The Bookseller reports on execs from Penguin and Random House speaking at a book award breakfast on the subject of e-book piracy. They warned that illegal copying has been “engrained culturally” and, while the industry can cope with current piracy levels, once e-books are more commonly used the cost could be significant.

The most interesting thing to me is this quote from Tom Weldon, Penguin’s deputy chief executive:

“The only way to fight piracy is to publish digital content across as many formats as possible, through as many channels, at a fair price. If we go for exclusive or proprietary formats, we’re completely screwed.”

How is it that none of the other publishers seem to have come to this conclusion, with their $12.99-and-up price points and their dependence on platform-specific DRM? Is Penguin’s rationality on this subject in danger of spreading to other publishers?

It’s worth noting that Baen has been selling e-books at very low prices with no encryption for over ten years, and as a result is one of the least-pirated publishers out there.