images.jpegA recent comment thread in an article here had some interesting remarks from people on all sides of the issue. This is always a fascinating topic for me because I did spend a few years as a professional writer, and ultimately decided that I just did not have the personality type to hack it as a freelancer. Unstable income and irregular work did not agree with me, so I made the choice to make a day job change and keep writing as just a hobby. But do I blame the ‘pirates’ for this? Or are there other forces to think about here?


Let’s start with one fact we can all agree on: all of us have to pay our bills. None of us is ever guaranteed that we can do this solely with things we find meaningful, creative and interesting though! There are others, like me, who don’t have the personality for it (I have two co-workers in my ‘day job’ who are currently spending large chunks of off-hours time in rehearsals for community theatre productions—both of them used to do such things professionally to varying degrees of success before reaching the same conclusion about their personality type that I did). There are also others for whom the money they earn with their passion is not the driving force for them. I have two relatives whose sole paid job is their ‘art’ and one of them has a husband with a fairly mundane but lucrative family business, and the other has a husband who is a tenured professor.

The fact is, people like a lot of things that don’t pay the bills. If they have to manage their time to juggle these things plus their paid jobs or their families or whatever commitments they have, it’s just life, and not something to feel sorry about. So, to me, writers who whine about having to give up writing because they couldn’t make enough money to support their families come off to me as very amateurish. If this truly was a ‘job’ for them and not a hobby, they would understand that writing as a JOB is not so much a creative profession as it is a sales one, and money in a sales profession is far from guaranteed. Most writers I know who do make a living at it do so by writing more than just novels, because they do view it like a sales job and they have multiple products (commercial writing, for example) on the offer.


So, with the assumption that this is a sales job, there are a few points to look at. First of all, just how big is the market anyway? You’re going to get a fixed number of people who read in general; a sub-section of those might only read in a certain area. Another niche market I am involved in, the exercise video market, works the same way. The yoga people are going to check out every new yoga release but they won’t go near the Jillian Michaels. And the Jillian people will check out the Tony Horton stuff that the yogis won’t go near with a ten-foot pole. Myself, I would never pick up a fantasy novel any more than I would a pilates dvd, because those aren’t my thing. It doesn’t mean I am a bad person out to deprive the creator of food for their babies, or that I am an evil pirate who would have bought something and now is not. I was never going to buy it anyway. Okay, if my friend happens to have a pilates dvd (or a fantasy novel) they particularly like, I might take a quick look-see. But that does not equate to a ‘lost sale’ by any stretch.

To give you two real-world examples to think about: my father’s non-fiction book, which was connected with a major publisher and had fairly good press since he works in media and his employer is a fairly notorious media guru, sold 500 copies in its first year. And the publisher was very happy with this result and gave the go-ahead for a sequel. On the consumer side of the coin, take someone like my mother, who considers herself a fairly heavy reader. And her total novel consumption, given that she spends some of this reading time on newspapers, magazines and books about knitting? One or two books a month, in a good month. So when you have your HEAVY customers making maybe 15 purchases a year, you are not exactly dealing with a high-volume market! The odds of actually making a living solely writing novels is fairly small.


Most readers I know—the serious ones, who actually WOULD buy the book in the first place—actually do buy them from legitimate channels. I personally have spent almost $1500 this year alone on books, both ebook and otherwise. And none of my books are pirated copies. But I also feel frustrated that for many writers, especially the lesser known ones, piracy is becoming a bit of a red herring that is preventing them from seeing other issues that really are preventing sales. For example, the dreaded geographical restrictions. To give you just one example, I have held off on buying the Discworld books because two of the series are not sold to Canadians. The lack of those two being available has caused me to leave the other 30 books in the series on the table while I wait for a resolution! Also, consider the technical barriers. My mother the tech-phone still finds her Kobo over-whelming; it is registered to my Kobo account as it has been from day 1, and I purchase and download all the books she reads.

I think a lot of readers feel like if these issues—DRM and compatibility, ease of purchase and use, geographical restrictions and pricing difficulties (ebooks going for higher than paper price)—are resolved, then they would be more understanding about the few sales that actually are lost to piracy. That doesn’t mean they condone it, necessarily—it just means that in a case where there is no means for them to legally buy it anyway, it’s hard to care that much that the author has ‘lost’ that sale since they feel the author is not inclined to make it anyway.

