E-books come of age: What about the Pirates though?

The year 2010 is out to take e-books to the next level – Apple is planning to come out with tablet PC / e-book reader and the entire publishing industry is gearing up to launch digital books in a big way. However, the current feeling (and an ominous one) is that once e-books become popular, piracy will be just two steps behind.

Although it is impossible to weed out piracy, the publishing industry is taking careful steps to avoid making the mistakes made by the music industry in dealing with piracy. The music industry simply lashed out thoughtlessly with DRM, excessive policing, lawsuits, format changes, and unreasonable prices. In the end, it looked as if the music industry was out to take away your freedom. Confused and irritated fans simply retaliated by downloading pirated versions with vengeance.

However, the digital book industry are already taking proactive measures. For starters, a consensus is being formed on a common format for ebooks. Hachette – a leading digital publisher – has adopted the epub format in both the US and UK divisions. Many other companies are also following suit. The main idea is to use DRM in the right way – give customers more universality in terms of the ebook formats, and greater flexibility in terms of access and usage.

However, currently, e-books cost more than the print versions because apart from the a digital book has to pay the VAT charge of 17.5% – which the print version is exempt from. Until and unless the players in the e-books industry find some way of clearing up this glitch, it could turn out to be a serious setback in the future.


  1. “e-books cost more than the print versions because apart from the a digital book has to pay the VAT charge”
    Printing, shipping and distribution is most of the cost of a printed book (70-80% of retail). E-books don’t incur these costs. Even with VAT, e-books should be half the cost of a printed book.


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