Found via Twitter from Electric Ink, retweeted by Pablo Defendini: Remember that post from Michael Cader that I quick-noted a while back (and Paul mentioned it, too), which said among other things that if a consumer can afford a $300 e-book reader, he can afford a $15 e-book?
Chris Walters at The Consumerist takes Cader, and publishers who subscribe to that point of view, to task in an excellent editorial that I have little doubt those who enjoyed Ficbot’s and my posts on the e-book reader side of the Amazon/Macmillan debate will also find extremely satisfying.
So you’re right, publisher; maybe I can afford to buy an ereader device. That doesn’t mean you can jack up the price on your crappy digital copy that currently offers less usefulness than a physical copy, and then hide behind the device’s potential and cry, "I want to be treated like I make expensive baubles too!" Because you don’t. You currently make poorly proofread digital files stripped of most of the qualities that make digital content awesome.
Walters chides publishers for acting like consumers are being cheap, hiding behind their industry’s inefficiencies, telling consumers to “trust us” without having a track record to suggest they can be trusted, and making emotional appeals that only make them look irrational.
It gets so frustrating covering this continuing situation day after day without any indication that the big publishers actually are taking notice of people saying the very same things that Chris Walters says here. I hope that some publishers are reading these columns and taking what they say to heart, but my inherent cynicism says that it probably isn’t likely.
Mike Masnick at TechDirt, remarking on a similar list of publisher talking points circulated by e-mail, had this to say:
Just as we were recently discussing, [publishers are] acting like the recording industry ten years ago: hunkering down for a "war" of words, rather than actually focusing on new business models or figuring out what consumers actually want. Instead, they’re trying to dictate what consumers want and hoping for some sort of magic bullet in the form of ebook readers. This is a dangerous move by publishers that can only come back to haunt them. Instead of focusing on "countering" what consumers are saying, why not actually listen to them, and look for ways to provide what they want?