Mar 7 2010
One of the things we learned from our survey was that readers were hungry to talk to publishers. But how would you want to engage publishers? On a blog post? On a livechat? A skype conference? What part of “publishers” would you want represented? The CEO? The editors? The authors?
What would you ask them? Is pricing the most important topic for you? Is it availability (geographic or just generally digitized)? Is it DRM? Is it ownership? The right to share? How about resale? Is timing of the release? Is it quality?
For me, it’s a number of factors. First, I definitely want quality. I want the digital book to be as good as the paper book and even more, I want the digital book to avail itself of digital features like searchability, multiple bookmarks, annotations, organization. I want pretty little section breaks and the graphics included in a print book, optimized for the digital book.
I want all books available in digital that are available in print. I want the digital books to be available at the same time as the print books. I will concede that there will be no resale but in exchange, the price of the digital books must be some percentage less of lowest comparable print book.
I would like to share a book but if I can’t share it then I want the price to be lower, again, than the print version.
In order to reduce costs of digital books, I want publishers to decide on one universal format and one DRM that allows for cross platform availability. Reducing the number of formats and different DRMs will substantially reduce the cost of producing the digital book. If publishers are going to insist that there is no difference in the production and delivery of a digital book from a print book, they are going to have to be far more transparent.
Because listening is just as important as speaking. If we consumers are ignorant or presumptuous or sound entitled, then explain why and provide evidence. Don’t speak in conclusory statements about how if we only knew.
As for speaking with publishers, I am not sure who I want to talk to and in what setting. What I do want to know is that they are listening. John Sargent posted about pricing on the Macmillan blog entitled “Macmillan Speaks” and he responded to one comment that I left asking for clarification. Ami Grecko, formerly of Tor and now with Adaptive Blue (GetGlue) says that the time for heavy lifting for Macmillan and other publishers begin. But we can start the conversation.
I want to hear from you. What would you say, if you had the opportunity and to whom would you want to speak?