On Publishing and Pirates

ArsTech has a very thoughtful response to a pretty hyperbolic article in the London Times about the threats of digital piracy on publishers and authors.

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.



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3 responses to “On Publishing and Pirates

  1. I made the decision to post my supernatural mystery novel on my blog in its entirety, merely as an effort to gauge readers’ reactions. The question of copyright (copying period) troubled me but other than printing a copyright disclaimer, what could I do? The main thing is to get folks reading my work and if these new technologies aid and abet that goal, I’m a happy man…

  2. mymediamusings

    Cliff – Would love to hear what the response was to the blog publishing. Would you do it with your next book?

  3. I’ve had 1500 hits on my site since I posted my novel. Several hundred have downloaded or read portions of SO DARK THE NIGHT. None of those people would even be aware of the existence of the book if I’d stuck it away in a trunk somewhere. Responses have been enthusiastic, comments positive. I’ve pretty much made the determination that my site will be my primary publishing venue from now on. With the numbers I’m getting, who needs publishers, agents, editors, the obsolete infrastructure of the old publishing regime?

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