Another membership organisation gets it wrong
From The Times:
Book piracy on the internet will ultimately drive authors to stop writing unless radical methods are devised to compensate them for lost sales.
This is the bleak forecast of the Society of Authors, which represents more than 8,500 professional writers in the UK and believes that the havoc caused to the music business by illegal downloading is beginning to envelop the book trade.
Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring who also chairs the London-based organisation, said that her members were deeply concerned that the publishing industry was failing to adapt to the digital age.
The internet is awash with unlicensed free digital copies of individual chapters or in some cases entire books. Prominent victims of book piracy include Jamie Oliver and J. K. Rowling but the most vulnerable writers are less well-known poets, authors of short stories and writers of cookery books.
Oh dear, where to start? For one thing, I cannot see how anyone can sensibly believe that books are doomed in the same way that CDs are? With reading the medium is the key and no amount of Kindles will change that. If anyone out there fancies reading the latest blockbuster on a screen that's fine but I'd rather pay however much it might be to have the dead tree version.
The one area where the social web provides a threat other than music is probably news journalism, but the way that the traditional news media are grasping some of the opportunities it presents shows that a sensible, positive approach can be taken. And rather than moaning about the odd copy of Harry Potter floating around on the web, why not focus on the huge number of reading related forums and communities out there, which actually generate more books sales through recommendations, etc?