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AG & e-books
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Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:19 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:22 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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What new opportunities? To go broke and let everyone steal your life's work? How can anyone make a living when there is no value in what we do? Why pay for what you can get for free? Most people don't even consider it stealing, but if you were to add up the sale value of the material stolen if they'd paid for it you'd be talking grand theft by millions of people.

I don't see the industry changing, I see it dying. I see the good people getting out while the bad ones choke the waters with a log jam of mediocrity. Sure, there will be a few that find a way to make it, somewhat, but finding them will be a lot tougher.
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Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:29 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:34 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
simba major



Joined: 29 Apr 2010
Posts: 626
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Tito,

It's not the technology, per se, that is the problem. Chirs's books are just as entertaining on E-readers (if you like eReaders) and I'll bet the Boota's music sounds almost as good on an iPod - MP3s being an inferior format - as it would on a CD or vinyl. That's not the problem.

The problem is compensation. An incredible number of talented people are being driven out of these professions. The talent pool is being diminished. And it's going to get worse - a lot worse.

You don't see that as a problem?

Really?
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Last edited by simba major on Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:11 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:39 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Kar98



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 3170
Location: Dallas, Texas
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simba major wrote:
And what about all the piracy which is so easy with these formats? Don't you see that having any effect at all?


Pirating dead tree books is extremely trivial. Has been done in various forms for ages. It's not a new thing, not even an internet thing, or even an industrial age thing.

http://www.ria.ie/Library/Special-Collections/Manuscripts/Cathach.aspx
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Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:44 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:52 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Boota



Joined: 09 Apr 2004
Posts: 830
Location: Kokomo, Indiana
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No one is saying there won't be music or literature. Just the opposite. There will be a lot of it and you'll wade through tons of it to find anything listenable or readable. It will be, by and large, crap made by people who throw anything their brains vomit out there for public consumption. You'll only have authors and musicians whose work is only worth getting for free. You'll have people whose work you enjoy who stop publishing and releasing music because you have stated with your dollar that their work has no value to you. Blacksmithing didn't disappear because everyone was stealing the horseshoes. Not the same thing at all. If you're talking about replacing music and literature with something else entirely then the argument holds up.
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Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:54 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Jinxted



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 487
Location: Dorrtuckey, Michigan
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Boota wrote:


I don't see the industry changing, I see it dying. I see the good people getting out while the bad ones choke the waters with a log jam of mediocrity. Sure, there will be a few that find a way to make it, somewhat, but finding them will be a lot tougher.


That is the point I was making, there will be so much bad and mediocre art out there that finding the good will be too hard to find. Why look for something new when you are disapointed time and time again. Although I woould buy a shopping list if certain authors (AG included) wrote it, but why go through 10-15 writers before you found something really worthwhile. even at paperback prices, lets say 8.99 as an average there blows over 100 bucks to find 1 AG or author of your choice, so you buy up the rest and become a fan, but at some point you are at the store looking at the books in the rack.

with ebooks you are gonna see even more bad books seeing the light of day, because the publishing houses will rush shit out there to cover the solicitations of their competition, and on and on, and consumers are gonna tire of the crap and just goto whatever is the site du jour. They will eventually say 'to hell with it they are just selling me shit and expect me to like it and keep buying more, fuck em I'll show them'
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Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:02 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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Simba
Just a note on encryption. Anything that can be put on a screen can be converted from analog and back to digital from the screen, so it doesn't matter if you use 256 bit encryption. If you can show the book on the screen, it can be copied and distributed digitally in the time it takes to turn the pages. Faster if you know how to automate the page turns.

Two years ago they put the e-book of A Dirty Job up for free for thirty days as a way to promote the launch of Fool. Then they put up the first 40 pages of Fool. Thing is, the e-book company put up the entire book. Fortunately, not enough people discovered it, but it only would have taken one, once the market share is there with e-readers. It's not yet, but as the readers get better and more ubiquitous (the ipod of e-readers, that is), then it all goes away.

It took me four minutes (I timed it) to figure out how to convert the "encrypted" e-book from screen shots to a full-length PDF book. And I'm not that technically savvy. I don't know how to program anything. That was just with off the shelf, shareware or freeware software.

The reason that encryption works on software and "some" movies, like DVDs, is because you a)can't convert software to analog and have it still function and b)the quality decline from analog and back to digital isn't usually acceptable with films, which is why screen cam files (actual camcorder footage of movies being shown in a theater) haven't buried the movie business.

