Did You Know That Professional Writing Is Dying And Only Taxing The Public To Pay Writers Can Save It

from the it's-not-really-'support'-when-you-demand-it dept

Another day, another article written on behalf of the disrupted, bemoaning the way things are, romanticizing the way things were and recoiling in horror from the touch of the "masses." This one's a particular treat, though, seeing as it's written by Ewan Morrison, the author whose ACTA "expertise" resulted in the "Most Clueless Column Ever." This article's headline is just as shocking: "There will be no more professional writers in the future." Morrison, sees the direness of his particular situation and has boldly taken it upon himself to speak for the entirety of professional writers, rather than just writers in his particular situation. This is never a good idea. 
By his own account, Morrison is also being driven out of business by the ominously feudal economics of 21st-century literature, "pushed into the position where I have to join the digital masses," he says, the cash advances he once received from publishers slashed so deep he is virtually working for free.
Morrison fails to specify how many dollars separate "virtually" from "actually," but one is left to imagine that the number is distressingly low. If you're looking to sell books, there are many ways to sell books. If you're looking for one particular way to sell books and that's no longer breaking even, then the problem isn't the rest of the world. The problem is the method that no longer works. 

And this phrase: "...where I have to join the digital masses." Heaven forfend! How awful. Just the sheer thought of having to mix with general population... [Pause briefly to prevent eyes from rolling completely out of their sockets.] Get over yourself.

Now, in articles bemoaning the current state of art, media, content, whatever, it's only a matter of time before the ebook-bashing starts. In this case, we only have to wait until the fourth paragraph.
And not only them: From the heights of the literary pantheon to the lowest trenches of hackery, where contributors to digital "content farms" are paid as little as 10 cents for every 1,000 times readers click on their submissions, writers of every stature are experiencing the same pressure. Authors are losing income as sales shift to heavily discounted, royalty-poor and easily pirated ebooks. Journalists are suffering pay cuts and job losses as advertising revenue withers. Floods of amateurs willing to work for nothing are chasing freelance writers out of the trade. And all are scrambling to salvage their livelihoods as the revolutionary doctrine of "free culture" obliterates old definitions of copyright.
Ebooks: "heavily discounted, royalty-poor and easily pirated." Weird. That doesn't sound like ebooks to me. The ebooks I'm familiar with have better royalty rates at lower price points and any "discounting" is done by the author, usually to increase sales (and royalties) rather than as some sort fiscally self-destructive "cry for help".

"Easily pirated?" Name another form of digital media that isn't. If you know you're going to be competing with free, it kind of makes sense to not charge trade paperback prices for something that fits on a micro-SD card with room to spare.
The economic trajectory of writing today is "a classic race to the bottom," according to Morrison, who has become a leading voice of the growing counter-revolution – writers fighting fiercely to preserve the traditional ways. "It looks like a lot of fun for the consumer. You get all this stuff for very, very cheap," he says. But the result will be the destruction of vital institutions that have supported "the highest achievements in culture in the past 60 years."
Well, let me know how that fight turns out, Morrison. "Preserving traditional ways" certainly sounds like just the sort of technobabble needed to turn a generation raised on free social media, free cloud services, free news, free-to-play online games and free music into paying customers. If I were a betting man, I'd be putting my money on the "destruction of vital institutions." Of course, this "destruction" seems a lot less harrowing when you get a more objective definition of the word "vital."
Many will cheer, Morrison admits, including the more than one million new authors who have outflanked traditional gatekeepers by “publishing” their work in Amazon’s online Kindle store. “All these people I’m sure are very happy to hear they’re demolishing the publishing business by creating a multiplicity of cheap choices for the reader,” Morrison says. “I beg to differ.”
Of course you beg to differ, Morrison. This is competition. This is no longer a one-way funnel from publishers to book stores with gatekeepers on either end. This is a tsunami of change, covering how media is consumed, distributed and created. I wouldn't expect you to be thrilled, but I'd at least expect you to realize that you can't drag the past into the future. It's impossible. You can make angry statements and point fingers and fiercely guard what's left of your chosen field, or you can direct some of that energy towards moving forward and making the most of the new tools and services available.

But Morrison's not interested in that. In a companion piece for the Guardian, Morrison paints an even bleaker picture. Citing the explosive growth of ebooks and the long tail phenomenon, he reaches the conclusion that the death of the professional author is a foregone conclusion. All that's left is to wait for the body to cool. Between piracy and ultra-low prices, there's no hope for the creative world (writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, etc.). He gives it about a "generation" before being an artist of any type will be unsustainable.

But... he has a solution (or rather, the "only" solution):
The only solution ultimately is a political one. As we grow increasingly disillusioned with quick-fix consumerism, we may want to consider an option which exists in many non-digital industries: quite simply, demanding that writers get paid a living wage for their work. Do we respect the art and craft of writing enough to make such demands? If we do not, we will have returned to the garret, only this time, the writer will not be alone in his or her cold little room, and will be writing to and for a computer screen, trying to get hits on their site that will draw the attention of the new culture lords – the service providers and the advertisers.
Really? This is a "solution?" 

He offers no further details, leaving this "political" solution open to interpretation. Does Morrison mean that artists should be supported by some sort of monthly stipend? Just fill out a form listing your occupation as "writer" or whatever and mail it in to the Department of Social Services or other relevant governing body and wait for your "artfare" check to show up once a month?

Or is he suggesting some sort of bailout for publishing houses, record labels and any other part of the creative industry that's currently struggling? If so, good luck. Here in America, at least, most of the general public was against bailing out domestic manufacturers of automobiles, a physical product that's much more useful than a song, a book or a photograph. It's not impossible to get this sort of thing done if you're connected to the right politicians, but it's not going to make a large portion of your potential audience very happy. 

A bailout situation also lends itself to recurring transfusions of public money because, in most cases, it's just a stay of execution. The public didn't care whether or not GM had the opportunity to crank out another vehicle because they had plenty of other options. Don't delude yourself into thinking the same doesn't apply here. All those "millions" willing to do your job on the cheap will plug any holes you leave behind, Ewan.

