Thursday, April 23, 2009

How Did I Miss This Blog?!

Sorry for loading one post on top of another, folks, but Galleycat just alerted me to a blog I should have been reading regularly. They mention this post by Brendan Sherar over at For the Love of Books - which appears to be an outstanding blog published by Biblio, "a marketplace for used, rare & out-of-print books" that is big into independent, socially-aware companies in publishing. Hooray!

Sherar's piece is about how he witnessed the newspaper industry's blase attitude about moving content online, and how he worries that book publishers are replicating this attitude. He posts a series of smart questions publishings folks should be considering at this juncture:
  • Who will control access to digital books - will libraries merely trade their expensive-to-maintain collections for a subscription to Google books? Are libraries hastening their own obsolescence by allowing Google access to their collections?
  • Will Amazon’s closed-platform standard for e-books prevail (the Kindle)?
  • Will an author’s share of revenue on e-books be a traditional fixed percentage, or a variable, we’re-not-going-to-tell-you-what-we-received-from-your-work-but-here’s-a-quarter-go-buy-yourself-something-nice percentage of advertising revenue that Google might deign to dole out (as it does with ad revenue to site/blog owners)?
  • Will e-books have ads in them? If you’re reading a romance book, are you going to see an ad for C14L1S in it?
  • Will any company be able to realistically compete in e-book sales that isn’t a megacorp? For that matter, will any megacorp even be able to realistically compete with Google?
  • Will authors simply bypass all traditional distributors, publishers, and retailers, producing and promoting their books directly?
  • In a world of digital books and DMCA, what becomes of your ability to pass a book on to a friend, or re-sell it?
  • Will Google be given permanent, court-ordered indemnification against breaking copyright law?
All worthy questions for us to ponder as we move rapidly into a world where digital publishing is no longer futuristic. Now I have a few older posts to catch up on over at For The Love of Books...

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