Peter Brown

Borrowing books.

12 posts in this topic

Hey guys first post.

I need your input in regards to the following evaluations I have made about borrowing books.

If you intend to trade value for value then you should only borrow books with the intent to gain value and as such purchase the book at a later date, that way you're not initiating physical force against the author.

Books are different than Milk.

You buy Milk, you drink it, that's it, gone.

Your neighbor can't come over and borrow it, the Milk suddenly reappearing, them guzzling it down wiping their mouth and saying "thanks".

The purpose of borrowing is simply so you don't have to pay for something, borrowing a book from the library is gaining a value, without trading with the author who created it, he should be getting your money, but he's not.

Since a book is unlike milk, for me the purpose of borrowing may be valid if the purpose is to delay purchase in the interim, benefit from the value, then later buy it yourself.

I have not yet done this personally, however these are my evaluations.

In retrospect, buying the book after borrowing it, is useless unless you're going to read it countless times, its like a symbolic gesture, an addition to the bookcase.

I've thought of all this because I'm guilty of having a free ride at my local library in the past. As I've shown deep affinity towards Ayn Rand's works over the last year, I've moved on from a student to a person who advocate and practices Objectivism.

Using introspection, I haven't borrowed a book since I've been studying Ayn Rand's Philosophy and for about a year now I've bought all my books.

Are my evaluations correct and if they are, doesn't that mean that some Objectivists, who borrow from their college libraries, are indirectly stealing since they don't necessarily buy the product in the future?

Cheers

Peter Brown

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If you intend to trade value for value then you should only borrow books with the intent to gain value and as such purchase the book at a later date, that way you're not initiating physical force against the author.

Why would you think that borrowing a book is an initiation of physical force against the author? Did the author so restrict the use of the book when purchased?

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The purpose of borrowing is simply so you don't have to pay for something, borrowing a book from the library is gaining a value, without trading with the author who created it, he should be getting your money, but he's not.

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Who established this "should"? I'm not aware of any contract that says you cannot read something unless you've paid for it. Why does the trade only have to be with the author? Why not with the person/library from whom you're borrowing? In your estimate, exactly what are the values being traded?

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I don't see where the force is.

The library or whoever donated to the book PAID for it. The library lends it out IN EXCHANGE for you taking good care of it, returning it when due or paying a fine if overdue, etc.. You borrow a book by offering your library card, not brandishing a gun.

I see value for value trades all around.

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Are my evaluations correct and if they are, doesn't that mean that some Objectivists, who borrow from their college libraries, are indirectly stealing since they don't necessarily buy the product in the future?

Cheers

Peter Brown

As I understand(I am not an author), having a book purchased by libraries is actually very beneficial to a writer. In addition to being paid for the book by the libraries, it creates an expansion of readership in a number of ways. Good books are often worth reading more then once so many people will purchase a book they have already read for that reason alone. Also if you read it and like it, you are very likely to recomend it to others. This increases book sales since many who hear about it will purchase rather then borrow it. Additionally, if they like the book, they might purchase it as gifts for friends.

I also do not see the force involved. An author could ostensibly refuse to sell a book to the library.

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Or an author could include a clause in a contract saying that purchasers of his books can not lend them to others.

A contract with whom? The author only has a contract with the publisher. When I buy a book, I have no contract with anyone about what to do with the book, other than copyright laws in effect at the time.

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Or an author could include a clause in a contract saying that purchasers of his books can not lend them to others.

A contract with whom? The author only has a contract with the publisher. When I buy a book, I have no contract with anyone about what to do with the book, other than copyright laws in effect at the time.

It can be plainly stated as a condition of purchase right on the book itself. Or, as is done with other media, the book could be shrink wrapped with a prominent sticker displaying the conditions of purchase. The seller certainly has a right to specify such conditions, if he were to choose to do so.

But, nevertheless, I think this is a complete non-issue. Aside from the suggestion made in this thread, I doubt that there is any segment of the authoring community which would ever give a moment's thought to borrowing as being a concern.

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Did the author so restrict the use of the book when purchased?

No the author did not. I did not discount this. I knew I was missing something when thinking over it, I was thinking that my policy ought to be that of only loaning out books to others if I think they're going to buy it afterwards, or I'll take into account other factors if they want to 'check it out' as in, whether it's good or not.

This policy I thought up, I thought, just sounded right, yet I couldn't name the contradictions and errors in knowledge in regards to the origin of the policy, and my mindset behind it -- I had incorrectly accepted a false interpretation of the nature of the trade itself.

I couldn't integrate the reasons why I had augmented such a policy, I thought that there is some reason I can't think of, and thus I needed help.

Thank you, that was all that needed to be said to lead me on the right track.

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A contract with whom? The author only has a contract with the publisher. When I buy a book, I have no contract with anyone about what to do with the book, other than copyright laws in effect at the time.

It can be plainly stated as a condition of purchase right on the book itself. Or, as is done with other media, the book could be shrink wrapped with a prominent sticker displaying the conditions of purchase. The seller certainly has a right to specify such conditions, if he were to choose to do so.

But, nevertheless, I think this is a complete non-issue. Aside from the suggestion made in this thread, I doubt that there is any segment of the authoring community which would ever give a moment's thought to borrowing as being a concern.

The author could make a contract with the publisher, who in turn could make an arrangement with a distributor/bookstore who could inform potential buyers that they cannot lend out the book. I agree that it is a non-issue.

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The author could make a contract with the publisher, who in turn could make an arrangement with a distributor/bookstore who could inform potential buyers that they cannot lend out the book. I agree that it is a non-issue.

Something not unlike licensing on software could probably be arranged.

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I knew I was missing something when thinking over it, I was thinking that my policy ought to be that of only loaning out books to others if I think they're going to buy it afterwards, or I'll take into account other factors if they want to 'check it out' as in, whether it's good or not.

This policy I thought up, I thought, just sounded right, yet I couldn't name the contradictions and errors in knowledge in regards to the origin of the policy, and my mindset behind it -- I had incorrectly accepted a false interpretation of the nature of the trade itself.

Next time you get the feeling you are missing something, check your premises. Do that by examining concrete instances of the puzzling situation in detail while seeking the answer to the question: How did this get to be this way?

If this is force, where's the force? Do authors object when libraries lend out their books? Why not? What could they do if they did object? Etc.

The purpose of thinking is first to understand what reality IS. Only after that can you see what it might be or ought to be.

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