Why Are Book Publishers Making The Same Mistake The Record Labels Made With Apple?
from the we've-seen-this-movie-before,-and-it-doesn't-end-well dept
Back in 2005, we noted that Apple’s dominance over the online music space, which upset the record labels tremendously, was actually the record labels’ own fault for demanding DRM. That single demand created massive lock-in and network effects that allowed Apple to completely dominate the market. If the record labels had, instead, pushed for an open solution, then anyone else could have built stores/players to work as well, and it could have minimized Apple’s ability to control the market. Yes, everyone is now opening up (including Apple), but it took a long time, and Apple had already established its dominant position.
So why are book publishers doing the same thing?
Farhad Manjoo has an interesting article in Slate where he notes that publishers are worried about Amazon turning into “the Apple of the book industry,” yet at the same time, they’re the ones who are pushing for DRM and limitations that will effectively lock users in to Amazon’s ebook platform for a long time. If the publishers had insisted on more open solutions, then a real competitive market could develop. That would be better for everyone. As great as the new Kindle is, it’s still rather expensive. Allowing others to enter the market would lead to greater innovation — making it easier for more people to get into the ebook reader market, and open up plenty of new opportunities for publishers. But the dumb and pointless infatuation with “DRM” and “protecting” works will basically hand the market over to Amazon for many years, and get many folks locked into to Amazon’s Kindle platform, even when more open solutions finally start to become popular.