The Society of Authors, the UK Association representing professional book authors, has called chicken little on the book industry by suggesting that internet piracy will cause authors to stop writing.
Tracy Chevalier, Chair of the Society of Authors and the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring told The Times that the current payment model for authors was dead and even suggested that content should be made available for free:
“It is a dam that’s cracking…We are trying to plug the holes with legislation and litigation but we need to think radically. We have to evolve and create a very different pay system, possibly by making the content available free to all and finding a way to get paid separately….
It’s hitting hardest the writers who write books that you dip in and out of: poetry, cookbooks, travel guides, short stories – books where you don’t have to read the whole thing….Cookbook authors are really struggling. I do it myself – if I want a recipe I go online and get it for free….For a while it will be great for readers because they will pay less and less but in the long run it’s going to ruin the information. People will stop writing. There’s a lot of ‘wait and see what the technology brings’ but the trouble is if you wait and see too long then it’s gone. That’s what happened to the music industry.”
That music industry where musicians have stopped publishing music and are begging in the streets….
On a positive note they are at least talking about alternative models and recognize that there is a need for change, but does anyone really believe that books are doomed? that writers will stop writing because pirated copies of their works may appear on the internet? While online content and E-Book readers are changing the book game, there will always be a market for books; literature is not modern music, it can’t be created on a whim by 9 year olds using Garage Band.