Monday, January 14, 2008

The Electronic Rights Challenge

Amazon and their publishing partners are no doubt up to their ears in the content conversion process for the Kindle. Although many Kindle owners are disappointed with the limited title selection to date, another issue exists that is likely to plague the system for quite awhile: Who owns the electronic rights to certain titles and are these owners going to exercise those rights so that the books will be available for the Kindle?

Here's a link to one frustrated customer's comments on the Kindle forum. While most publishers today work to secure e-content rights in author agreements that wasn't always the case. There are also plenty of deals being signed right now that don't include e-content rights; for one reason or another, the author or agent involved would prefer to exercise the e-rights on their own or with a third party, someone other than the print content rights.

The result is that there will always be gaps or, at best, delays with e-book availability on certain titles. It's not a perfect system, but hopefully as Kindle ownership and use becomes more widespread e-content owners will be more interested in making their titles available in a timely manner.