Another Reason Why DRM Is Bad -- For Publishers

from the self-foot-shooting dept

As a way of fighting unauthorized sharing of digital files, DRM is particularly stupid. It not only doesn't work -- DRM is always broken, and DRM-less versions quickly produced -- it also makes the official versions less valuable than the pirated ones, since they are less convenient to use in multiple ways. As a result, DRM actually makes piracy more attractive, which is probably why most of the music industry eventually decided to drop it.

Sadly, the world of ebooks seems unable to learn from that experience, and insists on making the same mistakes by using DRM widely. But it turns out that there are even more problems in the publishing domain, as this fascinating tale of how DRM acts as a barrier to entry in the online bookstore market makes clear:

In June of 2011, my friend Emily Gould came up with an idea for a new kind of online bookstore: one that would sell only e-books, but would strive to offer the personalized customer service and curation of a local independent bookshop.
But there was a problem:
Publishers told us that if we did not have digital rights management (DRM) technology, they weren’t interested in letting us promote and sell their products. DRM is the set of technologies that encrypt and prevent the reproduction of e-book files. A new bricks and mortar bookstore, even the tiniest one, could have easily opened accounts with all the major distributors. But to sell electronic versions of those exact same books, publishers told us that you have to be a mega corporation.
That's because DRM is not only annoying for the readers, it's also expensive for the online booksellers that are forced to use it:
In order to provide DRM, you need at least $10,000 up front to cover software, server, and administration fees, plus ongoing expenses associated with the software. In other words, much bigger operating expenses than a small business can afford. By requiring retailers to encrypt e-books with DRM, big publishers are essentially banning indie retailers from the online marketplace.
That might just sound like typical big-company indifference to the plight of small startups, but it's actually worse -- it's suicidal. Techdirt has already written about one reason why that's the case: DRM helps lock readers into Amazon's platform. But the article quoted above provides us with yet another: lack of competition in ebook retailing.
there’s an even more compelling reason that we need indies to exist in the e-book market: The Amazon/Apple near-duopoly on e-book sales is cripplingly destructive for readers, writers, and publishers. Once one of the big "A"s can freely set the price of e-books, they can determine the conditions of the market for everybody. They can charge consumers anything, pay publishers very little (for who will exist to sell their products otherwise?), and leave writers hoping for some small crumb of the pie. Everyone who reads or writes or cares about books has a reason to support the existence of a viable alternative.
And yet the big publishers are doing the opposite. Their insistence on the deployment of DRM with their books is making it hard for independent online booksellers to thrive, which increases the power of the two giants of the sector, thus weakening the bargaining power of the publishers and writers. So DRM turns out to be not only stupid, ineffectual and unfair, but also doubly bad for the very companies who blindly insist on its use.

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Meh, Amazon offers apps on everything device they can get them on and a web interface for those that they don't, lower prices on e-books if they are allowed to and their own publishing.

    Apple offers no apps for non-iOS/apple devices. If you want you can use the kindle app on an iWhatever.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:40am

      Re:

      I'm not entirely sure what that has to do with the point of the article: Amazon & Apple lock people into their platforms through DRM at the publishers' insistence, locking out independent sellers and ultimately causing negative long-term effects for the market as a whole.

      The fact that Amazon aren't as interested in locking people into a single hardware platform does nothing to change this.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 3:59am

    DRM -

    Doesnt really matter
    Destroy's Reasonable Market

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:14am

    When I buy an ebook from Amazon I can read it on my Kindle and on my Android device. I have also found ebooks on Amazon very reasonably priced. What more do you want?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:36am

      Re:

      Reasonably priced books... Many of them costs the same as a physical copy. Reasonable my ass.

       

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        Mega1987 (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:08am

        Re: Re:

        Reasonably priced books.... in THEIR eyes...
        To us, it's either the same price as the physical one or just plain overcharge due to additional fees to whatEVER red tapes they have to go thru....

         

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:47am

      Re:

      "When I buy an ebook from Amazon I can read it on my Kindle and on my Android device"

      ...but other DRM editions are not compatible. What happens if you see that a book you wish to buy is overpriced on Amazon but cheap on iBooks? What happens if you decide to replace your Kindle with a Nook?

      "I have also found ebooks on Amazon very reasonably priced."

      That really depends on what you buy. Many ebooks are priced higher than a new hardcover edition, many are free. If your chosen title is not reasonably priced on Amazon, your ability to shop around is restricted.

