“An interview with Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, in Monday’s Times of London suggests that digital book piracy may discourage authors from writing. Unless, that is, the publishing industry can come up with a different business model.”
When I read this, I could not help but react.
Let's take a couple of steps back.
Why do writers write? Writers do not write to make money - that is just a bonus. Writers write, well, because they have to, because they are the conduits that allow the story to live. They are no more able to stop writing than they are able to stop breathing.
As a writer, I would love to know people are actively seeking out my stories to read. And, even if they cannot afford to buy it, they are able to enjoy it. And the more people download my stories, the more people get to read it. And I do see this as beneficial.
These days, there are just too many books available, and no real way of gauging whether one would like it or not, and there is no way of discovering new authors without visiting bookshops, or by downloading books online. And, in my experience, bookshops carry specific authors and publishing houses - often excluding lesser known authors in favour of more popular ones.
However, how does an author gain popularity? By being read!
Maybe pirating may drive older writers to stop writing, but I doubt any self-respecting writer would. They might stop publishing, but they would only spite themselves, because readers can always find other authors.
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