I’m currently involved with a startup in digital publishing. My work will involve bringing the design thinking perspective from other fields I previously worked in to a field that is notoriously conservative. So naturally when I read the post of David Pogue about e-book piracy, I was dumbfounded by this gem of an admission:
Traditionally minded publishers are very much opposed to the idea that abandoning DRM is a viable business strategy. When Tor (as have others) did provide their material free of the consumer hassling technology and noticed no increase in piracy, the go-to explanation is that their case is special and does not apply to other publishers.
Tor acknowledges that its science-fiction/fantasy reader community “is close-knit, with a huge online presence, and with publishers, authors and fans having closer communication than perhaps some other areas of publishing do.”
Here is my take, though: No kidding Sherlock!
When the main disruptive force of the internet lies in disintermediation,1 that’s where your business model needs to answer some pressing questions. And if you fail to see how creating a close-knit community that connects authors and readers is part of your new role in a digital environment, you deserve to be strong armed into irrelevance by Adobe, Amazon and their ilk.
Dear publishers: There is a choice to aim to be special, too! Create a better experience for readers. At least that’s what I’m going to do.
A fancy way to say: Making everyone in between producers and consumers obsolete. ↩