15 August 2012

a serious post . . . o.m.g . . . the torches burn bright!!!


hello dear readers,

as much as i know you are used to clicking on the link to this blog with the anticipation of giddy school boys and girls awaiting the candy store to open, this blog post may disappoint in its entertainment value. but it surely will entertain your thought-provoked neurons (if there are such things, and i think there are).

maple street. location of a thought-provoking event in a famous episode of that old show, "the twilight zone," called "the monsters are due on maple street." there are humans. there are aliens. every conflict has to have two sides. if you haven't watched it, you should. hysteria ensues, kinda like the story i'm about to discuss.

i have no idea how i missed this story, but i am all over it now because it clearly, in one fell swoop, covers one of the biggest fears associated with e-books, authors and publishers . . . piracy!

now i know you are thinking, what story is she talking about?  THIS ONE! okay, i'll tell you the title: "piracy witch hunt downs legit e-book lending website."

whoa. first off, let's look at some of those terms... "piracy," "witch hunt," "legit," and "e-book."

i'll try to break it down in a few bullet points:
  • indie author writes book
  • indie author allows barnes & noble and amazon to sell said book
  • barnes & noble and amazon allow lending privileges for said book (one-time, 14 days)
  • guy creates website to facilitate lending, called lendink (wikipedia site).
  • indie author mistakes lending facilitation for piracy, creates twitmob, indie authors send C&Ds to website guy and his ISP (C&D=cease and desist; ISP=internet service provider)
  • website guy's ISP downs website
  • website guy cries (okay i made that part up)
  • indie authors realize mistakes, some say "i'm sorry"
  • website guy out of business
that, in a nutshell, is a potent combination of ignorance + confusion + fear with a little greed thrown in for flavor.

FULL DISCLOSURE: i used to work for one of the big box retailers referenced above and in that capacity i worked with a lot of authors, indie and mainstream.

now, i'm not one to cast the first stone (usually, the second), so i read through a few articles about this story before i became outraged and put up this post. my rage is two-pronged and both aimed at the authors. one is the totally ignorant, misguided, mob mentality that resulted from alleged authors FAILING TO READ. AUTHORS FAILING TO READ!!!! ironic? failing to read their agreements with amazon and barnes & noble that THEY signed,  failing to READ the information on lendink's website, failing to ASK questions, EPIC FAIL!

the second prong is aimed at authors who apologized. i know, sounds counterintuitive. but, hear me out. the amount of effort and misguided anger they put forth to protect their own property simply is not matched by a simple, two-word apology. there was a commercial years ago, where one of the characters said, "sorry doesn't feed the bulldog." one author actually said, in her revised comment to lendink's owner, "Now that I know the truth, I'd be happy to have my books up on your site." well, OF COURSE YOU WOULD!" isn't that why you publish to begin with?? so you can feed the bulldog??

*sigh* on a side note, i also blame publishers. they have continued to foster this notion that, somehow, e-books are bad for publishing, bad for authors because it can't be controlled (of course it can) and it can't be priced competitively (well, that's for you to fight out with jeff bezos). an author of one of the articles below says publishers spread FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt).  unfortunately, at the end of the day, who suffers? in this case, the small business guy and us, the consumers.

well, i'll get off my soapbox now and leave you with a reading list of articles on the lendink debacle. another side note: in my feeble attempts to use google, i did try to find articles that might have fallen on the side of the misguided aggrieved authors. i couldn't find any. and i looked. really looked. i really did. if you find something, let us know.

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