It's one thing to thing to try and push anti-piracy legislation through and hope that this will somehow increase sales. It's quite another to require the public to make up the difference via taxation. We already have enough discussions about using tax dollars (via the NEA) to fund art that some find offensive. Imagine doing this on a massive scale like the one Morrison suggests. Discussions would go far beyond shoving crufixes into jars of urine and cover just about every iteration in the creative industry.

If you think that public money will flow uncontested, then you obviously don't know a thing about politicians. The minute the wind starts blowing unfavorably, you'll all be stuck writing safe, boring beach novels or risk having your funding yanked. 

Whatever Morrison's actual plan is, it's still going to boil down to the same thing: artifically propping up the remnants of an industry at the public's expense. This may get applause when preaching to the converted, but the people you really need on your side -- the consumers? All they'll see is someone yelling about how the world owes them a living.


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    Applesauce, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:17am

    What about computer programmers

    I learned to program on the Commodore 64 which just turned 40 years old. In the years since then, the market for Commodore 64 programmers has dried up. It took great skill and expertise to write programs using the limited resources of the C64 and that whole way of life has nearly disappeared, to the great impoverishment of that whole C64 industry.

    Clearly, as a culture, we cannot allow that loss to continue. I propose a simple structure of federal subsidies to these professionals who have been so unfairly impacted by the predatory encroachments of PC, Apple and Amiga programmers. If not a government subsidy, a fairness tax on other computer manufacturers is only simple justice.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:40am

      Re: What about computer programmers

      How do you think I feel? I cut my teeth on a PDP-11. Then those cheap (effectively free, in comparison) microcomputers came around and even though they sucked balls in comparison to the big iron, wiped out an entire industry in less than a decade!

       

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      TheBuzzSaw (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:46am

      Re: What about computer programmers

      Didn't it turn 30 years? Or is my math off?

      And yes, I agree. All those years of QuickBASIC 4.5 WASTED! How am I to cope in a world devoid of people willing to pay for software written in QuickBASIC 4.5? I demand payment for my cultural output!

       

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        Applesauce, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re: What about computer programmers

        30 years or 40 years?

        Most people think 30 years, but I got my numbers (40) from the RIAA so 40 years must be the truth. Their numbers are famously accurate.

         

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      gorehound (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:14am

      Re: What about computer programmers

      We must tax the people to pay for these C64 Programmers !
      And just think of all those Authors and their scribes ! The scribes need money too.

       

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Don't be to hard on this guy...

    He's obviously found a paying niche as a grouchy crank.

     

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    bob, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:25am

    Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

    Face it. Not every writer can get a contract from Big Search, Big Hardware or Big Piracy to "give their work away". But sometimes we need the writers who aren't paid by someone else to spout ideas. That's why I'm a big fan of copyright. It encourages the public to support the writers they like -- without big corporations or astroturfing lobbyists getting in the way.

    It's hilarious to listen to sponsored sites make fun of writers who are trying to connect directly with fans and give them a reason to buy. Not everyone can get that fat contract and get paid to astroturf.

    It's especially hilarious to hear law professors pretend that they're giving away their blogging for free. No. The students are paying for it.

    The fact is that cross-subsidies are bad for the market. Let the public decide what they want to buy and let them support the writers they like. You might have a problem with copyright, but I don't. I think it's a pretty good mechanism for encouraging connections between the writers and their public. As I said, not everyone can get fat checks from Big Search, Big Hardware or Big Piracy.

     

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      Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      Morning meds in the morning, boB. Evening meds in the evening. You're making far less sense than usual.

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:32am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      What the fuck are you talking about?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:39am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      I wanna astrotruf too, sounds cool! not sure i want the same drug as yours though, it seems to bring up bitter stiff thoughts up :D

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:24am

        Re: Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

        I think astroturf is what the guy's been smoking. Those fumes are really noxious, clearly.

         

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:43am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      not anyone can get fat checks from Big Search, Big Hardware or Big Piracy, since they only exist in my mind


      FTFY

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:52am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      This is not 'Paywall boB'. Too much repetition. Too many "I"s.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:02am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      That's why I'm a big fan of copyright. It encourages the public to support the writers they like -- without big corporations or astroturfing lobbyists getting in the way.

      what is this i don't even

       

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        Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:40am

        Re: Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

        I like copyrights too, because it encourages middle men to buy up the copyrights from the actual authors and then use their collective power to lobby the government for even more government paid for enforcement of their government granted monopolies. Copyrights are the epitome of the free market.





        Wait, what?

         

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      weneedhelp (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:12am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

       

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      Ninja (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:16am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      bob, trolling doesn't make your e-penis bigger. You can stop now and have a serious discussion.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:57am

      Re: Not every writer can be paid to astroturf

      Alright. Point by point dismantling it is.

      "Not every writer can get a contract from Big Search, Big Hardware or Big Piracy to "give their work away"."

      First off, bob, how fucking dumb are you? I ask in all seriousness. Because none of those Big Etcs. give contracts period. They are in a league unto themselves. As far as "Big Search" and "Big Hardware" goes. Google is in the tech industry, ditto "Big Hardware". They are not in the copyright industries. Either one.

      As for "Big Piracy", well... I'm not gonna dignify that retardedness with a response.

      "But sometimes we need the writers who aren't paid by someone else to spout ideas."

      And this is not going on currently? There are tons of writers out there who write freely and do so with only their own points of view in mind.

      How that even relates to your previous bit or the article is beyond me.

      "That's why I'm a big fan of copyright. It encourages the public to support the writers they like -- without big corporations or astroturfing lobbyists getting in the way."

      Wow. A sentence and then one that completely is bullshit and as far based from truth as possible immediately thereafter.

      Corporations have lobbyists lobby on their behalf to expand copyright lengths. Copyright has nothing to do with encouraging the public to support the writers they like. Copyright means one thing, the exclusive rights to a work. However, the public benefits, or better said is supposed to, in that once the copyright term expires the work goes into the public domain. But that hasn't happened in ages, so copyright very much has been turned upside down by... drumroll... Big Corporations (Disney being the main one) and Astroturfing Lobbyists (lobbying on behalf of Big Disney).

