A good friend of mine directed my attention to the boycott of Dorchester publishing that’s being led by author, Brian Keene. If you want to really understand the points of the boycott, visit www.briankeene.com and check out his blog; it’s really very interesting. The gist of the movement is that Dorchester’s been publishing e-books by its current and backlist authors that it does not have rights too—very bad pool. And please, if you care about books and authors, support the boycott.
The friend who directed me to Mr. Keene’s blog did so because she knows I’m a fan (rabid?) of the ebook industry and follow it closely (and have tied my career to it). I think she was concerned that this would have an ill effect on the growth of the digital industry.
I don’t see any need to worry; in fact I think this will only help to increase ebook’s market share growth.
Dorchester is desperately trying to stay solvent, even at the expense of its relationships with its authors. Readers and authors are not going to blame ebooks for Dorchester’s bonehead move, their going to blame the publisher. This is not a failure of the digital industry, it’s a publisher failure, and this type of thing has been happening since before the invention of the printing press. Ebooks will be yet another tool that authors, even well established authors, can use to get out from under an old, antiquated, desperate, and failing system.
Truthfully, the old system hadn’t been working for a long time—since the mid-eighties at least. Publishers were selling fewer and fewer novels and were paying authors (fiction authors especially) less and leas while providing fewer services. Now I’m generalizing here for the sake of point, so in no way am I speaking about every publisher, but I am certainly speaking about many. Promotion was all but gone, editorial staffs were shrinking rapidly, and discounts and catalog placement were dwindling away to nothing. Whether ebooks came around or not the old way (meaning the ridiculously high, unnecessary overhead way) was going to end anyway. A change was coming and ebooks have become, and will only continue to be, a large part of that change. And not just for authors, but also for the savvy publishers who have been taking advantage of the new economy.
In conclusion, boycott Dorchester and support author’s rights.