Book industry battling e-book piracy, DRM issues

Posted 11 January 2011 21:24 CET by Randomus

Consumers continue to embrace e-readers and e-books, with digital book publishing expected to be a big business in 2011. As the industry turns into a major cash cow, the concern over piracy could lead to rash decisions and more DRM.

Actual DRM effectiveness remains unknown, with some companies and publishers choosing to test the waters with DRM.

“Some companies are focused on applying fairly strict DRM software to their digital books. I’m pretty adamant on DRM: It has no impact whatsoever on piracy,” said Brian O’Leary, Magellan Media founder, in a statement. “Any good pirate can strip DRM in a matter of seconds to minutes. A pirate can scan a print copy easily as well. DRM is really only useful for keeping people who otherwise might have shared a copy of a book from doing so.”

In late 2010, Google opened its own e-book store, though the company’s continued DRM efforts annoyed some users.

E-reader and e-book pricing also remains shrouded in secrecy — which makes consumers even more nervous — as e-book prices remain the same (if not more) than physical copies.

The e-book market is a cluttered mess with the Amazon Kindle leading the market, while the Apple iPad quickly gobbles up marketshare. During the 2010 Christmas shopping season, the iPad saw higher interest than the Kindle and other e-readers, and that should continue during the first half of this year.

E-book DRM is expected to be a major topic among authors, publishers, and shoppers in 2011, while analysts study the market.

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