Friday, 27 April 2012

E-books without DRM? So is this format-shifting of a kind?

It can be done.  Tor, of Tom Doherty Associates, will shortly be selling its entire backlist free of DRM.  How important is this?  Well, as Tor itself explains:
“Our authors and readers have been asking for this for a long time,” said president and publisher Tom Doherty. “They’re a technically sophisticated bunch, and DRM is a constant annoyance to them. It prevents them from using legitimately-purchased e-books in perfectly legal ways, like moving them from one kind of e-reader to another.”
Format-shifting (of a kind, that is) doesn't have to be a dirty word, now, does it?

Tor itself is big enough to make a difference, too:
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1980 and committed (although not limited) to arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is also the home of award-winning Forge Books, founded in 1993 and committed (although not limited) to thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction and general fiction. Together, the imprints garnered 30 New York Times bestsellers in 2011.
This is an extremely interesting development in the publishing world - and one we should all follow closely.

If Tor, its readers and authors all benefit from such a move, it will make the job of those who insist on controlling our every content move just that little bit more difficult to justify.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Dan Hind on coalitional publishing

Here's an interesting idea: coalitional publishing.  Another example of bringing the market to where the customer already finds him- or herself instead of requiring the latter to make the effort of moving towards the former?  As Dan points out:
The Advantages of Coalitional Publishing

The text of each edition is identical. Each partner publisher is responsible for their cover design, and for the copy they use for their page on Amazon, for press releases, and so on. Each edition has its own product number and all revenues flow directly to the publisher of the particular edition. The revenues from sales are then split between the author and the publisher on an agreed split.

Each edition is promoted actively by the publisher responsible for it, who has a direct interest in generating revenues. And each publisher benefits from the activities of other publishers – as people become aware of a title and decide they want to buy it, they will gravitate towards the edition that benefits the organization they identify with most closely.

People who are regular readers of openDemocracy won’t decide to buy something just because openDemocracy have published it. But if they decide to buy something, they will be more likely to buy it from openDemocracy than from a fly-by-night operation like Myriad Editions (that’s me, by the way. ME. Clever, eh?).
A piece which shows us bright ideas can change fundamentally the way the publishing industry operates - without necessarily prejudicing the need for creators to earn a living from their works.

The future doesn't have to rely on imposing traditional business models on an ever-permanent present through overbearing copyright laws and legal impositions which stretch out forever the rights of behemoths everywhere.

Opportunities to share the publishing love can exist through such intelligent concepts.  

Of course, these kinds of ideas won't be suitable for each and every publishing project - but since niches have been the way of the world, at least the online world, for far more years than we may remember, this kind of publishing model fits very nicely with such a concept of reaching the customer through various and multifarious channels.

So my advice?  Read, and be damned! 

The rest of Dan's post deserves your fullest of attentions.