Saturday, 29 January 2011

E-books in the news this week

This week is was revealed that the judging panel for this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction have been provided with e-readers.

So rather than the judges receiving a heavy delivery of books to wade through to create a longlist (for announcing in July this year) they will have the choice of reading the entries digitally- if a e-book version is available of course.

Have to say reading about 100 books in a set time span sounds easier to do if you have an e-reader you can slip in your bag or pocket.

Meanwhile Amazon has announced that in the US their Kindle books have outsold paperbacks- 115 digital to 100 books.
Obviously the US has had a head start in e-book sales as the first Kindle was sold there some time before becoming available to the UK.
The UK market is starting to see increased sales but some readers prefer to use a Tablet or their mobile phone devices to read on, rather than exclusively an e-reader.

Then there is the issue of Territorial Rights. It's easier to explain in books (the solid type) before venturing onto e-books.

For example a UK publishers has the right to publish his/her authors books in the UK and a number of other countries within a territorial agreement. A reader in another territory won't necessarily be able to obtain that book in their own country at the same time, because the rights for the territory (their location are covered by) may not yet have been agreed and sold to a publisher located there.

So with digital you have a different problem.
A digital file could be downloaded to a reader in any country who technically should not be able to obtain that book- because no territorial agreement for printing and publishing that 'book' exists in their area.
It relies upon the e-book supplier saying to the buyer, sorry you cannot buy this book because of your territorial location. (Now why should a business be expected to turn down a sale?)

It's a complicated issue which you'll see if you read this item on The website, here.

Digital keeps raising challenges in the traditional publishing world as long agreed formulae don't fit the new systems. But I'm fairly certain agreements will be made eventually.

Publishers (and writers) want to sell books, so hopefully they will get such issues over digital sorted as soon as they can.

If they get it wrong and piracy gets a boot in the door then it will be too late for everyone.


Kate Kyle said...

thanks for this insight, Carol. I've never thought about it, although I've had a bit of a problem buying books from while living in NZ, but had no idea while I couldn't do it.

I haven't got an e-reader yet but I'm planning to buy one, so as an author I hope a solution to Territorial Rights for eBooks will be find soon.

Carolb said...

Glad this was of some help Kate. Living in the UK we don't really see these issues as most books we are likely to want to buy are available to us.