Last week I wondered why publishers didn't Do Something, since it seemed to me that at least the Big 6 Trades have all the wherewithall to Do Something, to combat amazon's monopoly on e-pubs + More, Always MORE, because that's how monopoly capitalism always rolls.
Charles Stross didn't just wonder. He did something, and it seems that mayhap at least one publisher is Doing Something (though Charles says this wasn't his doing).
Read here all about what Charles Stross thinks Macmillan's dropping DRM may mean in the near and later future, particularly for the consumers of genre fiction, who are the largest consumers of epubs.
This is a long blog entry, but all of it is worth reading, as generally is the case with Mr. Stross's Charlie's Diary, because he employs his reason, upon a platform constructed from actual information as so far as possible, and his terrific analytic capacity. Here's a pull - sample of his reasoning:
As noted earlier, consumers change e-reader devices frequently. Within 5 years we will be seeing a radically different electronic landscape. Unlocking the readers' book collections will force Amazon and B&N and their future competitors to support migration (if they want to compete for each others' customers). So hopefully it will promote the transition from the near-monopoly we had before the agency model, via the oligopoly we have today, to a truly competitive retail market that also supports midlist sales.
(Why this will support the midlist: currently Amazon have swamped the midlist among ebooks in a sea of self-published rubbish. It's impossible to find anything worth reading in the Kindle store that isn't a very obvious bestseller. This offers an opportunity for specialist bookstores to offer a curatorial role. I believe the voracious genre consumers are picky enough about what they read that they dislike Amazon's slushpile approach, and will preferentially shop in better organized outlets.)YES!