Poll update

I will leave this one to speak for itself. All I want to add is that we always appreciate the feedback.

33 thoughts on “Poll update”

  1. Missing option: on at least one occasion, I’ve bought both versions of one book. If I recall correctly, both full price.

    I have since decided not to buy new paper chess books anymore, only books that are in PGN form so I can use them with all my chess software.

  2. I don’t “read” chess books – I study them. And since all my studying is based on Chessbase and other software tools, I absolutely must put them into PGN or CBx format before I can use them. Thus I am equally ambivalent about all the provided choices, since all of them require I manually enter the information. I would pay extra to get a PGN/CBx format, and would even accept various DRM schemes. Anything to avoid manually entering the entire book!

  3. I understand Mons. AAGAARD concerning the people that don’t pay for the ebooks; however, I think that an Ipad (another electronic device) solution could be posible, considering that only the person that pays for an ebook can read it and that the file can’t be downloaded to another device.

    I have noticed that there are Quality chess ebooks in the SmartChess application (http://www.playsmartchess.com/) but I really don’t like it, because it’s very difficult to know which part of the book you are reading. I propose Mons. AAAGAARD to consider the e+books application (http://eplusbooks.com/) because it’s like having both: the book and the chessboard at the same time. It’s like reading an ebook and, at the same time, having a chessboard to follow the movements.

    I hope you can consider my opinion, I’ll really love to see your books in this application, and for me it doesn’t matter if I have to pay the same that in a paperback version.

  4. Kostas Oreopoulos

    The best solution would be an interactive app (for ipad/android/winphone), that logs into quality chess servers and gets the required info

    To elaborate.
    You login using username/pass
    You have access to the books you bought
    You browse the books like you do with “internet content”
    Nothing is saved on tablet (we are just talking about xml/json streams or equiv)


    No piracy
    I can have access to all my books anytime (as long as i have internet access)

  5. Even then piracy can be done, but of course this is in general how things are going to be done in the future for more general applications also, like operation systems.

  6. Kostas Oreopoulos

    @Nikos Ntirlis

    Actually no piracy can be done when streaming content. You can easily encrypt content (and since no law prohibit you to use certain encryptions, like dvd’s for example) using secure enough ciphers. There are many proven secure methods for doing so

    you may have in mind various broken security systems, but most of them are based on very old protocols (and protocols are hard to change) or law restrictions (for example dvd encryption). There are mathematically proven secure streaming ciphers.

  7. @Kostas Oreopoulos
    If the content is text, then piracy can be done simply by “screen scraping”, that is, hitting the “PrintScreen” button for each screen of text. Slow, but could be done.

    @Kostas Oreopoulos
    This is not the best solution if you want to make money. Lots of people, myself included, would never pay for “streaming content”.

  8. Nikos is a top programmer, he knows about this stuff. I trust his opinion on these matters. I too believe that streaming is the correct approach.

  9. Gilchrist is a Legend

    So 79% of the polled want physical books, that is good news. At least I am not the only one who reads books with pages πŸ˜€

    Not very long ago (probably 2009) I used to study all my chess, including opening books, even those with very long tree variations, using my physical chessboard instead of my computer. The only reason I use a computer (but with paper books) to study chess now is due to the fact that studying for hours moving pieces eventually tires and hurts my arm. But I am sure there are some around my level (2250-2300) and higher even, that still use paper books and study with a wooden chessboard and pieces.

  10. Kostas Oreopoulos :
    @Nikos Ntirlis
    Actually no piracy can be done when streaming content. .

    Correct and wrong at the same time! Of course i am talking about getting the content, which is really the chess analysis and the text. Of course i can play to get the book in whatever format QC is selling to me, make a (handwritten) copy, make a pdf with it and share it on the net. I have even see this happening with Dzindzi’s videos. Someone actually recorded on paper this analysis and comments and had this pdf shared on the web.

    Of course this is a very primitive way of doing piracy but i am sure that there are some people that will do it. What really you can do to not be affected too much by piracy is to do one or both of the following two things:

    1. Produce large amount of content as quickly as possible.

    2. Produce such a product that the quality of the original product compared with the copy is too big.

    This applies in general for any product and not only for books. I cannot say which method is more applicable and profitable for a publishing house as many paremeters whould be measured and the fact that we are talking about chess books make generalisations quite dangerous. Clearly QC at present follows the second method and Everyman follows the first one. If QC moves at electronic content then i am sure that will continue following the second method and this is when Mr Oreopoulos comment becomes relevant and true.

