While digital publishing in its current form is no longer in its infancy, one of the major concerns that still arises about the medium is piracy. While some argue that piracy can actually make for good business in terms of building readership and spreading an author’s brand, others counter that it costs the publishing industry countless numbers in revenue each year. One thing that is for certain is that there is no clear solution on the horizon, even as DRM-free advocates work for open access and publishers try to get creative with prosecuting offenders.
eBookPlus is a recent startup that is working to put more ebooks into more readers’ hands without the concerns associated with the current climate of piracy. By paying out to authors and publishers ahead of time from the funds provided by advertisers, the company is hoping to still provide accessibly free reads to consumers while ensuring that the rights’ holders are compensated.
While some readers cannot envision tolerating advertising in their favorite reading material, the company ensures that the ads, which can include links or static pages or even embedded videos, are placed only at the beginning of each chapter and not scattered across each page. For its part, advertisers have the option to choose how their business model will work with the provider.
The company has a seemingly complicated system of payouts to the authors, basing it on the number of times the book is accessed. The amount of royalty paid to the author is dependent on views of the book and increases after set numbers of accesses of the titles.
What remains to be seen is how effective this tactic can be against piracy. It is true that those who make available illegal copies of books are doing it for the potential income, hopefully new methods of accessing books without illegal file sharing would be enough of an incentive to avoid the easy route to book access.