Some of this is not the author’s fault, yes. But the average reader doesn’t know or care whose fault it is. The average reader only sees the author’s name on the cover, so it’s the author’s PR problem to fix, like it or not. Once the market matures a little, some of these issues will go away. But until they do, it is hurting authors, no matter how much they protest it is not their fault and there is nothing they can do.


That final question—how many lost sales are there, really—is a tough one to quantify, since it’s hard to get accurate numbers. Are some sales actually lost? Yes. But sales are lost in every business, every day, due to inefficiency and supply issues and theft or loss or slippage or whatever you call it. It’s part of business—part of EVERY business. And yes, most industries are vigilant (as they should be) in trying their best to prevent future losses. But they also seem to recognize that some of this will happen regardless of what they do, and they don’t whine and complain about it the way some writers do.

I think that for me, the bottom line is that while I do not condone piracy and I respect the author’s right to go after those who pursue that activity just as I respect the right of the store owner to put a lock on his shop to prevent shop-lifters, I really am very tired of the rhetoric that writers are ‘giving up’ because the pirates are stealing food from the mouths of their families. I think there are other reasons that SOME authors might not be making a comfortable middle-class living from their work, and I think that if what they want is a secure living, they have simply chosen the wrong job. I respect what writers do and I do pay for the media I consume. But when you consider that someone who thinks they are a good customer is only going to buy a dozen products a year, and that the industry is not yet developed enough to take a sale from every customer who wants to give them one in the first place, I think there are issues at play here that affect an author’s bottom line more-so than the piracy one. And I think that for some authors it is a bit of a red herring where they are worrying about this smaller issue instead of worrying about some bigger ones which are much more important.

The cold, hard truth is that not everyone can make a living doing only things they love, regardless of how much they love doing it. And we all are in the same boat here of trying to balance these loves with family, with jobs that pay the bills, and with whatever obligations we have in our lives. It’s hard asking me to feel sorry for an author who has to give up writing time to work a day job when this is a choice every single bill-paying member of society has to make about fitting their passions into their lives.

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. I’m glad someone finally said all this. The notion that everyone who labels themself a “writer” is entitled to marketplace welfare payments (or, as we say in Canada, “government funding”) is narcissistic as well as stupid. There are enough hours in the week of a full-time employee to write. And earning a living from a day job gives them a level of editorial independence that seeking after commercial and government approval can never permit them to have anyhow.

  2. Absolutely agree. I know a great many popular writers who managed to write and sell award-winning novels while still working a day job. A lucky few (Laura Lippman is one in the genre I like to read) have built enough success to make writing their full-time jobs, but this is neither the ordinary course of things nor is it an author’s right. Not making enough from your writing to be able to afford writing full-time? Perhaps it’s time to change what you’re writing, or write more of it, or do some more marketing. Pitch a few magazine articles. Something.

    But I think there’s one added issue to consider here. Book piracy and e-book piracy are not one and the same. How many of the pirated books found on the Darknet were de-DRM’d ebooks? Last I looked, a smaller fraction than the ones scanned from a paper novel. The trouble is that, until we all have USB ports hard-wired into our brains, the content has to become readable words on a page at some point, and as soon as it does, it’s vulnerable to scanning. So saying “we just need to do X and we’ll stop the pirates” is a non-starter.

    The reality of writing is that it IS a business, and you have to treat it like one. If you produce a product people want to buy, and sell it at a price people are wiling to pay, you’ll be successful. If you don’t do those things (or you allow your publisher to not do those things) you’ll fail. Like it or not, that’s the reality. If your publisher is costing you sales by releasing geographically-restricted books and charging more for an e-book than people are willing to pay…well, don’t get mad at your customers. You’ll never stop the piracy, but if you alienate your paying customers you’re doomed.

  3. The truth about piracy is that it is not an issue that engages ebook readers. What is a burning issue for many a writer is low on their priority list. Pricing, geo restrictions, lack of ebooks versus pbooks – these are far more important for them. You will of course hear platitudes, spelling out that nobody condones piracy or even admits practising it, but the specter is stronger than the spells cast on it.

    Most readers have at the very least dabbled in piracy, despite furious denials allround when this is said. It is an activity where the benefits are obvious, social censure light, and the possibility of prosecution close to zero. Only those with very strong moral backbones desist and such people are and always will be a minority.

