Author Of 'Go The F**k To Sleep' Says Piracy Helped Him... But He Doesn't Support It

from the it-supports-you... dept

Last month, we wrote about how the children's book for adults, Go the F**k to Sleep, became a bestseller and got a movie deal and tons of attention in large part due to the fact that it was being "pirated" like crazy. The PDF and scanned images of the book were everywhere. I was sent the PDF by at least a dozen people -- most of whom are not people involved in file sharing or infringement in any way. It was just one of those cultural phenomenons that everyone was passing around. At the time, we noted how ridiculous it was that the publisher was still claiming it had to take down those copies. After all, it seemed pretty clear that those "copies" helped make the book such a huge success.

In an interview with Rafe Needleman at CNET, the book's author, Adam Mansbach, still appears somewhat conflicted about the whole thing. He jokes about how their attempt to stop the copies shows how "web savvy" they were, and then admits that after a week or so, they stopped when they realized it was clearly helping sales. The lightbulb moment was when they asked someone to take down the work, and the guy told them "Ok, If you want, but 300 people asked me where I could get the book." But... he still can't seem to bring himself to admit that this can work for others:
"It helped us," he says, "but it would have hurt most people. We had a perfect storm. The idea of pirating I don't want to be too romantic about or supportive of."
Why? Why would it have hurt most people? It would hurt people if the book was bad and uninteresting, sure. But is that a problem? It might hurt people who don't have a good way to then sell the book. But if you set things up correctly, where's the harm?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 2:46pm

    Correlation

    There is a direct correlation between one's feelings of "lack of control" and one's amount of superstitious beliefs (see: faith).

    Anyhow, I think that's the clinching detail on why publishers believe such ignorant drivel: they feel they have no control over 'piracy' and therefore maintain a superstitious belief that "something must be done."

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Conclusion is simple: if it's good it sells. (excluding marketing)

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Poster, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Correlation

    There is a direct correlation between one's feelings of "lack of control" and one's amount of superstitious beliefs (see: faith).

    That's what the "old guard" of media have tried to instill in the new generation: "faith" that the old system is still the best system and that the "mean old Internet" is nothing but "piracy everywhere" and that nobody wants to buy things via the Internet.

    The gatekeepers are doing everything they can to close the gate that got busted open by the Internet, even if it means resorting to FUD to convince authors that piracy cannot be beneficial in any way, shape, or form (when experience has proven otherwise in many, many cases).

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    Why is Mike Masnick so upset that this author doesn't want to support piracy?

    Because Mike Masnick is fully in favor of piracy.

    He's just too much of a slimy coward to come out and say it.

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Re:

    *patpat*

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    You still can't come up with anything better? How sad.

    Cue the even more petty and superfluous remark in 3..2..1...

     

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  7.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    No, he's pointing out the hypocrisy of saying something helped you sell something, then saying it wasn't soemthing you liked to see happening.

     

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  8.  
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    monkyyy, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Re:

    GO PIRATES!!!!!!!!!!!1

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    monkyyy, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    THE TSA IS WORTH TAX PAYER MONEY

     

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  10.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    Some of this might just be something he has to say while traveling around at his publisher's behest. I would say at the publisher's expense, but we all know how advances work...

     

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  11.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re:

    He's just too much of a slimy coward to come out and say it.

    Says the anonymous coward.....

     

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  12.  
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    Liz, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Nothing like a Pittsburgh fan!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Mark, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    It's ok, it looks like he may have pirated some stuff for the book himself.

     

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  14.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    The maxim of publicity

    These people who want to stop the sharing of cultural artifacts obviously do not understand that old maxim, "There is no such thing as bad publicity." - attributed to Brendan Behan, Irish author & dramatist (1923 - 1964). This case is a good example of how that works... :-)

     

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  15.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    I've had three different people tell me about this book this week. It's a hit with the parents-with-young-children crowd. I just bought it off amazon. Only $8. Very reasonable.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous cowards mothers corpse, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 4:10pm

    Why is Mike Masnick so upset that this author doesn't want to support piracy?

    Because Mike Masnick is fully in favor of piracy.

    He's just too much of a slimy coward to come out and say it.



    Without piracy your industry cronies wouldn't have made a dime on this book

     

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

  17.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re: It's ok, it looks like he may have pirated some stuff for the book himself.

    Yes, because the whole "northern lights and star sky through evergreen trees with snow and a lake in the foreground' image is exclusive of Song of the Sky. It's not like that image isn't possible in nature.

    /s

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 5:03pm

    Adam Mansbach and all the other confused individuals should make their anti-sharing attitudes "Go The Fuck To Sleep" and wake up in 2011. This book is the culmination of thousands of years of human existence, not simply this silly authors genius. Yet he wants all the credit. Hopefully Adam will come around, if for nothing else than for the children (which many of us knew prior to the book, do need to go the fuck to sleep).

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 5:24pm

    Re:

    ...schizo much?

     

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

  20.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Slimy Cowards

    Itís always a chuckle to see the ad hominems coming from those too cowardly to identify themselves.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    bob, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    it's all about scale

    Let's say a few people crash your party. They smile, act charming and tell a few jokes. Heck, they even feel guilty so they bring a six pack or two. Everyone agrees that the crashers made the party better.

