Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Slow Death of the American Author?

Hey guys, I'm doing a "wild card" piece for the non-traditional publishing chapter on the rise of the self-publishing book industry and I thought I'd pass along this New York Times article from earlier this month in case you missed it by Scott Turow on "The Slow Death of the American Author." 

It's a short but interesting read. Turow, president of the Author's Guild, has a number of targets in the article: (1) the publishing houses which have colluded to limit royalties on e-books to 25 percent, (2) the courts which have now decided to allow cheaper foreign editions of books to be sold domestically, (3) search engines like Google which he argues have helped book piracy to proliferate, and even (4) public libraries, which he says are further undermining authors' ability to make a living by proposing to "lend e-books, not simply to patrons who come in to download, but to anybody with a reading device, a library card and an Internet connection." 

He concludes by asking what sort of society it would be if authors were left to write "purely for the love of the game?"

Anyway, I found his perspective thought-provoking, although I'm not entirely convinced either. It's not as if being a published author has ever been a particularly lucrative profession. In any event, I thought you all might find the piece worth reading.

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