Monday, January 25, 2010

Bad torrent

Jeez, I'm a lazy snot, but in my defence, I have been a wee bit busy to update the blog.

My mother once told me I analyse stuff to death - then analyse why it died. Which is pretty much true. In the interests of upholding the vice, I'm being nagged by the success of Winter's Heart over on the Scribd page.

And yeah, I've mentioned it before and it's still nagging. The book has enjoyed a recent spike in readings and I'm at a loss to work out why, since the prequel and sequel aren't doing much at all.

There's a big gap, however, in reading and downloads, so all I can do is speculate that peeps are reading all or a part on-line and not keeping a copy.

I also know that the books are listed on other torrent sites (places with fast downloads) - along with other author's works that I doubt they know about.

This is going to be a major problem for the publishing industry. For free works, no big; for just released in the book store, yeah, it's big. I imagine some of the people are either typing or scanning in books to post free, and I did see a Nora Roberts book freely available less than a week after it came out in the stores.

Add to that an argument I saw last year on Amazon where a poster was offering a book - can't remember whose - free to anyone who e-mailed him. His position was that, since he'd paid for it, he could do whatever he wanted with it. Others rightly said he was infringing copyright. The poster resentfully stuck to his position, ignoring the suggestion that if books were constantly being bought and offered free, there was no financial incentive for authors to continue writing. Eventually, the poster disappeared - no doubt to a torrent site.

How does an author protect their work in this age of electronic sophistication? How much money would it take to shut down the torrent networks?

One suggestion could be to halt traditional book publishing and encode e-books with a limited use security code. If people want an actual book, print-on-demand companies could print up the book, say, a year after the e-book came out - like the hardback/paperback system.

The downside would be the death of bookstores; they'd have to move from the traditional market to an ordering market - and how successful would that be?

As a new writer who hopes to be published one day, the future actually looks more bleak and scary than ever. I can post a book to Scribd or any of the other e-book sites, have six thousand reads, and not make a red cent for it. If I put it up for sale, the future will be six thousand reads and still not make much money because it's listed for free somewhere else.

I think, for now, I'll ignore what's going on and keep trying for the sensual feel of my first traditionally published book in my hands. It's a dream.

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