This summer, at the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival, the prize winning Scottish writer and filmmaker Ewan Morrison made a highly controversial speech about the death of the traditional author and the book. Indeed, Morrison’s speech made such a stir in Europe that I invited him onto TechCrunchTV to familiarize our global audience with his controversial views.
The unvarnished Morrison didn’t disappoint. Arguing that the Internet is a “model for extreme American capitalism”, he told me that today’s high quality book and author are being killed by three forces: Google, Amazon, and the consumer. While Morrison’s Google and Amazon arguments have been made before by a number of critics (including myself), it is his critique of the online consumer that is likely to be most controversial. But is he right? Could it really be possible that it’s the online consumer – with his or her insatiable appetite for free or very cheap content – that is killing our culture?