You would think that, with the music and movie industries to guide them, book publishers would be smarter than to complain about the rise of digital ebooks. But... apparently not everyone got the memo. Arnaud Nourry, the CEO of publisher Hachette is apparently quite upset about Amazon's pricing of ebooks
and is warning that hardcover books may die
. But the thing that strikes me? All he does is complain, and nowhere does he suggest what the industry is going to do
about it... other than complain. This is the same mistake the music industry and the movie industry have been making. They don't propose any reasonable solutions, they just get angry at what the technology allows. He complains about public domain books, and then he complains about the prices Amazon charges:
"On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99."
Yes, if that defines the market you're dealing with. But why not adapt? Why not focus on giving people reasons to actually buy books at a profitable rate? And, of course, a bit part of the problem is that these same publishers didn't do anything
to lead the way on ebooks. Instead, they sat around doing nothing while Amazon built the Kindle and Google went and scanned a bunch of books. The publishers could have put together a plan, but they ceded the advantage to the tech industry, and now they're complaining about their own lack of foresight? That's not very compelling.