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Perhaps Piracy Is Exactly What Publishing Needs

The issue of piracy flared up on this blog a few weeks back, with some readers disagreeing with me about piracy as a potential good thing.

I found the following viewpoint fascinating—inspired by a piece in the Guardian, and shared and commented on at Teleread (a major blog devoted to e-books).

The Guardian said:

To put it less glibly, the publishing industry isn’t being forced to
confront a radical shift in consumer behaviour caused by technology,
because that scenario just is not happening. Customers aren’t forcing
the issue by choosing to abandon books and read pirated text instead.
And this means the problem isn’t there to be confronted.

Teleread commented:

Publishers know what’s costing them book sales—it’s the
general public’s overall apathy toward reading. There are a few loud
complainers about pirates—generally authors, rather than publishers …

Without a pirate threat to fail to “beat,” publishers are under no
obligation to “join” them. Which could explain why most of them
continue to encumber their books with useless DRM, and to charge more
than consumers are usually willing to pay. E-books only account for
half of one percent of total book sales, and there is no significant
pirate threat to make them get serious.

You can read the full blog post from Teleread here, along with a link to the original Guardian piece.

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