      "What more do you want?"

      A fair and free market where the consumer is not assumed to be a criminal before they've even bought the product in question.

       

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      Richard (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:59am

      Re:

      When I buy an ebook from Amazon I can read it on my Kindle and on my Android device. I have also found ebooks on Amazon very reasonably priced. What more do you want?

      Simply this - the deal offered by Rumvi for Russian Books.


      Russian ebooks available through Rumvi.com can be downloaded in different formats – epub, PDF, fb2, TXT and HTML among others. Epub format works best for many ebook readers, including Apple’s iPad. PDF works best for printing ebooks. You will be able to download the ebook you buy in several different formats at no extra charge.


      and by the way the prices are much lower too!

       

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      Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:39am

      Re:

      What more do you want?
      I want to be able to read a book on my spare 4-year old windows mobile phone, my media box on the TV, any PC or other computing device I please whether Windows, Linux, MacOS, or other flavour yet to be invented no matter what kind of e-book reader it has or indeed whether it has one at all. I want to be sure that the book will stay where I put it unless the device dies or I delete it and I want to be able to back it up adequately using a method that I choose. I want to be treated as a customer not a criminal when I buy a book and to be free to use it as I see fit. And most of all I want to be able to do all of that when the company that sold me the book and all support for their products and software has gone the way of the Dodo.

      In short I do not want to have any sort of DRM or format shifting issues on any book I buy.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 9:29am

      Re:

      I want the ability to read keep a copy of the book indefinitely, and to be able to read it on any device of my choosing, whether it exists yet or not, without a network connection and without having to interact further with the place I bought it from.

      Just like a real book.

       

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      That One Guy (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      'reasonably priced'...

      That depends on how you look at it.

      A physical book has manufacturing cost, it has shipping costs, it requires shelf space in a building that is going to cost money to keep open/run, requires the store to restock it every time it is sold, which costs more money... for these reasons it makes sense to price a physical book in the range they are now(though hardcover prices are still just shy of highway robbery).

      An ebook on the other hand has no manufacturing costs, no shipping costs, absolutely negligible server storage space, never requires space that could otherwise be used to sell something else in a store, never requires restocking...

      I'd consider a buck or two to be a good price for an ebook considering all that, not the 'maybe a dollar cheaper than a physical copy' system they have now.

      So lets recap: in exchange for maybe paying a buck or so less, I get DRM that requires me to use a specific service/device, completely destroys my ability to decide that I don't care for it(the ebook) and sell it to someone else, recouping some of my money, and depending on what service I choose I may or may not be able to loan the ebook out.

      Call me crazy, but that doesn't exactly seem like a 'reasonable' trade to me.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:48am

    Baen Books, no DRM, more file formats, you own the book files-not leased by the device, good price. Making money and making sense since 2000.

     

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    This Is Parody, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 4:56am

    No DRM only benefits the authors who are too successful, too much of a failure, have a fanbase that is too big or too small, or are a part of any metric extreme enough to not fall within my highly ridiculous standards. Nice try attempting to defend piracy, Glyn, regardless of whether it is mentioned in the article. Why do you hate authors, Masnick?

     

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    Florian, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:10am

    DRM cost

    If you think it's bad for bookstores...

    In the music industry you will have to get access to the catalog of the big publishers. Of course you can only get that with DRM, but the DRM you have to use is dictated, and comes patent/license encumbered, and the licenses are hellishly expensive. The subscription fee for the music publishers catalog is also expensive beggaring belief. And to put the cream on top, the contract you get sent is literally a book. It's a 500 pages strong document that contains hundreds of stipulations that you have to *prove* that you fullfill, you will need years to sign this document.

    In short, if you don't have a couple millions (preferably billions) and years to set it up, just forget publishing music.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    Another reason eBooks are less valuable is you can't trust that their file format will still be used 10 years later, the book you buy may become unreadable. That's not the case with physical books. My older brother is a pastor, and he's heard from plenty of other long time pastors "Save all your sermons in .txt format, you can't trust .doc files to still be readable 10 years later, I've lost a bunch of my old sermons in older Microsoft document formats".

    Also lets not forget gaming companies adding DRM, and forcing users to be online to even play single player games. I got one game on Christmas from a series I've loved and enjoyed for over 10 years (Heroes of Might & Might), yet 5 months later I STILL haven't installed it, solely because of the obnoxious DRM and all the bad stuff I've read about it. That and it seems that the company spent too much time on bad DRM and not enough time fixing all the bugs before releasing the game.

