Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

May 31, 2014

How publishers could defeat Amazon

Remarkably, for a time it seemed that the book publishing industry had managed to avoid the disruption that befell its peers in music, magazines and newspapers. From the beginning, publishers approached the Internet much more gingerly; unlike newspapers and magazines, they did not just throw their content online for free; and compared to music, books were not only more difficult for end users to digitize, but also harder to consume on a computer or portable device. It’s not that the idea of e-books was unknown — the first e-book reader launched in 1998 — but rather that publishers were terrified of a world in which books were accessible to anyone, at any time, for free.

Thus, it wasn’t until 2007, a full eight years after Napster first disrupted music, that the publishers finally made their catalogs broadly available digitally on a device created by their best customer, Amazon. Over the previous decade, Amazon had become the publishers’ most important distribution channel, and now Amazon was promising that the Kindle, with its proprietary digital rights management would let publishers enjoy the benefits of digital distribution without endangering their underlying business model. Over time, the publishers would also launch their titles on other companies’ e-book readers, such as the Nook and iBooks, but always with DRM.

Fast forward to today, and Amazon is, at least from the publishers’ perspective, much more foe than friend. Over the last week details have emerged of bitter disputes Amazon has with Hachette in the United States and with Bonnier in Germany. While the specifics are unclear, it seems that Amazon is demanding more control and money when it comes to e-books; and to force the publishers to capitulate, Amazon is declining to keep many of their physical books in stock or to enable pre-orders.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

  • State of the reunion ‘Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 26, 2014

  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

  • Big insurers need better oversight Could Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. threaten the stability of the financial system? The U.S.’s top regulators are asking themselves this question as they consider whether Berkshire and other large insurers should come under Federal Reserve

    July 25, 2014

  • Questions for Obamacare after the ruling Tuesday, I outlined what we knew about Halbig v. Burwell, the case in which a federal appellate court ruled that subsidies for purchasing insurance under Obamacare can only be made available on marketplaces established by states. Now I propose to out

    July 24, 2014

  • Pensions not the problem I see in last night’s Register-News paper that James Rippy has attempted to enlighten us on pensions in Illinois. I also notice he has written so often he no longer has the title “guest columnist.” It is obvious he has the time and energy to work on

    July 24, 2014

  • Impasse threatens border solution After more than a year of contentious debate, could Congress be any more divided over the issue of immigration? The answer is yes.In the House, positions are hardening over what to do about the tens of thousands of families and unaccompanied young im

    July 24, 2014

  • Take a lesson from Texas I like to eat at blue-collar diners and cafes, particularly when I’m on vacation.It’s a chance to step beyond the homogenized national chains and experience a bit of local flavor.And being a reporter, I like to chat up local folks to find out a bit a

    July 23, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks