Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

A Complaint to the Universe

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A Complaint to the Universe

    You know, considering how much I love Babylon 5, how much time I've spent thinking about both its story and its production (in part because of my own interest in filmmaking and television production), how much it quite simply means to me... the fact that I'll never get to read the 15th script book (or most of them, actually) because as a poor student I simply cannot afford to buy them all this quickly... is pretty damn bitter.

    Would it be so hard to just keep them available, and make it possible to buy the 15th book?

    What about people who discover B5, say, two years from now? Why can't they get a chance at reading this material? What about people from Europe whose mother-in-law doesn't happen to have a credit card? (The only way I can order anything off Cafepress.) B5 has a huge following outside the States - at least give them a chance at finding a way of ordering the bloody books. It ain't easy.

    I don't mean to sound aggressive, and I have always tried to support B5 on every level possible, but I just have to say that the way the script books are being handled is extremely unfair to the fans. And I don't think it would be that hard to do things differently.

    Rant over. I'll go back to feeling depressed now.
    Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

  • #2
    Jonas, I'm sure quite a few people will sympathize with your plight, especially as this site welcomes new fans all the time, but I suspect the amount of work that goes into producing these books, which are basically print-on-demand, would be prohibitive to continue after a certain time has passed. I have no doubt that the Cafe press people are working overtime at the moment to finish books 14 and 15, but six months from now, how many people will still be ordering? I'm not sure that number will be enough to keep things going. Again, I sympathize, but this is a unique situation and there's no way that everybody is going to be happy, no matter what happens.

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually, it would require no working time, let alone working overtime, at all to keep them available as e-books.

      I love B5, and I've always respected JMS' choices when it comes to marketing the series, but in this case, I agree with Jonas. I find this strategy unfortunate, and I don't think it is going to make either him or B5 any new friends at all.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Joe Nazzaro View Post
        Jonas, I'm sure quite a few people will sympathize with your plight, especially as this site welcomes new fans all the time, but I suspect the amount of work that goes into producing these books, which are basically print-on-demand, would be prohibitive to continue after a certain time has passed. I have no doubt that the Cafe press people are working overtime at the moment to finish books 14 and 15, but six months from now, how many people will still be ordering? I'm not sure that number will be enough to keep things going. Again, I sympathize, but this is a unique situation and there's no way that everybody is going to be happy, no matter what happens.
        I thought the whole point of print-on-demand is, well, that you only print what you need. Once the actual book exists as a digital file, printing copies and sending them out when people buy them is no big deal at all. I mean, that's the whole concept. And if CafePress can't handle it (which I doubt), well, Lulu.com can.

        (If that sounds aggressive, I apologize. It's not meant to sound like an attack on you, only on the irrationality of the situation.)

        And mandragora is right - selling them as ebooks would also be really simple, and would make a lot of people very happy.
        Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

        Comment


        • #5
          Has anyone written to Jaclyn about this? I would think that with all the help she's been to everyone, that arrangements might be made for those who can't afford to buy them at present. I'm not sure it's possible, but if anything could be done, she's the one who could do it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Jonas, I do sympathize, please believe me, so please don't take anything I'm about to say as unsympathetic to your frustration.

            First of all, anybody who's read JMS' posts for any length of time knows that he's a collector. Since back in the days of the B5 Fan Club he's generally tended to make at least some of what was offered limited editions or collector's items (limited, numbered scripts, treatments etc.). This isn't good or bad, it's just a tendency of his that you might not be aware of. The nice thing is that he's always (IMO) also given good value for the money, too.

            Next, understand that JMS guards his copyrights. You'll find any number of script sites online with notices that they've withdrawn his scripts by his request. I can't know for sure but I *think* that after the experience that he had with his unpublished Crusade scripts being traded about online after he allowed them to be read online that he may be leery of the e-books as a distribution method. Anyway, he also is a book lover, not just a reader. The question about e-books came up in the original FAQ, as I recall.

            And...this series has been going on for almost 2 1/2 years now when the original plan was to have all 14 volumes published in less than a year. Many people have been relieved that as JMS got busier the gaps between books made it easier on their wallets.