    There also seems to be a movement to more online games with monthly fees, for the simple reason that they can keep on charging you $10 a month, even after you paid $50 for the game in a store. I say if you're going to charge so much a month then give me the game for free, otherwise I feel like you're double or triple dipping. It also makes it less valuable for me because I may get tired of a game for a few months and not play it for half a year. I'm not going to keep paying $10 a month for a game I don't want to play during that time.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:53am

      Re:

      My older brother is a pastor, and he's heard from plenty of other long time pastors "Save all your sermons in .txt format, you can't trust .doc files to still be readable 10 years later, I've lost a bunch of my old sermons in older Microsoft document formats".
      What they should be telling him is "print all your sermons on acid-free paper and store them in proper book-storage conditions. Even in txt format, you have to be sure you can read the medium; txt files on 5.25" floppies are next to useless these days and even 3.5" floppies are getting hard to read. Properly stored, paper should be readable for decades if not centuries.

       

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        Richard (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re:

        What they should be telling him is "print all your sermons on acid-free paper and store them in proper book-storage conditions.

        But the electronic format is still preferable if possible. So push all those text files into an archive directory (no need to risk a compressed format) and copy it to each new machine you acquire.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:07am

        Re: Re:

        Rock carvings will last WAY longer than paper.

         

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        Machin Shin (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re:

        "txt files on 5.25" floppies are next to useless these days and even 3.5" floppies are getting hard to read."

        So does it just make me a huge geek that I still have a Packard Bell machine that will read both of these? Good old Dos and Windows 3.11 machine that runs beautifully.

        Guess the point is that so long as you A) Update as you go keeping your stuff in new formats OR B) Just hang on to old hardware. Then you are fine. Sure the format might not still be used in ten years, but if you still have the old hardware then you can still read it.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm a dinosaur. I still have 8" floppy disk drives, and I even still use them.

           

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            Machin Shin (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 11:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Now that is just awesome. Oldest I have ever used is the 5.25" but then most guys my age have never even seen one of those.

             

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            Ed C., Apr 16th, 2012 @ 12:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'm a dinosaur. I still have 8" floppy disk drives, and I even still use them.

            Seen one of those once many years ago, thought it was a funky square frisbee.

            Though I did know what a floppy was, the guy was throwing it up in air as walked by.

             

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        John Fenderson (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 9:33am

        Re: Re:

        Even in txt format, you have to be sure you can read the medium; txt files on 5.25" floppies are next to useless these days and even 3.5" floppies are getting hard to read. Properly stored, paper should be readable for decades if not centuries.


        This is the wrong approach to keeping the really important stuff. All media degrades, even rock carvings. The only way to ensure that you can read it in perpetuity is to make regular copies of it. When you make copies, you can also easily migrate away from formats that are becoming obsolete.

        How often to make copies depends on the media, but I've found that a 5 year schedule works well.

         

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        Andrew D. Todd, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 3:08pm

        Recovering Text from old Word Processor files.

        A few years ago, I wrote a little program for extracting text from word processor files, using brute-force methods, The Nutcracker Program (with apologies to Clara), and I created a variant to deal with Microsoft Word files. The source code is published, and has been placed in the public domain.

        http://rowboats-sd-ca.com/adtodd1/adt01.htm#here_other_programs

         

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Project Gutenberg started in 1971, and you can still read the files 40 years later.

      Why? Because it's DRM free.

       

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      AzureSky (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

      Re:

      for MMO's the pay to play model is slowly dieing, many big names in the MMO world have been moving to free to play models with in game cash shops OR like guild wars you buy the game to play and theres an i game cash item shop for convenience and fun items.

      the problem with pay to play is that as stated you pay 50-60usd for the game then 10-15usd a month to play, people are starting to not like that in larger and larger numbers, I go there years ago, I refuse to pay to play if I have to buy the client, If your going to sell me the client, then dont charge me to play, if your going to charge me to play, dont charge for the client.....

      Guild Wars 2 looks like it will be the first game to truly be able to challange WoW for polish and support without a monthly fee, and im glad, I already pre-purchased my copy for this very reason.

      and ArenaNet has a history of not caring if you do visual mods to their games(anything that dosnt change gameplay in a cheating manner), as such, Im happy to give them my money.

