Thursday, August 16, 2012

Just a thought...

I'm all for change that benefits the consumer--after all I'm a big consumer myself--but only to the degree that it doesn't impact the creator. Tor's move to remove DRM is laudable and, more to the point, probably inevitable. Hachette's attempt to pressure authors to demand it be restored isn't great PR. But Hachette is correct that they will see sales erode in their territory from Tor books sold into non-US countries. This will increase pressure on other publishers to dispense with DRM. But another side effect will be pressure on publishers to only acquire World English rights to a title. This will be good for publishers and good for readers. But it will be bad for authors and agents, who will see an additional revenue stream go away. In an age of shrinking advances, our creators will be paid less. Of course, the ability to sell the ebooks unrestricted across multiple territories may see higher royalties. Or will it? See yesterday's thoughts about book sales. I'm frequently told, by pirates, that they *had to steal* the book because it wasn't being offered in their territory. Now that it is, will they pay for it? We need to make sure we support our creators adequately if we want them to go on creating.

5 comments:

Anne Lyle said...

As an author myself, of course I don't want to see my income shrinking - but I honestly don't see how region restrictions can be made work in the age of the Internet. I can order a physical book from Amazon.com and get it shipped to the UK - and yet I can't buy an ebook unless the rights have been sold here. This makes no sense at all to the consumer, given that ebooks don't even need to be physically shipped! I don't condone piracy, obviously, but I can totally understand the frustration with outdated distribution methods that make it impossible to legally buy books even if you want to.

Lou Anders said...

Anne, I agree with you that digital distribution of digital content is going to rewrite the rules. I just worry that I see a lot of trends in the entertainment field moving into spaces where large aggregators make their money on thousands of small sales and individual creators don't get enough for their efforts. Hope it doesn't go that way.

The Mighty Buzzard said...

Personally, I'd be more worried about the extremely slow uptake on the fact that markets are global now whether authors/publishers like it or not. By the time they catch on, many people may have been going around their artificial restrictions via piracy so long that they won't even consider paying anymore.

Tero said...

My answer to the "will they now buy it?" question is a resounding "yes". (Although I realize I'm not exactly the target group of your question, since instead of "I just had to pirate it" I'm in the "I just didn't buy and read it" camp regarding ebooks not available in my region, or only available with DRM). I expect my book spending to go up by quite a lot as non-DRM'd ebooks become more common.

Lou Anders said...

Thanks Tero. Here's hoping you are typical!