    There's still a big leap to go from being happy about the new friends and issuing a blanket invitation for everyone on Facebook to come crash your party.

    It's one thing to be cool about a few poor students lifting a copy of the book and it's an entirely different thing to announce to the world that piracy is a-okay and everyone should do it. In the first example, the theft is manageable and the book still produces revenue. In the second, only the suckers pay for the book.

    This site continues to blithely believe that people will cough up good money when they can get an officially sanctioned "pirated copy" for free.

    The fact is that if you celebrate piracy for one, you've got to be fair to everyone.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:03pm

    Re: it's all about scale

    They should just make it illegal to be a freetard.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:14pm

    Re: Re: it's all about scale

    as long as they make it equally illegal to be a copyrightard i will be OK with that

     

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  24.  
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    freak (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:42pm

    That sounds like a very reasonable viewpoint to me. I mean yes, he doesn't want to support piracy yet, but he's open-minded enough to realize it helped him.

    I'm confident enough to say that if he continues being open-minded, he will eventually change his viewpoint. He's not hostile, just cautious, and I will certainly endorse that.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:43pm

    So the author just admitted to gaining money by piracy...

    is he now going to sue himself for his ill-gotten gains???

    Sure, they're "his" gains, but "piracy" in any form is "wrong"!

    There ought to be a law to seize all proceeds from piracy (no matter the source or destination), and there will be once governments discover how much money they can get their hand on from the trumped up overly inflated numbers directly from anti-piracy organizations. Wait until copyright holders have to start paying a special "piracy profit tax" subject to numbers made up from some government organization, then we'll hear the real pigs begin to squeal.

    How is that for an unforeseeable consequence?


    As Nixon said, "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal", this author implies, "When I, the copyright owner/author profits from piracy, that means it is not illegal, it's free advertising, and doesn't cost me for tax purposes unless I make a profit."

     

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  26.  
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    Angry Puppy (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 6:54pm

    Re:

    Troll

     

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  27.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 7:15pm

    Re:

    Why is the AC so upset that this author made money?

    After all, since you contend that piracy is always evil and wrong, I am assuming you are opposed to his success, and that you think he should be pursuing lawsuits right now instead of embracing it.

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    VMax, Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 7:43pm

    Re:

    That's kind of the point. I saw it online a while ago, thought it was funny and ordered it. The guy got tons of free publicity for good work and is going to make a lot of money for it. Thanks to our copyright laws he'll be making money on it for the next, what, 90 years?

     

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

  29.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: it's all about scale

    ILLEGALITY FOR EVERYONE! LET's ALL HAVE A PARTY!

     

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  30.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jun 24th, 2011 @ 12:51am

    Re:

    Obvious troll is obvious.

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    BKellyS, Jun 24th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    Piracy

    Sure, you give away a few freebies to generate buzz. But I'm pretty sure unlimited piracy i.e. give away everything for free, will not generate any income for the author and publisher. Stealing is still stealing.

     

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

  32.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 24th, 2011 @ 5:30am

    Re: Piracy

    "But I'm pretty sure unlimited piracy i.e. give away everything for free, will not generate any income for the author and publisher."

    Wow, do you read articles before making comments? This one's based on a quote from an author saying very clearly that piracy helped sales. I'll take his word over yours, I think.

    As ever, and as repeated ad infinitum on this site, piracy is only a problem if your business model is vulnerable to it. If leveraged or used to market the product (as inadvertently happened above), it can help.

    "Stealing is still stealing."

    It certainly is. But, copyright infringement is not theft - with the latter you lose the thing "stolen", with infringement you still have it and have lost nothing tangible.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jun 24th, 2011 @ 6:25am

    Re:

    It was just me that loled at one AC calling others cowards?

     

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

  34.  
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    SomeGuy (profile), Jun 24th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: it's all about scale

    This site continues to blithely believe that people will cough up good money when they can get an officially sanctioned "pirated copy" for free.

    In part because this has been shown to be true again and again and again. As counter-intuitive as you may find it, people do cough up good money for things they can get for free.

     

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

  35.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Jun 24th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    Re: it's all about scale

    This site continues to blithely believe that people will cough up good money when they can get an officially sanctioned "pirated copy" for free.

    No, bob, this site continues to show that people will cough up good money if there is added value or even if it is simply in a format that is desired at a reasonable price, in spite of there being "pirated copies" out there for free.

    Did you even read the article? It's right there, there in black & white text:

    ...became a bestseller and got a movie deal and tons of attention in large part due to the fact that it was being "pirated" like crazy.

    More sales because it was shared. Even the author and publisher acknowledged that.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re:

    That's kind of the point. I saw it online a while ago, thought it was funny and ordered it. The guy got tons of free publicity for good work and is going to make a lot of money for it. Thanks to our copyright laws he'll be making money on it for the next, what, 90 years?

    It certainly got a ton of free publicity and I buy the argument that in this case piracy helped him get more money than he might have otherwise. I'd back him though if he decided to fight it at this point because that is his right, and I have no problem defending their rights. I'm not saying that that's a good idea. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. I don't actually know (or care). I respect whatever choice he makes.

     

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


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