      I wont do games that have heavly restrictive DRM, I dont mind steam, I can even live with some versions of securom (the ones that dont hamper game perf and dont see apps like windvd as "cd/dvd emulation software" )

      DRM like this is a real pain, and is a big part I dont like DRM at all, but when it impacts the customer theres a serious problem.

      I wont own iDevices and I wont buy a Kindle because of this shit, I would buy a nook, BUT the drm on B&N books is easy to strip, and seems to only really be there for show and/or for keeping the most casual of sharing from happening(fine by me.

       

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    gorehound (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 5:44am

    I have said it before and will probably again.
    I own over 1300 Books and 303 Vintage Pulp Magazines.I do not need any stinking DRM.My books are Collectable and go up in Value.They smell like a book and feel like a book.I do not mind carrying some Books around.I will never buy a DRM EBOOK.They are a total waste of my money and time.Thanks to the Internet and the BS Digital Everything I have seen more people lose their Jobs than I had in many years.Actually probably the Worst time I have seen come to think of it.Even my closest friend who is an Accomplished Graphic Designer and had a solid Position as the Lead Designer for a Book Empire is out of a Job.Before she lost her job they had gone thru 60 or so Unpaid Interns plus they let go the whole Dept. one by one.Who needs Pro-Designers for Press,Type,Layout any longer ?
    I had an 18 year position in the Coolest Video Store North of the good ole Kim's Video in NYC.We had all the cool John Waters,H.G.Lewis, Russ Meyer, ETC Cult films and this back in 1986 !! The store is still Open but it has scaled back big-time and I lost my 18 year position.
    The Whole Music,Print, Video Big Content Industries all go Online and everyone who worked in those Industries before are all Out of Work, ETC.
    TIMES ARE CHANGING they all say.Computers make your life easier they say.
    My friend in IT and I were just talking about this.One little Server Room & IT Dept. now does the work that a lot more human beings were doing before.And those who lost out..................We will be lucky to even get a Menial Job now.Or you will get a Menial Job and if lucky you will go to a School at Night.
    I am never supporting DRM & Online Blah.I will continue to do my best to Buy Local.So does my buddy who tells me he also tries to support his local Economy.

     

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      E. Zachary Knight (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      Sorry to hear you lost your job. Unfortunately that happens when technology progresses. It happened all those years ago when the cotton gin was invented. All the cotton pullers lost their jobs because automation made it faster and easier to clean and prepare cotton for industrial use.

      It happened when Ford began using an assembly line to manufacture cars. It happened when robotics was introduced to that same assembly line. It happens all the time.

      As humans, we are a tool using species. One of the unique things about the tools we use is that they get easier to use and more productive at the same time. It happens all the time.

      The key thing about this progress is that we can either complain about it and long for the good old days when we understood and were used to the way they were, or we can move on and make our lives better.

      Personally, I am on the side of moving on.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 9:59am

      Re:

      As much as we may long for "the good old days" I still remember the local movie houses screaming that the appearance of video rental and sales stores would mean the end of their business. They didn't, of course, but there are a lot fewer screens around. Partly because people stopped going out to see a film in a cramped, dark, dirty movie house unless it was a mega blockbuster and wait for the video to come out where to could be watched in the comfort of home. The Web just accelerated that trend, piracy or not.

      E-books are starting to do the same to publishing. This is in it's infancy for at the moment and the design of ebooks sucks big time but when that's overcome the day of dead tree books will be over. (Of course it needs a universal format for ebooks but that will come too.)

      Your friend, the graphics designer, can find work for her because even ebooks are going to need "covers" because we expect it and because even ebooks need good layout, design and readable fonts. If she's flexible then there's work for her.

      As for working in a video store, yes, the Web has killed those off along with Netflix and similar services. It's the price we all pay, at times, for technological progress.

      Old jobs disappear, new ones appear as a result. I can't count the number of times I thought technology would take me out of my work over the 35 years I worked in telecom. Instead I adapted, became computer literate and learned new skills and tasks and stayed working.

      I do love dead tree books, by the way. I also realize that their time is passing except for niche markets. I suspect that, when I'm gone, my family will get rid of 95% of the books I have and cherish and that will be it. By then, with luck, I'll have a nice supply of ebooks by then that they'll have to wade through too!