      "It's hilarious to listen to sponsored sites make fun of writers who are trying to connect directly with fans and give them a reason to buy."

      Neither of the people who wrote the words which this one is responding to are trying to directly connect with fans or give them reasons to buy. If they were, maybe you wouldn't have gotten the silliness that led to this article. Namely, "I'm obsolete and/or can't adapt to changing times. Someone give me a government check and the taxpayers can foot the bill."

      "Not everyone can get that fat contract and get paid to astroturf."

      You're right, not everyone can get that "fat contract". But if you have the right amount of talent and luck, you might just get it. And if you have the right amount of talent then you don't need anyone to hand you anything. You can make it on your own.

      What the guy in the article wants is someone to hand him money because he is now starting to become obsolete. The times have changed and rather than change with them he's throwing in the towel and demanding people get off his lawn, then demanding they give him money for... well, I'm not sure what for. I guess you could say he writes amazing works of fiction based on the quotes.

      "Let the public decide what they want to buy and let them support the writers they like."

      And that's exactly what's happening. The public is making demands, and as the market they have every right, and those who cannot adapt are slowly dying, but in the process rather than admit they need to change or adapt to the markets wants they cry "piracy" and demand governments, technology and the markets stop their nonsense and save them by any means necessary.

      But the public at this very moment is doing what you said. They are buying what they want and that's it. That's how the market works, bob. You can't tell me what to do with my money. But I can say, "Hey, that guy bob is an idiot, I won't buy any of his retarded rantings. But that guy over there, Tom Clancy, writes some fiction stuff I do like so I'll buy that."

      "You might have a problem with copyright, but I don't. I think it's a pretty good mechanism for encouraging connections between the writers and their public."

      Mike DOES NOT have a problem with copyright. How fucking hard is that for idiots like you to understand? (And I hate cussing on here but seriously the same old bullshit over and over again gets old and annoying.) He has a problem, and so do a great many of us, with how copyright has been turned on it's head and is being abused. It's no longer opt-in, now it's automatic. My words, right now, are covered by copyright. I expect you to get permission if you decide to quote any parts of them. (No, I won't get your permission to do the same because I don't care for your silliness or respect you much.) It is also no longer limited term. Unless you count life + 70 years as limited, which in a manner of speaking it is, but it's not quite the limited term as originally. Say the average life is 65 years, add 70 to it. What's that get you? 135 years. 135 years is a far cry from 14, don't you think?

      Copyright is not supposed to be about encouraging connections between the writers and the public, and I don't even know where you got that retardedness from. Copyright is for one thing and one thing only. TO PROMOTE THE SCIENCE AND THE ARTS. And the manner in which it does so is by giving for a LIMITED time exclusive control to certain things to an individual (or corporation, like Big Disney). At which point, once that time has come and gone, what was previously copywritten enters the public domain.

      "As I said, not everyone can get fat checks from Big Search, Big Hardware or Big Piracy."

      As I said, you're an idiot. That last sentence has so little to do with the article, nothing in point of fact, that I hope if there is some kind of divine being behind creation that whatever it is physically manifest itself in your presence just to slap you (HARD) for that amount of fail/stupid. Seriously. I hope this.

       

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    TasMot (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:29am

    Let's get back to the really old days

    I missed where he said that we should also have a subsidy for scribes. I mean how rude is he. Those guys have been out of work for a long time, ever since Guttenberg got that blasted printing press working. I know, we should tax every writer that uses a printing press and send that money to the out of work scibes. Yeah, Yeah, that's the ticket...... stupid authors, using a printing press to make millions of copies of books and not one of them produced by a scribe. Remember all the fancy drop cap initial letters that were so artfully done. Now, they're just the usual printed letter. I feel very cheated.

    BRING BACK THE SCRIBES................

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:34am

    I so like the part about having to write "on" a computer.

    So does he feel "real" authors are using typewriters still?

    Perhaps a stub of a pencil and a moleskin notebook, like Hemmingway?

    Or maybe he just goes old school and uses some papyrus and quills.

    Really, maybe try to sound a little less pretentious and out of touch with modern culture if you are appealing to the unwashed masses to pay your fare.

    And lets not even bring up the library aspect, lol

     

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      Ninja (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      Dear Santa,

      I've been a very good boy this year but these pirates are being me to me.

      Can you please give me 1980 back? And a pony if possible?

      Sincerely yours,

      Morrison


      On a side note, it's ok to use a pencil and a moleskin notebook. I use paper and pencil quite frequently in this day and age (SHOCK!). The issue is really his paleolithic way of thinking.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:33pm

      Re:

      He's so obviously "with it" (hip /groovy...and other completely out of place slang)....he'd probably enjoy carving his writing in stone (using other stones of course)...

      The irony is "writer says "no-one wants to write anymore" then writes an article how no-one is making money writing anything, then gets paid for it...........

       

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      Barbara Blackcinder, Feb 3rd, 2013 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      His failure to accept modern techniques sounds downright Victorian to me.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:35am

    Yawn.

    Yet another dying dinosaur squealing.

    Next article, please.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Price

    Why do people keep making the distinction that because the per book manufacturing costs are essentially $0, that said book should somehow be cheaper than it's physical counterpart. I'm reminded of all the people who complain about DVD prices because DVDs cost pennies to produce, and that somehow what's on them should also cost pennies, regardless of what it is.

    When dealing with creative works, the price of the work usually has little to do with the way that work is consumed, and a lot more to do with the work itself. Before eBooks, there were plenty of authors who went straight to paperback and did not have hardcover versions of their books. And it's not because the publishers thought their readers didn't want hardcover versions, but rather because they didn't think they'd want to pay hardcover prices.

    And think about what you get with an eBook that you don't get with a physical one. You get a book that takes up no space. For people who read a lot, that's a godsend. There are probably people out there who would pay more for an eBook than a physical book. And often times this happens since you can almost always find used books that are cheaper and have the exact same content.