            Finally, the newsletter that came out today reminded people of the deadline but said:
            There is a 50/50 chance we will be able to extend the deadline, but we won't know for sure until early May.
            I hope for everybody's sake that the deadline may be extended. Even if it is, though, I wouldn't expect it to be for too long. I'll hope for the best with you.

            Jan
            "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

            Comment


            • #7
              I understand your reasoning, Jan, but I still think the strategy is unfortunate.

              Memorabilia ordinarily are items with a close connection to the show. They aren't stuff that contains important *information* - which is clearly the case with the Vol. 15 scriptbook.

              In the past, he actively promoted ebooks with "Tribulations", for instance. With respect to copyrights: If anything, this strategy is bound to foster piracy. Because, if anyone interested in Vol. 15 is either obliged to buy 14 Volumes by the end of May 2008, or to acquire it otherwise, what do you think the result will be?
              Last edited by mandragora; 04-01-2008, 07:17 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mandragora View Post
                In the past, he actively promoted ebooks with "Tribulations", for instance.
                As you probably recall, "Tribulations" was available for free on the same site as the unproduced Crusade scripts. The Bookface (I think that was the name) folks had assured him that the items couldn't be copied. What happened was that people simply opened a second window to their word processor and transcribed (often very badly) the scripts.

                With respect to copyrights: If anything, this strategy is bound to foster piracy. Because, if anyone interested in Vol. 15 is either obliged to buy 14 Volumes by the end of May 2008, or to acquire it otherwise, what do you think the result will be?
                Dunno. How many of those who've invested a few hundred bucks are likely to offer that to people who don't make that investment? I'm sure it'll be talked about, probably in detail, but the actual documents? Perhaps not as many pirates as you're thinking. I sure wouldn't be that generous.

                And frankly, if they do, I hope they get their knuckles rapped sharply, legally and expensively. I'm of the school of thought that says that just because people want something doesn't mean they have a right to it; an attitude all too prevalent these days. (None of that is directed at *anybody* here, btw.) Saying that something should be widely offered to prevent piracy has always struck me as saying that when a crime is unavoidable, you should actively help it happen. Wrong. You should actively prosecute the criminals.

                Jan
                Gee...look at this pretty soapbox...
                "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm afraid I have to go with Jan on this. While I can sympathize with anybody who would like the deadline to be extended in order to eventually buy the books for themselves, I should point out that volume 15 was being offered as a thank-you to the people who bought the other 14; i.e. the people who spent a hell of a lot of money. If I spent a couple of hundred dollars and was given an item of collectibility in return, I'm certainly not going to make it available to somebody else because, well, they want it. I think Jan is right, and most people are going to feel the same way.

                  One of the problems that has developed in this age of instant information is that a lot of folks have developed a sense of entitlement, that just because they WANT something, they feel they should have it. But just because you want it doesn't mean you're entitled to it. Over the years, I've had to watch literally hundreds of my interviews, the product of my hard work get re-published on people's websites, sometimes without giving me credit, sometimes scanning the original articles (which meant they stole the layout and artwork done by somebody else as well) because they wanted that material for their website. Most of the time it's easier just to turn a blind eye to these things because most people don't mean any harm; they just don't understand things like copyright and ownership. Even so, when some over-excited B5 fans decided to reprint material from the official B5 Magazine, they eventually got sent letters from the publisher, who had spent rather a lot of money for the license to publish that magazine.

                  The same thing goes for JMS's scripts. When people got the chance to read his Crusade scripts free of charge, what did some of them do? They sat there and laboriously re-typed those scripts just because they wanted to own them. Were they entitled to? Of course not. And I remember the cries of outrage when those scripts were taken down.

