Monday, April 7, 2008

When Online Previews Aren't Profitable

Since I live in a small town with only one small, local bookstore, I do a lot of book shopping online. I love it when I'm able to read the first page or two of a book online much like I'd do in a bookstore. But, according to The Australian article titled Writers lament effects of internet, some authors feel like they actually lose sales when parts of their books are posted online. To quote the article:

Amazon has found that its Search Inside function, which allows readers to see selected pages of books, has increased sales.

But others are losing out when parts of their work are posted online.

"It's hitting hardest the writers who write books that you dip in and out of: poetry, cookbooks, travel guides, short stories - books that you don't have to read the whole of."

I hadn't thought about this aspect, probably because I don't shop for those types of books online. Interesting information. I found one part of the article funny, though.

"For a while it will be great for readers because they will pay less, but in the long run it's going to ruin the information. People will stop writing."

Even if they predict the future correctly in the first part of this quote, they're wrong about the second part. Writers write because they have stories to tell or information to impart, not for the money. There might be fewer books written by authors that might otherwise be able to write full time or by celebrities writing just for the money, but true writers aren't going to ever stop writing.

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