Publishers: victims of their own DRM

Dear reader,

I have never considered DRM (Digital Rights Management) a good thing on ebooks. It is annoying when something goes slightly wrong, it adds to the cost of creating an ebook, and “out there” on the big internet are many tools available to remove the DRM-code that ebook publishers have so painstakingly added to their ebooks.

Today I learnt that science fiction author Mr. Charlie Stross wrote about how the Big Six book publishing companies have managed to put their backs against the wall in the rapidly growing ebook industry. Between user-unfriendly DRM and the the long arms of Amazon, they’re slowly pushing themselves out of business.

From the article: “Until 2008, ebooks were a tiny market segment, under 1% and easily overlooked; but in 2009 ebook sales began to rise exponentially, and ebooks now account for over 20% of all fiction sales. In some areas ebooks are up to 40% of the market and rising rapidly. (I am not making that last figure up: I’m speaking from my own sales figures.) And Amazon have got 80% of the ebook retail market. … the Big Six’s pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform.”

Find the entire post on Mr. Stross’ weblog.


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