                  As I say, I sympathize with the folks who would like a bit more time so that they can buy all the books, including 14/15. I hope they'll get that chance. For the people who advocate pirating book 15 because they WANT IT, you may have a long wait ahead of you; I don't think the folks who paid their dues and played by the rules and spent a couple of hundred dollars over two years are going to run right out to their local Kinkos with it and make lots of copies. I guess we'll know in a couple of months, won't we?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi everyone,

                    let me chime in here as another student from good old Europe

                    Jonas, I totally sympathize with your agony. I can imagine how badly you want the script books and I know how disappointing it is to know that there is such a wonderful treat for B5 fans out there and one is not able to get it. So, please, don't get me wrong on this.

                    I discovered the script books only last December, actually, I wasn't aware of them before. I pondered a long time if I should spend the money ... like I said, I am a college student having three jobs to keep me going. First I didn't think I'd be able to afford the books, all in all they are about 400 Euros and that's a heck of a lot of money for a college student (and everyone else probably as well).

                    But it was the fact that they would only be available for a limited time that finally brought me around. I didn't really plan on buying all of them because I thought I wouldn't be able to (that's why I started with Volume 3 instead of 1). But the fact that this was an exclusive, time limited offer for collectors (though I do not consider myself one) made me buy them.

                    And I can totally understand the reasoning behind the publication method of Volume 15. I think it is amazing how much respect and gratitude JMS shows to the fans by making it a gift to buyers of the whole set and now even signing it. I am still amazed and in awe, because I don't know of anybody else who'd ever done it or is planning on doing something like this for the benefit of fans.

                    On the subject of e-books: I also think copyright is the biggest issue here. It is so, so easy to strip protected PDF files; it has happened to work I published online (mainly college stuff for other students to read up on) so often and like Joe Nazarro said: It is extremely exhausting to fight against this kind of "idea theft". So I wholeheartedly support the decision NOT to publish the books this way. It would somehow be unfair to all the fans who spent the money on the real books when pirated copies of them would pop up on the net and this kind of piracy, while it would show interest in B5, does not support the show and wouldn't help in any way to get it back on the screen.

                    For me personally the bottom line is that I spent the money on the script books, just ordering the last 5 volumes I was missing this weekend - though my bank account complains loudly and my food plan will remain a diet for another two months because the money already went somewhere else ... But I am really happy with my decision and I HOPE for you, Jonas, that the deadline will be extended for a while so you get the chance to order at least some of the books. As for the rest, I am with Jan and Joe.

                    All the best to you, Jonas, really!
                    *Starstuff*
                    It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                    Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jan View Post
                      Dunno. How many of those who've invested a few hundred bucks are likely to offer that to people who don't make that investment? I'm sure it'll be talked about, probably in detail, but the actual documents? Perhaps not as many pirates as you're thinking. I sure wouldn't be that generous.

                      And frankly, if they do, I hope they get their knuckles rapped sharply, legally and expensively. I'm of the school of thought that says that just because people want something doesn't mean they have a right to it; an attitude all too prevalent these days. (None of that is directed at *anybody* here, btw.) Saying that something should be widely offered to prevent piracy has always struck me as saying that when a crime is unavoidable, you should actively help it happen. Wrong. You should actively prosecute the criminals.
                      Please don't get me wrong; I'm not talking about what is right or wrong as that should be obvious. And writing non-fiction myself, I'm as much an advocate of protecting copyrights as anyone (personally, I've never downloaded any copyrighted documents illegally). This is simply about what I think is likely to happen - and I'm not talking about the next couple of months, either, but about what will happen if and when new fans are getting to know the show who never had a chance to acquire the books while they were still in print. If I'm not mistaken, the same thing has happened with the short stories (how to get to read them these days was discussed in this very forum just a few days ago), and the third book of the Centauri Trilogy, which is now sold for 100 $ and more, for the benefit of no-one other than the second-hand book shops that are selling them.
                      Last edited by mandragora; 04-02-2008, 03:47 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        .....[ polite cough], ''Hi''... Well, I better bite the bullet. Apart from being new in town and just finished reading about the script #15 saga, [I am in this sad situation,to a point my self] I must say [red faced] I don't have any of the script books.That's a situation I want to rectify, can someone here give me their sage advise on going about that??..before the??dedline...many thanks..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I see the point about eBooks. They probably would get pirated, and I can understand why JMS has a problem with that.