  11. @Jacob Aagaard
    If you do not *want* to give people who prefer ebooks (real ebooks, that is, such as PDFs) the option of paying you for the ebooks, that is, of course, entirely up to you. Such people will continue to download bootlegs.

  12. @Shurlock Ventriloquist
    I think they have a greater income to start with than we do. It is not impossible some chess publishers will go under because of piracy. I do not think we will, but it definity hurts our very small profit margins.

  13. @The Lurker
    The issue is that you have to do it in a good way and we are trying to work out which way that should be. I would be very surprised if we did not have a format out there in 12 months from now.

  14. @Jacob Aagaard
    I think the problem is that you think that giving out your PDFs is unacceptable, because it makes it too easy on the pirates. But you are not giving out your PDFs now, and that makes it hard on the pirates, and yet the pirated copies are still out there. And some of them that I have seen are of pretty good quality. Instead of worrying about how you can make it hard on the pirates, accept the fact that you cannot make it hard enough on them to make them stop. Instead, consider how you can make it easier for honest people to give you their money in exchange for digital content that they actually want.

    There may be honest people out there who are willing to pay for streaming content. But I’d bet there are a lot more out there who wouldn’t pay for streaming content at any price, but would pay for their own copy of a PDF if the price were right.

    I do know that I would pay for a PDF if the price were right. I would ***NEVER*** pay for streaming content. If my ISP is down, if my physical network is down, if I can’t get network access, if the QC site is down, I couldn’t read it. No way I would ever pay for that.

  15. @The Lurker
    First of, I understand that there is great interest in this from the audience and we are not being complacent. We are working on “the right” solution, not just doing something random like Everyman and NIC have done.

    I think you are not fully aware of how streaming content works. My vision would blow you away; if only I had a million euros to develop it :-). For now we will see what we can do with what we have.

  16. @Jacob Aagaard

    That’s the reason why I suggest you to utilise the following application: e+books (http://eplusbooks.com/) because it’s like having both: the book and the chessboard at the same time.

    It’s like reading an ebook and, at the same time, having a chessboard to follow the movements.

    I hope you can check the aforementioned application, it’s better than the SmartChess application (http://www.playsmartchess.com/), where I have seen Quality chess ebooks (chapters only).

  17. We of course know of these guys; I even had a meeting with them at the Olympiad. But despite great sympathy for them, they are not our first choice.

  18. Regarding SmartChess, we have allowed them to use samples from our website on their stuff. Why? Because we have a – no restrictions policy on the stuff we put on the site. It would be weird to add one to them. Besides this, we have no plans for cooperation with SmartChess in the forseeable future. We once invited one of them to visit us in Glasgow and they never fully replied, so what can you do?

    No, we are hoping to go in a different direction. But for now we have to endure with paper.

  19. @Jacob Aagaard

    Thank you for you sincer answer. I hope you can find a good application for you books.

    I believe that even that there are people that love paperback books, there are a lot of people that wish to see the Quality chess books converted to ebook, to facilitate their studies.

  20. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    Jacob, as a loyal supporter, I look forward to purchasing future products and apologize that my last post (now that I have actually reread it) was more antagonistic than I had wished.

    I am not a fan of the ebooks, myself, but understand why people are, and I get the market demand for such products and as such I hope you are able to solve the obstacles that surround this issue and that QC continues to do well financially and grow in the changing marketplace.

    So long as the intellectual product delivered is top shelf (and it almost (?!) always is), you will continue to flourish across the landscape of changing media, I am certain.

    No, go find Nessie!


  21. @Jacob Aagaard

    “Random” is not a bad description of how the typical Everyman eBook is structured. Not even mentioning their significantly lower ambition level with the content (compared to QC)…

    Quality Chess, make sure your future eBooks are as wonderfully readable and well-structured as your ‘paper’ books… All those little things that makes a book easy to navigate in, easy to read (despite highly demanding content). Well-done, praise to QC.

    It is amazing that there is a market for a company such as Everyman, just pumping our an endless string of “been-done before”-type of books.

  22. @Dave
    I am personally not sure that Everyman makes a profit. But the owners are still happy it seems…

    Yes, we want to do our stuff in a good way. And we are considering one solution very seriously; with a few back-up options existing.

  23. Gilchrist is a Legend

    79% for paper books is much. To be honest, even if live to be 100 years old, I will still only read physical (paper books). They might have some new invention then when e-books are obsolete, which is quite disturbing. Hopefully there will always be a market for we paperbook readers. I still hope to read GM100 in hardback in year 2050 πŸ˜€

  24. @Jacob

    I love QC books: I have bought a bunch of them and I consider to buy more in the future. I like these books: very easy to read, clear (and not so small) diagrams, nice (light) paper and good contrast (print).

