[LINK] eBook Rip-Off a la eMusic

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Nov 22 11:38:11 AEDT 2007

[Comments at end]

The Sydney Morning Herald
Books Segment of Panorama
Undercover Column by Susan Wyndham
17-18 November 2007

Into the Digital Age

Dymocks booksellers entered the world of digital books this week, 
with the launch of four kiosks in the George Street [Sydney] store 
(and more to come in 90 other stores), where customers can search and 
buy more than 120,000 digitised books on the Dymocks website.  At 
home you download them onto a personal computer, MP3 player or e-book 
for reading or listening.

"We want to educate people and take the mystery out of digitised 
books", Dymocks' chief executive Don Grover says.  He suggests 
downloading 20 or 30 books to suit every mood before going on 
holiday.  The company is keeping prices at 20 percent lower than for 
print books.

With the high-powered Endeca search engine and partnerships with 
audible.com and Google, the greatest obstacle for Dymocks has been 
the lack of content as publishers move cautiously into the digital 

"The physical book will still be the most important thing in the 
bookshop", Grover says.  "Our research shows customers love the feel 
and smell of a book.  It's not like music".

[Well it *is* like music, in a very important respect.

[The cost of copying is a substantial part of the total cost of 
delivering both hard-copy books and music on physical volumes such as 
vinyl and CDs.

[It's hard to believe that 20% is a fair reflection of the cost-savings.

[So there's a decent chance that the pricing will lead the public to 
become increasingly frustrated by the unfairness of book publishers 
and retailers.

[With the result that payment morality will decline, the public will 
be actively encouraged to perform acts of unauthorised re-publishing, 
and plenty of space will be left for illegitimate intermediaries to 
set up commercial operations.

[Just like music.

Roger Clarke                  http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in Info Science & Eng  Australian National University
Visiting Professor in the eCommerce Program      University of Hong Kong
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW

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