I got into a discussion recently with somebody who argued that you shouldn’t have to pay for creative works, because anybody can create writing, music, or any other art as a hobby. If you only write for money, you shouldn’t be doing it. Besides, if you are really good, then you should be able to make money in other ways, such as by touring. If not, well, you should get a regular job, not try to squeeze money out of people for having fun doing your hobby.
That really pissed me off. Since I like to rant about writing online, I thought I’d post here why.
Amazon announced they’re going to change their KDP Select programme so that it pays authors for every page of their novels that was read. For those who don’t know KDP Select, it’s a Netflix-style book programme from Amazon, where a reader pays a monthly subscription for the Kindle Unlimited service and gets to read whatever they want from the list of books on KDP Select.
John Scalzi wrote an article about the new Amazon all-you-can-eat-self-publishing model, and why it’s bad news for self-publishing authors. I agree that this kind of subscription model makes writing a zero-sum game, but I disagree that that’s not the case for other forms of publishing.
Full disclosure, I’ve written a book, but haven’t published it yet, so I have limited knowledge of the publishing industry. I have been part of the software industry for fifteen years, and seen the way economics work there, which I feel has some bearing on e-books at the very least. Continue reading “The Zero-Sum Game”