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The Need to Control September 16, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, e-books, gummint, VIPub, writing.

It can’t happen here. Of course not. But we ought to make a careful look around to see what is happening elsewhere. Australia seems a nice place, net of Mad Max and the outback and abos mistreatment, the Sydney Opera House and Tasmanian devils and other weirdly wonderful otherworldly creatures.

But they have a species like we do: bureaucrats. These bureaucrats are trying to license newspapers and, in effect, publishing.

Newspapers don’t carry a sales tax in the U S because they are a protected right under the Constitution. But face it, epublishing is driving them out of business here and around the world. That means nobody will much care if the print versions must be under direct government control. Oh, wait, newspapers are going online. So *that* has to be regulated, too.

And if newspapers can be, why not anything going out on the Internet? Baby steps, but control is insidious and power is such a heady drug bureaucrats can never relinquish it once it is within their addicted grasp.

From a similar angle comes this blog about an author being told she cannot epublish material unrelated to a book she sold. The publisher would, in effect, control her professional life for the duration of the contract. There are lots of details missing here and this is only the tip of the iceberg. What the rest of that floe looks like is anybody’s guess, but it is a cautionary tale for authors. VIPub and legacy publishing can coexist but not this way. Epubbing can enhance a print book’s sales, not detract from it. That might be a hard concept to get through to some publishers, but it’s true. They would gain if the author is successful and, if they think such epubbing would harm their product, let their PR dept work overtime to say their book is different.

Worst case: Hire Charlie Sheen as PR guy.


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