Ars Technica's John Siracusa, a veteran of early ebook startup Peanut Press, does a fabulous job of cutting through the fuzzy thinking, excuse-making, bad history and missed opportunities of the past decade's worth of ebook ventures. This is a must-read essay for anyone thinking about the future of books and reading.
You'd think that publishers would have learned from the travails of the music and movie folks, and they did, in a way. Unfortunately, what they learned was fear. Early on, publishers saw what happened to the music business when Napster arrived on the scene, and they were shaken to the core. In fact, some of the very same executives, casualties of the the digital music wars, ended up at publishing houses, arriving with the digital equivalent of PTSD and harrowing tales of a business model's collapse. And so, the order of the days was "DRM everywhere," or, just as likely, "no digital distribution at all."
This position is even more insane once you understand how the traditional, non-digital publishing business works. As in the music and movie industries, there's the usual, shockingly small cut given to the actual content creators, plus the physical mechanism of manufacturing and distributing the products. In the case of books, there's an extra dose of nonsense layered on top.
The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age
In 2014, Quentin Tarantino sued Gawker for publishing a link to a leaked pre-release screener of his movie "The Hateful Eight." The ensuing court-case revealed that the screeners Tarantino's company had released had some forensic "traitor tracing" features to enable them to track down the identities of people who leaked copies.
For years, we've covered the efforts of rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) to make the law free for all to read, from liberating paywalled court records from PACER to risking fines and even prison to make standards that have been incorporated into regulation available, to his longrunning fight with the State of Georgia to make […]
I'm one of the guests of honor at this weekend's Comicpalooza festival in Houston, Texas: in addition to my keynote and signing, you can catch me at panels on copyright, robots and AI, cyberpunk, copyright (again!).
Kudos to those of us who have chosen a less wasteful third option to “paper or plastic” at the supermarket or club stores. Tote bags are reusable, but they can be a pain to tote around. Here’s an upgrade to that planet-saving measure. The Club Cart Lotus Trolley Bag is that rare tote you’ll want […]
Looking for a career in IT, gaming or software development? In the ever-changing world of the internet, versatility is your biggest asset. In other words, mastering Java might not cut it in an interview if you don’t know C#. However, there’s a bundle that covers the essentials in most any language. The Legendary Learn to […]
Getting a set of cookware that will outlast you is one of those signs you’ve truly grown up. It used to be easy to find durable materials that also cook well, but these days it can be hard to tell what’s quality and what brands are coasting by on a recognizable name. Well, there’s at […]