Publishers not listening to e-customers, says WaPo’s Marion Maneker—but WHO are the latter?
December 27, 2009 | 11:59 am
The obvious. Many publishers might as well just be relaxing with their feet on their desks as the e-revolution passes them by. While there’s some welcome progress, such as Random House’s letting Amazon sell its titles internationally, the industry has a long way to go.
Of course, as Dear Author points out, there’s the ticklish little issue of who the customers are. Flesh-and-blood mortals? Or the usual suspects selling and distributing e-books and p-books? Either way, big publishers won’t thrive by overpricing e-books and shafting writers, who’ll be more tempted than ever to strike out on their own. DRM is likewise a sales-reducer and will become more of one in the future. So will delayed release of e-books to please old-time p-people, especially when Amazon customers bought more e-books than p-books on Christmas Day (presumably trying out newly bought Kinles).
Related: Publishers aren’t the only ones who could do better. So could libraries in Canada and elsewhere (thanks, Gary). They could do a better job promoting e-books and helping customers use ‘em and expanding collections, within budget limits. Also, libraries need to speak up loud on standards issues and tell Amazon: “No massive Kindle buys until the K machines can do ePub.” All vendors need to deal with patron-infuriating incompatibilities. Luckily B&N and Adobe seem to be making some progress on the DRM front despite current challenges.