Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Don't Fight Piracy, Sort out Your Distribution

I read an interesting article about why spending money to stop ebook piracy is useless and a waste of resources. According to the article people who download books, movies or music illegally usually wouldn't do it if the supplier made the getting of such things easier.

"Common reasons are: convenience (in a file format of your choice to use on a device of your choice), speed (why wait for it to become available here if you can already get it elsewhere? It feels unfair, and more important: the consumer doesn’t want to wait) or availability (see the Harry Potter example, as mentioned on FutureBook two weeks ago)."

The author of the article,Timo Boezeman, makes the case that many of the real pirates out there were never going to buy the product legally anyway, so why waste your time on them.

So the answer to the bulk of piracy problems may be better service. Apparently at the London Book Fair some publisher tried to make a case that royalties on ebooks could not go up because publishers need to spend extra money to stop piracy.

What do you think about this?


Vanessa Gebbie said...

Can't comment on the amount of ££ publishers spend in combatting piracy, obviously...not being a publisher.

but if I was one, I would price my e-books exactly the same as the paper version. The reader is getting the same product - word for word. Why undermine ones own paper product?

Im not sure making something cheap lessens the likelihood of it being stolen, does it?

Lauri said...

I wrote a long response to you Vanessa and it got lost-Argh!

Let me see if I can repeat it.

So then what do you think about roylaties? If the paper book-ebook is the same price as the paper book do the royalties stay the same too? Here many publishers believe that. The cost for putting out the book were covered by the paper version so therefore the royalty rate for the ebook should be higher. At least that's what I think.

I don't necesarily agree that the paper book and the ebook are the same product. I do think the lower price of the ebook does in some ways kill the paper book. I like the idea of paper books being sold with a voucher for the free ebook. I think many paper book buyers would like the ebook version too, I know I would.

This might be a way for the paperbook to step away from the fray and still remain relevant. Manuscripts published straight to ebooks would become distinct products that would not need to compete with paperbooks any longer.

I also don't agree that making something cheap makes is less likely to be stolen. I do believe as the author puts forward that lack of accessiblity does increase the chance of piracy and that should be where publishers focus their time. The person wants your product but can't get it legally.

Gutsy Living said...

I don't know enough about it to comment. All I know is that e-books are now 24% of the U.S. market and that publishers are still debating how to set royalties. At a conference agents said, "No one really knows yet."