Author Admits To Downloading Own Works: Easier Than Scanning

from the focusing-on-true-customers dept

Reader Jon R. sent in a great story about author Michael Stackpole, where he talks about embracing new technologies and tools to better reach your audience, while also ignoring things like “piracy.” On the “piracy issue,” he notes:

“People downloading my stories from the big torrent sites were never going to buy them anyway. It’s no money out of my pocket.”

Following that, he pointed out that he has sometimes downloaded his own books from torrent sites because it was easier than scanning the work himself, if he didn’t already have a digital copy of it. Stackpole is taking exactly the right attitude on all of this. First, he’s embracing new technologies and new distribution channels, rather than ignoring them (or worse) complaining about them. Second, he recognizes that he needs to focus on his real customers (those actually willing to spend money on things) and that he needs to provide them with real value that they’ll actually pay for. Finally, he recognizes that there’s little benefit in caring about those who get the works by unauthorized means, since there’s a pretty strong chance that they were never going to pay for anything anyway. What does complaining about them or trying to stop them really do — other than distract from providing good value for your true fans?

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Comments on “Author Admits To Downloading Own Works: Easier Than Scanning”

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Ilfar says:


I get all my stuff from the Baen Free Library and Webscriptions. The prices there are cheap enough that it’s easier to buy them than fire up the ol’ file sharing app, search, find a REAL copy, etc, etc.

They have the first… two or three books in the Lt Leary series for free in the Library to get you hooked, and I’ve purchased the rest (seven total in the series last time I checked). :3

Edmond Woychowsky (user link) says:


As an author I have to say that if it came down to being read or making a few dollars per book, I’d rather be read. It’s more important to be able to hold a copy of something that I wrote in my hands and be able to get a cheap laptop every four years or so, than to join a country club.

I’d also like to thank the unknown person that made a compiled HTML of my book, it’s easier to deal with than the Word documents or PDFs.

Davis Calvert says:

Re: Author

As an author, I’m going to agree here. I write for the sake of the art itself. Gaining notoriety (however that’s done) is far more valuable to me than marketing my talent. I think we’ve all been so brainwashed into thinking that every little thing we do deserves payment that we forget to do what we enjoy.

Nick says:

Stackpole on scanning books

I’ve long been an admirer of Stackpole’s writing and his pragmatic approach to his craft, but these comments remind me of a *much* older screed he wrote back in 2000:

A nice example of someone changing their opinion as circumstances change (in this case, his realising that digital piracy actually wasn’t worth chasing anyone over).

NullOp says:


If libraries did not exist but someone wanted to start one do you think it would be possible? I think I can hear copyright infringement freaks yelling in the background. Actually, come to think of it, I think the argument would be that “YOU have to buy a copy to be able to read or view the content.” My local library loans DVDs/tapes, I wonder if that’s a problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lesson's learned for Mike.

I met Michael Stackpole at a seminar class I took from him- nice guy, smart guy, learned a lot from him. He did spend time on marketing and how to get published and how to be a successful working writer.

He is a writer because he wants to write. He does his homework and it show in the novels he writes.
I find his works do provide me with a real value that I actually pay for. Downloading his works for free would, to me, seem like an personnel insult to him and his effort.

CrushU says:

Great Author

Mike Stackpole is a brilliant writer. I know him mostly for his Battletech works. (Rules and novels. There’s a rule named after him.) When I finally got around to reading the novels instead of just the rules, I went and bought the books instead of trying to download them from somewhere. I usually don’t mind just having a digital copy, but I like holding the book in my hand, I must admit.

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