The story on the iPad and piracy: Rubbish!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve read countless articles and posts with the most outlandish comments about the iPad, but few caught my attention more than a short post I read today about the iPad making it easier to pirate comic books because it has a screen grabbing feature. It makes it piracy so easy because you only need to push two buttons to capture whatever is on the screen.  Hello?!  Anyone in there?!

Last time I checked we lived in 2010.  I have an incredibly cheap HP integrated printer/scanner, in fact much cheaper than an iPad, and incredibly enough it also has a couple of buttons on it.  If I place a paper magazine on the scanner it makes a full color copy of it, with the press of a button.I’m astounded!   Incredible! Printers must enable comic book piracy!

Perhaps the fellow that wrote the post never used a computer with Windows and a Print Screen key on the keyboard.

I think that on interesting point the people that write this kind of baseless stories miss is that if you search for them, you will be able to find any number of books available on the Internet that were never published in electronic form in the first place.  The combination of inexpensive scanners and powerful OCR software has made the copying of books quite easy.  Does anyone think that a comic book that doesn’t even require an OCR software to begin with really needs the help of an iPad to get copied?

One thing is sure, the iPad is having a profound impact on the discussion of all things publishable: newspapers, magazines, books and comics.  Another article I read, this one better much considered than the first one I mentioned, asked the question of whether the iPad would save comics, destroy comic book shops or increase comic book piracy.  There can’t be a direct answer to the that question, because it isn’t really up to the iPad, but to publishers.

Will publishers offer comic books at reasonable prices or will they try to squeeze a little bit extra from early adopters of the iPads, after all they could afford an iPad…   That question is actually at the heart of it all.  The iPad isn’t going to save anything in itself.  With the new mode of interaction if it is taking mainstream, size and battery life it enables new uses for what is essentially a portable computer.

That multi-touch devices are the way of the future is certain. That in the future all books, comic books and other printed publications are going to go the way of the Dodo and be replaced by electronic versions, there can be no doubt for anyone that is honest with him/herself.  So… Comic book publishers that start exploring ways to adapt to the new format are more likely to survive than those that don’t.  Piracy doesn’t really need the iPad as a facilitator, as my printer/scanner demonstrated.

As for comic book stores, their days are numbered just as are those of regular bookshops. Oh, they might not all close tomorrow, but their number will continue to dwindle until all that is left are a few highly specialized collector-oriented shops.

My point in all of this is that the iPad may be focusing the spotlight on this area and on several initiatives for creating digital publications, but these would have happened without it and and the path they lead to is inevitable.  All that the iPad might be doing is acting as a catalyst to speed up the process.

What will eventually define if and which publishers have a future is how they treat their readers, regardless of what kind of publication they work with.  Customers do not like to feel like they are being gouged and they will avoid publishers they perceive as trying to unfairly wanting make them pay the same or an even higher price for an electronic edition then on the printed one.

* Image: Bitolithic Pty Ltd (via iTunes)

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5 Responses to “ “The story on the iPad and piracy: Rubbish!”

  1. Guilherme Cantisano says:

    I read some comic books with flash air support, instead of been a picture-picuture storyboard, some authors have inserted some movement in their comics, probaly will be a nice way to avoid piracy…

    I see some rumors about a product called HP Slate that Support for Adobe Flash, maybe will gives its Slate Tablet and advantage over Apple´s iPad. Whereas iPad users look to Apple´s Store for apps and to iTunes for content, Flash gives HP users access to a wealth of Web Content and apps, and Adobe´s AIR provides a framkework for developing additional ones… like comics ! :-)

    Checkit out… http://www.hp.com/slate

  2. Mauricio Longo says:

    The HP slate, running Windows 7 on an Atom processor will surely be ideal to casually read the comics while you are waiting for the bus or train, if you don’t mind waiting a couple of minutes for your tablet to startup. I’m sure that Air based comics will be great on such a high powered hand computer, considering that an Air based twitter client only takes up about 600 MBs of RAM while running on my notoriously underpowered CoreDuo Windows machine (which is a whole lot more powerful than the Atom processor).

    Come on Guilherme, you can do better teasing than that!

  3. Mike Cane says:

    Apple better not get it into its head to disable screensnaps. I use that for legitimate blog posts.

    Only an idiot would want to spend the time to assemble a comic out of screensnaps. Time vs money.

    I would like to get back to reading some comics again and the iPad will do that. I’m prepared to pay. I won’t buy paper and I hate those about-to-be-gone dens of jackals that sell them.

  4. Mauricio Longo says:

    I generally agree on all counts. I’m also looking forward to getting back to reading some comics and I’m also prepared to pay, without issue, but I’m not about to start to go hunting for old magazines so that I can read older stories.

  5. Marko says:

    The iPad is one of the best things of apple. After the iPhone I like it to surf with the iPad. The idea of this product is good, but it can be a little bit bigger.

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