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    © 2014, Joseph B. Wikert
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« DoJ: Consumer Hero or Predator Enabler? | Main | BookAnd: A Social, Virtual Bookstore »

April 23, 2012


Chris Rechtsteiner

The question isn't what if.

The question is when it does go away, will it have any material impact on Amazon and Apple's ability to dominate the trade ebook sector?

The answer, based upon the quality of the device, commerce and consumption experiences is no, it won't.

Joe Wikert

You might be right, Chris. Then again, I'm hoping maybe Google would reconsider their investment in ebooks. They've been the biggest disappointment to me but their lackluster performance shouldn't be too surprising. After all, unlike most other retailers, they offer a variety of formats...except for the most important one: mobi for Kindle! If DRM goes away maybe Google would reconsider, start offering mobi's and therefore be able to tap into the largest installed base of devices and readers.

Bill Seitz

If publishers adopt ePub and dump DRM, then they can become their *own* retailers and create direct relationships with their readers/buyers.

Recommendation engines could be de-coupled from transaction processing, though you'd need an affiliate system to pay back to those commercial sources of traffic.

Curt Matthews

I understand the argument that DRM just gives Amazon a stick to beat publishers with, but I can tell you that no DRM is a hard sell to most independent publishers.

My company, IPG, distributes some hundreds of them, and when you say that the music business has given up on DRM, they say that's right and look at what a mess the music business is in.

I think the DRM issue is important but much less important than the issue of who gets what when an eBook is sold by a reseller, Amazon or any other outfit. Anything like 50% of the action is obsurd.

If a bricks and mortar store can servive on a 50% margin, with all the overhead it has to cover, how can it be that an eBook reseller needs anything like that margin to prosper.

When IPG sells eBooks from its website, or through the shopping cart it provides its client publishers, it takes 20% and makes a little profit. How does a reseller earn another 30%? This is why IPG said no to Amazon's desire for even more margin.

Curt Matthews
CEO, IPG/Chicago Review Press, Incorporated

Edward Bear

From my standpoint, what's missing from eBook publishing is a good "book is available" notification system. Right now, whether I want to wade through Amazon or B&N, I have to track authors and upcoming books I'm interested in by checking very specifically for THAT author or THAT book.

It would be much better to be able to build a "Buy on Sight" list of books and authors where I could request theme to please email me when:

1. Any new book by [author name] becomes available for purchase and download(P&D).

2. Book [title or ISBN#] becomes available (P&D).

3. Ditto for 1 & 2 above for people who might want to preorder. (Personal note, a preorder I had paid for at $8 disappeared from the site I had ordered from (got a refund) only to reappear at $12 on Amazon during the Great War. I will never preorder an eBook again. And no, I didn't buy the book as a result.)

These emails might also include "people who buy X also bought Y" the way Amazon does.

Note to marketers: using the above to send "extra" emails because "you might be interested in" will defeat the purpose of the system, which is to let the CUSTOMER choose the books/authors of interest.
You do NOT want to end up on my spam blocking list the way B&N's "buy the latest blockbuster-wannabe" mails have.


Maybe you are right and people are lazy and just want to press "one click" and don't care about the rest, but I personally shop for the lowest price and "DRM free" when I buy now. I have quite a few "DRM free" books on my Kindle Touch.

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