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Dear Publishers, Don’t be Like Metallica

In his blog about fighting e-book piracy, Timo Boezeman makes some really interesting and important points. The first of which is that actively fighting piracy is stupid. I agree, as it’s expensive and hard to actually put a stop to. You also have to be careful from a PR standpoint. You don’t want to come across like Metallica did with Napster. I mean I am adamantly anti-piracy (my years in the retail end of the music industry made sure of that), but you don’t want to come across as a bunch of whiny rich kids. When people are having trouble seeing why piracy is wrong, a rich person trying to get sympathy about losing money is pretty hard for most people to empathize with.

He also touches on the industry misconception that every illegal download is a missed sale. Not true. Many illegal downloaders are people that would be hitting up libraries, used book stores or not even (god forbid) reading at all. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I’ve gotta say that the publishing industry doesn’t seem to function in the same way as the music industry…I mean before there was e-anything, there were libraries whose function it was to make books readily available to anyone for FREE, and used book stores, which are a bit of a point of contention in the publishing industry still exist completely legally. Although e-piracy is something that has to be taken into consideration, I really don’t think that it’s something that is going to be the downfall of the publishing industry.