More on Books in the Digital Age

BoingBoing has a quick post about the on-going free book discussion:

“Bottom line: low-risk/low-cost books are how readers discover new authors, and the biggest threat writers face is the overall unpopularity of reading books, not people reading for free.”

They point to a post from Neil Gaiman, (who’s book, American Gods, is “available” for free online) who responds to an bookseller unhappy that Gaiman is allowing his book to be given away:

“The books you sell have “pass-along” rates. They get bought by one person. Then they get passed along to other people. The other people find an author they like, or they don’t.

When they do, some of them may come in to your book store and buy some paperback backlist titles, or buy the book they read and liked so that they can read it again. You want this to happen.

Just as a bookseller who regards a library as the enemy, because people can go there and read — for free! — what he sells, is missing that the library is creating a pool of people who like and take pleasure in books, will be his customer base, and are out there spreading the word about authors and books they like to other people, some of whom will simply go out and buy it.”

There are certainly similarities between the publishing industry and the music industry and it is interesting to see the responses from readers, authors, sellers and distributors as both groups are pushed into the digital age.

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