David Pogue’s email newsletter today is about eBooks, specifically the issue of whether they ought to have DRM. Basically, Pogue says he’s torn on the issue, because unprotected media files encourage piracy but also act as advertisements for the purchase of those same books or songs. Ok. We’ve been over this. But there’s another point raised in the column that maybe publishing ought to pay attention to.
Pogue quotes one of his readers, who has written in to him to say he wonders why book people aren’t complaining about copy protected book files the way music lovers did about DRM’d MP3s: “Where are the upset people? I never see reports on how e-book copy protection is bad for consumers. Didn’t we learn anything from the music industry? Does this lock-in bother you? Am I missing something?”
What’s disturbing about this is the fact that the average eReader buyer (assuming that’s who this guy is) assumes that book people are being quiet about the issue of DRM. Yet, on a blog like this, or at an event like the eBook Summit, or on Twitter, it’s actually all book people–meaning publishers, editors, bloggers, techies, booksellers, etc.–talk about. Since last Friday’s Random House announcement, it’s THE big book news. So why don’t people know that? Are publishing insiders being too quiet? To insular? Maybe publishing needs to speak up and say it is concerned–if confused–about it’s digital transition. If people don’t know that, they ought to.
What do you think?