                          But what about print-on-demand? As I pointed out above, the whole point of POD is that things can stay available in paper format forever, and that you *don't* have to print anything that won't be bought (in fact, in the case of POD the product has ALREADY been bought). That's the idea behind sites like Lulu.com and CafePress.

                          Making volume 15 only available to those who bought the other 14 volumes also isn't a problem. It may be a BIT more work, but not much. And the "free" thing can go after some time. I have no problem with paying for all 15 volumes. I just need the time.

                          Finally, and very importantly: Babylon 5 has always been about humanity, and about recognizing (in the casting and in the characters) that humanity consists of a whole lot more than just Europe and North America. And, partly because of that, B5 is popular all over the world, sometimes more so than in the States. So why make it so incredibly hard for people not from the States to buy the books? And, again, what about new fans? They may be collectors, too. They may love B5 as much as we all do, or more. What about the kid who right now is somewhere out there, watching "Severed Dreams" and thinking to him- or herself that this is the best series ever? Is that kid a second-class fan because he happened to have been born a couple of years later?

                          The main thing is that with the technology of print on demand, there is no reason to not keep the script books available. It won't encourage piracy, it won't cause CafePress to go bankrupt (quite the opposite) an it'll be fair to the fans. Because face it: only the real fans care enough to buy all this stuff anyway.
                          Last edited by Jonas; 04-02-2008, 07:12 AM.
                          Jonas Kyratzes | Lands of Dream

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            @Jonas,

                            I get your point about the POD, but then the books wouldn't really be collectibles anymore, would they.

                            I think, that is the whole idea - to bring something unique out the fans that not everyone will have ... that is what makes is special. Otherwise it would just be another book series about the show.

                            Sure, not everyone will be able to buy it - but then I don't deem it unfair that Babylon 5 trading cards are not available anymore (other than eBay) or some Star Strek stuff that was on sale 15 or 20 years ago.

                            That's just the way it is. Sometimes we can take an opportunity and sometimes we don't have the chance. That's just life and we all remember what Marcus said about the life being "unfair", right?

                            No, seriously, the magic of the script books - at least for me - lies partially in the fact that they will not (!) be available forever. It's just the feeling of having something very special, and one of the reasons I am walking a very thin line financially right now.
                            It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have something worth living for?
                            Rule TwentyNine (Blog about B5, politics, environment and much more)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ninth Hispana View Post
                              .....[ polite cough], ''Hi''... Well, I better bite the bullet. Apart from being new in town and just finished reading about the script #15 saga, [I am in this sad situation,to a point my self] I must say [red faced] I don't have any of the script books.That's a situation I want to rectify, can someone here give me their sage advise on going about that??..before the??dedline...many thanks..
                              Hello and welcome!

                              Okay, let's see if I can make this short but give you the info you need. Over at http://babylon5scripts.com/ is the best place for full info.

                              A couple of years ago, JMS began publishing all 92 of his B5 scripts via Cafe Press, a company that creates lots of individualized items that the purchasers design and upload and who also do Print On Demand publishing. The idea was to do an introduction along with each script. There would be 14 volumes to the set with about 7 hours of script in each. Almost immediately, JMS began finding other cool stuff to share ranging from photos to memos to script fragments and the books (IMO, of course) got even cooler.

                              The series is a limited one and at the moment is scheduled to be withdrawn from sale forever on May 15.

                              For those who purchase the entire 14 volume set, JMS also is giving away, completely free, a 15th volume which includes some really rare stuff like the 'joke script' that he wrote in revenge for a practical joke by Peter Jurasik and Andreas Katsulas and the real gem, a memo describing the original 5 year arc if Sinclair had stayed.

                              Volume 14 just went on sale last Friday and the coveted Volume 15 will ship with it for those who've bought all 14 and filled out their proof of purchase forms.

                              Hope this helps.

                              Jan
                              "As empathy spreads, civilization spreads. As empathy contracts, civilization contracts...as we're seeing now.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X