    Finally, look at audiobooks. Audiobooks have been around for a long time. They're as cheap to manufacture as an eBook, and yet the pricing on them is usually higher than the Hardcover version of the same book. By the logic Tim uses, it should be cheaper. People don't complain though because...well, I honestly don't know. Somehow having someone read the book to them somehow is worth more than reading it themselves, so they're willing to pay those prices.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:49am

      Re: Price

      Why do people keep making the distinction that because the per book manufacturing costs are essentially $0, that said book should somehow be cheaper than it's physical counterpart.


      Because the manufacturing costs are lower, and revenue to the authors can remain the same while the product's price is reduced. Historically, the amount the creator gets is a small fraction of the cost to the consumer. Most of the cost is marketing, them comes manufacturing and shipping. If manufacturing & shipping costs are nearly eliminated, then the purchase price can be reasonably expected to come down.

      It's pretty simple, really.

      I'm reminded of all the people who complain about DVD prices because DVDs cost pennies to produce, and that somehow what's on them should also cost pennies, regardless of what it is.


      Nobody thought that DVDs would cost pennies. People absolutely did expect the price to come down to a buck or two, though, because the record companies said they would. But, as usual, they lied.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: Price

        Oh, sorry, you wrote "DVD", and I read "CD". My mistake. The principle still holds, though.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: Price

        the record companies said they would. But, as usual, they lied.

        The record companies told a lie? This is earth-shattering news!

        I demand proof!

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: Price

        the record companies said they would. But, as usual, they lied.

        The record companies told a lie? This is earth-shattering news!

        I demand proof!

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:55am

      Re: Price

      You really have no understanding on what you are talking about.

      Audio books require another person, studio, etc. I understand that cost.

      I will not be able to use an ebook in 20 years. It is empirical. Not physical. I'll pay full price for the physical book and enjoy it until I pass.

      The ebook, not so much. But I will buy it if the price is low enough to interest me when I don't know the author.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re: Price

        I will not be able to use an ebook in 20 years.


        Well, that's not a given at all. When you buy an ebook, just use one of the many, many converters to convert it into a nonproprietary format. You might have to reconvert it every decade or so, but even then probably not. I have ebooks that are over 20 years old that I can still read without modification.

         

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      That One Guy (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:30am

      Re: Price

      So much fail in so little space...

      The argument that 'ebooks require no manufacturing costs to make and should therefor be cheaper' is generally brought up to counter the claim that is made for why physical books cost as much as they do. They have manufacturing costs, they have shipping costs, they have to be stored somewhere, which costs more money.... all of that adds up. An ebook on the other hand has none of these costs, so by the publishers own logic they should therefor be cheaper.

      None of the 'perks' you list for ebooks are solid reasons to increase the price to match, if not surpass, the price of a physical copy. They are, at best, a trade off due to the other delightful costs that are associated with ebooks currently: DRM and lower value due to zero re-sell value.

      DRM means that the paying customer is limited in what they can do with the product they just bought. Ebook DRM usually means that the ebook is stuck on the device/service you bought it on, so if you feel like transferring it, perhaps due to wanting to switch to another service, too bad, you either stay with the service you bought it from, or lose it entirely.

      The zero re-sale value is just that: whether or not you like the ebook, whether or not you want to keep it, you are stuck with it. A physical book, once you don't care for it any more, you can sell, you can give to someone else to read, you can do whatever you want with it, all of which increase the value of it. With an ebook on the other hand you can do none of these things. You can't sell it to someone else to recoup some of your money, you can't give it to someone else, you are stuck with it, like it or not.

      I shouldn't have to explain that this is anything but a 'bonus' with regards to ebook value.

      As for your statement that people can get used books cheaper than they can get new copies, either physical or ebook... so what? I assume you meant that to be evidence of your previous statement that people would pay more for an ebook than they would a physical copy, but for the life of me I can't wrap my brain around how that is supposed to support your claim.

      People buy used books because they are cheaper, plain and simple.

      (start tangent)

      If anything, publishers should be using the ebook format to try and tempt people away from used book sales. When someone buys a used book, the publisher gets nothing. Obviously they can't make a profit trying to price their physical books low enough to compete, all the associated costs would mean they would be taking a loss on every sale, and used book price would simply drop to compensate.

      Ebooks on the other hand have none of those costs. It costs them an equal amount to store and sell one copy as it does to sell a million, so if they priced an ebook low enough to compete with a used copy they would still be able to make a profit on every sale. It might not be as much as a new, physical book would make them, but it would be a whole gorram lot more than the fat nothing they get from used book sales currently.

      (end tangent)

      As for trying, and failing(spectacularly I might add, congrats on that), to use audiobooks as an 'according to your logic this should be cheaper' example, the explanation as to why those cost more you listed yourself. Audiobooks are more expensive because it requires recording someone reading it.

      It requires finding and hiring someone to read the book aloud, and since you can't just grab some random schmuck off the street to do this(though that could get some hilarious results), this generally means hiring someone who does that sort of thing on a regular basis, which isn't going to be cheap.

      It requires someone to record the thing, if not a lot of someones. Since you'd get pretty lousy quality from just having them reading in a standard room, this will probably involve a sound-stage of some kind, also not cheap.

      Odds are it will require someone to go in and clean up the recording, getting it sounding the best it can, and this too will cost more money.

      There are probably a number of costs I'm not listing, all of which are solid reasons why an audiobook will cost a good amount more than just a physical book.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re: Price

        The argument that 'ebooks require no manufacturing costs to make and should therefor be cheaper' is generally brought up to counter the claim that is made for why physical books cost as much as they do.


        Really? Let's look at what Tim wrote.

        If you know you're going to be competing with free, it kind of makes sense to not charge trade paperback prices for something that fits on a micro-SD card with room to spare.


        Looks like you're the one who is failing. Is he saying that paperback prices are too high? Nope, he's saying that because an eBook can fit on a micro-SD card it should somehow be cheaper.

        And what does DRM has to do with any of this? I didn't even mention DRM. There are eBooks that do not have DRM on them. I don't see them being any more expensive. "Doesn't have DRM! $2 surcharge" won't fly with people.

