Archive for July, 2009

Publishing companies grapple with the question of scheduling e-books.

Amazon.com erases Orwell books from Kindle readers.

Both of these articles are troubling, and more evidence that the publishing industry is still having trouble navigating the shark-infested waters of the electronic reading revolution. If I’m going to spend several hundred dollars for a dedicated e-book reader, the last thing I want to discover is that I’m going to have to wait in line to read new content while the old-school hardback and paperback readers will get to read everything first. At the very least, it makes sense to publish e-books at the same time as the corresponding hardback releases; publishers who think e-book sales are going to erode hardback sales are being exceptionally stupid. At least right now, the print book and e-book markets are almost totally different, with very little overlap, and delaying e-book releases will just alienate the core group of buyers who are inevitably going to become publishing’s biggest customer base as the print medium continues to fade into oblivion.

The second article really worries me, because regardless of what issues I might have with old-school publishing companies, at least they don’t sneak into my house at night and steal back my books. This ties in with what I said above about alienating your customers; this is not going to be good news to anyone (like, say, moi) considering shelling out for a Kindle. It’s bad enough that you can’t share books or sell them after you’re finished with a Kindle, and that other technological issues make me nervous, but the idea that someone else might decide to tinker with my book catalog — well, I take a real dim view of that possibility. Amazon.com really shot themselves in the foot with this one. Let’s hope they start thinking more clearly about these issues before acting in the future, nu?


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