Friday, 20 January 2012
Shiver Me Kindles
By Richard Jay Parker
With today's new of the file sharing Megaupload site being shut down in the US it will probably be viewed as a major victory against piracy. The fact is piracy - of movies and music - has been around for decades and will be in the future because it always finds a way.
Since books embarked on the high seas of digitisation they have also become part of the debate.
Which of us hasn't passed on a book to a friend without consent from the copyright owner? Think of this on a global scale and how many royalties an author won't receive because of it. But this is exactly how books get popular.
Battling piracy is a costly process but what seems to be the key to reducing the number of readers, listeners and viewers tempted by downloading copyrighted works for free is for the copyright holders to be reasonable about the product price.
Over two decades ago a music cd could cost fifteen pounds and above. Now a chart cd costs about seven pounds. Since the price of cds came down so has the number of people downloading music. It's still a massive problem (particularly during a recession) and this isn't going to close down the piracy sites overnight. But consumers are responding to a reasonable pricing scale and recognise that they're not just paying for the physical medium or downloadable file but the amount of people who have to be employed to bring a polished product to fruition as well as the intellectual property.
It's still very much a suck and see process for publishers (literally) but I think readers are loyal and will continue investing in their favourite authors if they feel the they're paying an equitable price that still allows for sufficient profit so the industry can continue to thrive and be able to bring them great material in the future.
It won't stamp out piracy - nothing will - but even though times are hard it will mean readers will think twice about downloading often inferior material illegally when they could get it officially for a reasonable price.
Deciding what that price is exactly is going to be the challenge.
Visit Richard at: http://www.richardjayparker.com/