Yesterday, it was announced that three independent bookstores–Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Fiction Addiction, and Posman Books–filed a suit against Amazon and the “Big 6” (3?) publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster) over Amazon’s monopoly over e-book sales due to DRM. These publishers have made agreements with Amazon to allow Amazon the advantage in selling their e-books. DRM, or “digital rights management,” prevents the transfer of e-book files from one device to another. For example, if you purchase an e-book on Amazon, that file can’t be transferred to a non-Amazon-friendly device (nook, for example) if you choose to change devices. Last year, J.K. Rowling historically released all the Harry Potter e-books sans DRM.
First of all, and this might sound harsh, indie booksellers don’t have a shot in H-E-double-hockey-sticks to take even a decently sized margin of the e-book market. Does this make it right not to give them a shot? I suppose not. However, though the Wise Ink gals have traditionally been on the viva-la-revolution side of things, it’s hard to be staunchly against Amazon and the Big 6 (3?) in this case. Amazon made it convenient and cost-effective to buy books and e-books. Amazon developed the technology (after Sony, of course) and made the barriers between the device and the ebook seamless. Few can argue that Amazon led the e-book revolution. That Amazon has the monopoly isn’t a problem by me (Amy), as they’ve tried to make things best for consumers. The real problem is in e-book pricing and e-book vendors losing control of the price to the publishers. In no other industry do the suppliers (i.e. publishers) get to set the price for their products–the vendors do.
What do you think about the recently thickened plot in the e-bookcapades?