Friday, June 06, 2008

Paul Krugman on E-books

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman writes on E-books:
[Amazon's Kindle is] a good enough package that my guess is that digital readers will soon become common, perhaps even the usual way we read books.

How will this affect the publishing business? Right now, publishers make as much from a Kindle download as they do from the sale of a physical book. But the experience of the music industry suggests that this won’t last: once digital downloads of books become standard, it will be hard for publishers to keep charging traditional prices.

Indeed, if e-books become the norm, the publishing industry as we know it may wither away. Books may end up serving mainly as promotional material for authors’ other activities, such as live readings with paid admission. Well, if it was good enough for Charles Dickens, I guess it’s good enough for me.
In the recent Book Expo America, Amazon's Jeff Bezos showcased Kindle. This has captured the attention of several people.

A lot of the authors are against digital books because of the lack of copyright protection and the ease with which the book can be copied. Several publishers are gingerly approaching e-books. However, the idea should be to embrace the idea and not resist it. We need to put together sufficient safeguards, but not more which will make it difficult for the consumers.

As with other ideas, USA will lead this space. Those of us in India will look carefully at what is happening there.

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