Charles Stross writes:
I've been ruminating for a whole long time now about the dog that didn't bark in the nighttime world of publishing — the coming ebook revolution, which has been coming now for something like 20 years and counting without much sign of actually arriving.
In point of fact, ebook sales figures are dismal. At best, they tend towards 20% of hardcover sales by volume — and that's for ebooks that are available in open formats that are not tied to a particular hardware platform, and that are not crippled by DRM (digital rights management) encryption schemes that prevent users from reading them on more than one machine. DRM-infested ebooks sell an order of magnitude fewer copies, in many cases not even covering the cost of taking the existing typeset masters and saving them in an ebook format.
The performance of the ebook market is in fact piss-poor. It can be explained in part by readers' natural aversion to DRM (if you change mobile phone or laptop, why should your entire library evaporate?), but also in part by publishers' idiotic aversion to the idea of trusting readers. (more...)