The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 47, November 22, 2009, Article 9


Regarding last week's item about the availability of The E-Sylum on the Amazon Kindle book reader, Rich Bottles writes:

esylum kindle By the way, many new authors are surprised when they see that their new Kindle publication is initially only available "outside of the U.S." This seems to be a technical glitch on Amazon's part. It should in fact be available everywhere and I believe Amazon will eventually fix this confusing reference.

Another frustrating practice of Amazon's is that it will include a question box on the print-edition page for a title asking customers if they want to see this title available on Kindle. The problem is that the title sometimes is already available on Kindle, but because Amazon includes this question on the page for the print edition, customers assume that it is not yet available and do not bother looking for a Kindle edition.

Fred Schwan writes:

I was interested to read about The E-Sylum appearing on the Kindle and especially by your comments thereon. Your comments seem to be of casual interest rather than issues of copyright. I can understand our collective desire to see widespread distribution of our beloved E-Sylum, and yes, subscriptions are free, but I am not at all sure of the legality (or appropriateness) of reselling copyrighted material without permission (or compensation).

It is even likely that you would gladly give permission, but have you? Actually, can you? I assume that items submitted (like this letter) are the property of the submitter. At a minimum, in the finest tradition of The E-Sylum, this is possibly a topic for lively discussion in the pages, er, electrons of the E-Sylum.

Well, Amazon doesn't just republish material wily-nilly. As you suggest, it must indeed have permission, and as an experiment I granted that permission. The E-Sylum image, text, and address of the RSS feed used to fuel the Kindle were all provided by yours truly.

As for The E-Sylum's republication of its reader's submissions, that's what we've been doing weekly for over twelve years without a peep from our contributors. As you note, subscriptions are free to all and back issues are archived almost immediately on the NBS web site, freely available for all the world to see. By submitting a query or article to The E-Sylum, contributors are giving their implicit permission for republication. But that doesn't mean they're giving up the copyright to their own words - that stays both with the original author and The E-Sylum.

Our republication of images and text excerpts from other publications is done under the Fair Use doctrine. As part of the Press, we are free to use these in the context of our own publication. That doesn't give us the right to completely republish articles verbatim, and in the case of print publications like Coin World and other numismatic e-zines (like Fred's MPC Gram) I usually ask for permission to excerpt even though I may not technically be required to. I was a little concerned about this when I started The E-Sylum, but in twelve plus years of publishing I've never had a quoted publication contact me with an objection.

For the last couple years The E-Sylum has carried advertisements, and for several years before that the NBS web archive has carried Google ads. These are a small way for the editor and NBS to get some compensation for our efforts, although it only amounts to maybe, what - a nickel an hour? But it adds up to lunch money by the time a check arrives, and yours truly has a couple extra pounds around the waist to prove it.

Amazon charges its Kindle subscribers $1.99/month for an The E-Sylum subscription, but that fee helps cover the cost of Amazon's wireless distribution system, and some of that money would make its way back to the publisher, although I have yet to see a dime. We may actually have a Kindle subscriber or two, but I haven't logged in to check yet. -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: THE E-SYLUM AVAILABLE ON THE AMAZON KINDLE READER (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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