Will Technology Kill The Book Market?
By: Jeff Herman
Sitting in a public area and overhearing private conversations isn't against the law. Hacking a private cell phone conversation without either party's consent is against the law.
What if I don't agree with law? What if I believe that whatever enters the air belongs to no one, which is the same as belonging to everyone? So I hack away. What practical recourse do you have? First, you need to know it's happening. Next, you need to know I'm the culprit. Finally, you need to locate me and prove it's me. Yes, it's a criminal offense, but that doesn't mean you'll get any of the authorities to do anything in your behalf. Chances are, you're on your own.
Kindles aren't hardwired to Amazon. You buy a digital book and it's delivered to your device through the air. In turn, the retailer, publisher and author get their respective piece of the revenue pie. But as before, what if I refuse to accept that anything in the air is private property, and I have the ability to "steal" the book while it's in the air and infinitely replicate it? It's perfectly against the law, but it's a law that can be ignored with impunity.
There are legions of freelance and organized hackers who are always ahead of whatever cloaks exist. Most of them are hobbyist without avaricious intentions, but some of them have criminal intentions. We should assume that once the numbers make sense, well organized black-markets for digital books will thrive. None of the revenues from such sales will reach publishers, retailers or authors. As soon as one racket is busted, others will immediately replace it. The only limitation will be the extent of consumer reluctance to nefariously purchase digital books. But if the quality is the same; the chance of detection is almost zero and the price considerably lower, consumers will progressively abandon the legal market because that's what we do.
We are gleefully throwing our lives into the air. Hardwired delivery systems might be the most secure technology both now and in the future. Entering the air is the game-changer. Of course there's ways to violate wired transmissions, except it's more intrusive and lacks quality. Wired is old technology; If it hasn't presented much of a pirating problem yet, chances are it won't become one.
Should you resist digitization of your books? No, because you'll lose a lot of foreseeable sales if you do. Just know that one day it might stop being a good idea, and don't forget that anything air-born is absolutely violable.