Rob Reid writes in the WSJ, praising publishing for getting behind ebook publishing by licensing books for electronic formats, rather than boycotting e-readers, as the music industry boycotted MP3 players in its early days, and suggests that publishing may fare better than music because of it. I agree with Reid that publishing has generally handled the digital transition with more grace than record labels, but I think it's worth pointing out that publishing did commit many of the same blunders as the record industry -- notably using DRM (which drives piracy instead of sales), and embracing proprietary formats (which locks their products to vendors' platforms).
This doesn't necessarily make publishers the Einstein to the music world's Ozzy Osbourne. Publishing had music's dismal example to learn from. It is also easier to see the digital light when a game-changing product is released by a major partner and customer, even if Amazon inspires more dread than comfort among publishers. Of course, things haven't gone perfectly smoothly: In April, three publishers—Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins—settled a Justice Department lawsuit alleging they conspired to raise e-book prices. (HarperCollins is owned by News Corp., as is The Wall Street Journal.)
Publishers face many challenges today, and some may be existential—Amazon's dominance, for one, and the potential for authors to sell directly to readers. But as one industry executive wryly observed to me after ticking off a list of his industry's perils, "at least we're not self-immolators."
What To Do When Attacked by Pirates
Before being convicted of felony securities fraud, smirking cartoon villain pharma-douche-bro Martin Shkreli had to be tried in front of a jury and this presented a unique problem because everyone hates Martin Shkreli, and thus more than 100 jurors were dismissed from the pool during pre-trial questioning. Here are some of the statements that led […]
Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes released this study in 2015, comparing the outcomes for students enrolled in online charter schools with comparable students (controlled for grade level, gender, race/ethnicity, free lunch eligibility, English language status, special ed status and historical state achievement test scores) in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
The World Wealth and Inequality project’s latest white-paper, co-authored by Thomas “Capital in the 21st Century” Piketty, painstaking pieces together fragmentary data-sources to build up a detailed picture of wealth inequality in Russia in the pre-revolutionary period; during phases of the Soviet era; on the eve of the collapse of the USSR; and ever since.
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