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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Downloading Books

The fear for writers is that their books will all be stolen now. That a mass download will steal away all copyrights. This is happening. People are ripping books the way they rip songs. You can't stop it. So what does it mean to writers. A couple things. One. You will get read by more people. Two. You will probably get less money. A bad thing. But there is no way around it. The digital revolution is here and just about any medium is fair game. Look at the way the studios are freaking out now.

Limewire and Napster used to be the pirate sites. Amazing. You could just log in and start downloading songs. Suddenly you were not paying fifteen dollars for a CD. You were paying nothing. And you could get a thousand songs if you wanted them. Then Napster was shut down. Then Limewire, but now there is YouTube and UTorrent and a hundred other sites for music and movies and now books. 

The one saving grace for writers is this. A lot of people still like books. In fact the boomers prefer books and there are a lot of boomers. Reading on a screen is reading on a screen no matter how good it looks or sounds or even smells like a book. Not to say people won;t migrate into Kindle land but there will be a group that just won't go for the download. They will plunk down their money and take their pulp and hit their hammock and read a book.

For the rest of the populace Ok with reading on their PDA or their IPAD or their computer or their Kindle or their Nook or their Sony reader, then it is every writer for himself. Maybe we can get a few nickels from those downloads. Some have gotten millions. So it comes back down to a basic question for the writer. Why did you write in the first place? For the money? Or to be read. If your answer is both, then it might still work out for you. If your answer is be read, then no worries.

Books by William Hazelgrove