Cutting Their Own Throat - on Publishers, Amazon and DRM (via @cstross)

Charles Stross writes a good article about the perils of DRM to publishers. We already know that DRM is a fundamentally anti-customer technology which doesn't work (he refers to it, accurately, as 'snake oil', but it's good to see that even on the other foot (that of the publisher desperate for the illusion of protection) it is a potential disaster:

As ebook sales mushroom, the Big Six's insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy[*], it has locked customers in Amazon's walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon's leverage over publishers. And unlike pirated copies (which don't automatically represent lost sales) Amazon is a direct revenue threat because Amazon are have no qualms about squeezing their suppliers — or trying to poach authors for their "direct" publishing channel by offering initially favourable terms. (Which will doubtless get a lot less favourable once the monopoly is secured ...)

Read it all here. His blog, in general, is a good source of interesting musing in the speculative fiction space. He says:

If the big six began selling ebooks without DRM, readers would at least be able to buy from other retailers and read their ebooks on whatever platform they wanted, thus eroding Amazon's monopoly position. But it's not clear that the folks in the boardrooms are agile enough to recognize the tar pit they've fallen into ...