That James Bridle is such a smart fellow:
The literature industry’s fear of technology is what really sits at the centre of this debate. There have always been two complementary and effective ways of countering Amazon’s dominance, and neither has been taken up in the (English-speaking) publishing world: these are investing in building national ebook stores, as has been done in France, Germany, Scandinavia and elsewhere; and relaxing the ferocious demands of Digital Rights Management, which make purchasing an ebook from anyone but “verticals” like Amazon and Kobo a virtual misery.
via Apple should be breaking new ground – not the law | Books | The Observer.
2 thoughts on “Go Read This | Apple should be breaking new ground – not the law | Books | The Observer”
He may be a smart fellow, but this article doesn’t prove it to me. We have Bookish in the US and we had Anobii in the UK. Those are equivalent of the “national” ebook stores he asks for. Anobii flopped and Bookish isn’t looking too healthy. And the no-DRM-defeats-Amazon theory has its adherents, but it has no evidence and, in fact, there’s plenty of evidence that most consumers don’t care about DRM. (A recent post by Jason Allen Ashlock about his company’s publishing efforts underscored that point.) I happen to know that many of the leaders of the big houses — people like David Young and Brian Murray and John Sargent — are very smart fellows too. They’re not always right either, but I don’t think any of them would have much trouble swatting down these arguments.
I’d argue that it does show it rather nicely by expressing a viewpoint that has, for reasons I cannot really understand, seems to be somewhat on the margins of the book trade.
National ebook platforms might not be the best ideas, but they are worth trying in new ways and indeed you could extend that to niche ebook plays too along verticals.
I don’t think the DRM issue is important for consumers and James isn’t saying it is, rather it creates barriers to entry for new innovative retailers and helps create the lock in that publishers might seek to avoid.
In any case neither point is really that important for the argument to stand, and that argument is, a better response to Amazon is robust experimentation and innovation rather than collusion and hurting your customers.