I was given a heads up about an article by my lovely wife yesterday about eBook piracy which I found online and proceeded to read, slightly disturbed.
I wasn’t surprised when I read it. Much like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) represents music companies, the Publishers Association represents the behemoths of the publishing industry (not the authors) – the ones with the vested interest in making sure everyone pays for what they’re reading.
Their boss recently said that people buying eBooks don’t actually own the book. “When you buy an e-book you are effectively buying a licence to view a file,” says Mollet. “Yes you’re buying the manifestation of the work but what you can then do with that file is a separate question.”
Eh? I want to say something very rude here, but I’ve restrained myself. What a load of tosh. He wouldn’t argue that I owned the paperback or hardback in my hand. How is the electronic version (which is more often than not locked into my devices) any less mine than the dead tree version.
Oh, did I say Mollet comes from the BPI, the UK music industry representative body much like the RIAA? Surprise!
I’ve been to two London Book Fairs now and it’s still very apparent traditional publishers are still not grasping the internet and the digital way of life (I think revolution is overused) are changing everything we do on a fundamental level.
Has file sharing killed music? Is it impossible to go see your favourite band? No.
Is it possible to get far more diversity in music? Do I often pay the artists direct rather than the record company? Is it easier to find people who like your kind of music on the internet? Yes to all of that.
I own a Kindle. I can read books on my iPhone. Does that mean I’m going to post every eBook I’ve ever bought on this here interweb so all can read them? Well, probably not.
The interesting thing I keep hearing is that the Harry Potter books haven’t been issued in eBook form because J K is “concerned about piracy”. Why is it the people who are already astoundingly wealthy are worried about this?!?
The irony is that according to this article on the BBC, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was typed out and released online illegally within 24 hours of release. Some schmoe actually sat down and typed the whole thing out. Talk about locking the stable door – they’re already doing it!
(Although I thought that charging £9.59 for the Kindle version of Jeffrey Archer’s new book was highway robbery – who the **** is going to pay that for a Jeffrey Archer book? Hack.)
I have been coming to the conclusion people like Cory Doctorow, an author and activist whom I met at the Fair last week, are right – the more widely available something is, the more we as authors are going to benefit. In much the same way I approach musicians who offer a ‘pay what you like’ button on their music (I almost always pay something) I think the majority of readers pay for what they read.
For me, giving copies away has been the best way to get people I don’t know to read them. Okay, they don’t all give me 5 star reviews (or even 2 or 3 stars) on Amazon, but the ones I do get responses from are much appreciated and help build my profile.
The feeling I get is this issue’s not going to go away.
So, if you want a free eBook copy of my latest, Death After Midnight, you can get it for the next 48 hours here by entering the code XZ28U when you go to check out. Then download the version best suited for your device. Go now.
I’m off to read up on Creative Commons licenses…