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Anyone having trouble with pirates?

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed October 13th, 2010, 9:58 pm

My publisher now has a full time IT lawyer person working on cease and desist notifications. How much this deters the pirates I don't know.

Very true re appearances. For most authors that's a total no-go, no-income area. I sometimes get paid. Mostly it's just a mug of tea and my travel expenses!

My UK and USA publishers are delighted by my e-book sales which are small in comparison to books at the moment, but growing very fast indeed - and both sets of publishers are keen to add strength in digital, especially Sourcebooks. They are going all out for it. Dominique Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks, was saying last night to her UK authors, that what we thought we would see a generation down the line is here right now and it has got to be embraced. Her view is that all bases need to be covered. You get the book into the readers' hands any darned way you can providing it's a sale. So you have it as a book, as a kindle, as an Apple app. You name it, you have it in that format.
Me, I just keep my head down, write, and hope to earn some sort of living - otherwise it's back to the supermarket shelf filling!
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cw gortner
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Post by cw gortner » Wed October 13th, 2010, 10:39 pm

I've never checked to see if my books are available illegally, but now I guess I will. I know my e-book sales have been soaring of late; my last royalty statement showed a marked increase. But so far, these sales are not cannibalizing my physical book sales, as has been so often feared. Still, the numbers' rise is enough for me to think e-readers are definitely here to stay.

Nevertheless, one of my main concerns about the digital world, besides my old-fashioned, bibliophile obsession with physical books is that once something becomes digitalized, it's easily pirated and distributed illegally. It's been happening for years now with films and despite Hollywood's significant muscle and cash spent combatting piracy, hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenues are lost every day in Asia, Latin America, and on the internet -anywhere piracy thrives.

Unlike movie studios, however, most publishing houses - and their authors - cannot afford to sacrifice that kind of revenue.
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Miss Moppet
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Post by Miss Moppet » Wed October 13th, 2010, 10:47 pm

[quote=""parthianbow""]A wildly optimistic view, IMHO. Since when do 80,000 people in 30+ cities across the US and/or Europe pay $75-150 for a ticket to hear an author speak? (As they would for U2.) Nothing authors do, except for the very very few like Bernard Cornwell or Philippa Gregory etc., comes even close to this type of opportunity, and even for the few at the very top, the revenues from such appearances are, I suspect, nothing like enough to live on.[/quote]

Just what I was thinking. I doubt any author could make a living from speaking unless they were a celebrity in their own right (eg Sarah Palin) or wrote an incredibly successful business self-help book so corporations would pay ridiculous amounts to send people to their workshops.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu October 14th, 2010, 4:39 am

I sypathize with the authors and others who produce books, but, as in the music world, I don't see this trend being stopped. The more digital we become, the harder it is to get the cat back into the bag.

The only consolation I have is that a song is 3 minutes worth of entertainment, and movies less than 3 hours, while your average novel takes 8-12 hours to read or listen to. Maybe the length of time a consumer spends with the product will somehow make the piracy outcome different than for music and films.

And no, it isn't a pretty thought that only writers who are also gifted performers of whatever variety will get to be successful. The two skills are night and day.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Thu October 14th, 2010, 10:05 am

Two thoughts as a consumer and computer user.

Firstly, I simply don't buy the music and movie industries' figures for revenues 'lost' to illegal downloading (which I don't condone by the way). Just because someone illegally downloads something (movie, music, whatever) with a couple of clicks doesn't mean they would ever have conceivably bought the thing, so it's not necessarily money lost to pirating. The ease and availability of downloading mean many take a punt on acquiring, at no cost, products they would never have spent good money on - just because they can. There are many who argue that those who illegally download the most actually spend the most money on legal purchases on physical products, maybe because they've sampled the material already and become fans of it or because they are just generally into acquiring stuff. Of course, the industries are losing loads of revenues to illegally downloading and this needs to be addressed. It's just that they can't say that all or even the majority of illegal downloading equates to lost revenue. The cat is out of the bag and the younger generation in particular is accustomed to getting something quickly for nothing...

Secondly, the publishing industry has a very small window in which to learn from the mistakes of the music and movie industries and come up with an attractive business model for electronic books that is viable for publishers and authors and that is straightforward and affordable enough for consumers to dissuade them from going the illegal route. Consumers: 1) expect to pay considerably less for digital than physical products; 2) will expect to be able to easily sample an e-book before deciding to purchase; 3) want an e-book they've bought anywhere to be widely readable on any device they have. Failure to get e-books right in terms of affordability, format compatibility and general ease of use will only encourage the budding illegal activity.

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Thu October 14th, 2010, 5:47 pm

So, if I want to avoid this whole mess I should turn my novels into stageplays which can only be properly experienced in a theater and so are not as prone to piracy. Wait a minute...whoever heard of a playwright with a comfortable income from their craft?

Interesting note on performing versus writing: I am a performer but I cannot perform my writing. I can sing. I can act. I cannot read aloud on levels much above Dr. Seuss. It's like trying to cross wires in my brain and it doesn't work.

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sweetpotatoboy
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Post by sweetpotatoboy » Fri October 15th, 2010, 9:27 am

Not on books, but re music piracy, one former music industry boss has just said radically cutting download prices to a pittance would put paid to illegal downloads:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11547279

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michellemoran
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Post by michellemoran » Sun October 17th, 2010, 6:31 am

Sweetpotatoboy - this is JA Konrath's theory as well. He has an entire blogdedicated to e-books and (now) self-publishing them. I'm not saying the theory is correct (I really don't have the first clue), but his blog makes for a very interesting read.
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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Thu October 21st, 2010, 4:26 pm

[quote=""sweetpotatoboy""]The cat is out of the bag and the younger generation in particular is accustomed to getting something quickly for nothing...

Secondly, the publishing industry has a very small window in which to learn from the mistakes of the music and movie industries and come up with an attractive business model for electronic books that is viable for publishers and authors and that is straightforward and affordable enough for consumers to dissuade them from going the illegal route. Consumers: 1) expect to pay considerably less for digital than physical products; 2) will expect to be able to easily sample an e-book before deciding to purchase; 3) want an e-book they've bought anywhere to be widely readable on any device they have. Failure to get e-books right in terms of affordability, format compatibility and general ease of use will only encourage the budding illegal activity.[/quote]

It looks like the publishing industry is following the music industry into protectionist territory. This article about Amazon's warnings to UK publishers engenders mixed emotions in me. I think Amazon is right and I hate it because I'm naturally suspicious of monopolistic companies. :confused:

Amazon.co.uk tells customers it will 'fight' agency pricing
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writerinthenorth
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Google Detective

Post by writerinthenorth » Thu January 13th, 2011, 11:38 am

Extending the discussion from piracy to other forms of plagiarism and unauthorised use of one's work, my latest blog posting recounts my example of doing detective work on the internet - how Googling your own name can bring unexpected news and, perhaps, unexpected rewards. Please read at writerinthenorth.

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