Technology news website GigaOM posted a good recap on the struggle between the “Big Six” publishers and Amazon.com over the pricing and selling of ebooks. Laying most of the blame on publishers for the current state of the ebook market, the author points to DRM as the main reason Amazon has the upper hand:
This kind of insistence on DRM and incompatible platforms, as well as the tangle of rights and often competing interests of publishers and authors when it comes to licensing copies or sharing, makes e-book buying a snake-pit of complexities — and only reinforces Amazon’s hold on the market, since it offers a simple end-to-end solution. This makes sense for the retailer, and its focus on launching new platforms like the Kindle Fire make it obvious it plans to extend that dominance into other areas.
Amazon has begun acting more like a publisher by signing authors to its internal imprint and allowing self-publishing through its store. Of course, libraries are caught in the middle trying to provide access to ebooks where it isn’t clear how this battle will play out. Could it be that each publishing house will become its own store and online “bookstores” will simply become search engines to locate the products? Would this model simplify or complicate ebook purchasing (or subscribing) for libraries?
Read the article How publishers gave Amazon a stick to beat them with.