A Tale of Two Industries
Stephen King is an author for whom imagination is everything. But when banking on a risky e-publishing venture recently, the honor system didn't pan out for the bestseller. The idea was that readers would log online to sample a newly released series of his fictional installments in a pay-as-you-go format. The trouble is that with no security measures in place, it was easy to download King's latest book for free. The effect signals that King, plus a large, established fan-base, does not equal a successful online book launch. And now, the experiment has left the entire publishing community asking a resounding, "Huh?"
In the name of progress
In order for an online publishing venture to be a success, there are two variables to consider. First, there are significant technological barriers that must be diminished before consumers will support digital publishing. And second, it will take an orchestrated effort on behalf of every sector of the publishing industry to standardized the technology.
Poised to become a leading force in establishing and expanding the digital publishing market, the entire publishing industry is banking on high-resolution, text-based digital content to be widely distributed to mainstream users. The proactive mainstreaming to business and consumer users is part of a much larger plan to enforce strict copyright protection of digital material.
In the digital age, the protection of intellectual property is of great concern. It's violation is perceived as one of the greatest threats to the publishing industry, reinforced after witnessing legal showdowns among Napster, Mp3.com, musicians and the recording industry. With the technological stage set for e-books and digital publishing, the industry has cause to take a thoughtful approach while entering this new era.
The industry must prepare for legal cases that will follow a heady period of technological adjustment. For example, Contentville.com, launched by Brill's Content, posts articles written by professional writers for resale. Authors recently found their stories for sale on the site without consent or compensation. A similar legal battle is being fought concerning royalties at Lexis-Nexus.