Just how do we make the "e" in e-books stand for "easier"? Well,
how about this? Let's scrap the existing digital rights
management. Instead everybody in charge of administering DRM
would be re-trained overnight as digital priests. They would
certify "trustworthiness" to those seeking to download e-books.
Before downloads, customers would be visited by digital priests
of their respective religious persuasions. With great pomp and
circumstance, they would "pledge" not to forward their books to
everybody in the world without compensating the authors and
publishers. Break the pledge, and you'd find yourself in
purgatory, hand-copying old encyclopedias.
Or maybe a totalitarian law would work instead. First-offenders
guilty of unlawful content reproduction would have to wear a
scratchy wool eye patch for one year. For a second crime, the
patch would be now a mask. We could set up toll-free hot-lines
and reward people for spying on their neighbors.
The Real Point
See my real point here? No easy way exists to loosen the DRM
grip--this complicated issue can't be addressed with good
old-fashioned guilt and fear. But e-book standards for DRM and
formats would help. I am counting on the laws of capitalism,
which always prevail. A demand will eventually be met with
supply, and I'm hoping that the right set of standard will break
from the pack and simplify the digital content landscape. That
will be a blessed day. Microsoft, Adobe and Palm and the others
now have their own special technology fee tacked on to the price
of e-books. And that complicates merchandising. We e-book
merchants would rather not have multiple cost structures for the
Nor do we like consumers to be limited to books published in
their chosen format or suffer multiple technologies just to enjoy
a story. Nothing is more frustrating than having three different
libraries on your handheld and forgetting where your recent
fiction resides. I don't just hear customers complaints--I myself
own a handheld.
Who's to blame? I'm thinking nobody. Many authors and publishers
break out in a cold sweat at just the mention of the word
"Napster" and can you blame them? Their livelihood is at stake.
They should, however, strive to better satisfy consumers desire
for more content in digital form.
If a publisher has faith in their work, it's now accepted that
expanding to e-book will deliver extra profit and drive hardback
sales. Not all understand this. I still hear some authors express
misguided fear that e-books will cannibalize their hardback
sales. Publishing is not a zero-sum game, however--and that
actually can be good. E-books add incremental value to the
equation. Granted, companies tasked with encrypting content for
them are an easy target, for they create the hoops through which
we must jump. But the DRM heavyweights like Microsoft, Adobe and
eReader are simply business people satisfying a need with
No glass chin
Let there be no mistake, the future is bright for e-books--sales
are on a steady rise. The industry took a couple of jabs during
the Internet correction, but you'll find no glass chin here. More
students are beginning to see e-books as an alternative for those
pricey hardback textbooks. The computer savvy are learning the
ease in pasting code directly from their favorite Java e-book
manual, and there's even speculation that men are reading more
romance as they no longer fear being seen with a floral book
cover. Moreover, the Tablet PC is maturing, and the publishers
are slowly but surely putting even more content in digital form.
It takes courage, but we're getting there. Though it is a word
often used in excuses, "patience" is needed by digital
downloaders, me included.
Article by L. Scott Redford - firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott is the President of Diesel eBooks with over 35,000 popular
and professional eBooks organized by 50 categories.
Visit the free download section at http://www.diesel-ebooks.com