The Anti-Ownership Ebook Economy: How Publishers and Platforms Have Reshaped the Way We Read in the Digital Age

This report explains that, while there is nothing new about publishers’ desire to seek novel ways to increase revenues, along with control and surveillance of readers, the new publisher-platform partnership creates a mechanism to align the ebook market with those goals. That new market alignment raises questions about whether these shifts are the best option for readers and institutional book buyers, particularly libraries. It also raises questions about how the newest players in the market — ebook distribution platforms — shape things to align with their own interests.

In order to fully understand the dynamics at play, we interviewed over 30 stakeholders that fill various essential roles in the ebook marketplace, from publishers to platform CEOs to literary agents, librarians, and lawyers. We discussed the priorities, concerns, and constraints that help shape their participation in the ebook marketplace. Our goal was to understand and document how this world looks through their eyes, and synthesize those views into broader conclusions.

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Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Charles W. Bailey, Jr.