E-bookdom would be far bigger than its pathetic $10-or-$11-milion-a-year self–a fraction of Tom Clancy’s income!–if readers had more feeling of control. Legalized file-sharing with the ability of individuals to sell already-read titles, just as they can through Amazon, could go a long way. Here’s a little inspiration from a Reuters piece headlined A “Social Networking” Music Service:

Srivats Sampath, the former CEO and founder of McAfee.com, has shared the first details of his new venture, Mercora, which early next year will launch a peer-to-peer music service featuring licensed content from major and independent labels…

Mercora will take the model developed by the file-sharing networks and apply the latest rights management to create a marketplace in which members will buy and sell music within a community of music fans. Sampath introduced the company and the plans for the service at this week’s Digital Hollywood conference in Los Angeles, calling Mercora a “social networking” music service.

OK, e-bookers, get it? E-books are and should be a social experience even more than ordinary books since they can be shared so easily. The industry should exploit this, not fight it. If the DRM isn’t too oppressive, Mercora could be a winner, and it’ll be interesting to see if an equivalent pops up within our business or whether Mercora itself branches into e-books.


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