  4. Tammy I agree with most of what you say.

    Where I disagree is where you say “So saying “we just need to do X and we’ll stop the pirates” is a non-starter.” This is a bit of a straw argument because, personally, I have never ever encountered anyone who claimed this.

    Gous wrote: “Most readers have at the very least dabbled in piracy, despite furious denials allround when this is said. It is an activity where the benefits are obvious, social censure light, and the possibility of prosecution close to zero. Only those with very strong moral backbones desist and such people are and always will be a minority.”

    I disagree with his vehemently. Most ordinary people do not have an interest in illegal downloading. The techy ones definitely fall into your category however, but … and it is a BIG BUT, this does not mean that when they do download illegal files it represents a lost sale. This simply doesn’t add up.

  5. I have never heard anyone suggest that writers deserve to make a living from their writing. Of course nobody should expect to be paid just because they put words down on paper (or pixels). I disagree with the assumption that a successful writer is a salesman, though. Many very successful writers are introverts who don’t do much marketing at all, beyond writing books.

    Although nobody deserves to be paid just because they slap down words, that’s their business. If they want to try to write and to make a living at it, more power to them. There certainly are writers who make a living at their writing, some of them a very good living.

    I think what authors (and publishers) would like, believe is fair, and don’t regard as total fantasy is that when we write a book that people want to read, they will pay us for it in return to being allowed to read it. That’s all. If you don’t want to read it, don’t pay us. If you’d rather read something that’s in the public domain and free, more power to you. But if, for example, you’re anxious to read the latest from Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Stephen King, or dare I suggest, me, you simply buy a copy at the modest price for which they are offered. If you’d rather buy paper, more power to you but most times eBooks are cheaper. If you’d rather support an author who offers free books and tries to make it up selling t-shirts, that’s great too–but don’t expect all of us to go for that business model.

    Rob Preece

  6. Rob: what you say assumes that the reader has the option in the first place to buy the book legally for a modest price, and that is not always the case. Until it IS the case, that argument falls apart a little and many readers will simply tune out this entire dialogue. Gous has it right—the problem is that piracy is an issue that writers care about, not one that readers care about. That’s why I think it’s a bit of a red herring. If writers truly want to convert a missed sale into a sale that happens for real, they need to worry about what is concerning that reader. For someone like me here in the apparent hinterlands of Canada, pirated Terry Pratchett books (for example) are not a factor in my decision to buy or not to buy, because even if I wanted to buy, nobody will let me. THAT is why the sale is lost and that is the problem that publisher and author will have to fix if they want to convert me into a paying customer for that author.

  7. It is really interesting to me how the last thread degraded rapidly into a “all you people are killing me” thread just because we were discussing the topic of piracy after the link to the individual post went out to the author network, yet none of them has ever bothered reading other posts here at teleread to further understand the complexity of the issues. Disappointing to say the least that those individuals are so focused on one small aspect of sales that they can’t take the time to evaluate other reasons for lost sales or even work with readers to improve their sales by addressing the much larger issues of DRM, georestrictions, and fair pricing.

    OK, I gotta leave real fast now before this thread degrades into another “Dear Author” bitching thread…

  8. Mark you are right sadly. “Rob Preece” above has rolled into this thread accusing the writer of this article of supporting piracy and making a long rambling article against piracy. Clearly he didn’t bother to read the article.

    If these people think that, by swamping discussion with their uninformed and off topic rants, they are helping to persuade people or helping the debate about how best to achieve better sales for writers then they are sadly and grossly mistaken. They are just being boorish, arrogant and downright rude.

  9. Howard said: ““Rob Preece” above has rolled into this thread accusing the writer of this article of supporting piracy and making a long rambling article against piracy. Clearly he didn’t bother to read the article.”

    Um, actually, no he didn’t. He simply said (paraphrasing here) support the authors you like by their terms or support someone else, legally and by the rules — don’t just take it because you feel like it.

    It is certainly a civil position and common courtesy: Don’t just take things, much as you wouldn’t wander into a stranger’s house and start rifling through the fridge just because you could.

    Not every author gets it — many are saddled with publishers that lock things up with DRM, etc. and those authors and publishing houses have a decidedly unfriendly approach towards readers. But on the other hand, there are plenty of talented authors who are perfectly willing to let you sample numerous books for free and sell their books around the world, DRM free, in open formats at very reasonable prices. You should support the latter and tell others about them to prove that this is a viable business model.

