Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
Overall, I agree with his points, though the article points out the flaw in many book profit arguments: The fact that publishers keep coming back to paper, to wit: "I don't care if they discover an illicit copy of my book, because the next day they bought the printed edition." This is obviously not helpful to anyone if there IS no printed edition... or if the purchaser is perfectly satisfied with an electronic edition, and doesn't want print. How will you profit from those who get their illicit copies... and are done with you?
Publishers keep coming back to paper because there's money in paper. Among conventional print publishers and the vast majority of the reading public, ebooks are still a bleeding edge technology, and this is a bleeding-edge online community. We need to keep that in mind, and I would remind ebook publishers here that it's easy to distribute print editions of your works using sites like Lulu. There's no up-front charges, and you only pay when a copy is actually sold. And since that's the case, hey, print is free money. Why not grab it? And why not budget a couple of pages at the end of each printed book to promote not only your other books (both p/e) but the very idea
of ereading? Among the nontechies in my acquaintance, the Kindle and Reader are still big surprises. Until you actually see
e-ink displays, it's hard to get a sense for them. They're nothing like LCDs, and most people still don't even know that they exist.
As for piracy, well, publishing is actually a complicated vector sum of several forces: Price, availability, operating costs, and attention being the most important. Piracy is one of the minor ones, along with luck, abundant time, and personal charisma. A certain amount of piracy is a given, and the most effective remedy (as explained in the article) is to make sure that people who want the goods can find them and buy them inexpensively. I recommend that authors and publishers comfort themselves by keeping in mind that piracy at least keeps your name out there, and then put it out of your heads and concentrate on optimizing the other vectors that bear on publishing success. As I see it, a day spent focusing on promoting your titles yields far
greater results than a day spent trying to stamp out piracy.