Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Short Sighted

Looks like the Author's Guild is not fond of the next generation Kindle. Or more specifically, what the Kindle can do.

The goal of the Kindle is to provide every book ever written in under 60 seconds--for a price, of course. This is a lofty goal, but one we should be excited about. This device is going to get folks buying and reading books, and this is a good thing especially given the current state of the publishing industry. Books are overpriced. People aren't reading. The Kindle could infuse new life into a sagging industry.

Instead, the Author's Guild is worried about the fact that the Kindle can read books to you. That is a derivative right, separate under current law.

I can understand publishers and authors wanting to protect their territory, but it seems to me that this is a case of tripping over dollars to pick up dimes. If they think that a computer generated voice is going to be more appealing than an actor-read book, then quite frankly they need to fire the actor.

In my mind this is a case of lawyers and publishers trying to protect an old model that no longer works or fits. New technology will always force us to change our perspectives, but it's better to embrace and adapt to this new technology, rather than try to stick to the old ways.

Remember the analogy of the folks who used to deliver ice to people to stick in their ice boxes. They forgot they weren't in the ice delivery business, but in the 'keeping food cool' business. When smaller refrigerators came out, they didn't adapt.

I am very excited about the possibilities that Kindle brings, both as a consumer of books, and as a creator of books. It's a new model, and the old structures will have to adapt to survive. But that is a good thing.


Josi said...

Interesting how things like this get run off of fear--people are afraid they CAN'T adapt, but if they take a step back, they realize they are the perfect people to guide the new trend. All about perspective. The kindle becomes more and more attractive every time I hear more about it.

Amber Lynn Argyle said...

I got into an argument about this very subject with another author (one who liked to argue with everything I said.) Glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks postive about these things.

DL Walker said...

That's just silly.

I'm a voice actor and I perform audio books. Sometimes with upwards of 40 different voices. I'm in no way threatened by the Kindle. Why would the Author's Guild be?

What I do can't be replicated.
(I'm so humble... ) :-D

Matthew Buckley said...

Exactly. If my book was on the Kindle, I would happily challenge anybody to listen to the 'computerized version', and your version, and tell me that there is not a TON of value added by your reading.

Having the kindle reading a book to you would be like having a friend tell you about a movie. You know what happens, and it works in a pinch, but you'd much rather just watch the movie yourself.