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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Small Publishers Concerned About E-books

A publishing panel has expressed its point of view, being wary and skeptical of the e-book mini-boom. The main concerns are that there are too many writers, and Amazon owns the market.

Despite the fact that e-publishing is obviously democratizing the writing and publishing process, it still brings a number of questions. For instance, it is unclear why the progress of the e-book is slower then the similar process of the mp3 becoming the most popular format for music.

One of the indie writers, Mark Cantrell, complained about losing control over his book. He said he didn’t want all of his content stored in the large corporate cloud, controlled by the multinational corporations. In fact, the authors simply don’t trust all of their works with big corporations.

The publishers agreed that there are a number of questions over who actually owns the information. The trouble with the Kindle is that you don’t actually own any of the material you download, and it can be taken away from the users at any moment. They pointed to a recent event in Germany, when a user was reading a book on his Kindle, which suddenly disappeared from the device. It later turned out that this happened because of copyright problems with the version. The problem is the same as with DRM – while the users are looking forward to feeling that they own the content they purchased, in reality they have to pay money for the content that can be used only as the publisher feels fit.

Meanwhile, the publishers add that the price point is another problem. If you purchase a Kindle or other e-book reader, then it will be cheaper to get content to it. However, the initial hurdle of spending around $150 for such privilege can put users off. They note that the Kindle is very useful in that line of work, as it frees you from the necessity to lug around the bags full of books. In addition, some of them are worried that the democracy of self publishing is actually diluting the reading gene pool. Indeed, users that are passionate and care about their content may be lost in a sea of mediocrity.

Indeed, one would argue that the trouble with the Kindle reader is that it seems like a very uninspiring perched between two bookends. Some of the readers believe that aesthetics are also a huge problem. Really, how will other commuters know that you are reading Dostoevsky without seeing a front cover?

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