kind of stealing from James Surowiecki

I’ve loved James Surowiecki’s column, “The Financial Page” in The New Yorker for years.

Aproveching* that I have a Kindle now, I went to my US library’s website to see if they offer his book The Wisdom of Crowds on electronic loan, but they do not (two branches do have the hardcopy). I went to see if I should buy it from Amazon, and other online stores, and… the download costs the same as the hardcopy– 13.09 USD, exactly, on Amazon. That’s incredibly lame!

Sorry, James, but I know you understand the forces at work here– I would have paid for your electronic book if the hardcopy price comparison were more favorable. Since it’s not, I am just going to download the electronic book in a bit torrent. I’m looking forward to reading it!

Here is the link to his 2005 Ted Talk, related to the content of said ebook. Watching that is what prompted me to look for his book.

*Aprovechar means “to take advantage of” in Spanish. 

P.S. – I’ve been reading books so much more since I got my Kindle. I think this means that the physical inconvenience and yes, cost, of obtaining and managing printed books was a deterrent to reading for me.


2 responses to “kind of stealing from James Surowiecki

  1. I found the book very disappointing. Not that I agree with your decision not to pay for it. While his publisher’s pricing strategy is crap, they have a product you want and have set a price for it, and if you don’t like the price that doesn’t give you the right to just take it from them, virtually or physically.

    But anyway, the book. Its arguments were super repetitive, and I don’t think there was enough of a considered effort to address other points of view. I’ll be interested to see what you think.

    • Interesting. I will keep your comments in mind as I read. So far it feels like he’s just scratching the surface of something new and huge, so I can see how that could lead to dissatisfaction that he’s not delving as much as he could.

      And, piracy. I am not “taking it from them;” I am copying it without paying them for the copy. There’s a difference!

      The seemingly unreasonable a la carte pricing strategy may be in place to motivate people to join Amazon Prime, which I might come around to joining. I am still thinking about it. I want to feel out exactly how wide the Amazon Prime selection is compared to what I can get for free (through my public library, mainly… honestly it’s not that easy to find the books I am looking for pirated). At 80 dollars a year, Amazon Prime is actually a good deal, especially if you also watch TV and live in the US. They let you register I think 5 devices on it.

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