Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Copyright VS. Real World Needs

In today's world, we have the dubious pleasure of learning how to adjust from what we've always done to what is legal in the new age of ebooks and computers.  It is understandable that people want to get paid for their work; they should be. I have no argument with paying for the things we use. I do, however, have a problem with the limitations placed on things like ebooks and curriculum that don't allow people to be exposed to new things that interest them.

Word of Mouth marketing is invaluable to anyone in the sales world. It's no secret that people are more likely to buy something when someone they know has recommended it. Product demonstration is also another wildly successful marketing tool. So, if these are some of the best ways to sell then why are they being stifled by copyright laws. Something needs to change. They've changed the rules without providing new ways of achieving these marketing strategies and it's not only the people selling that suffers but also the people that are looking for new products.

Think about what used to be....You get a book, you read it, you lend it to your friend to read, they give it back (sometimes), then you read it again or lend it out to someone else. Remember Barnes and Nobles' great ad campaign that promised lending features for our books? I can't be the only one that got suckered by that marketing gimmick. Why did they promote that? Because that is what people are used to and what people want! What did we get? The ability to lend a book out 1 time...ONE! I think that was need to know info. The only reason I can figure out that we aren't allowed to lend a book out as many times as we need (only one person being able to access the book at a time) is greed. It makes sense to me; after all, we have to pay the same amount for an ebook that we pay for a printed book even though the costs have to be more for the printed book. Sounds like an easy way to make a higher profit off of the same product. 

Now, that's books. What about curriculum? Okay, let me just go ahead and say that I am not a curriculum fair person. I cannot sit and think about what I'm looking at when I'm surrounded by people, noise, and an overwhelming selection of products. I know it works for many people and if one were near me, I would most likely go but I need a quiet place to relax and consider my needs and match those up with the right curriculum. Every homeschooling parent knows how expensive it can get when buying new curriculum and most of us don't have the extra money to buy something that we haven't seen, something that we just hope might be what we're looking for. Some people are lucky enough to live in areas with homeschool stores-I used to and I really miss it! Some people are lucky enough to have a good homeschool group that brings in their curriculum for others to see. I used to have that as well. These are the best ways that homeschool curriculum is sold. That is why some things are so incredibly popular while other curriculums can't seem to get started. 

We can't borrow ebooks, we can't see curriculum, we can't lend out out anything like we used to. So we're not exposed to new authors and new curriculum. How are we supposed to buy them if we don't know about them? How do we know if we'll like them if we can't see them? People that want things for free will find a way to get them. Do you really think copyright laws are going to stop them? It hasn't worked in any other area of life. The only people you're limiting are the ones that follow the law and actually buy things. It's a simple concept. We can't buy it if we don't have the necessary information.

So, how do we find a balance? I don't think it's such a difficult task. Simply give people the opportunity to see what you have to offer! Apologia has already done this with great success. You can go to www.currclick.com and download the first part of their notebooks. Why do they do this? So you can see what they have to offer and make an informed decision! It works! It worked for me; I bought one because of that. I found out about it because of reviews by other people but I bought it because I was able to see it.

We live in a new era that have given us limitations on what we can do with the things we buy. We have gotten used to being able to find information on anything at anytime thanks to the internet. Yet, the people that love to research and educate their children are limited because we can't access new products-curriculum. I would love to see a website that all curriculum could be browsed through, just as if we were sitting in a homeschool store.  I would love an online library that gives us access to new authors and books. (My local library doesn't even know what an epub is...true story.) Release the chokehold and I'll bet you'll see sales soar. It just makes sense to me.

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