Publishers Getting The Wrong Message Over eBook Piracy

from the going-in-the-wrong-direction dept

Well, you just knew this was going to happen eventually. Suddenly publishers are starting to freak out over "ebook piracy," claiming (totally inaccurately) that they've lost $600 million to it. Of course, as some are noting the real problem isn't "piracy" but the industry's response to it:
The best way to fight piracy? Got e-book shoppers accustomed to buying from legitimate sources before it's too late. That means easy downloading, fair prices and the ability to move content easily from machine to machine within a household. Use of the standard ePub format and the end of traditional DRM could go a long way in that regard.
Instead, they're likely to go in the other direction (they always do) and try to raise the DRM walls higher in a futile effort to "fight" piracy. Of course, as we discussed nearly a year ago, the ebook industry could really use more piracy, because it's actually a great indicator of what people really want. And, of course, locking up content with more DRM will only serve to take away value. If there's growing piracy, that just means the industry is putting up unreasonable barriers. Hopefully publishers realize this before totally screwing things up, but somehow it seems likely they'll make all the same mistakes as the music industry.

Filed Under: drm, ebooks, piracy


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  1. identicon
    TasMot, 24 Nov 2009 @ 1:11pm

    The Problem with E-Books

    Hi,

    I am an avid reader. I have hundreds of books in my basement that I bought over the years (travel for work and spends hundreds of hours per year on planes - reading). I am constantly reminded of them because myu wife wants me to get rid of them. When I do, I can sell them. They don't go away when the batteries die, they don't go away when a hard-disk crashes, and they are mine. I can give them away, sell them, donate them, or just recycle them.

    If I buy an e-book, it can go away before I am even finished (This has been pointed out here on TechDirt). Now that I have these books in my basement, they need a court order to take them away.

    As far as making e-books a value, once it is written, the "cost" of a book is what the author wants to get per copy (or at least what the publisher will give them), promotion (people need to know about it before they will "want" it, and the cost of production and distribution. Well, with the Internet, the cost of distribution goes way way down and production is now the cost of editing and formatting. There is no paper, trucks, brick and mortar stores, stocking shelves, or returns for damaged copies. It is now just the cost of a web server and bandwidth. Yet, they are pricing the e-books at a higher price than the print copy and can take it back at any time. No, I think I will stick with the print versions for now. The printed book doesn't need batteries and I can save it for 10 years and use it again and it is just as good as new.

    Tom

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