Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

The U. S. Authors Guild President vs Reality

If you read the recent New York Times op-ed piece by Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, entitled The Slow Death of the American Author, you might think he’d made some valid points

First let me refer you back to a previous post on this blog, Authors/Readers vs Publishers vs the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and some comments of Joe Konrath about Turow’s comments concerning the Big Six lawsuit:

[italics are Scott Turow, Joe is Joe Konrath]

Yesterday’s report that the Justice Department may be near filing an antitrust lawsuit against five large trade book publishers and Apple is grim news for everyone who cherishes a rich literary culture.

“Joe: Translation: It will be grim news for bestselling authors and billion-dollar publishers.”

The Justice Department has been investigating whether those publishers colluded in adopting a new model, pioneered by Apple for its sale of iTunes and apps, for selling e-books. Under that model, Apple simply acts as the publisher’s sales agent, with no authority to discount prices.

“Joe: Translation: Under the Apple model, publishers can set their own prices. That isn’t Amazon’s model, but if enough of us band together (i.e. collusion), publishers can force Amazon to accept the prices publishers set.

“Look, a retailer should be able to sell whatever they want to sell, for however much they want to charge.

“Imagine going to a car dealer and being told, ‘We have to sell this Mazda for $19,999, and you can’t bargain.’ Imagine owning a store and not being able to put anything on sale.”

Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.

“Joe: Translation: Amazon was using free enterprise to gain market share, something that worries inferior competition.”

There’s more but I want to save some room for Kristen Lamb‘s comments about Turow’s recent NY Times piece, from her article, Let Them Eat Cake—The Slow Death of The Old Paradigm Author:

“The American Author, as Turow understands it, writes books, relies on an agent and publisher, and trusts to earn as many royalties as possible from as many sources as possible. FREE! is anathema and social media is too plebeian…and yes, these types of authors are slowly dying.”

“While Turow wails that authors are dying, he seems to be forgetting about Barry Eisler who famously turned down a half million dollar deal with his publisher to go on his own. Turow is also apparently unaware of the many successful self-published authors who’ve translated successful e-book sales into favorable print deals with traditional houses. He looks all too unaware of the astonishing success of publishers who’ve passed up the old business model and innovated to keep pace with a new culture.”

“It all boils down to this. The world has changed. There is a new paradigm and it’s birthing a very new type of reader who has very different expectations. This, in turn, has altered our job requirements if we hope to be successful.

“Yes, it is more work, but the odds of success are far higher. The Old World had 172,000 books published in a year and 160,000 of those sold less than 1,000 copies…”

So, obviously, no one should make any judgement of Scott Turow until they read his full article then, perhaps, read Joe Konraths’s and Kristen Lamb’s.

If you happen to do that, do come back and leave your thoughts in our Comments.

Of course, you can not read them all and still leave a comment :-)
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3 responses to “The U. S. Authors Guild President vs Reality

  1. Barbara Blackcinder April 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Kristen Lamb has gotten it right in every aspect. She starts from the ancient treatment of authors, into the modern day, and surprise! they are the same. People like Scott Turow believe what they believe and exist inside the bubble that they can’t and won’t escape from, nor see through. it is the classic case of those who profit the most from the current construction absolutely will not bend an inch to see that they are standing in doo doo. It seems to be the same Teflon bubble that Reagan created in American politics. It hasn’t burst yet either.., but it will someday.


  2. Pingback: Guild vs Alliance ~ Are Authors Being Helped? | Notes from An Alien

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