Monday, April 07, 2008

Book Piracy

Check out this link (below) to a blog I read and like quite a bit. I'd be curious to hear what my fellow writers have to say about the blog poster's view on book piracy, or the issue of book piracy at large. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Or both? Why ?


NM said...

Book piracy is much ado about nothing.

Not only is there no evidence that free e-book copies cut into paper book sales, there is significant evidence that their existence helps sales.

Baen Books, the SF publisher, releases virtually all their books electronically, for free, before their paper release and their sales information has lead to a very clear conclusion: e-books sell p-books.

Other publishers are now experimenting with free e-book editions to accompany their p-books; I'd Google the terms "Cory Doctorow" and "Creative Commons" for a powerful example of this working.

The mechanism is simple: most people aren't going to read a whole book of the screen as there are no convenient e-book readers. The Internet is essentially the world's biggest information medium and also accounts for a significant number of book sales. In a way, it is a gigantic bookstore.

When was the last time you saw a book on a bookstore shelf that was shrink-wrapped so you had to buy it to look at even a page? The anti-piracy set are essentially demanding that their books be shrink-wrapped on the Internet. It is their intellectual property, so they can do what they like and I'll support them, but ultimately it is to their disadvantage. Obscurity is the prime enemy of writers, not piracy, and if the competition wants to make themselves obscure on the greatest source of information in history, good.

More readers for me then.

carmen said...

I think you say it all when you say "e-books sell p-books." I think Seth Godin is a case in point :) Any others I'm missing?

Thanks Nick, as always, for your thorough commentary!