Dan Gillmor blogged from Finland, adding a picture of the lighted nightsky taken with his mobile phone, using his on board camera as intended. However, as always with new technologies becoming available, people start inventing uses the designers did not think of.
In Japan one of those new uses is what bookshop owners label ‘digital shoplifting‘. The Japanese Magazine Publishers Association wants it stopped. Which it probably won’t be. I found this through Smartmobs, where Peter Davidson added this comment:
I think this is the begining of something huge. Content capturing mechanisms are becoming more and more common. The response will be to “shrink wrap” all content and suffer lost sales or keep content open and develop new ways to make paying for content compelling. It’s the same problem music and more recently movies are facing. Perhaps the magazine should go with the flow and send out photos to readers and encourage the practice in an effort to build buzz for the print version of the magazine.
The first signs, as per the Japanese Magazine Publishers Assoc., apparantly point to digging in. Not unlike the music industry is doing more vehemently by the month. But criminalising your customers that way will alienate them from you. To survive the response will have to be adapt, adapt and adapt some more. Peter’s idea to send out pictures yourself is one way, but just as consumers can come up with unintended and new uses for technology so can you. Not to barricade yourself, but to build stronger weak ties with consumers.
The whole issue reminds me of the story how Blackwell’s booksellers in Oxford became dominant in that university town: they were the only shop that let their customers leaf through the books for themselves, letting them browse and read for a bit, in stead of selling books only over the counter. Now the norm, then a major break with tradition. Blackwell did not talk about ‘information theft’ but cornered the market.

4 reactions on “Digital Shoplifting

  1. Radio Counterpoint

    Building from a post I can’t find from Joey on his hi-fi Bang and Olafsen telephone, the crystal clarity of May’s roadside phonecall last Sunday to say she was stuck in Orangeville,…

  2. Is the practice of taking a photo any different from reading articles in a magazine before buying. The price of computer magazines in Australia is silly, approaching $12 each. Rarely do they have an article I’d like to keep so I pick up the magazine and flick through the articles to see if it the product is worth buying. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

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