The Tattered Cover is one of the nation's great independent bookstores, ranking with New York's Strand, Portland's Powell's, and Salt Lake City's Weller Books; now in an open letter, the store has "broken up" with Amazon division Audible, the largest player in the audiobook market, citing the company's mandatory DRM, proprietary formats, algorithmic opacity, and diversion of local book sales into the pockets of distant investors in a massive, uncaring corporation.
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Audible -- Amazon's audiobook company -- dominates audiobooks, controlling 90% or more of the market; their ACX platform is tailored to indie, self-published authors, and, until recently, it paid them handsomely for any new customers they brought into Audible's fold.
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A decade ago, when Amazon acquired Audible, the two companies promised that they'd phase out their DRM
, which locked listeners into using their proprietary software and devices to enjoy the books they purchased. Audible never made good on that promise, and stonewalled press queries and industry requests
about when, exactly, this fairtrade version of their industry-dominating audiobook store would finally emerge.
Blackstone audio has produced a professional, DRM-free audiobook of my 2003 novel EST, a novel about jet-lag, conspiracies, management consultants, crypto-contracts and P2P that William Gibson called "Utterly contemporary and deeply peculiar -- a hard combination to beat (or, these days, to find)." Read the rest