       

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      AzureSky (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 1:24pm

      Re:

      honestly it sucks that people loose jobs, but I have to wonder about your example of the graphic artist and type setter, those are 2 jobs that if the person evolved could still get them work even in publishing ebooks.

      I have yet to see a good program for resizing books to fit on various size ereader/device screens, every single one(talking from free to thousands of dollars) has had poor correction for screen size changes.

      I have 2 friends who work for companies who use automated for the first step then real people step in and reformat(set) the page so they look right on everything from a 3" screen to a 10.1" screen, some companies use 1 person to do all sizes, others have people dedicated to 1 size screen or a limited number of sizes.

      it amazed me when one of them showed me her work and how it functioned on a proper ereader, the books went from being a mess to being very friendly to the eye...

      I couldnt do her job, I would go mad looking at text all day every day.....

      I have also seen some ebooks made to give color reader users an advantage with amazing illustrations made by good graphical artists.

      I know a fellow whos 70 years old who saw changes coming to his line of work and started learning the programs that were going to outmode him, by learning them, he made himself so useful that the ended up with a promotion because he had to train others in the company to use the software.

      I mean its sad that people loose jobs and get replaced and feel they have no where to turn, but, if you keep an eye on whats happening around you, and keep evolving with the market, you keep yourself relevant and valuable.

      I like ebooks and real books, not all real books gain value, I cant carry around hard covers at work and on the go, they are just to big and heavy...

      I use a media player i have to read books at times, I also make my own audio books with a program called textaloud when I cant find an audio book version of something I want to read/listen to.

      I do understand your frustration and nostalgic feelings toward dead tree books, BUT I also feel that DRM free(or easily drm stripped) ebooks have value as well, not the same value as a physical dead tree book(because they cost alot less to make) but I still feel they have value to readers like myself.

      I wont buy an amazon ereader or tablet because I am quite against vendor lock-in, Thats why I have owned Cowon and Onda media playback devices and tablets for example, they have nothing to gain by trying to lock you into anything....they JUST WORK :)

       

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      Ed C., Apr 16th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

      Re:

      Even my closest friend who is an Accomplished Graphic Designer and had a solid Position as the Lead Designer for a Book Empire is out of a Job.Before she lost her job they had gone thru 60 or so Unpaid Interns plus they let go the whole Dept. one by one.Who needs Pro-Designers for Press,Type,Layout any longer ?

      Seriously? Designers are very much in demand. Pro layouts still require a pro. The work is merely done on computers, not by them. Apps just make the job easier.

      Your friend had the option of evolving her skill set with the changing times, but apparently decided to just stick with her outdated and increasingly marginalized job.


      I had an 18 year position in the Coolest Video Store North of the good ole Kim's Video in NYC.We had all the cool John Waters,H.G.Lewis, Russ Meyer, ETC Cult films and this back in 1986 !! The store is still Open but it has scaled back big-time and I lost my 18 year position.

      Those minimum wage video store "film buffs" have been replaced by servers and recommendation algorithms; personal interaction has been displaced by the pure convenience of instant gratification. Well, I'm not sure how I feel about that one.


      The Whole Music,Print, Video Big Content Industries all go Online and everyone who worked in those Industries before are all Out of Work, ETC.

      Nope, just the legacy publishers who won't adapt. The actual music, print, and video content industries are doing just fine. They are actually expanding like never before now that the gates of the old guard are rusting off their hinges.


      My friend in IT and I were just talking about this.One little Server Room & IT Dept. now does the work that a lot more human beings were doing before.And those who lost out..................We will be lucky to even get a Menial Job now.Or you will get a Menial Job and if lucky you will go to a School at Night.

      A century ago, artisans and craftsmen either had to work for the mass production factories that ran them out of business or learn a new trade. Just as many live performances have largely been displaced by published music and movies. Musicians and actors had to sign on with studios who were running them out of business too.

      Times change, society moves forward. Someways for the better, some not. You have to ask, what is gained, and what is lost? Reproduced art doesn't truly replace craftsmanship. A casting doesn't replace the value a fine crafted sculpture, just as a recording doesn't replace a fine crafted performance. Yet, both broadened the reach of art to a far larger audience. Did the good outweigh the loss?

      At least for media, the mass production factories are collapsing. The internet can give every media artist the same reach and power once reserved for the big the publishers. It's going to be just as big of an upheaval as the publishers themselves. This time, I think its going to be for the better for everyone.