        Now as to your hilarious audiobook comment. Apparently you think writing a book takes no time or cost. I guess authors just wave their hands and the books appears out of whole close. Editors work for free in your world I guess. Do you understand the concept of a "fixed" cost? You pay it once. Roy Dotrice is not recording every single copy of A Game of Thrones personally. He does it once. Fail again.

         

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          Tim Griffiths (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 2:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Price

          Wait... what? Let break this down simply.

          The author is paid or not, the book is edited and put in to a format for either use in a ebook or for printing. These are "costs" that both the physical product and the ebook have in common. This is I guess you could call the "making" or production of the book.

          Lets move on to publication.

          The ebook is taken and I guess uploaded to the stores server farm where it is copied down from when a person buy it. The size of the ebook in terms of it's data means that the cost to store and transfer it to the consumer by the store is effectively tiny even including the running costs of that server farm or data centre.

          A physical book is sent for a given print run. The printers cost this based on how much they have to pay for paper ink and running costs of their printer. These physical books then have to be shipped and stored in a ware house until they are brought by stores that sell the physical item. The book is then shipped and stored in another warehouse before being shipped and stored in the store that is going to sell them. That store then has the running costs involved in actually selling that book.

          The physical book is priced to cover the costs of how it is made and how it is published. Ebooks do not have anywhere near the same PUBLISHING costs and as such can be priced cheaper while still covering it's publishing costs and the "making" cost of the book that it has in common with that physical version.

          In other words for a publisher to make back the same amount of money from a physical book as an ebook the physical book needs to be sold at a higher price.

          So if you spin that around and price the ebook book the same as the physical book the publisher have a much higher profit margin on that version of the book. Remember we are talking about profit which means AFTER COSTS.

          What Tim is saying in that quote is that if the industry likes it or not we live in a world where every time some one buys media they buy it in-spite of being able to get it for free in an illegal but almost risk free manner. In that market trying to price an ebook the same as a physical book when ever one with two brain cells to rub together (and yes that is a dig at you, I hoped I would be better than that but I'm not) understands that the ebooks publishing costs are vastly smaller, well, that's shooting your self in your foot.

          "Yes you can get this book for free, but here have this version on which we make a much MUCH bigger profit because we don't want to under cut our physical book sales"

          Consumers are not going to put up with that. You shouldn't put up with that.

           

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        techflaws (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:10am

        Re: Re: Price

        When someone buys a used book, the publisher gets
        nothing.


        And rightfully so, after all he got something when he initially sold it.

         

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:52am

      Re: Price

      Why do people keep making the distinction that because the per book manufacturing costs are essentially $0, that said book should somehow be cheaper than it's physical counterpart.

      Wow. Are you actually saying that manufacturing and distribution costs should not factor into the price of a product? In any sane industry, lowering the costs to produce and transport a product to market lowers the price to the consumer. This is basic economics.

      When dealing with creative works, the price of the work usually has little to do with the way that work is consumed, and a lot more to do with the work itself.

      Since when? Want to talk about music? Is the price to the consumer the same to listen to a song on the radio as it is to buy a CD, or to go to a concert to hear it live? Movies - is the price of a ticket to the theater the same as it is to buy the DVD?

      Before eBooks, there were plenty of authors who went straight to paperback and did not have hardcover versions of their books. And it's not because the publishers thought their readers didn't want hardcover versions, but rather because they didn't think they'd want to pay hardcover prices.

      So even you are arguing against the first sentence you wrote. Yes, prices for hardcover and paperbacks are different. But what you are doing is confusing price with value. Personally, I much prefer paperbacks to hardcover, not for the difference in price, but because of the way I prefer to do most of my reading a paperback works better. To me, the value of a paperback is more than the value of a hardcover - of course, forcing me to wait 6 months or a year to get the paperback version significant reduces the value as well.

      And think about what you get with an eBook that you don't get with a physical one. You get a book that takes up no space. For people who read a lot, that's a godsend. There are probably people out there who would pay more for an eBook than a physical book. And often times this happens since you can almost always find used books that are cheaper and have the exact same content.

      Yes, value is different to different people. That's the way the market works - if the value of something is greater than the price of it, that's when people will buy. The huge advantage of having lower production/distribution costs is the ability to appeal to many different price points and increase sales.

       

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

      Re: Price

      the price of the work usually has little to do with the way that work is consumed, and a lot more to do with the work itself
      No, the price of anything, whether it be a work of art, a physical good, or some service, is the intersection between what a seller is willing to sell it for and a buyer is willing to buy it for [plus tax]. With infinite supply, pressure is on the price to approach zero.

      Others have done a good job at smacking down your other ideas, so I'll leave it at that.

       

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      techflaws (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:09am

      Re: Price

      Why do people keep making the distinction that because the per book manufacturing costs are essentially $0, that said book should somehow be cheaper than it's physical counterpart

      Why do publishers keep insisting ebooks should be more expensive than physical copies?

       

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    Machin Shin (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Easy to pirate

    I find it kind of funny that these authors complain about e-books being easy to pirate and how terrible it is. People have been pirating books sense the start of the internet. All it takes is one board guy who wants typing practice and you can get a hard copy transcribed to an e-book. No amount of DRM can stop it. Then once he is done someone else does a different book.

    Basically, you will not stop this and cannot stop this. So wouldn't it make more sense to learn how to live with it?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:21am

      Re: Easy to pirate

      Yeah, I'm always amused at pubishers who don't offer digital copies because of lack of DRM yet digital copies are out there anyway.

      Any DRM on text fails the moment the reader sees the words.

       

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      Ninja (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:46am

      Re: Easy to pirate

      Oh but that's why we have ARM, Analogue Rights Management. The ink will react to technology becoming invisible if near any technological device. Sure the pirates will isolate themselves and copy by hand to type it later and it will end up online but it will take much more effort! /WooMPAA LooMPAA

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:49am

    The linked article was not written by the individual you seem inclined to denigrate. It was written by a Mr. John Barber, whose byline suggests he is in the employ of The Globe and Mail. The article takes snippets attributed to Mr. Morrison from an unstated source (though it is seems likely Mr. Morrison's recent book), as well as comments purportedly made by several other authors.

