Writing is for Crazy People
Posted on April 17th, 2012

Without going into too much of a rant about the economy and such, I wonder what the thoughts are of other writers and aspiring authors regarding a lawsuit by the Justice Department against Apple and various publishers regarding the pricing of e-books. Basically the claim is that Apple and a handful of big name publishers were collaborating to set fixed prices for sales of e-books (some saying at too high a price) which would be a lot like most of Apple's products in how they cost the same no matter where you buy them from. It seems though, with the Justice Department's lawsuit, certain retailers like Amazon will have the ability to lower prices and compete anyway they see fit—thus, creating cheaper and more affordable e-books for consumers.

Articles can be found here:
US says Apple, publishers conspired to fix prices
Price-fixing settlement could mean cheaper e-books

I have to say I'm torn. While the consumer and rebel in me wants to fight the good fight against monopolies and giant corporate businesses trying to get richer and tell us what to do, similar to that of the movie and music industry battles over the last several years, the writer and published author hopeful in me hesitates.

Knowing just a little bit about what sort of effort and hell it can be to write and get published, I honestly think e-books and publishing is a lot different than that of the music and movie industries in this regard. While I think some starving artist musicians and filmmakers would disagree, you don’t see too many people dropping tons of money and selling out venues to see authors and books live on tour or in 3-D. That is, unless you land a big movie deal and/or become the next J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, or Stephen King.

While things like iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Redbox, Netflix, Hulu and other media streams exist to provide affordable or free content, there’s always a time frame where a premium price is paid for that content in the here and now, whether it be CD sales, concert tickets, movie tickets, DVD/Blu-Ray sales, memberships or cable packages. For books, I’m not so sure. Plus, there’s the lack of media power that most books have.

I’ve tried to write this a few times, but just find myself ranting on. All in all, books seem to have less media and public attention and clout compared to music and movies. With online retailers like Amazon and your own personal marketing, you can get some of that attention, but I honestly feel that books are not there yet to survive the super cheap and/or freely accessible nature of movies, TV, and music. Even then, the music, television and movie industries are still fighting to get their money. Until I start seeing a ton of authors and people associated with the writing world running around rich whether or not they are good at their craft or not, I don’t think I can fully support this (of course there are those “sparkling” exceptions). If anything, books deserve a dog in the fight as well because I think writing and getting published can be just as hard and time consuming as, if not more than music, TV, and film. Not to mention, outside of agents and publishers, it’s generally a one person operation.

Writers, authors, and consumers alike, what do you think?


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