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Old 04-01-2008, 08:58 AM   #1
Liviu_5
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Times and Guardian on book pirates

Doom and gloom presented as "far fetched scenario" in the Times, and a much more grounded response from the Guardian:

Times Online: Internet book piracy will drive authors to stop writing

The Guardian: Book pirates ahoy
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:49 AM   #2
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Does anyone know of any authors who are giving up writing because their work is being copied on the internet? I know of many who would consider giving up because of a publishing industry structured around the interests of celebrity cash cows at the considerable expense of more talented stock.
Hear, hear! *thumps walking stick on floor*

(Sorry, been watching the John Adams miniseries--and reading the LEGALLY PURCHASED e-book on my Cybook in between episodes)
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Old 04-02-2008, 05:30 AM   #3
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I like this comment:
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The kind of "writers" who would give up over this we hardly need and have nothing to do with art or literature, IMHO
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:08 PM   #4
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Hear, hear! *thumps walking stick on floor*

(Sorry, been watching the John Adams miniseries--and reading the LEGALLY PURCHASED e-book on my Cybook in between episodes)
I loved the John Adams book, read it a couple of years ago and am also enjoying the miniseries. Paul Giamatti is my new short dumpy man crush.
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Old 04-02-2008, 12:40 PM   #5
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I like this comment:
The kind of "writers" who would give up over this we hardly need and have nothing to do with art or literature, IMHO
I wouldn't assume every worthwhile book in existence was (or will be) written by someone simply for the sheer joy of doing it, and without the desire (or need) for fair compensation. Paid artists can also be worthwhile ones.
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Old 04-02-2008, 03:02 PM   #6
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I wouldn't assume every worthwhile book in existence was (or will be) written by someone simply for the sheer joy of doing it, and without the desire (or need) for fair compensation. Paid artists can also be worthwhile ones.

Define "worthwhile book"! I can think of a lot of worthwhile things that does not exist but could exist but so what?
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:27 PM   #7
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I loved the John Adams book, read it a couple of years ago and am also enjoying the miniseries. Paul Giamatti is my new short dumpy man crush.
Paul Giamatti is quite wonderful in the role, but I'm groovin' on Mr. Jefferson myself. And waiting for my Real Life Historical Personage Crush, Alexander Hamilton, to show up. (Why Alexander Hamilton? Take a good look at a ten dollar bill! Hubba hubba!)

Getting back on topic...speaking as an author who has a full-time job that is not writing books, it's not the simple act of making money for writing books that is the determining factor, it's whether one has much time to write if a big chunk of one's time is necessarily spent in gainful employment. Spare time activities must be prioritized.

If authors can't make a living writing books, they will weigh whether the ROI (Return On Investment, to use marketing talk from my day job) is worth taking time away from family and friends and other enjoyable spare time activities to write them. I dare say books still will be written, because most writers write no matter what, but probably not very quickly.

So it's not "Pay me or I won't write, nyah nyah, I'm taking my football and going home," it's "If I don't make a living writing books, I'll have to make a living another way, and write books if and when I have spare time."

And of course those considerations do not affect the quality of the produced work at all.
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Old 04-02-2008, 04:42 PM   #8
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My last book, Pocket PC Network Programming was published in July of 2003. On August 31st it had made it to Safari Online. By September 17th, the entire book had been ripped and placed online for the world to download for free. (Side note: I found Safari HTML tags in the ‘pirate’ version, so they basically downloaded the entire book and compiled it into a CHM, although they claimed that was ‘impossible’).

Flash forward to 2008: I can view the book on Google Book, for free. It says on the page that my published has ‘approved’ it, but I’ve never been asked.

After writing two books (Pocket PC Network Programming and Teach Yourself Windows CE Programming in 24 Hours) and spending several months in 2002 writing the Device Directions column in .NET magazine, I’m pretty convinced that I’m done with “professional” writing.
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Old 04-03-2008, 02:32 AM   #9
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Why would arthurs stop writing? Because of piracy? Would music artists stop singing because there are piracy? Doesn't make sense.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:21 AM   #10
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Reference vs. Literature

Perhaps it is important to distinguish between literary works and reference works. People keep saying authors write because "there's a book inside them that needs to come out" and compare them to musicians. I think this only holds for the "literary" kind.

And perhaps the "reference" kind has been obsoleted by the internet. Does anyone still turn to their paper encyclopedia instead of to Google/Wikipedia? Do you still buy paper encyclopedias?

Some types of non-fiction, such as text books, may still be read cover-to-cover. But even there it's usually only the "introductionary" types; from many "advanced" books you usually only need specific information. If the necessary chapter happens to be readable online, there's really no need to buy the rest of the book.

Maybe I'll write an "Advanced Computer Programming" book next to my introductionary one, and see which one sells best and/or gets pirated the most...
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:52 AM   #11
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And perhaps the "reference" kind has been obsoleted by the internet. Does anyone still turn to their paper encyclopedia instead of to Google/Wikipedia? Do you still buy paper encyclopedias?
For general information, no. For more specialised information, yes.

For example, the two "loves of my life" are English literature and the classics (Latin and Greek). There's no on-line resource which is equivalent in depth or reliability to my trusty "Oxford Companion to English Literature" or "Oxford Classical Dictionary".
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Old 04-03-2008, 05:24 AM   #12
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I wouldn't assume every worthwhile book in existence was (or will be) written by someone simply for the sheer joy of doing it, and without the desire (or need) for fair compensation. Paid artists can also be worthwhile ones.
I believe a fiction book could be good only if it written by inspiration. And inspiration cannot appear or disappear on whim when the writer is paid or not being paid
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:48 AM   #13
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For example, the two "loves of my life" are English literature and the classics (Latin and Greek). There's no on-line resource which is equivalent in depth or reliability to my trusty "Oxford Companion to English Literature" or "Oxford Classical Dictionary".
Well, they are both available online, if you subscribe. £95 a year gives you access to almost all of the Oxford University Press reference books. Most academics and students will have access for free via their university. Its possible that as more people move away from buying paper reference books, the cost of online subscription could fall.

Actually, £95 is good value for the number of books you get -- it's just than most individuals are unlikely to want most of the books in the set, so will be paying over the odds for the books they do want.
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:59 AM   #14
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Well, they are both available online, if you subscribe. £95 a year gives you access to almost all of the Oxford University Press reference books. Most academics and students will have access for free via their university. Its possible that as more people move away from buying paper reference books, the cost of online subscription could fall.

Actually, £95 is good value for the number of books you get -- it's just than most individuals are unlikely to want most of the books in the set, so will be paying over the odds for the books they do want.
Thank you - I didn't know that! I might just investigate that; I think that £95 a year would be worth it for me.
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Old 04-03-2008, 09:48 AM   #15
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As Maggie indicated, writing for many is a hobby that can be pushed aside by the needs of life. Being in that same situation, as Maggie is, I can well imagine the day when I just don't have time to write, if life's demands force my hand.

@ Astra, I agree that most of the best books are probably written by inspiration. But inspiration doesn't always make for a good book, and regular payments can be a great incentive for creators, so I do not divorce paid writing and quality. Are you honestly saying all writers who write for a paycheck are not worth reading, and should just give up their trade? Or that all non-professional writers who happen to get an inspiration are great? I wouldn't.

Also, many writers write for themselves, not for others, and do not have as much of an interest in being published. (I wrote for 10 years before releasing any of my books... I was having my fun writing them, not selling them.) Who knows how many good books are sitting on the writer's shelf, because they do not see the likelihood of making a profit, so they won't bother to get it published? Money could be keeping good books from you.
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