Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
authors, books, michael stackpole, piracy



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?

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2009 @ 10:25pm

    Not to mention with books you could probably read it free from the library anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2009 @ 10:37pm

      Re:

      So there is a way for one person to buy a book and lots of people to read the exact same thing not just a poor quality facsimile.... quick call the RIAA

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2009 @ 11:35pm

        Re: Re:

        And whats more ... its sponsered by the US Government!!! Leads the lynch mob to Capitol Hill via the Library of Congress for a good old fashioned book burning !

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2009 @ 2:50am

    Maybe he should do a Wells Fargo and sue himself for copyright infringement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ilfar, 16 Jul 2009 @ 3:05am

    Books...

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Edmond Woychowsky, 16 Jul 2009 @ 4:28am

    Author

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Davis Calvert, 16 Jul 2009 @ 6:28am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 16 Jul 2009 @ 5:04am

    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:

    http://www.michaelastackpole.com/?p=37

    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).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 16 Jul 2009 @ 5:07am

    More from Stackpole

    Stackpole actually responded to some of the comments on that article on his own blog:
    http://www.michaelastackpole.com/?p=397

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    NullOp, 16 Jul 2009 @ 5:41am

    Hey...

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2009 @ 6:16am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2009 @ 6:26am

    Ilfar beat me to mentioning Baen Books.

    I'm another proof it work... John Ringo put alot of his older books on there for free... and now I buy the eARC of all his new books before they even hit the stores

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2009 @ 6:58am

    Hey Mike,

    You ought do more stories like this and compare them to RIAA type stories... It seems that you get more support from people that matters...

    (Maybe because those "music artists" aren't as literate in the first place?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Author, 16 Jul 2009 @ 8:52am

    I do that too...

    Yeah, that makes sense. I also have a pirated PDF copy of my technical book; I needed to send an excerpt to somebody and couldn't find my originals. So I just sent my friend a chunk of that pirated PDF.

    Was it wrong?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    CrushU, 16 Jul 2009 @ 3:02pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2009 @ 7:50pm

    If I like something enough, I'll buy it, but if I don't, even though I may download it off the Internet, I wouldn't buy it if the Internet weren't an option. He has a point. I like holding the things I like in my hands, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jul 2009 @ 7:50pm

    If I like something enough, I'll buy it, but if I don't, even though I may download it off the Internet, I wouldn't buy it if the Internet weren't an option. He has a point. I like holding the things I like in my hands, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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