Power over Publishing

:
the trade in e-books
by Richard Guthrie In the beginning came AOL and Gemstar. MIT, Negroponte and other digital prophets saw the new technologies and said they were good. Old media - Time warner, News Corp., Rupert Murdoch, Gerry Levin et al - checked their share prices and saw that the long term power and asset prognosis for Old Media was bad. Established conglomerate-owned media organized a defence. In the early 21st century atmosphere of corporate power encouraged by the new Bush administration, the media conglomerates marshalled themselves. Against all market logic that history provides for new publishing products (it’s all about price), corporate publishing kept e-books prices artificially high. As history shows us, all new media technology is seen first as a threat to the establishment; the powerful media conglomerates engaged in technology suppression. They exploited the draconian powers and provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, promoted cumbersome Digital Rights Management technology locks, and directed their daily press, magazine and TV assets to promote doubt and fear over New Media e-reading technologies in the minds of ill-informed consumers. Porter details in Competitive Strategies just how far corporations will go, what tactics they will use, in order to succeed - ‘no holds are barred’. Conglomerate-owned publishing went to war with New Media. The media and entertainment conglomerates oversee 80% of sales in all sectors of Anglophone book publishing. The conglomerates were and still are a powerful adversary for New Media (which, at first, were only a loosely affiliated group of electronic enthusiasts, technologists and small start-up e-publishers). In the heady early years of the first New Media boom, 1998-2000, digital enthusiasts blind to the stark realities of markets, didn’t understand the blunt, even brutal, market instruments the conglomerates would use in order to destroy New Media’s growing market power. Old media had to destroy new publishing technologies, leaving their trump card for last blaming the market collapse of 2001 all on New Media. By 2002 New Media seemed all but beaten, neutered almost to extinction. Then out of nowhere came Google, a company Old Media entirely misread. New Media was back as a force once again.

POWER OVER PUBLISHING table of contents Introduction: Publishing in Digital Crisis 11 E-BOOKS: the first commercial phase 1998-2004 15
EMPATHIES AND ANTIPATHIES 1998-1999 THE E-FRENZY OF 2000 PARADIGM HIATUS 2001 LEAN TIMES 2002-2004

STRATEGIC COMPETITION 42
CORPORATE STRATEGIES 20TH CENTURY SUPPRESSION OF MEDIA AM VS FM AND THE DELAY OF TELEVISION ABSORPTION OF RIVALS MURDOCH VS GEMSTAR

LEGAL STRATEGIES OF CONTROL

63

COPYRIGHT AND CONSUMERS IN THE DIGITAL ERA COPYRIGHT OR COPY THEFT DMCA – ANTI-CONSUMER LAW FAIR USE & FIRST SALE THE LIMITS OF PIRACY

THE POWER OF CULTURE 89
THE POWER OF ENTERTAINMENT THE SAGA OF TIME WARNER AND AOL CONTENT VS. CONNECTIVITY GOOGLING BOOKS

POWER IN PUBLISHING

116

MICHAEL MOORE'S POWER OVER MURDOCH CHRIS PATTEN STALEMATES HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS, CONSUMERS AND THE E-BOOK THE E-BOOK POWER MESSAGE

Footnotes Bibliography

164

The writer: Richard Guthrie has followed New Media developments and the growth of new electronic reading technologies for over a decade. He has an MA in publishing studies from City University, London and a PhD from Nottingham Trent University in the economic, cultural and technological developments in electronic publishing.
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