Simon & Schuster is the first big New York publisher to makes its titles available on Scribd, which started its store last month. Publishers have complained of numerous pirated texts showing up on Scribd, but officials for both Scribd and Simon & Schuster say that Scribd has worked hard to improve its anti-piracy measures and that having the authorized editions in its database will make it easier to track illegal versions.
I think this is a major story, especially for writers. When a large publisher - one of the THE largest - with authors like Stephen King -embrace the technology, things are going to change in the publishing industry.
The Digital Rights Management (DRM) is crucial. No author, writer, or publisher is going to agree to any system where the DRM does not protect the copyrighted word. Anyone could write a manuscript, claim copyright, create a PDF file, and place the document for sale on a Web site. However, such a business model would allow one sale, and the rapid distribution and duplication - although illegal - of the document. But now that the DRM appears to be in place, and as major publishers jump on board, watch this new form of distribution of a writer's work flourish.
This is just the start of something grand.
-- George Sheldon, http://www.georgesheldon.com/