Sunday, October 04, 2009

E-books could faces "Napster-like" threat

Randall Stross has a provocative article in The New York Times this morning, “Will E-Books Be Napsterized?” link here, in the Digital Domain section of the paper’s Business Section.

My own personal reaction is, if I want to read an entire book, I usually want a hard copy, to peruse while waiting for the previews in a theater (if the overhead lights are on). But, as the article points out, portable tablet devices, self-illuminated even for dark spaces, may quickly change things, even “on the beach”.

The article discusses RapidShare as having unwittingly been involved in questionable hosting of copied book material. The company says it honors DMCA take down notices.

Again, I’ve made my own books available online for free viewing (at in order to gain “limelight”. However, established authors and publishers depend on original sales, and the world of trade publishing, like movies, is a bit insular and self-protective (as discussed in the review of Patry’s “Copyright Wars”, previous post). Authors Guild, for example, the last time I looked, only accepts as members authors who are normally able to gain advances before publication. The rise of self-publishing may challenge this old model, and new authors may object much less to free copies, further eroding the older business model.

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