Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Observation from Middle Earth

What does Treebeard have to say about the Hachette-Amazon
squabble?  As it turns out, plenty:  Hachette vs. Amazon Dispute is a Lose-Lose for Authors.


James R said...

What a fine article, in many ways!

To cut right to the central issue of how authors can combat reduced revenue, I myopically, but historically, see one solution, which Ellen mentions, but publishers decry. I do not see any possible outcome with publishers linking arms. Perhaps authors could link arms like the TV writers union did for digital revenues (James can detail this), but I don't think there's an authors' union.

The one solution as mentioned is to self-publish, but this requires a harsh leap into a new era. Software (re: Game) developers made this leap easily. Musicians took a bit longer. Authors will resist, because of the long history of books as paper. There is something unsatisfying for many authors (and readers) to have only a digital book. Eventually, that will be overcome as those genes die off.

I think anything that can be digital, will be digital, and probably should be digital—for the planet.
By publishing yourself, you receive 70% of the retail price and save trees, energy, manufacturing, transportation, and middlemen. If it is a hit, you may want to publish it hardbound.

Big Myk said...

A few points. One, I doubt that I will ever read an book off a Kindle or its equivalent. There is a certain comfort taken in the physicality of a book. See Can Ebooks Ever Become Objects of Tradition?. While it may be environmentally irresponsible, I love paper.

Second, self e-publishing is not as easy as it sounds. Just because one is a good author does not make one a good publisher. Among other things, getting your message out that you have a book to sell amid the commercial clamor seems daunting at the very least. Although, I concede that it can be done.

Finally I offered Ellen some other quotes from the Lord of the Rings that she might have used in writing about Hachette vs. Amazon. Here were my suggestions:

The first is also from Treebeard: “There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery.”

Or, Gandalf and Frodo:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.”

And finally, from the Hobbit:

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song [and books] above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

Ellen wrote back and said that she was now considering a Part 2.