EFF Looks at the Big Questions Surrounding Digital Books

At the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a post on what the future of digital books portends
for pubishers and consumers

Skeptics should remember that it wasn’t long ago that many
predicted that CDs would never replace vinyl, and later that
MP3s would never replace CDs. You can still find great record
stores that specialize in vinyl, but the trend towards digital
music has been steady and unstoppable. And the music industry
has paid a huge price for their failure to embrace the new
technology. After first ignoring new technologies, they then
proceeded to try to sue innovators, restrict users with DRM copy
protection and then punish fans with indiscriminate lawsuits,
none of which did a thing to stop online sharing of music. Sales
are down, illegal filesharing is up, and no one has found a way
to unite the industry around monetizing the sharing of digital
music (though EFF has suggested a Better Way Forward).

Will the same thing happen to the publishing industry as books
become digital? If the trend continues, with better devices
promising longer battery life and better screen resolution,
digital books will become a force to be reckoned with. Are we
doomed to watch the publishing industry run through the same
gamut of bad decisions that have plagued the recording industry
for the last few years?

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