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All eBooks for Free? August 24, 2011

Posted by ninapaules in eBooks, ePublishing, free.
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As reported by theguardian, Ewan Morrison, author, set forth a rather bleak vision for the publishing industry during his attendance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

In part, Morrison said that Generation Y-ers (the children of the Baby Boomers) already consume 78% of their news digitally, for free, and books will follow suit.

I disagree. 

Here’s why.

 1. As long as Amazon and iBooks and Sony (et al) are in it to make money, ebooks will never be completely free.  Yesterday, I purchased Hurricanes in Paradise by Denise Hildreth Jones from Amazon, for free.  I paid Amazon nothing for it, but Amazon still had to pay to maintain their Whispernet, and their site, and pay their CEO so I could get it.  Multiply my actions by thousands and thousands of free eBook purchases and Amazon still makes nothing.  Somehow, I don’t see this mighty giant falling for all ebooks being sold as free.

 2. As long as authors view their work as valuable, ebooks will never be completely free.  Authors, new and veteran, when banded together, have the power to set eBook pricing.  The time has come for authors to decide how much their time is worth.

3. In this era of digital publishing and distribution, author advances are retreating.  Over a year ago, UK publishers reported cutting author advances by 30%-50%.  Soon, the only way to make money in the author-biz will be on book sales, as they happen.  When I purchased Denise’s book, for free, she didn’t make a penny.  I may have contributed to her rise in the “Lists”, but Denise can’t take that to the bank.

What are your thoughts?  (comment link is at the top)