Skip to main content

View Diary: DK GreenRoots: Write On! Have you been stripped? (60 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The Kindle is little more than a pdf reader (5+ / 0-)

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like little more than a computer that is loaded with the Adobe reader. The new one also lets you highlight text and make notes.

    I wonder how long it will be until someone develops a similar device that is essentially "open source." Like the mp3, this would force the book industry to evolve to accommodate "undiscovered" talent (i.e. those with talent who can't get a contract) or go the way of the record companies.

    "you are thusly a pro forma socialist; whether you like it or not. logic dictates this"

    by Casual Wednesday on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 05:39:03 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I hope that doesn't end in discovered talents (4+ / 0-)

      not getting paid.

      -9.0, -8.3 Write On! for writers, Thursdays 8 pm ET

      by SensibleShoes on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 05:42:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was reading one of Lawrence Block's books (6+ / 0-)

        and he talked about people sending crap to publishers. He said, "I'm often asked if that's a problem for better writers--that the crap clogs the publishing pipes. But it's not the writers who are worse than me who keep me from getting published. It's the ones who are better."

        "After two years of episodic fits and starts, I finally got past the first three paragraphs."

        by GussieFN on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 05:49:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (5+ / 0-)

          Yes.

          -9.0, -8.3 Write On! for writers, Thursdays 8 pm ET

          by SensibleShoes on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 05:54:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I make the same argument about music (2+ / 0-)

          I can point to several periods when popular music was utter crap (disco, 1989-1990, anything after 2001). With the advent of the mp3, the real talent that is overlooked by the A&R people gets out there. They will never sign the multi-million dollar Jonas Brothers type deals, but it is a supplement to the local coffee shop/bar tours.

          I could see authors doing the same thing. Charge $3.99 to download a .pdf of the new novel. Naturally, there is nothing stopping anyone from just reposting the .pdf, but a copyright notice gives some standing in court. Plus, just like with music, a real fan will be motivated to pay an author a small amount of money for a download and bypass the added charge from the publisher. I for one would like to see all of the money I pay for a book to go to the author anyway.

          "you are thusly a pro forma socialist; whether you like it or not. logic dictates this"

          by Casual Wednesday on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 06:32:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That would only work for very famous authors. (4+ / 0-)

            Personally, I wouldn't risk paying for a .pdf from a new writer because-- well, because without the cut-throat struggle we all have to go through to get published, books wouldn't be as good as they are.

            I know the competition forced me to learn a lot more about writing than I would've bothered to learn without it. And then my editor forced me to learn even more. And self-published books (any present company excepted, natch) often show the effects of this lack of competition and editing.

            So without publishers to vet manuscripts and edit books, I'm thinking the quality could suffer, interest would wane, and only the famous names would sell.

            (And I think we'd be shocked to find out how poorly some of those famous names wrote without their editors.)

            -9.0, -8.3 Write On! for writers, Thursdays 8 pm ET

            by SensibleShoes on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 06:56:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I see your point (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GussieFN, SensibleShoes, KenBee

              and as a one-time newspaper editor and writing tutor I totally agree.

              Fortunately, the publishing industry has not hit the depths of banality that the record companies achieved. I can go to a bookstore and find new stuff that is not crap. OTOH: there is still the gatekeeper effect and I wonder how much unpolished talent is out there, buried under a stack of rejection letters.

              And to take it a step further, too many known authors can publish anything. My person experience was The Sword of Shannara. I've never read Terry Brooks since.

              I for one might be motivated to pay $4 for a .pdf down load rather than $8 for the paperback at the store or even more by ordering on-line (shipping and handling) if I can read a sample chapter.

              And to follow up on my point about musicians circumventing record company execs, that has not necessarily made the music any better (I can't listen to most of it myself), but it has allowed new talent to get recognized. I wonder if web-based self-publishing will have the same effect.

              "you are thusly a pro forma socialist; whether you like it or not. logic dictates this"

              by Casual Wednesday on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:09:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know. Tastes vary so much. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GussieFN, KenBee, Casual Wednesday

                My sister, who is also a writer, buys and reads fantasy books which seem to me to be very poorly written. But then she's very into the genre and I'm not. Some people like Dan Brown. Quite a lot of people, for some reason.

                I'm sure there's a lot of undiscovered talent out there, which is partly my reason for this diary series-- to encourage same. If people are good writers, they are eventually going to receive encouragement from publishers too-- at least to the extent of being told what it is they're doing wrong.

                I don't think a persistent, talented person who works hard is doomed to a lifetime in the slush pile. That's just not what I've seen. It may be quite different in music, of course.

                And then, if you can't listen to the stuff, and it's not better than it was, er, is it new talent?

                -9.0, -8.3 Write On! for writers, Thursdays 8 pm ET

                by SensibleShoes on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:30:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Baen Books sells e-books from major SF authors (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SensibleShoes

        which are not DRM locked. They also aggressively give away their backlist on the Baen Free Library. They also offer e-books in multiple formats.

        What usually happens is after reading 6 books in a series, one is quite happy to pay a reduced cover price (they sell most titles for $5) for the 7th book in a series. ARCs (Advance Reader Copies - pre-publication versions) usually go for $20 for readers who really can't wait to see what happens next.

        They started doing this several years ago. I think this has gotten $150 out of me so far.

        They trusted their customers. It works.

        I have a fictionwise account, but enough of their books are DRM-locked that I rarely buy from them, I have 3 different devices I might read content from and dealing with DRM is a PITA.

        Open Source e-book readers are here. I use my netbook for e-books given a choice, my selection of e-book software covers almost all major formats. I also have a couple of DRM-format readers on this netbook.

        My point is that DRM isn't really necessary to make sure authors get paid.

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:16:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As far as I know, the Kindle didn't allow (4+ / 0-)

      you to read pdfs until this last version--and still can't handle multiple fonts.

      But I don't have one, and might be confused. And doesn't the Kindle already allow people to download texts that haven't been vetted by the publishing industry? I feel like I keep stumbling across them everywhere.

      "After two years of episodic fits and starts, I finally got past the first three paragraphs."

      by GussieFN on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 05:45:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is and it isn't (7+ / 0-)

      Kindle ebooks are like PDFs, but they're in a special copy protected format from Amazon. The reader is like a computer, but it's specialized for ebooks instead of general use. The e-paper display uses much less power than an LCD, and the battery life is something like 10 times longer than a laptop.

      If unpublished authors just wanted to give away their works for free, there's nothing stopping them from releasing in a DRM-free format under a Creative Commons license.

    •  not PDF (0+ / 0-)

      it's a rebranded and slightly tweaked .mobi format with DRM locking, the original .mobi was developed for Palm PDA e-books.

      Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

      by alizard on Fri Jul 03, 2009 at 05:02:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site