A few days ago, NPR carried an interesting story looking at the sale of the Huffington Post to AOL. As David Carr pointed out, much of the value of the $315 million sale was created by bloggers working for free. When you look at personal blogs and social media, you might see random people telling the rest of the world trivial things like what they ate for breakfast—but altogether, what this mass of personal creativity represents is content.

"As we all twitter away and type away and update our Facebooks, we’re creating the coal that sort of fires this oven," Carr tells NPR host Renee Montagne. "And they continue to own the land."

Carr wonders if the willingness of writers to write for recognition rather than money is going to drive the devaluing of nonfiction writing, where writing jobs go to people who are willing to write for wide circulation and very little pay.

It’s a good question. It puts me in mind of a Techdirt article I mentioned a while back about how the rapid rise in numbers of near-pro-quality amateur photographers has dramatically devalued the work of stock photographers. Are we nearing that point for prose writers?

And what about for fiction writers?