22 min

003_I have an excellent example of a monopoly that must die‪.‬ Sponge

    • Arts

Full transcript and links:
https://sponge.ithakaonmymind.com/audio/003-i-have-an-excellent-example-of-a-monopoly-that-must-die
Everything I do is organized here:
https://ithakaonmymind.com/
☠️☠️☠️
This, I absorbed from my recent review of the costs I have accrued in the past three years for my writing and publishing business: Bowker’s  existence is a disgrace to American capitalism and along with Bowker,  all monopolies should die.
I am talking about this topic now, because I thought it might be nice to change things up instead of doing all the “Mirror and the Palette” episodes in a row.
Bowker operates in the United States of America. Among many other overpriced nonsense products, it also sells ISBNs. Sells, instead of giving them out for free. ISBNs—which stands for International Standard Book Number. Number. Just a simple number that does its existing on its own—as in, without humans needing to create them. Nevertheless, Bowker sells these.
To this, you might say, “Well, Bowker needs to keep itself afloat somehow. It is a business.”
I would agree with you, if the price that Bowker charges for a single ISBN is anything close to fair. In my world, the maximum you could  possibly, possibly charge for a single string of number, in a  fair manner, is maybe, generously speaking, ten dollars. Okay? Ten  dollars. And that’s not because numbers are exspensive, but because  Bowker needs to take care of the hosting, the customer service (which it doesn’t really have, but I’m speaking of hypotheticals here), and maybe it just wants to save up. You know, have a financial reserve. Because,  indeed, Bowker is a business.
But it isn’t just any business. That is the problem. It is a monopoly. It is the only agency that sells ISBN numbers in the United States.
Thus, at this time, Bowker is able to sell a single ISBN, which is, again, literally a string of numbers, for…
…one hundred and twenty-five dollars.
Yes. You heard that right. One hundred and twenty-five dollars for a single string of numbers.
The existence of a business like this is a disgrace to American capitalism and along with Bowker, all monopolies should die.
This is an example of something that seems to clearly  violate the right to free speech in this country. But surprisingly, I’ve heard no one talk about it in that context. The fact that unless you  can pay $125 per single number, or unless you’re willing to pay even  more for the bulk option, you cannot publish a print book yourself—how  does this not violate the right to free speech?
Although you do not necessarily need an ISBN for an ebook, you very  much need an ISBN for a print book that is sold at regular stores. This  situation means that if I were a political activist who wants to publish a print book and make it available at regular stores, online or  offline, I may not be able to, unless I work with a publisher, which may or may not have a favorable contract for me. Thus, the US government’s  total indifference to the existence of a monopoly such as Bowker can  very well force some people to make decisions that go against free speech. They might have to make edits that they don’t want to make. Or, because they cannot buy a new ISBN for a new edition, maybe they might  not be able to make the edits that they want to make. Worst, they might need to wait around to get published instead of publishing.
In America. Of all countries.
...
..
.

Full transcript and links:
https://sponge.ithakaonmymind.com/audio/003-i-have-an-excellent-example-of-a-monopoly-that-must-die
Everything I do is organized here:
https://ithakaonmymind.com/
☠️☠️☠️
This, I absorbed from my recent review of the costs I have accrued in the past three years for my writing and publishing business: Bowker’s  existence is a disgrace to American capitalism and along with Bowker,  all monopolies should die.
I am talking about this topic now, because I thought it might be nice to change things up instead of doing all the “Mirror and the Palette” episodes in a row.
Bowker operates in the United States of America. Among many other overpriced nonsense products, it also sells ISBNs. Sells, instead of giving them out for free. ISBNs—which stands for International Standard Book Number. Number. Just a simple number that does its existing on its own—as in, without humans needing to create them. Nevertheless, Bowker sells these.
To this, you might say, “Well, Bowker needs to keep itself afloat somehow. It is a business.”
I would agree with you, if the price that Bowker charges for a single ISBN is anything close to fair. In my world, the maximum you could  possibly, possibly charge for a single string of number, in a  fair manner, is maybe, generously speaking, ten dollars. Okay? Ten  dollars. And that’s not because numbers are exspensive, but because  Bowker needs to take care of the hosting, the customer service (which it doesn’t really have, but I’m speaking of hypotheticals here), and maybe it just wants to save up. You know, have a financial reserve. Because,  indeed, Bowker is a business.
But it isn’t just any business. That is the problem. It is a monopoly. It is the only agency that sells ISBN numbers in the United States.
Thus, at this time, Bowker is able to sell a single ISBN, which is, again, literally a string of numbers, for…
…one hundred and twenty-five dollars.
Yes. You heard that right. One hundred and twenty-five dollars for a single string of numbers.
The existence of a business like this is a disgrace to American capitalism and along with Bowker, all monopolies should die.
This is an example of something that seems to clearly  violate the right to free speech in this country. But surprisingly, I’ve heard no one talk about it in that context. The fact that unless you  can pay $125 per single number, or unless you’re willing to pay even  more for the bulk option, you cannot publish a print book yourself—how  does this not violate the right to free speech?
Although you do not necessarily need an ISBN for an ebook, you very  much need an ISBN for a print book that is sold at regular stores. This  situation means that if I were a political activist who wants to publish a print book and make it available at regular stores, online or  offline, I may not be able to, unless I work with a publisher, which may or may not have a favorable contract for me. Thus, the US government’s  total indifference to the existence of a monopoly such as Bowker can  very well force some people to make decisions that go against free speech. They might have to make edits that they don’t want to make. Or, because they cannot buy a new ISBN for a new edition, maybe they might  not be able to make the edits that they want to make. Worst, they might need to wait around to get published instead of publishing.
In America. Of all countries.
...
..
.

22 min