Last month's launch
of Amazon's e-book reader, Kindle, has people talking about ebooks again, with some questioning whether or not the potential popularity of the reader combined with the ease of viewing unauthorized ebooks on it would lead to
an increase in e-book "piracy." Reader Carolyn
writes in to point to a terrific rant about how this assertion is misplaced
. The writer, Kassia Krozser, notes that it's not the Kindle's fault that people will use unauthorized content -- it's the fault of publishers for making it inconvenient for people to do what they want with content. It's the same thing that we said when JK Rowling refused
to offer the Harry Potter books as ebooks out a fear of unauthorized copies getting out. That's ridiculous of course. In doing so, you guarantee that the only
digital copies are unauthorized, even if someone wanted
to pay for them. It's this thinking that helped screw up the recording industry as well. If the industry had recognized early on how Napster showed how people wanted to consume music, they could have offered a compelling solution that people would have paid for. Instead, they resisted and fought it, and now the problem is much worse. The problem isn't with the device, but with publishers not giving people the content in a format they want. As Krozser says (and we used for the headline of this post): "Devices don't make pirates. Unreasonable barriers make pirates."