Not surprisingly, this industry is facing very similar problems to the music and film industry largely due to the fact that the key things they’ve done is to manufacture and distribute a hard good. Today, there is technically no need for either of these services. That’s definitely a problem for the publishers, and since they have traditionally been the ones to pay the authors, it is a problem for the authors as well.
However, as ArsTech points out:
“Without a popular and workable system for micropayments, there’s still no good way for most Internet users to pay (for instance) a quarter for legal access to a particular recipe, and it’s not clear that most publishers would want to do this, anyway. Wedded to the book format like the music business has been wedded to the album, the temptation is to see such piecemeal sales as cannibalizing a larger revenue stream, though publishers have in fact begun to experiment.”
I really do think that the eventual development of a working micropayment systen will be the solution to a lot of these problems. Right now, there is just too big a gap between what’s being charged and what the market is truly willing to pay. If this weren’t the case, piracy just wouldn’t be such a big issue.