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Old 02-09-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
daffy4u
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Could this be the future of Amazon ebooks?

Steve Jobs Bullied Record Execs Into iTunes Deal on Christmas Eve (Gizmodo)

The article recounts how Steve Jobs used the power of the iTunes Store to force the record companies to go DRM-free.

This is what I believe Jeff Bezos has in store for ebooks. He's already using Amazon's power to get books converted and to lower the price (on Amazon anyway). Once Amazon reaches it's own "tipping point" they'll be able to go DRM-free and open the door to other readers.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:12 PM   #2
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I hope so. It's a pretty big deal...I haven't bought music for years because of DRM. I buy very little computer software because of DRM and absolutely refuse to buy anything, bar Windows, with machine tied DRM. The only reason I reluctantly support Amazon's DRM is because the ability to transport large numbers of books is something I badly need for work reasons and I felt only Amazon have the clout to kick the publishers into action releasing their back catalogue (though I have to say if they don't get their act together on the technical book/document front I'll be off somewhere else...I'm already consciously buying less books because of that)
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by daffy4u View Post
The article recounts how Steve Jobs used the power of the iTunes Store to force the record companies to go DRM-free.
Of course the companies had already been DRM-free on Amazon (in the US) for quite some time. I'd like to think Amazon would want to do the same in the ebook business, but I haven't seen the evidence yet. It is certainly possible that the publishers are the sole roadblock.

However, Amazon being in the ebook hardware business, tweaking Mobipocket DRM and not selling Kindle books (yet!) to folks using other devices...well, they don't give me the warm fuzzies about their intentions with respect to selling DRM-free ebooks.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:18 PM   #4
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Bezos has stated that DRM is the publishers choice. As Amazon was big on selling DRM-free music, I believe they would sell DRM-free books if they could.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:41 PM   #5
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Keep in mind we may have saw DRM free music on iTunes rather late but the main reason the music industry was willing to start loosening DRM was to help create competition against Apple. You need powerful companies to popularize and create standards to help reduce the power of the publishers. We should all be supporting Amazon and the Kindle now, of only to break the power of the publishers. Eventually it'll swing around and Amazons power will need to be checked and we should support that. In the end we get reasonable prices, more flexible format and DRM options and the consumer wins.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:49 PM   #6
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I know people get pretty protective of their brand choices, but the Kindle has been the best thing to ever happen for eBooks. Not because it's better technologically, but because it brought the very idea of ebooks to the masses and it did that doing what only Amazon could do:
  • It's a company many know and trust
  • It has the power and clout to force the book publishers into competitive and appropriate pricing
  • it has the selection to make such a thing worthwhile

On top of that, it was smart enough to get Newspapers and Magazines on board and make it painless for the average user to get that content!

Sony couldn't have pulled that off, and no one else could either. eBooks as a whole are better off for them entering the market. And it is possible some companies will not be able to tolerate the competition (in both books and hardware) and that is always the case during such transitions, but in the end we'll all be better off in terms of selection, pricing, and usability.

(Sorry for the second post, wrote the first on my phone and wanted to expand a bit.)
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:43 PM   #7
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Some titles on Amazon are DRM free. I've bought several.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Some titles on Amazon are DRM free. I've bought several.
which seems to support that it's the publisher's choice to attach DRM to a book.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
  • It's a company many know and trust
  • It has the power and clout to force the book publishers into competitive and appropriate pricing
  • it has the selection to make such a thing worthwhile
You do realize that Sony ticks all those boxes too. They just dropped the ball.

BOb
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:30 PM   #10
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I second everything Gideon says...

I was on the fence about E-books until I did some research and was blown away with the features of the Kindle 1... then I saw that I was a week away from K2 being released and felt that now was the time.

If you take the long view... the more E-book users there are then the more E-books will be available. Eventually the format/DRM issues will work themselves out and the consumer is the overall winner.

So, in my opinion, there is no reason to bash the Kindle or Sony or any other reader... The more the merrier.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
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You do realize that Sony ticks all those boxes too. They just dropped the ball.
Well, based on my experience with other products and support, I trust Sony less than just about any company. But I otherwise agree.
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Old 02-09-2009, 10:36 PM   #12
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So, in my opinion, there is no reason to bash the Kindle or Sony or any other reader... The more the merrier.
Absolutely. Even for those of us who have been reading ebooks for many years, it is still early days in this market. It is good to have multiple reader devices, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses, and each company learning from their competitors.

Not as good to have so many formats, and not good to have to live with (or circumvent) DRM, but those issues will shake out over time.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:05 PM   #13
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I see DRM free as being a logical choice and I'm sure they'll get to that point eventually. It's simply a matter of Amazon putting themselves in a position of leverage with the publishers.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:05 PM   #14
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No... Sony isn't a trusted company. Sony isn't one of those companies you hear people say "Oh, I just love Sony..." I've a LOT of Sony products, and in general like them, but don't trust them at all.
Sony is also a big company... but it doesn't have any particular clout with publishers. A look at their meager offerings and prices makes that pretty clear. Which leads directly into point three - their selection blows. It would seem you a need a critical mass of content to be available to make an eBook viable. Sony never managed.

I'm not saying Amazon is better... just that they had what it takes to do it. Also important - piles of cash lying around.

Personally, whoever gives me the books I want at a decent rate will be whom I go to. I have no brand loyalty at all.
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:10 PM   #15
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No... Sony isn't a trusted company. Sony isn't one of those companies you hear people say "Oh, I just love Sony..."
OK... here we go. You "got real" about ePub before... now I am going to get real about Sony... the people that don't "trust" Sony are a minor vocal tech cabal that can't get past the "root kit" incident which was more attributable to incompetence than malice.

Yes, most people like Sony products, which equates to "trusting" Sony. Sony is a well know world wide company.

Just go to best buy and listen to people looking at the Sony's. Most people want them... but not all get them because they are a bit pricer comparatively in some lines. Also, they gained alot of tech cred when they won the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war.

BOb
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