    It is particularly jarring that Rob Preece is singled out for criticism since his website,, was one of the earliest and loudest advocates of open formatted, DRM-free ebooks at a reasonable price. Rob’s company does everything right just as and do.

  10. @Howard
    You will notice that I’ve said nothing of lost sales. That is because there is no clear evidence either way not least of all because those investigating are clearly biased. This would suggest agnosticism in this case but reason is absent where such strong emotions are present.

    I am sceptical about observations of what ordinary persons are interested in. Filesharing sites are easy to find, have great social networking, are multi format, and great products at unbeatable pricing. The biggest sites operate as aggregators of software, music, movies – and ebooks. The forum communities are large and very active. Most members seem pretty ordinary, romance and fantasy being particularly sought after. All a question of supply and demand really.

  11. Well, I had to come investigate when I started getting comments on my old blog post on piracy. 😀

    I don’t think I have a particularly popular view. I make a living writing. I do it at small, digitally focused publishers, and I write romance! About werewolves! Boy, how many ways can the average person (or author) look down on me for that?

    (Answer: there are no limits.)

    I also don’t really care about illegal downloading. I might care less than I did when I originally wrote that post. If I could change one thing about the post, I wouldn’t have followed the popular trend of conflating actual piracy with illegal downloading, because I do hate people who resell digital files over and over again with the heat of a thousand stars.

    I wish people could put aside their emotions and think hard about this topic. I get the emotions. Illegal downloading hurts–not my pocket book, but my feelings. I’m not ashamed to admit it, and I think if more authors felt okay admitting that their feelings are sincerely hurt by how little respect the average downloader shows the work they’ve done, we wouldn’t feel the need to wrap it up in impossible-to-prove claims that it’s destroying our career.

    Illegal downloading makes me feel crappy. It sucks that there are people out there who love enjoying my hard work but don’t think I deserve anything in return. It sucks twice as hard when they recommend me to each other and talk about how great the books are and thank each other for making them available for free instead of thanking me for writing them. Ouch, my poor little feelings!

    At the end of the day, though, no one has convinced me it’s hurting my bottom line. Every day I see people telling authors that they can’t make a living in writing. I make a living wage. Hell, technically I make two living wages, because Moira Rogers is a shared penname, and we BOTH make a reasonable living after splitting the royalties 50/50. I’m making it work without sending out C&Ds and staying up at night fretting that the pirates are coming to eat me. My mental health is a lot better if I ignore them all together.

    So I do. And I think some of my sales come from people who have borrowed my book, or illegally downloaded it. I think some come from people who are just relieved I’m not yelling at them 24/7 about how wrong piracy is. Piracy is not noble, but it’s not the end of my world, and the happy, calm middle ground is an okay place to live.

    I love the discussion going on over here, though. Thinking about it without being overly emotional is the only way this situation will ever find an equitable resolution.

  12. It sounds like what you’re actually saying is that you only consider writing to be a silly hobby, not a real job that should pay the bills. Yet then you chide authors for not treating it like a real job. Which is it? It seems unfair to expect authors to treat writing like a job, but only expect the compensation they’d get from a hobby.

    Do you enjoy your job? Does that mean you don’t deserve to be paid for it?

    It’s also easy to say “suck it up and get a real job — you can write on the side.” True, but if the authors you enjoy have to do that, they won’t be able to write as many books for you to enjoy as they would otherwise.

  13. Guus I cannot argue with you because as we both have admitted there is little evidence either way and I respect your views. One weakness many people have, and that includes writers here and techy geeks too. They think everyone is like them. Writers think everyone out there is a pirate or a potential pirate or a suffering writer. Geeks think everyone think like geeks.

    I can only go on personal experience of ordinary people in my wider social circle and those I converse with on the web, and my casual conversations with them. I have always found an eagerness to acquire legit material. I have written before about a project I undertook with my son, where I spoke to quite a few of his teenage friends and visited them at home (all about 5 years ago) I found people who had downloaded extraordinary, prodigious amounts of music. I found people who did is mainly for the fun and as a competition with their peers. I discovered they had actually listened to about 5% of what they had downloaded. I also found to my surprise that they also owned much much larger collections of legit CDs than I had. I found that when they had money they spent it on legit Cds of the music they liked most.
    As regards people in their late 20s to their 60s that I know, many many have asked me about piracy and torrent sites and it has been clear to me that they are highly unlikely to ever download illegal content, ever. And that is the demographic of eBooks rather than the crazy teens…

    But as you say this is just personal experience.

