Thursday, January 1, 2009

Shame on You for Selling Your Books

If any empire deserves to crumble, it's publishing as we have known it. This good New York Times article discusses online amateur book dealing. When you sell your used books on Amazon it bothers publishers no end because they get paid for the book only once. Maybe like their writers they should get used to being paid only once.

By comparison, a publisher of eBooks can charge for every download, although texts must be priced more affordably. But easy and instantaneous transactions mean the publisher sells more -- even when downloaded books get passed around. More sales and no middlemen mean a bigger chunk of the profits can go to the writers -- not the current lousy 10 to 15 percent.

According to the article, brick-and-mortar bookstores must go down with the ship, and that's sad. But the best ones will adapt, mostly the smaller independent ones. They've been pulling for the writers all along, and we will pull for them. Don't confuse the demise of traditional NYC-centered publishing with the demise of books or reading.

1 comment:

  1. I have had two lives: in the literary world, and in the music business. And it seems to me that they are parallel in so many ways. Books are going the way of the CD, and everything is electronic now.

    Musical artists know that files are swapped (and that can't be stopped) and the money to be made is through tickets and merchandise, not their recordings.

    Ah, but what are the writers to do? Yikes.