So when e-books rolled along with the promise to obliterate barriers to distribution, the publishing industry was faced with either changing everything they do, or sticking to what they’ve always done. Naturally, they opted to circle wagons, stick their fingers in their ears and pretend digital is print.
Digital makes copying free.
Reaction: Try to block digital copying by imposing DRM.
Digital eliminates the constraints of geography from distribution
Reaction: Try to preserve regional publishing monopolies by imposing artificial geographical limits on digital distribution
General-purpose Web browsers change rapidly and allow the user full control
Reaction: Build single-purpose “e-readers” that only allow reading e-books, preferably tightly locked into a monopoly vendor’s authorized distribution channel.
Digital formats on the Web are wild, woolly and evolve unpredictably.
Reaction: Try to make e-books resemble physical books by kneecapping them with incompatible “standards” like ePub, created by the publishing industry to serve its own interests.
Let’s recap. Customers today are expected to buy into a format that locks down their content into a silo, limits their purchasing choices based on where their credit card happens to have been registered, is designed to work best on devices that are rapidly becoming obsolete, and support only a tiny subset of the functionality available on any modern website.