The faltering rise of eBooks.
Let’s ignore for a moment that the Kindle, Amazon’s wonder-engine that will push the world forward into the future of publishing is not available outside of the US. Let’s ignore, also, that the current level of control Amazon hold over content distribution on the Kindle is a God-damned joke.
Back in March, I got a Sony PRS-505 eBook reader for Lisa, for her birthday. I had high hopes for the format. I still do.
But really, who pays £200 for a reader when there’s no financial incentive to purchase content for it?
Fair enough, I didn’t expect publishers to want to pass on the savings immediately, I mean, the financial sector isn’t keen on it, so why should an industry with a notorious margin of 4-5%? But when eBook content is more expensive than the same title in hardback, it kind of takes the biscuit.
For the record, I doubt eBooks will ever replace print as a medium. Not entirely. But until we see some real incentives to start the ball rolling on getting eBooks into the mainstream consciousness, they will remain distinctly on the fringe of things.
Sadly, Amazon and Sony’s DRM-heavy content models do nothing but push the ball back up the hill a bit. Now the Associated Press have started pitching a DRM format for news reports, replete with nonsensical diagrams that explain in no real manner how this micropayment/subscription-based system with lo-jack tracking of your reading habits is different from any other, previous system, or that it will work at all. It’s snake oil, essentially. Those naughty news pirates won’t stealz your intarwebs, it cries. People smarter than me are already picking it apart, and mocking it for the sham it is.