9 Responses

  1. skaldic says:

    I have to admit that I’ve got some real issues with his premise — yes, it’s tragic that publishing is having the problems it is, but most of those are problems with the way the publishing houses do business — they’re using a long-outdated publishing model and try to treat books like commodities — just like selling a gallon of milk.

    There’s no question that online buying has seriously undermined brick and mortar bookshops — it initially hit small bookstores hard, but now they’re back to being competitive with other stores. Bigger stores (like B&N) are suffering now because they’re not flexible enough. But that’s the bookstores, not the publishers, a distinction that article seems to blur.

    Yes, buying a second-hand book online means that publisher and author don’t get any revenue. But they wouldn’t have gotten any revenue from second-hand sales at independent bookstores if they’d walked in off the street. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about how horrible the second-hand sales on Amazon are for authors and publishers, but honestly, I’ve never seen any actual evidence that it’s any worse than second-hand sales were previously. If a person would prefer a used copy, they’d have gone out to a used bookstore previously. Sure, the Internet makes it easier to do that — but it makes it easier to buy a new book as well.

    Personally, I’m quite willing to concede that online second hand book sales are hurting authors — if I see any actual evidence of it rather than knee-jerk reaction and hear-say. (That doesn’t mean such evidence isn’t out there — I just haven’t seen it). At this point, though, I think the online sales have just moved the sales away from physical stores, rather than screwing authors (well, any more than they already get screwed).

  2. aergern says:

    Sounds like the same load of garbage the RIAA & MPAA started with and now look at things.

    I’ve bought used books and new books from a variety of sources for 20 years and this article sounds quite suspect to me.

    It sounds like a precursor to them conditioning us to the idea that they must go mainly digital so that DRM can be employed to “save the industry”. Then we’ll have “pirated” books with no more trading and enjoying of books. The customer will become a criminal as they are with music and movies. :/

  3. paul_carlson says:

    Sigh . . .

    It would help if the chain bookstores didn’t charge upwards of $30 for some anemic new hardcover titles . . .

  4. Kay says:

    Well, could be you’re right. I just tend to look at this issue from the author’s point of view, and I see authors getting dropped left and right for low sales. If authors don’t have an income stream, pretty soon the only writers left will be those writing for conglomerate publishers who are tellin’ them what to write. So we should both keep our minds open on this one until some facts can be marshalled and we can look at what’s happening to buying habits, and how it affects both the publishing industry and those of us in the trenches, trying to earn a living. I really don’t think this is getting the discussion it deserves. Glad for your viewpoint!

  5. Kay says:

    Price of hc

    That probably isn’t going to change. The cost of paper, distribution, and everything is bringing these tomes out of the reach of lots of people. I agree it’s daunting, and I don’t often spring for such… Most people wait for the paperback, and that’s ok in my view.

  6. Kay says:

    I Really hope you’re right. And yeah, I haven’t seen the stats, either. Anyone else out there seen some?

    It just seems logical that with on-line stores making it So Easy to buy used, and since we’re not reading More titles (that stat I Have seen) then on line used sales are eating into author’s incomes.

  7. aergern says:

    I see your point of view I really do. I just hope that the book publishing industry doesn’t go the way of the RIAA/MPAA.

    I suppose I’m an anomoly. I tend to buy the hardcovers for my library/office and then by the paperbacks to read. If I truly HAVE to read the book when it comes out then I buy two hardcovers. I order books from Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Foyles as well as other international sites because I just don’t like waiting upwards to a year or more for my favorite authors to be released in the states.

    But as with CD’s or a DVD .. if *I* choose to lend it to a friend .. I purchased it so I own it and should be able to do what I like with it and not feel like a criminal is what I guess I’m getting at. I have friends all over the planet that I trade books with and it would suck if they became DRM’ed to a single device or something silly like that. I just have visions of being called a “pirate” for trading literature .. just seems silly. 😀

  8. Anonymous says:

    I sent 2 copies of Bright of the Sky out to friends as Christmas presents this year. Just doing my part – Jeff Doten

  9. Kay says:

    Yes! Books as Christmas presents–that’s the spirit!
    (And, um, thanks, Jeff.)

Leave a Reply