Go Read This | More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv

I’m not sure I agree that publishers have done nothing as this suggests, but even so, it is worth reading:

But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

After Christmas, tens of millions of people will have the motive, the means, and the opportunity to perform book piracy on a massive scale. It won’t happen immediately, but it will happen. It’ll begin with people downloading electronic copies of books they already own, just for convenience’s sake (and hey, the New York Times says it’s ethical!). This will of course handily introduce them to the world of ebook torrents.

via More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv.

9 thoughts on “Go Read This | More on the Death of Publishers | Mssv

  1. Eoin, I agree with pretty much everything you write, but I think that the post you reference here was particularly devoid of substance. The instance of piracy is undisputed; what’s at issue is its impact. If publishers continue to drag their feet about releasing e-books, or parsing the rights by political boundaries that mean nothing in digital universes, then yeah, I think there’s a risk to piracy.

    But the notion that people will just start stealing because they can is fundamentally unproven. That we “know people who do” or that we “did it because we could” is taken from a sample set of one. There are two, maybe three million books in print. The best sellers are pirated. Will it spread? Who knows? Will it hurt sales if it does? Who knows? That’s why we want to measure and respond intelligently.

    One of the most telling aspects of Attributor’s “study” (released last week): 89% of the searches for English-language e-books came from outside the United States. That doesn’t tell me that people want to steal. It says more clearly that people will download content whose worldwide rights have been delayed. If you want to prepare for piracy, negotiate faster and wider.

    1. Brian,

      As it happens, I agree with you on your points, no one has proved to me in any way that one download = one lost sale so I am on board with looking at the impact. But I like to link out to more than just what I believe on occasion.

      I linked to Adrian because although I disagree with him I can see the point he makes, that devices, ease of use and resources make piracy POTENTIALLY a bigger deal that in the past.

      Now I’m with you in wondering if that actually matters, but I suspect that thinking about it and discussing it also makes sense.


      PS: I’m writing on a slightly tangental point regarding the ebooks and rights and territory issue today, it’s up on Green Lamp now and will be up here in a bit!


  2. We’re on the same page here. In various updates that I give on this topic, I consistently say that the world is changing and what is true today may not be true down the road. If Adrian had said, “We need to track this”, I’d have wholly bought his post. In this instance, though, he suggests that it’s “game over” for book publishers. That’s the part that troubled me.

    I know you link out with an open mind. That’s a quality to admire 🙂

  3. Eoin, it’s my first time reading your blog and I must say that it’s nice to have blogger link to an article he may not necessarily agree with entirely. It’s good to keep the debate going and the minds open.

    I also agree that increasing popularity of reading devices and the POTENTIAL growth in piracy does not necessarily signal the untimely death of publishers. It seems like publishers need to ensure that their products are “value-added” (there’s that word I don’t like to use, but it will have to do for now) and generate pricing structures that are appealing to consumers so that legal forms of purchasing are valid and attractive choices.

    Great blog post – it’s an issue I’ve been hearing a lot about lately, and its nice to have a range of ideas amid the discourse to examine 🙂


    1. Mel,

      I think the battle now is for attention. In that sense I agree with the idea that anything need to be considered of value by the user to succeed.

      I know that sounds like semantics but the distinction is actually important. Value-Added might suggest one thing, but of value to the user varies depending on the user and the use case.


      PS Thanks for the compliment! I followed your link back to you own site which looks mighty!

      1. Eoin, I completely agree that value differs from user to user. Debates and discussions by publishers aside, in the end it will be the role of readers (rather than just “consumers”) and innovation that will have the final say.

        Also, I’m so glad you stopped by the site! I have actually added your blog to the roll – you have stacks of awesome information here and a lot of people should have the chance to read the knowledge on this site. Thank you for stopping by BookBotics too 🙂

  4. The period after Xmas this year is a very important time. The sales of eReaders will be huge over the holidays and readers who were not among the early adopters will probably be joining the ranks of the eReading community for the first time.
    I believe that the combination of ridiculous territorial restrictions, DRM and silly high prices will drive many to torrent sites. That is not to say that each download is a sale lost but it is utterly and totally idiotic of Publishers to be pushing away people like this and introducing them to the alternative dark side. My guess is that they will have to be stung into action before they change their ways, sadly, as the Music Industry was.

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