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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leveling the eBook playing field

From Huffington Post.

Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.

The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers.

The complaint centers on digital rights management, or DRM, the technological lock that prevents consumers from transferring any ebook they buy on an Amazon Kindle onto, say, a Nook or Kobo ereader.

DRM comes with all ebooks sold by the major publishers, with the exception of Macmillian's Tor and Forge imprints, and it means that if a consumer decides to switch to another company's ereading device, he or she would lose access to any already purchased ebooks. DRM used to be a feature of digital music sold on iTunes, until Apple abandoned the practice in 2009.

The bookstores making the complaint are the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, based in Albany, N.Y., Fiction Addiction in Greenville, S.C., and Posman Books of New York City, though the suit states that these stores are suing on behalf of "all independent brick-and-mortar bookstores who sell e-books."

All parties are refusing to comment, the matter being under litigation.

However, if you are an indie author, it seems a good idea to make your book DRM free.

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