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Freedom isn’t free, and all that
Lincoln Michel, writing for The Faster Times, is skeptical of the potential for e-books to generate royalties for authors. He argues that the price of e-books will likely drop, and so will the wages of writers. But the bulk of his argument is aimed at those who want to distinguish between what’s good for authors and publishers (making money), and what’s good for readers (getting things for free):
What is bad for artists is not good for people who enjoy art. That’s not how it works. If artists are not able to gain income from their art, that means the quality of art produced drops. At best, artists have less and less time to do their art, as they must make more and more of their income elsewhere to eat and survive. At worst, they simply do something else.
But Michel goes one step further, pointing out how others’ misunderstanding of corporate schemes function to apologize for the increased exploitation of authors:
Recently Amazon lowered its cut of e-books so authors could get 70% of sales in a certain price range. Since then, I’ve seen countless article’s about how amazing this deal is and how this model is the future. Let’s get something clear: Amazon is making a business decision to lure writers into this model so that e-book prices drop and they can sell more Kindles. As soon as it is a smart business move to raise their cut on books back to the old levels, they will do so.