specialty programmingMy friend David Rothman posted this NY Times article on Facebook this morning, with the comment ‘good news for TV, bad news for books.’ The article talks about this golden age of cord-cutting, specialty programming (like on Netflix) and high-end cable series, with the following aside: “I was never one of those snobby people who would claim to not own a television when the subject came up, but I was generally more a reader than a watcher. That was before the explosion in quality television tipped me over into a viewing frenzy.”

This was an interesting reminder for me that, amidst all of our collective hand-wringing over Amazon (evil or not?) and DRM (necessary or not?) and what an author should or should not be, we forget this essential point: an author is not just competing with another author. They are competing with everything else that potential customer might be doing with their spare time, and everything else that potential customer might be spending their free-time money on. If your indie book is not at least as good as House of Cards (never mind being at least as good as someone else’s indie book!) you’ve lost some eyeballs, right there.

Worth remembering!


  1. An article this morning on the Bookseller’s Association blog, which is excellent, affirmed my take on this. The blog said this:

    “We have harped on about books being different till the cows have come home, been milked and gone back to pasture. Yes, books are different, but interestingly ebooks aren’t that different and maybe that’s where we often loose the thread. We have now to accept that we don’t live in a book centric world and that the larger media and home entertainment umbrella has several component strands. Books is the baby among several stronger digital sectors and the networks today are the gorillas.”

    Source: http://bookseller-association.blogspot.ca/2014/03/how-do-we-compete-with-amazon.html

  2. Thanks for the mention, Joanna. As for Martyn Daniels, he is a very clueful guy, not just about the above but also about a topic dear to TeleRead community members: “We are fast becoming the one sector that still is DRM obsessed….” Now—if only the Big Five can fully catch up with him about “protection” of books! Remember, he is a publishing insider, watching out in the best way for the bottom line. The more readers get burned by retail DRM, the greater the threat it will be to the sustainability of book publishers—not just because it undermines consumer ownership and makes books less attractive as a medium compared to certain others, but also because it helps to give Amazon the upper hand.

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