, , ,


Interesting post in the tech blog of the Guardian UK, about ebooks and piracy. What can the publishing industry learn from the recording industry?

The real reason that the music industry came around to the idea of downloads … was because customers were choosing to pirate instead. … the publishing industry isn’t being forced to confront a radical shift in consumer behaviour caused by technology, because that scenario just is not happening.

In other words, a very high percentage–say 99%–of ebooks being read are being bought. Which means that the publishers aren’t actively losing money, which means that they don’t need to try to cajole those pirates back into the ranks of paying customers. Which is why publishers are taking such a lackadaisical attitude toward epublishing.

Hopefully, someone will step up to the plate. Amazon’s phoning in the Kindle’s hardware; Sony’s phoning  in the Reader’s content delivery; publishers are phoning in ebook prices and formatting. This industry is the wild west right now, looking for someone to tame it.

In other news, a post on MobileRead hopes that Jeff Bezos will use Amazon considerable industry power to do away with DRM, the same way Steve Jobs did with iTunes.

I doubt Amazon will do this first. iTunes was one of the last major mp3 stores to switch to DRM, forced into it by Yahoo and eMusic and, yes, Amazon DRM-free mp3s.

Now Amazon is in the position of power. They’ve already shown they won’t open up the Kindle; what reason would they have for changing their ebook business model? I’m looking for a third-party ebookstore, one who doesn’t sell a device, to use DRM-free to steal some market-share from Kindle and Sony Reader. After all, if they sold DRM-free PDFs (and, maybe, ePubs) then Kindlers could email-convert it for a dime, and get around Amazon’s hegemony.

I won’t hold my breath.

[Guardian original here] [MobileRead original here]