Monday, 5 December 2011

Online 2011 - Current and Future E-Book Business Models

The central point of Agor Eiskop’s talk was that piracy is going to be a big problem for e-book publishers.

He suggested three possible paths that they might take to get round that:
1. Selling advertising space in e-books. People would get less advertising in their book if they paid.
2. Product placement. Yes really.
3. Digital Rights Management – The same kind of copyright protection measures that the music industry tried without much success.

He then suggested some business models that are likely to be used by e-book publishers.

  • Subscription based models.
  • Patron driven e-book acquisition for libraries.
  • Crowd driven acquisition for publishers. This involves publishers offering people a range of authors on their website. If an author gets enough support their book gets published. Supporters usually get personal messages or a mention in the book or similar.
  • Freebies i.e. the first half is free but then you have to pay to finish it.
He concluded with some predictions for the future.

  • The publishing industry will be less centralised and there will be more independent players.
  • There will be new ways of reading including collaborative reading.
  • New roles for libraries and others – He said that he thought libraries would focus on preservation which was odd because it didn’t seem to follow from his other points.

Reading between the lines the message seems to be that nobody has a solution to the problem of e-book piracy so the publishing industry is likely to fragment and try lots of different solutions.

1 comment:

  1. Failure of a DRM in music industry was mainly because there were too many different DRMs and many compatability issues with different playback devices. The consumers were not happy at all with all this DMR hassle. Adobe DRM is different already, there are virtually no ebook reading devices that do not have support for Adobe DRM (except Kindle) today. Also revenue streams for music industry have changed already before they dropped the DRM protection, that has not happened to book industry at all yet, everything depends on the number of copies sold.