But with print, there's no discernible quality degradation. You weren't planning on reading that next James Patterson book on the big screen with surround sound. You just need legible type, which makes for a very small, very easy to pirate file. For e-books, encryption will only stop those who wouldn't have pirated anyway -- like the people with Ipods who only buy their music from Itunes.

I don't mean to bitch-slap you about this. You're perfectly right about encryption working on some games and software, especially if it requires remote activation (as do most Microsoft products, and many of the better PC games.) But books are just so simple. A whole text file of one of my books is barely 100K. K! (Plain text, no embedded fonts, just page formating, ala Gutenberg Press.)

In short, we're fucked.

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:04 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Tito



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1203
Location: is everything
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buh-bye.

Last edited by Tito on Tue Jul 06, 2010 2:10 pm; edited 1 time in total

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:08 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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I just don't think the novel can compete with the rest of the digital world. If I'm holding a device, an Ipad say, where I can watch a movie, browse the internet, tap into my cable 600+ channels, all the goodies, and I have that to carry my "books", I'm not going to read my books. Because I'm one click away from all that other shiny stuff. The immersive experience of the novel is at the whim of my increasingly flighty attention span. The reader will change. No one will finish a book. They won't be wired for it. I know because I'm trying to write books in the face of all that distraction, and it's getting tougher all the time BECAUSE THE TECHNOLOGY IS SO GOOD.

I'm two clicks away from watching bears bouncing on a trampoline or squirrel doing kung-fu on a cat, why the fuck should I write that tough opening to chapter 8? For the same reason, why should anyone read chapter 8? I mean, it's fucking squirrels doing fucking kung-fu! Do you feel me?

The cream rising to the top is a hopeful myth, too, Tito. What will rise to the top will be what has already risen to the top in sales: The known quantity, the predictable. James Patterson, Nick Sparks, Janet Evanovich --

The crap factor is going to be huge. HUGE. Until no one reads anything. And you know how I know that? Exactly the reason Boota said. Because of self-publishing. Years ago, I stopped reading manuscripts, because I didn't have time. Later I would use publication as my litmus test for reading something. If the book had run the gauntlet of publishing and survived, I at least wouldn't be dealing with someone who didn't know how to write a complete sentence. Then, a few years ago, reasonably priced self-publishing and print on demand became available, and anyone who had a few bucks and a manuscript could publish a book. The absolute amazing glut of crap did nothing if not lower the bar.

On average I get three requests a day to read someone's book or screenplay. A day! I get about one or two a week to read a book for comment for a publisher, small or large. Instead of one out of ten of the books I read being pretty good, now it would be one out of a hundred, two hundred. My solution? I don't read any of them. Can't. Don't have the time or the tolerance.

It doesn't mean there aren't talented writers still out there, but you're not going to be able to find them, and more important, they aren't going to be able to afford to continue writing. We all labor in obscurity for a while. Fifteen years for me. But when I was thirty-one, writing my first book, I lived like a college student, in an extra room in a friend's basement, working two waiter jobs, doing radio a radio show, and pasting up the local weekly one day a week. But I wrote two hours every day until the book was done. My friends who had grown up jobs and careers that you could apply yourself to, had homes and families and cars with decent tires. I had a fourteen-year old 280Z that leaked fumes and five black waiter shirts. That was okay. I signed on for the "I might never make it" risk. But at least you COULD make it.

Eventually I sold the book, was able to quit my job, and wrote for a living. I just got my Social security statement, which tells you what you make each year. Except for the year I sold Practical Demonkeeping to Disney, I didn't make over $60,000 a year for the first ten years of my career, and one year I made $0, another $2,700.

I'm doing fine now. After nearly 20 years, I'm in the top 5% of authors income-wise (and I know there's no guarantee, fuck you, Tito, but there at least was a hope). But if what happened to music happens to novels, then there's a good chance I won't be able to keep writing. At least not books. Maybe I will. We'll see. But those who aren't in the top 5%, they're fucking gone. They are blogging right along with "I_HATE_MOM_JEANS.COM.

Again, I don't think there's anything to be done. I don't think congress should pass laws trying to stop it, I don't think that people should march in the street, or boycott Amazon and Apple. I think it's inevitable. And it won't be the strong, or the most adaptable, who will survive, Tito. The most homogenous, predictable, mass-produced bullshit will survive. Because that's what people will be able to find, and enough people will actually pay something to read the bullshit offered that it will continue to be produced. The wisdom of the market gives you McDonalds -- not the best burgers, but the same burger, anywhere you go, and billions upon billions of them.

