Earlier this week, the Independent Publishers Group (IPG) refused to accept new terms for selling eBooks on Amazon, and the e-tailer responded by removing the digital versions of titles published by IPG’s 400 clients.
Shortly after the moves became public, Don Linn wrote a perceptive post at Bait’n’Beer, his blog about “books, publishing and their intersection with technology”. Linn aptly describes a win-lose offer as essentially “no deal”.
Whenever Amazon engages in a public fight, tongues wag and prognostications abound. I appreciate the balanced perspective that Linn brings to a moment like this.
Although IPG on its own can’t change the rules of the game Amazon is playing, publishers collectively can. They have it within their control to:
- Insist that all e-tailers use open formats (that’s why we have standards)
- Resist calls to apply DRM, which locks readers into specific platforms
- Support interoperability across platforms and devices
Yes, this will sometimes result in people loaning or even copying eBooks outside of the terms of a barely intelligible EULA. But the fight about terms started when publishers ceded control over content to digital platform owners.
We used to like and trust readers. Doing so again will help enlist them as allies in the fights to come with Amazon.