    Speaking only for myself, I find hearsay accounts of what someone else is purported to have said to lack persuasive force. The best evidence of what Mr. Morrison and the others actually said would be links to publications written by each of them.

     

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:33am

      Re:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/aug/22/are-books-dead-ewan-morrison

      "... within 25 years the digital revolution will bring about the end of paper books. But more importantly, ebooks and e-publishing will mean the end of "the writer" as a profession."

      Sounds like Tim paraphrased Ewan's viewpoint.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      The linked article was not written by the individual you seem inclined to denigrate. It was written by a Mr. John Barber, whose byline suggests he is in the employ of The Globe and Mail. The article takes snippets attributed to Mr. Morrison from an unstated source (though it is seems likely Mr. Morrison's recent book), as well as comments purportedly made by several other authors.

      Do you get tired of always being wrong? The post links and quotes to both an article from John Barber AND an article from Ewan himself.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 4:19pm

        Re: Re:

        Another day, another article written on behalf of the disrupted, bemoaning the way things are, romanticizing the way things were and recoiling in horror from the touch of the "masses..." This one's a particular treat, though, seeing as it's written by Ewan Morrison...

        To me this provides that a new article has been written, and the author of the new article is Mr. Morrison. If this is simply an error made during the transcription of the post here, then perhaps an update would be appropriate.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 6:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Please note that the first paragraph should have been placed in quotes since it is lifted directly from the post by Mr. Cushing. I regret if my oversight led to any confusion.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 7:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Simply our of curiosity, why am I left with the impression that whenever a comment is made here that finds disfavor with Mr. Masnick (resulting in an all too predictable personal put-down), and then his comment is traversed in a good faith attempt to explain the basis for the original comment and why it is believed to be correct, Mr. Masnick's "keyboard" enters the "silent mode"? Is it that he has no compunction about calling someone's comment "wrong", but is unable or unwilling to admit he may have been in error if it later turns out that the comment was correct and his rejoinder was not?

           

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    Mwhahaha, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 9:51am

    The public money thing's clearly just odd as an idea, but I do think that professional writing is in trouble.

    Unlike other media from journalism to films, there's not really another way to make money from writing a book and the idea of self publishing falls flat when you see the standard of the majority of online 'authors' who have no professional help, editors, proof readers or in some cases, even spell checkers.

    A book can take years to write and with many drafts and much professional help to turn it from some mad ramblings to a bit of decent literature. The future system has no place for advances or support.

    More worrying is the future sales of text books. Text books can take years and years to write or compile, proceeds from which pay for research into the subject. If you take away any sales from authors of degree level books then you're left with a huge gap which (worse case) might end up being filled by publishers pushing specific agendas.

    I do think it's sad that the age of a real book is dying and the future for authors is changing. Just because the current system isn't fair for authors, it doesn't mean that a free for all will be any better. it's not an either-or situation. Change can be good but the real results are always apparent until many years later.

    If you look at places like Amazon, they take an awfully large chunk of cash for just hosting the (tiny) book on their (huge) servers. They offer no help or guidance to an author. They're just out for what they can get more than any real publishing house.

    ==========

    Applesauce above seems to think that writing is an art form as dead as the faddish ability to program a C64. That leaves me wondering what planet he's been living on all these years.

    Writing, good writing, is the pinnacle of the use of language. Language is one of the main things which separates us from animals and shows our sentience, our souls even.
    Yes, that's exactly like being able to make a shitty old piece of hardware plot a graph...

    When all new books are full of terrible errors, make no sense and are all plots about writers then we might look make and go - oh shit, that's one thing we should have protected.

    I blame the kindle.

     

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      Applesauce, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:07am

      Re:

      In point of fact, Applesauce is a professional writer with several published books to his/her credit.

      However, Applesauce never lets the facts get in the way of a good argument. Besides, as a writer of fiction (mostly), Applesauce is a professional liar anyway.

       

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      Mr. Applegate, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:56am

      Re:

      One does not need a physical book in order to maintain advance and support structures. All that needs to happen is that publishers need to embrace the digital era. If a hard cover book costs $40; $10 to manufacture; $2 to ship; and $10 to the bookstore profits; All of those costs are eliminated. If the publisher sold the $40 hardcover book for $18 as an ebook, the writer still makes the same money, the publisher still makes the same money. The people out of work are truck drivers and book stores.

      There have always been these wonderful things called libraries, they don't require me to pay anything to read a book. Lets destroy all libraries! ;^) Some people will always choose to read something but not to pay for it.

      Bottom line is even with piracy there is still money to be made, for those who embrace change, rather than "Remember The Good Old Days" and cry.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:42am

      Re:

      he future system has no place for advances or support.


      Huh? Says who? There are systems in place now. And, if not, or unsatisfactory, and if it's really a need - then there's a market for it. Got strike on the ground floor instead of giving up!

      More worrying is the future sales of text books.


      Hmm, most textbooks are overpriced for the knowledge they contain. A construct of new closed markets. More people learning is probably better than whatever funding those textbooks provided. (I would be curious to see some research on how much textbook money went into real research though).


      If you look at places like Amazon, they take an awfully large chunk of cash for just hosting the (tiny) book on their (huge) servers. They offer no help or guidance to an author.


      False.
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-product-page.html?topic=200354290

      When all new books are full of terrible errors


      When that happens, then we might take you seriously.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:50am

      Re:

      A book can take years to write and with many drafts and much professional help to turn it from some mad ramblings to a bit of decent literature.


      True. So? Lots of masterpieces went through this same process without getting any advance payment to fund them. Even so...

      The future system has no place for advances or support.


      This is absolutely not so. While it is true that this sort of thing is in its infancy in our new world, the success of early attempts such as kickstarter demonstrate that not only is it possible, it is inevitable.

      Text books can take years and years to write or compile, proceeds from which pay for research into the subject.


      Judging by the quality of most textbooks -- especially in the middle and high school level, but also at the college level -- the existing old-school system is already far along on its path to failure for reasons that have nothing to do with computers or ebooks.

