What’s Next for Authors United?

Authors United has been spectacularly unsuccessful in its supposed mission to get Amazon and Hachette to agree a deal.

By contrast, Simon & Schuster was able to agree a deal in just three weeks – without the intervention of Douglas Preston’s group.

Perhaps it’s time for Douglas Preston to widen the aims of the group and start campaigning on issues which actually matter. Read More…

Building A Better Publishing Industry For Everyone

Mike Shatzkin is confused. He can’t seem to understand why self-publishers spend so much time documenting the ills of the publishing industry. Or, as Shatzkin puts it in one of his typically snappy headlines, “The motivation of the publisher-bashing commentariat is what I cannot figure out.”

I did a fair bit of bashing myself last week when I said that “Publishing Is Rotten To The Core.” I had intended to follow that up with a more positive counterpoint in a couple of weeks, but Shatzkin’s post demanded an immediate response.

Motivations are less interesting to me than the arguments themselves, and questions about motivations can often be an attempt to avoid the actual issues, or a simple fishing expedition – i.e. looking for a point of entry for an ad hominem attack. But the misunderstanding on this issue is so fundamental that it is worth addressing. Read More…

Book Piracy: What Should Authors Do?

Authors are entitled to take whatever approach they like to book piracy; it’s their work after all. That said, I’d like to see if I can convince some of you to approach the issue a little differently, because I think taking a hardline approach can actually be counter-productive.

Everyone saw what happened to the music industry. An MP3 is usually around 5MB; with a good connection, you can download it in sixty seconds or less. An ebook can be as small as 200kb, meaning pirates can download a year’s reading material in the same time it takes to grab one album. File-sharing sites are full of ebooks, sometimes in torrents containing over 10,000 ebook files, ready to download in one fell swoop, often including titles available prior to their official release date.

The publishing industry has responded in two ways, both of which are amazingly short-sighted, ineffective, and have served only to alienate the wrong people—you know, those who do pay for books. Read More…