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Old 06-06-2020, 06:12 AM   #21
fjtorres
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barryem View Post

The world of books is changing. I'm not sure it's for the better but maybe it is. And maybe it isn't. The publishers are stealing from us and from the writers. They're mostly doing it legally though not always. They cheat a lot.

Another example of cheating is the large number of new books by dead authors, or even live authors hiring ghost writers, such as James Patterson. This is terribly dishonest.


Barry


Barry
The book publishing/distribution business is indeed changing. It s changing from the printer-centric, middleman-controlled model of the past two centuries, to an author-centric market-driven model. The transition is not going to be instantaneous but it is well on its way and the current crisis is boosting it. How much of the boost will stick and how soon the tipping point of the transition arrives is still tbd. It might be this decade but the next is more likely.

The transition began before Kindle but Kindle and its brethren boosted it.
The aftermath of the current crisis will add another boost or two. (Hint: maybe half the bookstores won't reopen. The signs are all over.)

Oddly enough, the length of copyright the publishers lobbied for is one of the drivers for the transition: it enables books to be economically valuable over the long haul: the long tail model on small steady sales adding up over time, in contrast to the slot-based "fresh produce" model of the older, 17-year copyright that dominated until the '50's, that depended on big, fast, early sales and resulted in most books going out of print and out of the market within a very short time.

So the publishers got their way; lifelong copyrights for perennial books but it also set the stage for the ongoing transition and technology changed and production and distribution of content changed with it. Size is no longer to a publisher's benefit: focus and market responsiveness is. Niche market understanding is becoming critical. (Indeed, big size is an underappreciated handicap, as highlighted by S&S's inability to find takers. It may or not be too big to fail but it's pretty clearly too big to prosper. Their hits aren't outweighing their duds and overhead.)

For many authors willing to do a bit of extra work traditional publishers are becoming optional. Mostly because of the extended copyright that allows authors to be paid long after a book's first appearance. For many established fanbase and a deep catalog are a more effective path to solvency than an industry-standard contract. Slow and steady is pushhing the tortoise ahead.

Oddly enough, two related pieces came out this week dealing with the forces driving the transition. One is creator-centric:

https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/why-...al-publishing/

The other, publisher-focused:

https://kriswrites.com/2020/06/03/bu...romotion-2020/

In both cases the long tail of an author *slowly* monetizing a book over years and decades is key. One case comds to mind where length of copyright made a big difference:

Tolkien spent the bulk of his life creating Middle Earth yet the books didn't really take off economically until decades after release. His work benefitted his children more than him and encouraged his son to shepard the family legacy and organize unpublished material so we not only got The HOBBIT and LoTR but also SILMARILLION and his other posthumous works. Not every posthumous work is a scam, though many are.

Appropos of which, Patterson is actually honest with his ghost written stories. He properly credits his co-writers and while most of his collaborators haven't established careers of their own, a couple have. And co-writers they are: the story/series concept, plot, and chapter breakdowns are his. What he farms out is the wordsmithing, which he also edits. And he makes it clear which books he writes fully and which ones he farms out. What his fans (and they are legion) need to look out for is the day when he goes all TOM CLANCY and sells off his name so that JAMES PATTERSON and XXXX becomes JAMES PATTERSON'S YYYYY BY XXXXXX.

So, anyway, the changes are happening and accelerating...

https://publishingperspectives.com/2...eport-covid19/

...and that value of extended copyright is a driver is the changing dynamics.

Technology and market forces on their own are rebalancing the book world (as well as the other media markets) without need for scammers breaking the law, either by price-fixing conspiracies or "public domain-ing" other people's property.

It'll take a while but a newer, healthier normal is on its way.
On its own.
IA's scam serves no ourpose.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-06-2020 at 06:17 AM.
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