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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Will eBooks spell the doom of book sales?

Will eBooks become the next Napster?

Everyone has noticed how few music shops there are now.  Where stores selling CDs, DVDs, and music-related items (often including books) used to dot main streets, now one has to go a long way to find one.

This was because of illegal downloading, largely facilitated by Napster, an online service devoted to peer-to-peer MP3 file-sharing that by-passed the traditional market.  The site eventually ran into copyright difficulties, but not before the established industry was on the brink of ruin.  It even affected Borders, because of an unwise decision to branch out into DVDs, contributing to the book chain's problems.

Now Yelena Shuster, on the site, comments that the same problems now face the publishers of eBooks. According to a survey of 1,959 British consumers, one in three eBook readers illegally download books.

The copyright issue must come up a lot sooner, as downloading an entire book is a very different matter to downloading a single track, but nonetheless it's a prospect that's bound to send shivers down spines in the publishing industry.


Caron Eastgate Dann said...

I think the only way to avoid illegal downloading is to make the paid downloads so quick, easy and glitch-free that people can't be bothered trying to access the former. This is why I like iTunes. Convenience is the way to go in the 21st century when everyone is so busy. There will always be dishonest people, just as there will always be shop-lifters. This highlights another point: education is needed so that people know that illegal downloading is stealing, just as people had to be educated about shop lifting - that it was stealing, not simply a matter of helping yourself.

Brent Nichols said...

I don't think piracy killed music stores. Notice that itunes still exists. Music stores are obsolete, but piracy hasn't killed the music industry.