Sunday, January 31, 2010

important distinction regarding books and ebooks

At [publishing] More on the Amazon vs Macmillan problem, Jay Lake says, "Books are a product. Ebooks are a service." In the comments, John Chu beat me to pointing out the error in that:

Books are a product. Ebooks with DRM are a service. Ebooks without DRM are a product.

As for the Amazon-Macmillan War, elephants are fighting, and I'm the grass.

1 comment:

  1. "People resist ebook pricing because they have been told ebooks are a product, they perceive ebooks as a product, and the value of buying what amounts to electrons is difficult to perceive."

    "I'm not sure yet what this insight means. But if we can bring ourselves as writers, publishers and industry professionals, and more to the point, our readers and fans, to consider ebooks as a product rather than a service, much of this debate might shift in a more constructive direction."

    I'm not quite sure that makes sense. He seems to be saying we view ebooks as a product and we need to convince ourselves that ebooks are a product. Is there a typo in there somewhere?

    If I viewed ebooks as a product (minus the DRM, of course), then I'd be willing to pay more for them than I would if I viewed them as a service. That is, if I'm only sort of 'renting' the books, I'm not going to be willing to pay anything like hard cover price or even $9.99 per book. Getting the same thing cheaper is the main benefit of renting, after all. Well, that and not having to clutter up your living space with things you only need temporarily.

    There's a line somebody came up with in reference to health care reform, that fits your situation pretty well:

    "If you aren't at the table, you're on the menu."

    They'll eat us all if we let 'em.