Everyone should get what they want. It's our right as Americans. Everyone should get what they deserve. It's what they want.

Would you like fries with that James Patterson book? And look how great fast food has been for our bodies, imagine how awesome our minds are going to be! (And this coming from a guy who has written some of the pre-eminent potato-chip fiction of the last twenty years.)

Did I mention we're fucked.

Just trying to cheer you up.

I have to go write a scene now. Or as I like to call it, put another wrap on this buggy whip.

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:46 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
lisa



Joined: 10 Apr 2004
Posts: 6789
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chris wrote:

Did I mention we're fucked.



I'm saving a bag of rice for you. Sir.
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Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Kar98



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 3170
Location: Dallas, Texas
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chris wrote:
Simba
Just a note on encryption. Anything that can be put on a screen can be converted from analog and back to digital from the screen,


Correct.

Quote:
Two years ago they put the e-book of A Dirty Job up for free for thirty days as a way to promote the launch of Fool. Then they put up the first 40 pages of Fool. Thing is, the e-book company put up the entire book. Fortunately, not enough people discovered it


I missed both occasions.

Quote:

but it only would have taken one, once the market share is there with e-readers. It's not yet, but as the readers get better and more ubiquitous (the ipod of e-readers, that is), then it all goes away.


The hard core of book pirates has been in that scene since before there even were e-readers. My first ebook reader was this one:



The batteries lasted weeks, you could carry several books with you that fit in the palm of your hand and read them on the bus, in the bathtub, on the porch, in bed... so damn convenient! The layout was plain text back in the day, but a few people were rendering their scans in HTML already.

Quote:
For e-books, encryption will only stop those who wouldn't have pirated anyway -- like the people with Ipods who only buy their music from Itunes.


Right. For most people, they convenience of being able to just go and buy a book, song, movie etc. trumps going through the rigmaroles of finding and downloading content and making it work.

Quote:
In short, we're fucked.


Nah.
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It finally happened. My conscience stopped working. I've never felt so free.

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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Tito wrote:
Boota wrote:
No one is saying there won't be music or literature. Just the opposite. There will be a lot of it and you'll wade through tons of it to find anything listenable or readable. It will be, by and large, crap made by people who throw anything their brains vomit out there for public consumption. You'll only have authors and musicians whose work is only worth getting for free. You'll have people whose work you enjoy who stop publishing and releasing music because you have stated with your dollar that their work has no value to you. Blacksmithing didn't disappear because everyone was stealing the horseshoes. Not the same thing at all. If you're talking about replacing music and literature with something else entirely then the argument holds up.


Point taken on the blacksmithing thing, though I'm not convinced that the theft problem is large enough to destroy the industry. The MPAA has pretty effectively combated film piracy and indeed a huge proportion of their profit comes from digital formats now. I spoke before of a subscription base - eventually actual physical recordings or the storage of those recordings electronically may disappear. You may rent your music like a netflix movie. There are as many bright, creative business people who will find a way to make money out of the changing industry as there are talented creative people who make the music or write the books.

I think it is way too early to give up or say the war is lost.


Your argument is that greed (ingenuity of a few people who want to make money) will win out over greed (ingenuity of many people who don't want to pay money), right? As above, movies are different. The MPAA has stopped guys who sell DVDs out of boxes on the street, they haven't done shit for online piracy. Name the movie, I can have a copy of it in an hour if it's new. A day if it's older. If it's been released on DVD, I can have a high-res copy. But that said, there aren't 500 movies made a year. It's a small market to begin with.

Music is a better analog to books, by way of piracy. Except musicians can perform for a living. Authors, well, you know.

No one is giving up, but pretending that it's all going to be okay if we're just greedy enough is na´ve. I will keep writing as long as I can, because it's what I do, and I would love to be proven wrong here. (I personally, have never been able to finish an e-book, although I've bought several "real" books that I started on the Kindle and finished them.) I think our only hope is there are enough people who just prefer reading and owning books to sustain a business model. At the point where the suits decide paper is dead is when I may stand up and start screaming, but right now, there's no one to scream at. (You know, except you.)

But Boota really has what I think is the most realistic take on this -- if people don't value what you do, then you won't want to do it. From the artist's point of view, it's looking pretty dark.

This isn't really an argument, Tito. You're saying things will be okay, and I'm saying they probably won't. I really hope you're right and I'm wrong.

Post Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:13 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
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