Scott Turow is WRONG Again
Turow is the president of the Author’s Guild and, well. I’m not renewing my membership this year. For the last couple of years, Turow has not espoused one single policy or opinion in his role as president of the AG that is in any way beneficial to my writing career. In fact, if I were to adhere to his vision of a writing career, I would still be making nothing from my backlist and very little from my frontlist. I would not own a house, either. I’d have accepted a print contract with numbers that don’t come close to maximizing my writing income.
His latest is The Slow Death of the American Author that’s a marvel of self-serving misstatements of fact. In re the Wiley decision that established the right of a consumer to resell foreign-purchased books in the US: “Not only does this ruling open the gates to a surge in cheap imports, but since they will be sold in a secondary market, authors won’t get royalties.” Turow conveniently forgets to mention that in that situation the author has already been paid … for the foreign sale.
Librarians: Pirates of the Public Sector
Turow goes on to say “It seems almost every player — publishers, search engines, libraries, pirates and even some scholars — is vying for position at authors’ expense.”
Turow is actually placing libraries in the same bucket with pirates. More on pirates in a minute. OMG! Libraries are stealing from the mouths of starving authors!
Too bad it’s been amply demonstrated that libraries drive sales of books. But please, don’t let facts get in the way!
Digital Book World, my favorite publisher shill (tip o’ the hat to Courtney Milan for use of the word shill in a similar context), just today interviewed Mike Serbinis, CEO of Kobo Books, who had this to say about piracy:
Our publishers have the option to make any and all of their books DRM-free, but most of them don’t. Most of them choose to apply DRM. We have a global purview on where that matters and where that doesn’t. The way DRM exists today, it doesn’t get in my way. But, regardless, the behavior around ebooks, I’ve found with respect to DRM and piracy, has largely to do with price and convenience. Where ebooks are very expensive and through a combination of factors it’s inconvenient, piracy is crazy. Where it is convenient and prices are low, there’s almost no piracy.
Turow’s evidence is . . . um …. he Googled and found Bit Torrent sites.
Serbinis, who runs a world-wide eBook company that, in many markets has a bigger share than Amazon, says when you overprice eBooks and make them hard to get you can …. (wait for it) Google and find Bit Torrent sites. Notice the part where he ties business data to observable effects. “We have a global purview on where that matters and where that doesn’t.”
Notice where Turow does the same thing….oh wait. He doesn’t.