Portrait of a business problem?

ریاضیات بدون عذر خواهی: پرتره از یک مشکل حرفه

There’s a new site — one of many, unfortunately — where in theory you can illegally download MWA,  or rather a book with the title copied above.  These sites proliferated last spring, but interest apparently dried up until recently.  I tried to find more information but instead saw this screen:

Forbidden

That seems to mean the illegal download is impossible — probably good news, though I don’t know how long it will last.  You get a link to the site if you type the Farsi text at the top of this post in an appropriate place.  Originally I thought it was Arabic, because the first word

ریاضیات

is the same as the Arabic word for mathematics; however, the letter پ (“P” as in “Portrait”) should have been a giveaway.  Google Translate identifies the language as Farsi and turns it into

Mathematics without apology: Portrait of a business problem

I should be pleased that Farsi speakers have access to my book, but that title, though certainly tempting, may be misleading.

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11 thoughts on “Portrait of a business problem?

  1. Bobito

    You should be pleased about the existence of sites that allow download of outrageously expensive technical books. Most of us in poorer countries have access to woefully inadequate libraries and our salaries are insuffient to buy books that cost 100 euros. So we don’t read your wonderful books.

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    1. mathematicswithoutapologies Post author

      This is not a technical book, its publisher is a university press rather than a multinational conglomerate, and it’s price is 25-29 euros, not 100 euros. But I sympathize with your point. Farsi speakers face additional obstacles. I’m not convinced that the solution is to empower international mafias (criminal mafias as opposed to the legal mafias that dominate the publication of journals and technical books). Journals are typically made available for free to libraries in poorer countries.

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    1. mathematicswithoutapologies Post author

      Amazing! There have been 23 visits to this blog from Iran so far today, and I think they are the first ever. Could they all be Indians who are passing through? Or has something changed?

      I should dig up some of my unused Omar Khayyam material to mark the occasion.

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  2. The Good Pirate

    I should probably tell you, that I took it as a challenge to find an illegal copy of your book. And it took me less than a minute to find and download an .epub version (I have no interest in reading or disseminating it further, so I have deleted the file.)

    Trying to stop the internet is futile. You should be happy that people find your book worth of pirating. That’s a good thing.

    (Not to mention that in most cases, good products only benefit from piracy. See Game of Thrones rating go up as its pirated copies gain more downloads; or cult movies getting sale boosts due to piracy. If you think your book is good, then piracy is the least of your concerns.)

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    1. mathematicswithoutapologies Post author

      As you can well imagine, I have heard all that before, many times. Your most interesting point is the comparison of my book to Game of Thrones. I’m relieved to know that the bottom line of the producers of Game of Thrones is not suffering as a result of piracy. Game of Thrones is produced by HBO, a subsidiary of Time Warner, whose total assets in 2013 amounted to roughly $68 billion. Your comment is interesting because it demonstrates that at least some of the many people who write things like “trying to stop the internet is futile,” which is perhaps the least novel observation one can possibly make about the internet, actually can’t tell the difference between a $68 billion multinational and a university press.

      I live quite comfortably on my university salary and don’t particularly need the royalties I can hope to receive for this or any other book — which doesn’t mean that I especially want to share them with the mafias that I assume, possibly without justification, are behind the majority of illegal downloading sites. (And I still haven’t given up hope that Warner Brothers, another subsidiary of Time Warner, will soon be calling about the movie version.) But professional writers may have no other source of income. What are their options? The pirate utopia you envision leads inevitably (or so it seems to me) to the elimination of any profitable alternative to the multinationals and the mafias. Of course, there remain state-sponsored outlets (which are not doing particularly well in the English-speaking world) and philanthropic or cooperative operations (which together account for most of the periodicals I read).

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      1. Alejandro

        Well, probably a few authors really miss some fraction of their royalties because of the “ilegal” downloading websites, but these websites share the information for free and make money only from banner ads, which is barely enough to maintain a server (especially under DDoS-attacks of the publishers), let alone an international mafia.

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  3. Pingback: On anonymous comments | Mathematics without Apologies, by Michael Harris

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