on demand textbook publishing [was Re: [FoRK] Sony's 2nd gen ebook reader site]

Justin Mason jm
Sun Jan 8 14:54:24 PST 2006

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Ken Meltsner writes:
> Lowering costs won't drive academic ebook adoption; I fear DRM and the
> elimination of used book sales will be the real driver.  There's a
> silver lining, though:
> Just as Linux is "considered" to be the big threat to Windows,
> projects like MIT"s OCW will be viewed as threats to traditional
> textbook publishing.  And the more desperate publishers become to
> protect their turf. the more professors will choose OCW-like texts
> instead of proprietary ones....

I hope so.

I don't know about the academic textbook side of things -- but for
general-public ebooks, Cory Doctorow is worth chatting with, since he
writes general-consumption SF, and has looked into the ebook options.

It seems that *any* DRM is seen as a good thing by publishers (who see
pirates at every turn, like the music biz); is broadly seen as a good
thing by most writers (who are informed one-sidedly by the publishers and
their affiliated organisations); and is detested by the consumers (who
have to deal with it).

If consumers can "vote with their wallets" by being given a choice
between DRM-laden crap and OCW openness, and going for openness, that's
a big plus to show to the writers and publishers.

- --j.
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