassador Donald Gregg

Inside the Inferno
*Counterterrorism Professionals Reflect on Their Work [PDF 311.1KB**]
Dr. Ursula M. Wilder

By the Numbers
*The IC’s Struggle to Express Analytic Uncertainty in the 1970s [PDF 306.0KB**]
James Marchio

GIMIK and SKIFF
*A Tale of Two Semi-Submersible Submarines [PDF 469.9KB**]
Jim Anderson, LCDR USNR (ret), and Dirk A.D. Smith

INTELLIGENCE IN PUBLIC LITERATURE AND FILM
A Most Wanted Man: the Movie [PDF 75.2KB**]
Reviewed by James Burridge and John Kavanagh

A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination [PDF 77.7KB**]
Reviewed by Thomas G. Coffey

Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin’s Plot for Global Revolution [PDF 118.6KB**]
Reviewed by J.R. Seeger

Mission R&AW [PDF 76.3KB**]
Reviewed by Ryan Shaffer, Ph.D.

Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf [PDF 152.6KB**]
Compiled and reviewed by Hayden Peake

*Books Reviewed in Studies in Intelligence in 2014 [PDF 86.5KB**]

National Survey of Kids and Parents Provides Insight Into What Makes Children Frequent Readers

January 12, 2015 Comments off

National Survey of Kids and Parents Provides Insight Into What Makes Children Frequent Readers
Source: Scholastic

Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) the global children’s publishing, education and media company,?today released results from the fifth edition of the Kids & Family Reading Report™, a biannual national survey of children ages 6–17 and their parents exploring their attitudes and behaviors around reading books for fun. Key findings reveal predictors of reading frequency, the importance of reading aloud to children at various ages, how frequently children have opportunities to read for pleasure at school and much more. For the first time, this year’s survey also includes data from parents of children ages 0–5 to shed a light on the role parents play in children’s literacy development before they enter school.

Frequent readers—defined as children who read books for fun 5–7 days a week—differ substantially in a number of ways from infrequent readers—those who read books for fun less than one day a week. For instance, among children ages 6–11, frequent readers read an average of 43.4 books per year, whereas infrequent readers read only 21.1. There is an even more profound difference among frequent readers ages 12–17, who read 39.6 books annually, and infrequent readers, who read only 4.7 books. The Kids & Family Reading Report asks what makes children frequent readers, creating two models for predicting children’s reading frequency—one each among kids ages 6–11 and 12–17—constructed through a regression analysis of more than 130 data measures from the survey.

IFLA 2014 eLending Background Paper

July 31, 2014 Comments off

IFLA 2014 eLending Background Paper (PDF)
Source: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

eBook Trends

Given the different stages of maturity of eBook publishing in different countries, it is not surprising that digital publishing statistics and trends vary substantially by region and country.

In the United States, the most developed market for eBooks, 2013 saw a significant decline in eBook sales growth. This is dramatically illustrated considering the Association of American Publishers’ first quarter eBook sale s growth (the peak selling period of the year) over the past 4 years:

2010 +252%
2011 + 159%
2012 + 28%
2013 + 5%

When considering eBook sales it is now routine for English language market analysts to use terms like “matured’, “levelled off” and “plateaued”. Having said this it is evident that eBooks now form an important and still growing revenue stream for trade publishers. In the words of one commentator “The e-book may turn out to be more of a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute”.

Having said this it is evident that eBooks now form an important and still growing revenue stream for trade publishers. In the words of one commentator “The e – book may turn out to be more of a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute”. In this context it should be noted that in 2013 overall US adult trade hardcover book revenue rose 9.7% in 2013 , while adult eBook revenue rose by 3.8%. In 2013 in the US, overall adult eBook revenue accounted for 27% of all adult trade revenue. By comparison, 2013 eBook sales in Canada (a less mature market for eBooks) accounted for 17% of all book purchases. In non – English speaking EU countries eBook sales revenue is correspondingly much lower, numbering in the low single digits: e.g. in Norway eBook sales account for less than 1% of publisher revenue and in The Netherlands 2.2% of revenue.

Hat tip: INFOdocket

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality

April 16, 2014 Comments off

The Paradox of Publicity: How Awards Can Negatively Affect the Evaluation of Quality
Source: Social Science Research Network

Although increases in status often lead to more favorable inferences about quality in subsequent evaluations, in this paper, we examine a setting in which an increase to an actor’s status results in less favorable quality evaluations, contrary to what much of sociological and management theory would predict. Comparing thousands of reader reviews on Goodreads.com of 64 English-language books that either won or were short-listed for prestigious book awards between 2007 and 2011, we find that prizewinning books tend to attract more readers following the announcement of an award and that readers’ ratings of award-winning books tend to decline more precipitously following the announcement of an award relative to books that were named as finalists but did not win. We explain this surprising result, focusing on two mechanisms whereby signals of quality that tend to promote adoption can subsequently have a negative impact on evaluation. First, we propose that the audience evaluating a high-status actor or object tends to shift as a result of a public status shock, like an award, increasing in number but also in diverse tastes. We outline how this shift might translate into less favorable evaluations of quality. Second, we show that the increase in popularity that tends to follow a status shock is off-putting to some, also resulting in more negative evaluations. We show that our proposed mechanisms together explain the negative effect of status on evaluations in the context of the literary world.

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