On New Year’s Day, Eric Hellman posted “2011: The Year the eBook Wars Broke Out“, nine turns of the tide that he characterizes as “preludes to a fight to the death”.
In short order, Hellman describes each of the clashes and follows up with some critical observations and questions. For “Amazon occupies Overdrive“, he asks “Do the traditional library values of privacy go right out the door?”
And as the Authors Guild tackled Hathitrust, Hellman notes that their legal action “seemed hasty and ill-contrived”, adding “This kind of thing happens during wartime.”
Hellman has written a really good post, one worth spending time with. You may walk away thinking that we really are on the cusp of an eBook war, but (as Hellman notes at the end), “There’s hope.”
Part of that hope might be found in some of what I wrote last fall for “The opportunity in abundance”. In it, I called upon participants in the publishing supply chain to:
- work together to reposition publishing as the engine of the engagement economy;
- develop a set of principles based in fairness and capable of balancing current requirements with some, perhaps many, future unknowns;
- create a shared way to model new approaches, test assumptions and make decisions based in fact; and
- articulate a clear and defensible set of reasons to collaborate.
Next week, I’ll be returning to these points in a series of posts that I hope can provide what Eric Hellman’s describes as a rope to grab when you’re falling into the abyss.