  14. Howard’s last comment struck a chord with me, because I just went back and looked at my ebook purchasing habits this year as compared with previously. (I got a Kindle last month for my birthday, but I read e-books on my Droid phone and iPod Touch before that.)

    Since I got my Kindle in October, I’ve downloaded a fair number of free books – be they freebies from Smashwords, the random Kindle freebies that pop up from time to time, Project Gutenberg, or whatever. I’ve also purchased, and paid for, pushing $500 worth of e-books, mostly from Amazon. Some of these were copies of paper books I already owned and which I wanted to format shift to the Kindle, but most of them were not. I don’t expect to maintain that level of spending, since all of that amount was Amazon gift cards and such from my birthday (plus a few textbooks I traded in for Amazon credit), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see my e-book spending settle down to a consistent $30-50 a month.

    Last year, my total spending on recreational books (that is, excluding the aforementioned textbooks) was less than $200.00, and most of that was at the used bookstore, where the author has already been paid once for the book and gets no additional compensation for the used sale. However, a healthy fraction of my new book sales has been additional books in a series by an author I found at the used bookstore and liked. (Case in point: I got my first taste of Linda Fairstein’s novels at a used bookstore, but have now purchased her whole series on Kindle.)

    There are definitely people who will steal everything an author produces and never pay a cent for anything. But I’d like to think those people are in the minority. Certainly there’s an ethical difference between pirating a book from the Darknet and later buying other books from that author, as compared to buying a copy of something at a used bookstore and later buying other books by the same author. But in terms of the amount of cash in the author’s pocket at the end of the transaction, there’s no difference at all.

  15. David, I think you just made my point for me. Sure, authors can’t write as much if they are doing other things, but nor can my jazz musician cousin do as much jazz as he likes, nor can my admin at work do as much community theatre as she likes, nor can my father spend as much time with his kids as he likes etc. Life for everyone is a constant balancing act. Sure, an author should get paid from the customers who enjoy their work. But if that is not as many customers as they need to pay the bills, they need to do this balancing act just like everyone else does. And the ones who do make enough money are probably making enough because they are crackerjack marketers and promoters and no doubt spend time on THAT which they could spend on other things. I just resent this idea that writers are somehow special snowflakes just because they write instead of play the fiddle or make mosaics or any number of personally fulfilling things it’s tough (but not impossible) to make a living at. And I think that authors who use the piracy thing as an excuse for what the problem is are potentially missing the chance to make real, actual sales to paying customers because they aren’t understanding what the real problem is.

  16. Wow, just Wow. This is certainly entertaining.

    I wonder when authors will realize that when they talk about piracy they tend to come off like that crazy old man down the road. You know the one. He mumbles about “those people” and yells at invisible little kids to “get off his lawn”.

    If you aren’t able to sell your books, they are either: bad. priced incorrectly. or no one has heard of them.

    Illegal download have never been shown to result in lost sales. In fact nearly every independent study has shown an increase in sales. To complain about making more money thank you might have normally seems rather foolish to me.

  17. iTunes can’t stop crowing about its Beatles coup. But aren’t they already pirated to kingdom come? And yet Apple sold “more than 450,000 copies of Beatles albums plus two million individual songs during the Fab Four’s first week on sale.” The overlap in the Venn diagram of “people who patronize pirates” and “everybody else” must be fairly small. So like Joanna says, let’s stop worrying about the former and pay more attention to the latter.

  18. Eugene wrote:
    “iTunes can’t stop crowing about its Beatles coup. But aren’t they already pirated to kingdom come?”

    Damning evidence, in my view, of the gross and extraordinary exaggeration of the whole level of pirating claimed by the Music Industry.

  19. Joanna, my point isn’t that authors can’t write as much as they’d like to — it’s that they won’t be able to write as much as their readers (which includes me) would like them to, if they can’t earn a living.

    Also, the fact that you equate writing with spending time with your own kids shows that you only consider it to be a hobby, something authors should want to do for free, or even spend money to do. And that’s fine if that’s your opinion (I disagree — I value literature and I want authors whose work I enjoy to make a decent living and keep writing, not go write ad copy or become a lawyer or whatever instead), but I do think it’s unfair to demand that authors treat it like a “real job” when you clearly don’t.

