These same old arguments and worries always tick me off, yah? They talk about how great the new technology is and then start telling horror stories about piracy and content control. Read the full story at The National here.
Peter Cox, an author and literary agent who founded the online writersâ€™ community Litopia is quoted in the article: â€œBook piracy will become a huge problem when e-readers become more popular.” (I often think we need to separate the activities of piracy-for-profit and file-sharing-for-free. They aren’t the same thing.)
The article contains a familiar form of fear mongering that has undermined the digital revolution on all fronts: film, music and now publishing. I’ll tell you how to combat piracy: “Sell your product at a reasonable price.”
What is an eBook but content? When consumers see company’s trying to sell content as though it is the whole ‘actual’ bricks and mortar package–the physical thing i.e. DVD, CD, hard cover–they know they’re being cheated. When you strip away the printing, shipping and storage from a book, you’re left with content. True there are the costs of advertising, cover design and promotion, but those have dropped dramatically with the movement of ‘book stores’ and consumers onto the internet.
By the time these corporate bandits realize their prices are too high, the consumer and marketplace has been driven underground, and the piracy is a ‘huge problem.’
The ‘legitimate’ publishing world will create the problem that pirates have the cure for. The truth is, people do not want to deal with pirates, or share files that come from “God knows where” unless the actual value and the price of a product are far enough apart that it’s worth taking the risk.