Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Digital warfare

There's a blog on the Guardian website today reporting how French publisher's offices have been raided by EU inspectors concerned that they are breaking anti-trust laws.

It's a well written piece that sets out the dilemmas of the current digital revolution. And it concludes that it is a war the publishers are ultimately going to lose.

The crux of the matter is the 'agency model' for pricing digital books, one which the EU seems intent to destroy. This model is basically the net price agreement for the 21st century - a system which was scrapped in the 1990s in the name of consumer choice and free markets, but which has resulted in a concentration of the industry both in terms of production and retail.

I love books. I love hardbacks and paperbacks. But I'm beginning to suspect that the future is the Kindle or similar devices and I've blogged about his before.

E-publishing, on the face of it, gives power not only to the consumer but to the writer as well, effectively removing those all powerful gatekeepers from the industry and allowing good writing to prevail.

But, but, but.... there is a place for publishers. It may well be a digital place, rather than a traditional one, ultimately. But I can't help but feel that writers need editors, and marketing people and PR - and to leave it to themselves, well, it just turns into a turkey shoot.

For another point of view, an industry one, go here

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with you - if nothing else, writers should realise that they need proof readers because so many ebooks are terrible with regards to grammar and basic spelling.