SF author Charlie Stross.
Last week’s blog entry on Amazon’s ebook strategy went around the net like a dose of rotavirus. And, as we can now see from Tor’s ground-breaking announcement I was only just ahead of the curve: people at executive level inside Macmillan were already asking whether dropping DRM would be a good move. Last week they asked me to explain, in detail, just why I thought abandoning DRM on ebooks was a sensible strategy for a publisher. Turns out my blog entry on Amazon’s business strategy didn’t actually explain my full reasoning on DRM, so here it is.
Note that I am not responsible for Macmillan’s change of policy. An internal debate was already in progress; this move was already on the cards. I caught their attention and was given a chance to offer some input: that’s all. The final decision to drop DRM on ebooks from Tor/Forge was taken by John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, who ultimately has to account for his actions to the shareholders.
Along the way, he explains why I may be shopping somewhere other than Amazon, for my SF reading material.
[C]urrently Amazon have swamped the midlist among ebooks in a sea of self-published rubbish. It’s impossible to find anything worth reading in the Kindle store that isn’t a very obvious bestseller. This offers an opportunity for specialist bookstores to offer a curatorial role. I believe the voracious genre consumers are picky enough about what they read that they dislike Amazon’s slushpile approach, and will preferentially shop in better organized outlets.
I just hope he’s wrong about e-ink readers disappearing within 5 years. I vastly prefer my non-backlit e-ink display to any backlit LCD display.