    That being said, I’m not whining about how much I’m earning, or about piracy. If enough people like my books and buy them, I’ll make a living. If not, I won’t, and I’ll go back to my “day job.” That’s all there is to it. As to piracy, I don’t sit up at night worrying about it. I’m not a huge fan of piracy, but I do agree with you that many authors and publishers should spend a lot more time worrying about eliminating silly territorial restrictions and making sure legitimate customers can buy their work, and a lot less time worrying about DRM and piracy.

  20. David, I do consider it (for me) a hobby—because I recognize that I don’t have the personality type to do what it takes to make it a job. I have stated this many times before. I do think some people can make a living at it, but I think many others cannot. I mention spending time with kids just as an example of something that is an important priority for many people but which they have to balance with other aspects of their lives, just as my admin at work cannot spend as much time as she wants on theatre projects because she has a day job, or my cousin cannot spend as many hours on music gigs as he wants because those don’t pay the bills. My point is that IF one is a writer who is NOT making a full-time living at writing, no matter what the reason, then in my opinion that simply is what it is for a lot of people and is not something to feel sorry for them about. And the only reason I make this point is because I have read MANY posts, here and elsewhere, from writers who DO seem to be asking us to feel sorry for them and who imply that we are cold, unfeeling, unreasonable people if we expect them to make a living doing anything but write novels. To clarify, I do respect the authors I admire and I do enjoy their work. But I am a realist too and I understand that not everyone is cut out to make a living that way, nor should everyone expect to be able to. I am just tired of being asked to feel sorry for people who can’t or don’t, because the reality is that there are a lot of things (including writing, art, music, spending time with family etc.) which people find personally meaningful and fulfilling but which do not pay the bills.

  21. And to clarify one other thing—I never EVER said writers should do it for free. A lot of people I know do make money from their hobbies (myself included). Not enough money to pay the bills, but money just the same. I never EVER said they should do it for free, David. I don’t know where you got that from and I resent a little that you would put those words in my mouth.

    And I am not demanding that every author treat it like a real job, either, since as you point out, I do not consider it a career job myself FOR ME (I do recognize that it can be for others, and I admire them for it; I simply do not have the personality type for it). What I am saying is that IF one is going to complain about how much money they make and how XYZ is stealing food from the mouths of their children, then it behooves THOSE PEOPLE to treat it like a ‘real job’ and make THEIR OWN decisions accordingly—to put up, or shut up, in other words. Myself, speaking as a PAYING reader who has spent over $1000 on books this year, I am just tired of hearing all of this whining and complaining from people who don’t seem to have a grasp of the real world, which is that some people can make a living at it, some people can’t (just as is true for any job—believe me, I know tons of disgruntled, unemployed people in MY field!) and IF one wants to make a living at something, it behooves one to act as a professional and understand both the market and the mindset of the customer.

  22. I am fairly new to e-books and I would consider myself a ‘heavy’ reader, getting through between 5 and 20 books a month. But many of these are old friends – I reread a lot. And I confess – when I already have a paper copy, I feel no guilt about obtaining a pirated copy for my e-reader.

  23. Changes in technology have always threatened the old ways of earning money–often sending them to sleep with the dinosaurs–while opening up vast new markets.

    Television (and antitrust rulings) dealt a body blow to the studios and their theater chains in the 1940s and 1950s. But then cable broke up the enormously profitable cartel enjoyed by the big three networks.

    The MPAA was next convinced that the VCR was its worst enemy. The VCR saved the industry and created Blockbuster. But then the DVD and the Internet came along and Netflix pounded Blockbuster into bankruptcy.

    Sony invented the Walkman, but then spent the better part of a decade obsessing over DRM schemes to protect its own catalog, and thereby handed Apple the digital music market it should have owned from the start.

    The way you used to earn money isn’t the way you deserve to earn money for the rest of you life.

    A small publisher or indie writer can now easily reach hundreds of millions of readers, something only the best of the best-sellers under the old publishing model could have hoped for in the past.

    Writers like Joe Konrath who have embraced the new publishing model are thriving. If you think Joanna is being harsh, you haven’t read Dean Smith, who heaps scorn on the contention that writers can’t earn a living these days.

  24. Really great post Eugene.

    This bears repeating:
    “A small publisher or indie writer can now easily reach hundreds of millions of readers, something only the best of the best-sellers under the old publishing model could have hoped for in the past.”

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