submitted 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago) by PropaGandalf@lemmy.world to c/fediverse@lemmy.world

Hello everyone,

Books are still one of the most important sources of information we have as a human species. However, the media on which this information has been stored has changed considerably over time and with it its accessibility and influence on our society.

Nowadays you can find an enormous range of books and texts online. Most of the time, however, access to them is extremely fragmented, difficult to find, subject to a fee, incompatible with the software platform of your choice or, in the worst case, goes under with its provider over time.

To counteract this, annas-archive was founded to make the knowledge stored in the texts and books openly accessible and to preserve it for future generations. On the other hand, there are platforms such as Goodreads that aim to simplify the joy of reading and the exchange of information, as well as the review and discussion of books and texts.

Unfortunately, Goodreads is a centralized, proprietary solution that in addition also happens to be owned by Amazon. BookWyrm is a decentralized, open source alternative in the fediverse that steps in right here.

Now here's the kicker: what if we combined the power of both platforms? What if we combined the enormous book database of annas-archive with the fediverse, i.e. BookWyrm? Annas archive could benefit from reviews and discussions about the books and BookWyrm could expand its still very limited database many times over.

From my point of view, this would be the perfect combination of two already great projects. What do you think?

TL:DR What do you think about combining annas-archive with the fediverse (BookWyrm)

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[-] simple@lemm.ee 26 points 2 months ago

Isn't Anna's Library piracy? Bookwyrm is just a book tracker ala goodreads which only has metadata, providing links to free downloads of books is illegal and would put them under fire.

If you want a legal alternative to what you're describing, check out OpenLibrary. You can borrow books there and use it as a Goodreads alternative.

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 13 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

Anna's Archive is way more than just a redirection to sources where you can get the books for free. In that sense the content itself is hosted on different platforms like IPFS, through torrents or on zlibrary and AA is just a discovery, curatorial platform. But Thanks for the info about OpenLibrary!

[-] Star@sopuli.xyz 7 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

AA is just a discovery, curatorial platform.

It isn't just a discovery/search platform anymore. Source

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 1 points 2 months ago

I see. Well personally I'm like the way it goes but I understand that many people don't see it like that. Nevertheless it has a huge database we could profit from.

[-] Fluid@aussie.zone 21 points 2 months ago

Anything that helps bookwyrm grow its knowledge library of books (missing a LOT of books that goodreads has) is a good idea. I fear however that combining anything which points people to where to pirate the book might not help the popularity/reputation of bookwyrm as a good OS alt to goodreads.

[-] JubilantJaguar@lemmy.world 18 points 2 months ago

In theory, if a good number of public libraries and and the Internet Archive each has a paid-for digital copy of a book, and decent infrastructure to ensure redundancy, plus a paper copy as the ultimate backup, then it seems unlikely the book's content will actually be lost before centuries have passed.

The problem I want solved is this: how do I get my money to the author of a book without needing to use DRM software and without paying tax to gatekeeping corporate monopolists?

[-] surewhynotlem@lemmy.world 10 points 2 months ago

I tend to use their OnlyFans

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 8 points 2 months ago

That's rather simple: P2P payments. I know people here really don't like cryptos but they fill in this gap really well.

[-] JubilantJaguar@lemmy.world 7 points 2 months ago

That requires putting one's faith in the vapor-currency that is crypto. Not saying that it won't happen one day, but neither is it necessary to solve this problem.

A simple Paypal button, for example, does not require DRM spyware if done from a website on a FOSS stack. The Paypal tax is is mere pennies compared to Amazon. A bank transfer has no tax at all, tho it's not great in privacy terms.

But where do I get the author's Paypal ID or bank number from? I want you pay you directly, dammit, but you insist on allowing to Amazon tax the transaction and to force me to install spyware to read your damn book.

This is a cultural problem as well as a technical one, of course.

IMO we need to get to world where enough authors are happy to allow ordinary folks to "pirate" their work, and enough readers are happy to pay them even though they could get away with not doing so. In that world the technical solutions could so easy, so frictionless, in theory. But it takes a leap of imagination for everyone involved.

[-] deur@feddit.nl 7 points 2 months ago

What? It doesn't take crypto to get rid of DRM? What's needed is the ability for authors to sell their books DRM free, and that does not require and definitely would never scale with crypto.

[-] maxprime@lemmy.ml 1 points 2 months ago

I suppose you could buy a paper copy of the book and give it to a friend or donate it somewhere.

[-] Rocketpoweredgorilla@lemmy.ca 13 points 2 months ago

Oh wow, they even have the book that was written about my great, great, great grandparents.

I've already bought the actual book but it's nice to have a pdf of it as well.

[-] sabreW4K3@lemmy.tf 8 points 2 months ago

Never heard of Anna's Archive before. Not sure how I feel about the prospect of piracy in the fediverse explicitly.

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 5 points 2 months ago

It's not the platform itself that hosts the content. It's more like a huge database with links redirecting to the free content. But I still get your point.

[-] maxprime@lemmy.ml 5 points 2 months ago

I mean, that’s the cool thing about federation. Some instances could adopt this and some could reject it.

