Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hidden Treasure

By Richard Jay Parker

Following on from my piece about ebook piracy I was interested to see author Paul Coehlo is now actively encouraging readers to pirate his work.  His theory is that the more his work is distributed (even for free) the more he sells.  This seems to be the verdict of a number of authors who find their sales rocketing when they give away material.

Writers are arguing that Mr Coehlo is an established and wealthy author with a worldwide reputation who can afford to take a financial hit but I think the cogent part of his argument is that he can do nothing about it anyway so why not celebrate the fact that people want to get their hands on his work and may well invest in the future.

It brings us back to the whole nebulous territory of book promotion and how difficult it is to gauge exactly what it is you can do to make readers interested in your work.  Word of mouth is something that can't be measured.  It would be wonderful if there was a tracking device that allowed you to know exactly how many sales were a result of it but I don't think we'll ever see that software.

Piracy is a fact of life and although, in the short term, it appears to deprive writers of revenue it's interesting to note the increasing amount of writers who look upon it as a promotional tool.

Take a look at your own bookshelf.  I'm sure you'll find plenty of books that were passed on to you free of charge.  Any of those lead you to buy some of the other books there?  I'm not saying writers should be pirated but in a new digital age it's no longer feasible for us to think in black and white.

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1 comment:

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