Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gary Gibson on E-books.

Here's another way of looking at the whole issue ... with tongue firmly wedged in cheek.

I would like to make 'a modest proposal' concerning the ebook market, given that I agree fully that authors should get paid for their work. I should know, I'm one of them, and yet according to some we are about to be inundated by a vast wave of piracy that will see artists and creators of all types rendered destitute.

Now I must confess some of my sins.


Hitch said...

Hmm, good article, fun and very to the point.

So, does this mean that you agree with the man? Still itching to hear your POV on ebooks if real book already owned :)

For the record, 2nd hand books, loaned books etc have gotten me into several authors. One of which is you, Neal. The GF pointed you out to me by letting me read one of hers, so I guess a "free copy" can pay back ten fold.

this is off topic but kinda relevant:

The most pirated film in 2010, and quite possibly over all time given a few more years is still the highest grossing movie of all time. This, despite the cries that piracy is killing cinema.

It seems to me that piracy only kills the dross (thats dross, not Stross!), that was a rip off to the general public anyway. Now I do not suppose that ebooks are anywhere close to being pirated as much, simply because in reality not that many people want to read books on little electronic devices and I suspect, though this may be a little rose tinted, that most people with pirated ebooks also own the real book anyway or will go and buy it because they like the author and want it in the bookcase.

Huan said...

I don't see the point of E-readers unless one is travelling.
To me having to put batteries in something is a pain in the proverbial.
I got into your books by reading a 2nd hand copy of Gridlinked that I found in a lend-library in a campsite in Brittany.
Hard to think how I would have discovered you if I only had an electronic reader.
I might change, who knows but for now paper is fine The H/B Technician is only 9.70 euro from the book depository, and no batteries required!

KJ Mulder said...

I love reading books, both physical and ebooks. Reading on an ebook reader took all of one book to become second nature and there are many advantages to ebooks.

Initially what drew me to ebooks was the ability to get something you bough immediately, cheaper pricing and to have your whole library in your pocket. With eInk batteries aren't an issue since one charge last for up to two weeks of reading on my Opus.

After getting my Opus I bought more than 50 books within 3 months at great prices.

That was before the Agency 5 mess. After that ebook prices skyrocketed and it became nearly impossible to buy 90% of ebooks due to geographic restrictions (I'm located in South Africa).

I've since discovered the Book Depository and have reverted back to getting paperbacks since they now provide the most value again and ebooks are much more of a hassle to acquire and even genuine ebooks are quite often lacking in formatting quality (not to mention all the restrictions that comes with it).

I believe piracy would be negligible if publishers would offer affordable, DRM-free ebooks without the geographic restriction madness and not make it impossible for me as a legitimate buyer to actually throw my money at them.

Those who still pirate after that would in all likelihood never have bought the book in the first place so loss of sales would be moot.

Andrew said...

I use an ebook all of the time and have found that I prefer it.
After reading one book it has become second nature. I know it is a personal choice but I think a lot of people would be swayed if they tries one.

I recently used a sony e reader but the screen broke and now I have a kindle. I have epub books on the sony reader that I cannot use on the kindle because of the DRM. I will probably use software to remove the DRM and turn them into pdf's which the kindle can use. I did pay for them after all.

There are downsides to these readers. Using a kindle ties you to amazon, which I am not that keen on. When I buy paperbacks I like to chose between W H Smiths or Waterstones, or even the independent book shop down the road. This is probably naive on my part, but I really do not think they need to worry about this from a commercial view point.

Saying that they do have a stranglehold on the publishers because of their market strength. Most books come out first on the kindle and then a month or so later in the epub format.

Neal, all of your books are available on the kindle (I have purchased them) but not in epub format.

I believe that this is where the piracy will be an issue. Publishers/distributors are trying to control who sells the books and this will tempt people to try and download from torrent sites for free.

p.s. a quick search for "neal asher torrent" shows some sites listing your books for download.

Neal Asher said...

Really I still haven't got a coherent opinion on e-books. Huan has a point about secondhand books introducing people to an author. Maybe what is called piracy will be what replaces the second-hand market.

I don't much like the idea of them myself, but then, everything that I am, all the ambition that drives me, stems from a love of those old SF books you see in some of the collections here.

Graeme. said...

I love my Sony reader for home and when traveling. I prefer using it than a 'real' book.
I also love seeing my 'real' Asher books lined up on the shelf.

I recently left The Skinner at my in laws after I saw he'd read some of Bank's stuff. My father in law read it and he now may or may not go on to buy more of Neal's books.

If, instead, we both used unrestricted eBook formats, would I have dragged and dropped just the one file of The Skinner to his PC, or would i have taken the extra 5 seconds to drag and drop the entire Asher library ?