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Friday, February 17, 2012

Wise words from Scott Turow

E-books don't furnish a room; they don't offer the same reminders, as the presence of a physical book does, of past reading experiences, or the same testimonial to who you are that's silently offered by a book you put on your shelf."

--Scott Turow

How often have you walked into a person's living room, and summed up his or her personality by browsing their shelves? In the past, someone with no books on display at all definitely did not get a tick (Kiwi for check mark) from me . . . but now I have to make the mental reservation that that person just might have several thousand books on a tablet.

Quite apart from its impact on this trivial kind of social behavior, E-publishing is not all doom and gloom. Traditional barriers to publication have been lowered.   That lack of interest from editors and agents is no longer as scary.  The new freedom to self-publish allows new voices to be heard -- voices that could become important.  And, because of wholesale digitization of resources, research is suddenly a lot easier.

However, the hazards are obvious.

Scott Turow, President of the Authors Guild (pictured), pointed out some of them in the latest Bulletin of the Authors Guild. in his message "From the President" (that also included the thought-provoking observation printed at the head of this post). 
"But far and away the greatest risk of e-books and e-readers is book piracy.  Book pirates, who almost inevitably work offshore, can scan and digitize a new book instantly ... Unchecked, book piracy will destroy the retail book business, much as the illegal swapping of digitized music led to the demise of most retail outlets for popular music ...

"The resulting drop in earnings for authors and publishers and booksellers will wither our literary culture ... Wiping out the rewards literally means toppling one of the pillars of our democracy."

Read MORE about the Bulletin of the Authors Guild

1 comment:

Melinda Szymanik said...

and yet one successful literary figure recently said pirated copies of his works had helped increase his sales significantly