In honor of Presidents' Day (and the fact that I actually have it off), I'm posting one of my SFWA Bulletin articles, as I've promised to do once their exclusivity period is up. Since it was done a year ago, it's a little dated. (For instance, e-books now form more like 20% of total book sales.) However, discussions of DRM and pricing are still relevant today. I hope you find it informative.
What is the Deal with e-books? (from the December 09-January 2010 SFWA Bulletin)
I feel like I want to channel Jerry Seinfeld here: “What is the deal with e-books?” Only I do terrible impressions and it’s hard to channel someone who’s still alive and kicking. Well, the deal, my friends, is that there are so many things to think about that I struggled hugely with this article – where to start, what to say and how much before you hit information overload and run screaming into the night.
I decided to take my cue from the marvelous Lewis Carroll, “Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” Him I can channel. So, let us begin. Electronic books are self-explanatory – books available in electronic form. This is not to be mistaken for electronic versions, which involve the inclusion of other media and which I’ll get to in a bit.
Probably the best place to start is with the hot-button issue of Digital Rights Management (aka DRM).( Collapse )