eBook piracy is a subject that seems to divide the publishing community . At the recent London Book Fair Digital Conference, the piracy debate was arguably the most contentious discussion of the day. For helpful background, Philip Jones of The Bookseller neatly summarises a status on piracy on Futurebook.
I thought I’d lay out my view on this.
It frustrates me to see a piece of content that has had the passion of an author, commitment of editorial and design team and investment of a publisher available for free from an online fileshare site. However, I do not believe in investing the spend to chase around the web stopping this happening. I am passionate about our business, our content and our consumers and this is where I want to spend time and effort. Not in chasing ebook piracy.
Piracy will happen no matter how hard we try to stop it – we need to accept this. I would rather consider what opportunities it might present and how it challenges us. If people feel the need to pirate our content, is it not readily available enough to our audience? How can we better engage with our customer so they come to us and not a fileshare site? What do we need to do with pricing to address this? In all of this, I agree with the thrust of Timo Boezeman’s post that publishers need to make a shift in mindset.
One of the challenges online is that you lose an element of control. Your audience will decide what they’ll do and how they’ll behave, how they’ll talk about you and where they’ll go online. As publishers we need to do our best to understand this environment and to think differently as a result. Those that achieve this will stand the best chance of survival and success in the digital world.
Lets not get bogged down in ebook piracy but instead get excited about the thousands, even millions, of consumers across the world eager for our content. What a great opportunity that is and we should go after it as hard as we can.