      The old publishers may seem irreverent now, and their current jobs certainly are, but, just like your friend, their core skill set is just as useful as ever. They're just making the same mistake of assuming their current task is the skill.

       

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    Craig, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:21am

    Same old story

    They just dont learn do they. They see pound signs and dont think that the technology they so blindly want to use actually hurts their business in the log run. As said the music industry more or less learnt this lesson and so too will publishers.

     

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    Zos (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:57am

    So apparently i had completely misunderstood the point...or pu9blishers have.

    I was reading an article yesterday, that talked about how the big issue for publishers is amazon setting ebook prices too LOW.
    And they want to be able to sell them for MORE. There was some talk about 9.99 being the amazon price point. I'd assumed this big pricefixing case was about the fact that these are digital copies, requiring no binding, shipping, printing, etc. and therefor were masively overpriced.


    Here's the thing, 10 bucks for a file i'm going to delete off my kindle 30 seconds after i finish reading it is laughable. So, i'm going to have to go with "no, none of them have a clue wtf is going on, and intend to price themselves right out of the market."

    yarr maties. i'll just have to keep buying my favorite authors drinks at conventions instead.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 7:10am

    If $10,000 is a massive barrier to opening a business, perhaps you should remain a McEmployee.

     

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    Pixelation, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    Opportunity?

    It seems as if this would be a good opportunity. If someone can come up with the money to start, they can have the opportunity to sell DRMed books and offer non-DRMed books too. Over time watch the sales of books in both formats that have similar reader reviews and see if there is a difference in sales.

     

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 8:39am

      Re: Opportunity?

      "If someone can come up with the money to start, they can have the opportunity to sell DRMed books and offer non-DRMed books too"

      The problem isn't about money, it's about rights. As per the story - you have people willing and able to offer the DRM-free service, but the publishers won't let them.

      I'm sure the tide will turn eventually, as it did in the music industry, but it's a shame we'll have to sit through the same whining and finger-pointing before they actually work out that DRM doesn't work. Hopefully they'll do this before they've crippled their own industry in protest, a la the major labels.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    smashwords anyone?

    Many many independent authors I know of self-publish on smashwords.com and they do fine. They set the price they want and the books are all DRM free in multiple formats including .mobi for kindle, .epub, and even .htm and .txt

    All you have to do to get DRM free books in your business is cut out the middleman and talk to the writers directly.

     

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      Jesse Townley (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

      Re: smashwords anyone?

      While I am pro-grassroots publishing, a viable business has to be able to sell the latest John Grisham along side the Anna Joy Springer and the Charles Romalotti books.


      Charles Romalotti http://laymanbooks.com/
      Anna Joy Springer http://jadedibisproductions.com/VICIOUS.html

      For a lot of the reasons above I've never made the jump to ebooks. I'd rather stick a paperback in my back pocket when I go out and risk losing it sometime during the night than risk losing/breaking a few hundred bucks of technology.

       

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        AzureSky (profile), Apr 16th, 2012 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re: smashwords anyone?

        few hundred bucks?

        ebook readers can be found for 45bucks or less if you look around a bit look at geeks.com they tend to cycle thru various good brands of readers, newegg, amazon, woot all have regular deals on readers.

        you can also get the nook simple touch for $70 or less, thats really not bad for top tier device is it?

        I do agree breaking one would suck, but with the number of books i have lost or ruined over the years (dropped into mud puddles or the like), I could have gotten a few nooks at that price, or even more of the 5" Aluratek Libre PRO or similar units....

        just saying, you dont gotta spend a mint to get a decent reader.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 16th, 2012 @ 6:03pm

    Publishers Are Doomed

    Old time traditional publishers are prime victims of a process that economists call "disintermediation". (Wikipedia is your friend.) Bookshops should be dealing directly with authors. That is the only way that the authors can get a decent return and the only way that bookshops can get their costs down low enough. Handling a publisher who insists on DRM is simple. Send them a letter:

    Dear Publisher,
    We note that you have foolishly decided to insist on the use of DRM for your products. Our online bookshop took a policy decision not to have anything to do with DRM, at its inception. That is not a matter which is up for discussion. Good day to you, sir.
    Sincerely, Bookshop

    The publishers will come crawling back with a counter-offer which does not involve DRM. However, you need to allow them plenty of time to get their act together.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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