JK Rowling is taking a bit novel approach. She's making her e-books available in several formats and purchased through her own website. In this way she will keep the e-format rights and all the cuts for the book.
It's my understanding that a publishing house owns the rights to most books it publishes.
Ebooks outsell hardcopy books on Amazon and Google. Yes there are a small percentage that will search for free copies. Royal and history interested folks probably are not in that market. I did a search on a few recent royal books and none were pirated.
I personally, and I know of many others, don't purchase books not in e-format. I don't mind the price being set by the author - although one royal author's 160.00 e-book on Amazon is not one I'd purchase. The EU and the Justice Dept. are filing on several publishers for price fixing on e-books. It will be a case to watch.
While hardcopy books won't be going away in the next 5 years or so, no matter what the teamsters or anyone else wants, ebook sales will be the norm. Every single publishing house I've contacted has said that they are converting old books as soon as they become relevant or are rights are obtained.
It is a terrible shame to see books become lost forever. Books not in e-format become scarcer and harder to find and the cost becomes prohibitive. Most of these I consider to be very important works and hope that there is a more creative solution to this other than hoping it will go away.
Yes, e-music got rid of a lot or most of the record stores. It also made music more accessible. Is pirating happening, yes. Most users have purchased directly because it's easier, better quality, safer and legal.
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