      Perhaps the newfangled ways will offer an opportunity to rescue textbooks from the already existing doom.

      When all new books are full of terrible errors, make no sense and are all plots about writers then we might look make and go - oh shit, that's one thing we should have protected.


      I have a very hard time seeing how that result could possibly happen. But even if it could, how would you go about protecting it? What does that mean?

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      the faddish ability to program a C64


      The ability to produce a book using old infrastructure is no more or less faddish than the ability to produce software for old infrastructure.

      In both cases, the infrastructure is the "faddish" (or, more accurately, transient) part. The underlying skills (writing, or logic) are the eternal, essential parts in both cases

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      http://www.collegeopentextbooks.org/
      http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/
      http://www.opensourcetext. org/
      http://www.merlot.org/merlot/index.htm

      Text books are at risk?

      People could have fooled me with all the open source courseware available.

       

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    RyanNerd (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Is this guy an accomplished troll or is he really that stupid?

    I like Tim when I first read the article from Morrison (the most clueless article ever) thought that it must be a farce, a parody, a purposeful comedy along the lines of Johnathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" only to realize after the second reading that this guy is really that stupid that he actually believes what he writes. Incredible.

    I too was a C64 computer programmer. Where's my guberment check to subsidize the fact that I never learned any other technology platform?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

    What could possibly go wrong?

    "Hey, you guys know the MPAA and RIAA? Let's do that, but with books."
    -Ewan Morrison

     

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    Ninja (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:09am

    Basically this is the case:

    These are the customers in reality asking for reasonable prices, quality and availability.

    And This is what the legacy industry sees.

    These 3D glasses are truly amazing!

     

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    Chris Brand (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:12am

    In short

    So the "tl;dr" version is something like "You have to bail me out because I'm losing business to my competitors" ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:19am

    Wait, I thought Barthes said the author is already dead?

     

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    Joe Publius (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:32am

    First they came for the scribes, and I said nothing.

    Next they came for the horse and buggy drivers, and I said nothing.

    Then they came for the telegraph operators, and still I said nothing.

    After that they came for the typewriter repairmen, and even then I said nothing.

    Then they came for me, and asked "How the Hell OLD are you anyway"?

     

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    Keroberos (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:42am

    I say, good, let the professional writing industry die. In any other consumer facing industry, if you tried to say that the only way for you to survive as an industry is to continue to not give your customers what they want, you would be laughed out of business. I can't understand how these allegedly smart and savvy business people can believe that giving the customer what they want is a bad idea.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 11:54am

    "My work doesn't gain me as much money as I think it should. No, it's not because I'm going about things the wrong way, or that I have wildly overvalued my own talent, it's DEFINITELY PIRATES. A bloo bloo bloo bloo, woe is me, give me all your taxes!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Ewan Morrison is simply a bad writer. When you are not good at what you do for a carrer, you lose money, mystery solved.

     

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    Milton Freewater, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:25pm

    I think Mike was too easy on this article

    Mike's was a long post trying to debate an article that is beyond rational discussion. Workers for the Globe and Mail have an obvious bias in favor of all writers getting all raises, which is the only reasons this saw the light of day.

    If the guy doesn't like the terms for selling e-books, he should not write e-books. That was easy.

    I know plenty of writers who are making plenty of money. We just don't agree to take on a project until we like the terms.

    Why would writing be different from EVERY other profession? Where are the Globe and Mail articles about the home-builders who are still putting up houses but going broke because people won't pay 2004 prices for them? Oh right, nobody would ever do that. If you consider building a house, you budget it according to the current conditions and if it doesn't pencil out, you do something else. And the world still has shelter and everything is fine.

    Losing your job because of the digital transition is sad and stressful. Choosing a profession that does not exist does not merit Globe and Mail coverage.

    Just ... bewildering.

     

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    anon, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    YESSSSS

    My wife has written a few books and released them on Amazon, when can she expect the government help and all the money to encourage her to spend all of her time writing, she needs at least 100 000 a year over the next 3 years, she wont release the next books on Amazon, in fact she will use the money to live and then even give her finished book to the above twit. Then he can monetize it for himself and pay my wife 50% of the profit he makes. My wife would be happy , the publishers should be happy as they are not having to pay her to write, and the likes of itunes will be happy as they can get 30% off the top of all profits.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Amateurism Is Good.

    What will probably happen is that the best books will tend to be written by amateurs. Traditionally, a large number of great books have been written by amateur authors, that is, authors who did not depend on writing for their incomes.

    Leo Tolstoy was an amateur writer, and his _War and Peace_ is the very prototype of a big and ambitious book. _Count_ Leo Tolstoy was a land-owner, the ex-owner of thousands of serfs, and an army officer. It is hard to say whether one could call him a professional army officer-- it was simply that counts and princes were expected to serve the Tsar.

    Joseph Conrad ended up as a professional writer, but he started as an amateur. He was a professional sailor. Sailors at sea either find hobbies, or they become extremely bored, and eventually, mentally ill. There is simply no way of getting off the ship, and in the case of captains and first mates, almost no one they can talk freely to.

    Jane Austen was an amateur writer, as was Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Granted that the Bronte sisters were economically anxious, but they lived with their father, who was a beneficed clergyman, and their economic anxieties were focused around finding husbands, and around the mental illness of their brother, Branwell, not around royalties. For a while, it looked as though Branwell was going to be all right, and hold a good job as a railroad stationmaster, but then he had a breakdown.

    In America, Thoreau was a successful pencil manufacturer. He had managed to reverse-engineer the secret "Conte Process" for making pencil leads out of graphite powder and clay.

    The classic fantasy novelist, J. R. R. Tolkien was a professional academic scholar, and an amateur novelist. His friend and colleague, C. S. Lewis, was also a professional academic, and what I suppose one might call a "semi-amateur" novelist, in the sense that his literary earnings supplemented his income, rather than forming the base of it.

