Ebooks: the next online battleground

Isn’t this just like the music industry was a decade ago?:

  1. New medium captures imaginations of content creators and consumers.
  2. For publishers, literally zero distribution costs.
  3. Publishers succumb to temptation to charge an arm and a leg for the product, sensing easy profits.
  4. Meanwhile, devices to consume new digital content take off like rockets among consumers, fueling demand for content.
  5. Inevitable rise of alternate methods to acquire content outside publisher control and at significantly less cost, or free.
  6. Publishers fall back on historical protections (legal based) that always worked in the “analogue past.”

What’s next?

Embedded Link

Online pirates threaten Kindle profits as thousands turn to sites to download free eBooks
Just as websites such as Napster undermined the music industry by putting tunes on the internet for free, the same is now happening with eBooks for electronic devices such as the Kindle (pictured).

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Markos Giannopoulos

    7. As long as companies treat customers unfairly (ebook prices as much as paper versions or even higher) there will be piracy. When that changes (as we have seen with music with reduced prices and easier paying/management schemes) piracy will be reduced.

  2. Markos Giannopoulos

    It's probably too much to ask from your average company to not be short-shighted about changes in technology… :)

    That said, things are easier for companies this time around. The audience of books is different than the audience of music (not as young or close to technology). This is also a factor on the percentage of book piracy being lower than in music.

  3. James Cridland

    I read a Harry Potter book in 2005 on my (Windows) phone. Not sure much is new here, other than the Kindle which has sold many more books than those for which it has facilitated piracy.

  4. Joe Walton

    The music industry was playing catch up with pirated distribution methods that reached critical mass across colleges and universities in the early 2000’s before they had even thought about offering music online. A whole generation grew up mystified to why they had to buy and rip a CD to get the product into the form they wanted.

    I agree with Markos, the older demographic of e-book readers and existing trusted distribution channels means we are less likely to see “rebellion” of the same scale again. It will be a problem but not as big as before..

    You would like to think people learn from others but it’s likely the same mistakes will be made all over again. It amazes me that you can’t get some new tech & PR books in Kindle editions!?

  5. Toby Brown

    7. The big problem is going to be ‘acceptable piracy’ here. eBook files being so small and easy to download and share, along with the well-established ‘read it and pass it on’ nature of physical books, is going to shake-up the financial nature of the publishing industry a lot faster than .mp3s did to music.

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