    I do not know what to say about electronic version of the books. I believe it more depends from the most comfortable using these, rather than the price. If more people is going to buy electronic devices like Ipod, Ipad, tablets, etc. – there will be bigger market to sell books in an electronic form.

    If I buy one of the previously mentioned devices – you can be sure I would like to buy (direct from your site) an electronic version of the book. But not all the books (even if in low prices), but mostly those that contain many variations (like GM opening series) or puzzles books.

    Jacob – if the a chess puzzle book (from QC of course) contains 1000 tactical puzzles – do you think that there would be no (sufficient) honest people to buy it in an electronic (interactive!) form? I bet if the price is low enough and the ad (explanation) is convincing – there would be at least 100-200 people that are willing to buy it. If we multiply 150 (average) by a 8-10E (a reasonable price) it might give income of the 1200-1500E. I think it is quite reasonable amount of income in one book (I estimate a selling period of one year). Am I really wrong?

    I do not know if you have seen some research showing that people who obtain a book without buying it… are willing to buy it much more – if they are satisfied with the quality and if it is an easy way of doing it. What do you think about it?

  25. QC Fan who Loves EBooks

    My preference of format (from most desirable to least) would be:

    1. chessbase format or PGN

    2. kindle ebooks (less convenient than already being in chessbase format, but still much more convenient than paper; I have many chess books in this format, and I read/study them by having the Amazon kindle web app open on one half of my screen, and chessbase open on the other half)

    3. paper books

    I wouldn’t buy or subscribe to anything that either worked only on the ipad (although I do own an ipad as well as an android tablet) or was a proprietary solution that only allowed me to view content for one publisher. I rarely buy paper books any longer (a chess book every once in a while that isn’t available in an electronic format is pretty much the only exception), but I buy lots of books from Everyman and lots of Amazon kindle chess ebooks. For example, within the last week, I bought 9 everyman ebooks to get a free 10th book, and it’s not the first time I’ve done that; and I’ve bought at least a few chess ebooks through amazon in the past couple of weeks. Yes, I have an addiction ;-), but it’s a relatively innocuous one. If QC would like some proof of how many Everyman ebooks I’ve purchased or how many chess ebooks I’ve purchased through Amazon, email me through the email address I gave and I’ll happily provide it.

    I don’t really understand Jacob’s attitude towards piracy. His arguments sound like the refuted arguments the music industry used to give about every download being a lost sale and that it would be a financial disaster to sell music online without DRM. The music industry has finally recognized the error of their ways, and you can now buy DRM-free music from many places online, with non-DRM being the norm. The sky didn’t fall, and they are still making tons of money. Yes, there are still some hardcore pirates who get your content for free when you publish in electronic format, but there is absolutely nothing you can do about that [nothing that makes financial sense, at least], regardless of whether you offer ebooks or not.

    As a person who very strongly prefers electronic formats, QC currently forces me to either:

    1. not use QC products at all

    2. purchase QC purchase very rarely when I really, really, really want that book and the downsides of the physical medium are less than the extra perceived value of that particular work

    3. download a pirated PDF version of the QC book from online

    I don’t download pirated material, so the choices for me are between 1 and 2. I reluctantly choose 2, and mostly purchase from other publishers, despite the fact that I think QC has the best content out there and that I would buy more from them than anybody else if they were available in either chessbase/pgn or kindle formats. I do own some QC books (the 2 Gruenfeld GM Repertoire books, the Anti-Sicilian book, the puzzle book, and the two Attacking Chess books), but you guys lose tons of sales from me for the reasons stated above. I don’t think I’m alone in my preference for electronic formats, so it’s a pretty good bet that you are losing lots of sales from other people too.

    I also don’t think you really make it much more difficult for the pirates anyway. It’s very easy to find PDF scans of QC books online. For example, I just searched for the Gruenfeld GM Rep books and was able to find both for download with just a few minutes of searching. The pirates will still get your content. It’s just honest people like me who want to purchase your books that are the ones that are really inconvenienced.

    Of course, it’s your right to sell things in whatever way you please, and I’ll continue purchasing the occasional QC hard copy from time to time while hoping you’ll someday change your ways, but I think you guys are shooting yourselves in the foot with your backwards attitude towards electronic publishing, and you lose lots of sales from me and people like me.

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