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The dangers of enhanced ebooks

I was exchanging emails today with Moriah Jovan and she remarked on the cost of licensing music. This reminded me of an article I read on Techdirt a couple days ago. I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere, so I thought it worth a post.

Everyone’s talking about how they want to see enhanced ebooks, and of course audio would be relatively easy to do. But the problem with licensing music is that the major record labels like to negotiate by lawsuit:

We’ve heard time and time again from innovative music startup after innovative music startup, that when the major record labels come calling, they do so with outrageous demands for upfront payments, excessively high ongoing royalties and a demand for equity. Quite frequently, the record labels try negotiating through lawsuit, by suing the startup as a part of the "negotiation." While many of these lead to "settlements," the results are ridiculously burdensome, leading many of these startups to go out of business.

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Mike Cane August 29, 2010 um 7:44 pm

*snort* Forget ever licensing music. Simon & Schuster got all that Nixonland stuff because it’s owned by parent company CBS and could draw from the archives cheaply.

barbara August 29, 2010 um 10:24 pm

A) Moriah is totally cool B) A-MEN…

As a volunteer at a local community radio station I sometimes want to scream at the way Big Music goes out of its way to keep, small and non-profit stations down…

…Artists need to be paid a fair price for work done AND they need to be promoted. One way to promote artists and their music is to get it out over the airwaves. Share it. Give credit where credit is due.

I went music shopping with a friend today after my radio show….it was pathetic. There is nowhere in town to get indie or obscure music…so we hit Borders, Barnes and Noble, Target and Best Buy…and there was nothing. Borders is gasping its last…makes me sad to go in there. B&N…*sigh*…it’s embarrassing to even go into Target and Best Buy isn’t particularly interested in interesting music…they’d rather sell House on DVD.

(The above has very little to do with enhanced ebooks, but I needed to rant.)

Moriah Jovan August 30, 2010 um 11:55 am

Well, you’re right about the indie stuff. I’m fortunate to live in a music town (okay, mostly jazz and blues, but still) and our independent record (as in, vinyl) stores (like Streetside and Seventh Heaven[which is mostly a headshop]) still thrive. Notice, they don’t have a web presence. Coincidence? Dunno.

On the other hand, if you’re not a native or you’re a native surburbanite, you probably don’t know about it.

And I think you’re plenty cool too, Barb. 😉

Moriah Jovan August 30, 2010 um 11:59 am

Heh. Just saw 7th Heaven’s website. They’ve, ah, enhanced their music offerings a bit more than just the crappy little bongs they sold when I was a kid.

Bill August 30, 2010 um 6:52 am

>>Everyone’s talking about how they want to see enhanced ebooks<<

Not everyone is. I am dreading the awful stuff we will have to wade through along with a few gems.

Publishers have yet to consistently produce *standard* ebooks that are appropriately proofread and correctly formatted, with appropriate metadata.

Moriah Jovan August 30, 2010 um 11:50 am

Well, *I* am talking/thinking about them because that’s the next level in the game, whether we’re all on level 0 or level -35.

Right now, I’m seeing the word "enhanced" thrown around to mean linked Tables of Contents and fully linked indices. WTF? That’s not enhanced. That SHOULD be Standard Operating Procedure (as I stated here).

So first, yes, you’re so right that ebooks need to come up to a standard that paper books fulfill easily, but we can’t NOT think about the future and true enhancements because we (as a whole, not as individuals) aren’t there yet.

Nate and I, Joshua Tallent and Liz Castro, and countless other relatively small players produce ebooks to that standard and we work hard at it. But you know what? From the time I produced my own book (my first), and loaded it with song references, all I wanted was to be able to afford the soundtrack to load with it. Because it would’ve been soooooo easy to do.

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