Anobii chief says drop DRM to fight Amazon

Anobii chief says drop DRM to fight Amazon

Matteo Berlucchi, chief executive of the social e-retailer Anobii, has urged publishers to drop the restrictions placed on how readers use e-books. Berlucchi told delegates at New York digital conference Digital Book World that the move would allow Kindle owners to more easily buy e-books without having to go direct to Amazon.

According to comments reported on DBW's website, Berlucchi said: “What is the challenge the industry faces from a retail perspective? That the consumer marketplace is dominated by Kindle. Dropping DRM would enable any retailer to sell e-books to Kindle customers.”

He said books without DRM technology were easily shareable between users, like print books, meaning books without DRM were more valuable to readers. He said DRM created "silos" and killed "interoperability", and was what made an e-book inferior to the print book.

The comments seemed to have additional resonance in the audience because the UK start-up is backed by publishers Random House, Penguin, and HarperCollins, but Berlucchi insisted that the views expressed were his, and not those of the company or its shareholders.

Berlucchi said 92% of the 1.3m e-readers estimated to have been sold in the UK over Christmas were Kindles. He said the use of DRM helped Amazon consolidate its position. “Amazon uses DRM to lock people in. You can’t take the files out. The problem is that if you go down the Amazon road, you can’t drop out. If you drop out of Kindle, you lose all your books. They [Amazon] are using DRM to build their silos, like Apple did in the beginning with the iPod, which is how they [Apple] dominated the music market,” he said.

According to the DBW report, Berlucchi said that five years after the rise of the Kindle e-reader, the book industry’s major players would also drop use of DRM. Citing the music industry, Berlucchi argued that the evidence suggested that DRM did not help fight piracy.