One of our interns, Nic, has been researching DRM and the issues surrounding it. Here is another one of his posts:
As we have mentioned in the past few posts, DRM is currently a major issue in the ebook industry, with many proponents pushing for different models with the aspiration of balancing between the publisher’s protection from piracy and the consumer’s experience and desires. Currently, there is very little interoperability between e-reading devices, which is problematic and somewhat disorienting for the consumer. Buyers want the freedom to read their e-books on other devices; this is especially a concern due to there being so many different e-readers currently on the market, so many companies working on producing the next generation round of devices, and the indeterminable question of which products will consumers want to be using in the future.
A recent article from FutureBook makes the bold claim that, thanks to its upcoming Google Editions, Google may have already won the eBook war due to circumventing these issues. The article draws comparisons to the music industry, and it goes on to predict a trend towards device agnostic reading. Books purchased through Google Editions are stored in the cloud, allowing users to access their books through any device capable of connecting to the internet, and, due to this, Google will be in a great position to seize market share in the industry if other companies continue with their DRM policies of limited-to-no device interoperability,
“The industry needs to grow digitally to last, and we need to start thinking uncomfortable thoughts about how we help readers access books in the way they want before companies like Google lock up the market.”