    Additionally, books have a close association with enforced passivity. For example, one could assemble a large and impressive library of books which were written in prison. People who would normally have been out running around and doing things were forced to sit still-- and the result was that they started by reading books, and ended up writing them. The resulting books range from Marco Polo's memoirs (Prisoner of War), and Mallory's _Morte D'Arthur_ (professional bandit), and Cervantes' _Don Quixote_ (suspected of embezzling government funds) to various writings of modern revolutionaries. To take one case of extreme specialization, Elissa D. Gelfand managed, in her _Imagination In Confinement: Women's Writings From French Prisons_ (1983), managed to locate fully twenty women authors from French prisons (real prisons, excluding mental hospitals, juvenile homes, "maisons de correction," etc.) between 1650 and 1980, and developed five of them in extenso. Bearing in mind that prisoners are usually male, and usually from the non-literate underclass, this implies quite a degree of specialization.

    This sort of thing also applies to hospitals and illness. There is a large body of books which were written because the author was feeling too sick to do anything else.

    So let us discard the idea that amateur work is somehow inferior. It is often better than professional work. The whole cult of professionalism is about doing something the same way, over and over again, doing it the same correct way. This applies to Civil Engineering, and to building bridges, but it does not apply to books. It is desirable to have a bunch of bridges which all look alike, and have the shared property of not falling down, but, when applied to literature, that system produces endless copycat novels.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:01pm

      Re: Amateurism Is Good.

      yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

      The difference between an amateur and a professional (in any field) is that a professional does it as a primary source of income. It says nothing about the quality of the work -- there are genius amateurs and awful professionals.

      There is a difference in underlying motivation, though. An amateur often does it out of love or obsession. A professional often does it to make money. I do think that difference can have a profound effect on what is produced, and that effect is usually not in favor of the professional.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re: Amateurism Is Good.

        ...and I say all this as a very experience professional software engineer. I started off as an amateur and made my hobby my career. I do great work as a professional, am reasonably well-known in the business, have a wonderful reputation, and am proud of it. However there is little doubt in my mind that I did the best work of my life before I did it for a living.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

        Re: Re: Amateurism Is Good.

        Really dude? Just because someone gets paid for their work instead of working for free, doesn't mean they are automatically barred from doing it "out of love or obsession." Using your logic, scientists and doctors should only be amateurs who love science so they don't use money as an excuse to half ass their job.

         

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      drew (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Amateurism Is Good.

      damn straight. Morrison's argument is a lot like our local favourite Mr Lowery's about how there are fewer professional musicians.
      So the fuck what?
      The contents of the top forty is mostly produced by professional musicians, frankly I'd rather listen to an open mic night in my local pub.
      So I do.
      But the decline in recorded music sales is down to piracy for sure...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 6:14pm

      Re: Amateurism Is Good.

      You win the thread. You guys can all stop posting now.

       

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      Tim Griffiths (profile), Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:09am

      Re: Amateurism Is Good.

      Every writer starts out as an amateur and under the old system if you wanted to move from being a amateur to being a professorial you pretty much had to write your first book with no help, no support, no money and then shop it around publishers in the hopes that one of them would decided that you might be worth picking up and that your book did well enough so that the publishers would offer you an advance to get on with writing your second.

      As example lets look at Harry Potter which was rejected by one agent and 8 publishing houses and when it was picked up it was with a 2,500 advance for a book that was written over the course of 5 years or so.

      In the new model, just like with music, writers now have the ability to get their writing directly to the market and either use that as a way to fully self publish or to build up a follow and proven sales record to take to a publisher and offers armatures a way to have people read their stuff and maybe see some return from it.

      I find the legacy industry has this idea that people will only create art if they can profit from it. They can only see creative work through the eyes of business person and as such ignore history. People have always made art and they always will make art and great artist will always be found among those doing so. The last 100 years have been the exception to the way our culture has worked not the rule and we are simply getting ready to move past it.

       

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    curious to know if a man this disconnected from re, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    $15,080 US before taxes. That's what the United Sates government considers a living wage. I doubt that that is what Morrison is talking about. But I could back a law that would force him to continue to write for minimum wage. I'd love to read his complaints then.

     

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    Milton Freewater, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:02pm

    The doctrine of free culture?

    "And all are scrambling to salvage their livelihoods as the revolutionary doctrine of "free culture" obliterates old definitions of copyright."

    The writer here is not really talking about a doctrine, culture or any other belief system. He's referring to you turning on your computer and opening your browser. That's all.

    Posters here often make the horse and buggy comparison ... did any buggy-maker ever complain in print or public about the "revolutionary doctrine of internal combustion obliterating old definitions of transportation"?

    This is wacky stuff, and it's coming from people who would not be caught dead using a phrase like "belief in evolution."

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:07pm

      Re: The doctrine of free culture?

      did any buggy-maker ever complain in print or public about the "revolutionary doctrine of internal combustion obliterating old definitions of transportation"?


      Yes, they did. Not only that, but they got ridiculous laws passed to prop up their dying businesses. The smarter ones, however, started making cars.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Let them tax me

    Just means that I am now paying for the books before I now have a right to download as many as I please. I get taxed for roads I can use as much as I want, why should books be any different?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    The Theatre??

    I don't remember anyone passing laws or taxing me to pay actors, playwrights and everyone else associated with live action theatre now that movies are ruling the roost. In fact, I recall my successful theatre professor stating outright and several times that it is wholly unrealistic to think you can make a living solely as an artist- hence his day job as a professor. WHAT NOW MORRISON?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 3:19am

    quite simply, demanding that writers get paid a living wage for their work.

    Dear Ewan Morrison,

    You are NOT entitled to a living wage from writing. The only thing you are entitled to is the OPPORTUNITY to earn a living wage from writing. If you cannot market your material in a manner that makes me desire to spend MY money on, that is YOUR problem not mine. Demanding that you are entitled to my money only serves to reinforce my willingness to NOT give you any of my money.

     

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    Seegras (profile), Aug 4th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    Free sex is killing prostitution!

    Gosh, we need to outlaw sexual acts where nobody gets paid. Otherwise the whole sex profession will be DOOMED!

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 7th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Gosh, we need to outlaw sexual acts where nobody gets paid.

    Someone always pays.

     

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