So Barnes and Noble is joining Amazon in offering an ebook reader and downloadable ebooks.
This article from NZHerald has several indicators that they will fail if they keep on their same path.
The e-books sold at BN.com will not be compatible with the Kindle or the Sony Reader….
….the market is developing in such a way that customers with different devices will be limited to purchasing books from specific, associated retailers.
Amazon deleted Orwell’s finest from their Kindles the other day, and Barnes and Noble are falling onto the same DRM trap:
Publishers are viewing the developments in the US with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, in the expectation that e-books could become a profitable new business, if digital piracy does not take hold.
It’s in a way amusing, but so sad that the book publishing industry cannot learn from the debacles that the newspaper, music and movie industries have gone and are still going through.
So let’s recount the lessons learned from the digitization of Newspaper, Music and Movies:
- Piracy sounds scary, and you can spend $ millions fighting it
- Those $ millions spent on piracy will be essentially wasted (unless you are a lawyer)
- Fighting piracy will make your customers dislike you, even hate you
- In reality consumer to consumer piracy is great marketing, and increases sales
- People will still buy your offline content, even if it is free or cheap digitally.
- People actually prefer to pay for legal digital content – if you make it easy and cheap
- However customers want to own content, not lease it from you
- To make sure of ownership and transferability sell unencrypted unprotected content. DRM sucks.
- Maximise sales through end to end simplicity – from buying to consuming
- Apple gets all of this stuff and they will win if you let them.
Amazon, Sony and Barnes and Noble are Diamond with their Rio, Sony with their Minidisc and the mryiad of players using leased DRMed WMA files.
None have all of the pieces of the puzzle and all are doomed to fail until they get them.
Once again it is the publishers that are standing in the way of progress – just as the RIAA and the MPAA did for music and movies.
So – for you book publishers – please listen and watch the lessons of the other publishing industries, and let us buy your digital books for a few dollars, own then, copy them and read them on any platform.
The alternative will be pirated books, freely available from hosts of sites that are downloadable to any device. None of us really want that future.