[-] sabreW4K3@lemmy.tf 0 points 2 months ago

Illegalities are a boon for everything they need. They push and accelerate development and that's never a bad thing. But the flipside of that is the negative stigma. It would be wonderful to have Anna's Archive without it being a thing for that reason. We always want the growth of the Fediverse and a giant project like Anna's Archive may be what we need to inspire more projects to join until such a point that there's a counterbalance to mastodon.

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 4 points 2 months ago

Look, downloading books for free if it's only for private consumption isn't illegal everywhere.

[-] Candelestine@lemmy.world 8 points 2 months ago

I mean, yea. The whole point of this project is to replace traditional internet services with updated and improved ones.

So, we should probably do that. It's not a question of the ideas being good or not, though, it's how there's not enough people to do all the sitting down and physically working to create these things. So, progress is slow. Just because there's not that many of us yet, in the grand scheme of things. Especially compared to the scope of the Fediverse's ambitions.

[-] Emperor@feddit.uk 2 points 2 months ago

Very true. The success of BookWyrm makes me hungry for other variations covering a range of stuff but the pool of talent isn't massive and they all seem to be busy on various projects.

[-] ChunkMcHorkle@lemmy.world 8 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

I have nothing against AA or Goodreads, and have never heard of BookWyrm before today, but the main thing I use Goodreads for is providing a link for a publication that has accurate info (full correct name, correct name of author, date of publishing, ISBN, etc) that does not involve an Amazon or other sales link.

So BookWyrm could never replace Goodreads for me anyway, and then there's this:

Write reviews or post casual commentary as you go, and control who gets to see your posts with granular privacy settings.

From https://joinbookwyrm.com/

It's like Facebook for book reviews. I couldn't even see a book myself because it's all locked down. And like Facebook if you have to create a private account to use it I'd never go there anyway without seeing it first, or specific interest in what it offers. (I'm one of those rare never-Facebook people you sometimes see in the wild, lol.) If I had been unable to browse Lemmy before joining, I'd never have joined.

Facebook overcame its initial participation hump by being .edu only, very exclusive, and word of mouth. They have coasted on that word of mouth factor ever since, because now it's baked into the media and daily online life. But they couldn't do it from scratch again today. So unless you unlock BookWyrm in some way, or its exclusivity becomes a major draw in itself, I don't know how it will overcome that initial participation hurdle.

I upvoted your post and absolutely support your goal in theory, but as someone who never joined Facebook, you could never get me to join a Facebook for book reviews, sorry.

[-] maxprime@lemmy.ml 6 points 2 months ago

Could you get into BookWyrm if it no longer required an account to view books? And if metadata was collected through AA it would likely be accurate while also running on FOSS.

[-] ChunkMcHorkle@lemmy.world 6 points 2 months ago

Could you get into BookWyrm if it no longer required an account to view books?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I used to like Goodreads and would linger on the site, but the reviews themselves started to get weird a couple few years ago and now I only go when I need a link. A Federated, open version of it (with effective but non-corporate moderation) would be great, because it would have the honest range of reviews Goodreads used to have, hopefully without corporate attempts at manipulating the content.

[-] PropaGandalf@lemmy.world 4 points 2 months ago

I don't see much of a difference to Goodreads. You will find most of the features you already use on bookwyr including book lists, reading goals and book info. It's up to you to decide if you want to sgare these info with everyone, just your friends or keep them for yourself. There are a lot of lists that are public too so don't worry about that.

[-] ChunkMcHorkle@lemmy.world 2 points 2 months ago

There are a lot of lists that are public too so don’t worry about that.

Cool, but if I need an account to see them then they're not really public. Maybe it's me but I did not see any link to any actual open content. If you could point me to one I'd be happy to look again.

[-] Emperor@feddit.uk 2 points 2 months ago

If you could point me to one I’d be happy to look again.

Try this.

BookWyrm is designed to be a replacement for Goodreads, so it operates in a fairly similar way.

[-] ChunkMcHorkle@lemmy.world 1 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

That IS very similar to Goodreads, and then I was able to follow a random reviewer link to more content to browse. Thank you.

[-] Emperor@feddit.uk 2 points 2 months ago

No problem. The whole.point of it is as a federated Goodreads replacement - the data is freely available, so all Goodreads has in its favour is it's momentum and the sunk cost fallacy.

Ever since Amazon bought Goodreads I've been waiting for something like this, although I haven't found the time to.impott my data and get properly stuck in. The main downside is I now want a BookWyrm for films,.comics, action figures, etc, etc. They'll turn up eventually I suppose.

[-] God_Is_Love@reddthat.com 7 points 2 months ago

I love Bookwyrm!!

[-] Emperor@feddit.uk 5 points 2 months ago* (last edited 2 months ago)

With Anna's Archive there'd be issues of the legality of linking to it but BookWyrm does provide OpenLibrary links where available.

Ultimately, someone could create a more piracy focused fork of BookWyrm and start their own instance but I think it would be problematic for the core project to bake it in and open anyone running an instance up to legal issues. I suppose there's nothing stopping Anna's Archive from doing it to provide a more social interface to their database.

this post was submitted on 01 Dec 2023
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