Friday, February 26, 2010

Thoughts on Authorial Control and Piracy

Reading Between the Lines guest blogger Rachel Bostic tackles two very interesting topics in her January 20th blogpost on her website.

Discussing the topics of authorial control and piracy, Rachel has some great points:

Author Cherie Priest posted an excellent summary of which parts of the book production process authors have any control over or say in. And Nicole Peeler has a fabulous explanation of exactly how piracy hurts authors.

My thoughts on these topics?

Well, one of the reasons that self-publishing doesn’t scare me is that publishers are needed for a lot of the things Cherie lists–particularly scheduling and distribution. Individual authors–or even a small publishing house–simply don’t have the resources to get the kind of distribution that established houses can get. Would you know who to contact to sell your book to Barnes & Noble? Would you know when to sell it? Would you know how to project sales for them? Those major chain retailers are super-important to publishers, so a lot of the times when the art is changed it has to do with an account not liking it.

As for piracy, well. As a society we’re facing a complicated time when an entire generation has grown up with free information right at their fingertips. Free! Endless! Information! Those people have a hard time paying for something they can’t touch, and frankly I don’t really blame them when they don’t even own what they’re paying for (a Kindle download is actually a license to use the content, not an actual purchase as we think of a paperback book purchase being something that you pay for and then HAVE, and you can read it or loan it to someone or rip it up and put it on your wall as art. We need to iron out these issues before we can have a legitimate conversation about it. Piracy hurts publishers and authors, no doubt about it. But society is changing, and fighting piracy with DRM isn’t the answer.

Check out her post HERE

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