The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Among the Disrupted – Free books and the loss of culture

Among the Disrupted – NYTimes.com.

“Amid the bacchanal of disruption, let us pause to honor the disrupted. The streets of American cities are haunted by the ghosts of bookstores and record stores, which have been destroyed by the greatest thugs in the history of the culture industry. Writers hover between a decent poverty and an indecent one; they are expected to render the fruits of their labors for little and even for nothing, and all the miracles of electronic dissemination somehow do not suffice for compensation, either of the fiscal or the spiritual kind.”

I have been concerned about this ever since the dawn of the popular e-book and Amazon’s culture of the free and the cheap. Some writers sing the praises of the free and the cheap, arguing that even though they’re taking a loss on what they could have made via traditional publishing, they’re making up on volume.

I think we’re replacing culture with non-culture, losing stores and making books and their authors throw-a-ways in the current phase of the information age.

How do you see this issue and the Times essay’s point of view?

–Malcolm

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3 thoughts on “Among the Disrupted – Free books and the loss of culture

  1. Sooner or later, writers will realize that books have no “off” switch and therefore they will win.

  2. I have mixed feelings about the topic.

    “Journalistic institutions slowly transform themselves into silent sweatshops in which words cannot wait for thoughts, and first responses are promoted into best responses, and patience is a professional liability.”

    Unfortunately, I think that’s true, and I think it’s terrible.

    On a personal scale, as an author and a business (because being a self-published author is a business), I have to compete if I want to make a decent go of it, and I have to compete according to the rules of the current market. I hope – and strive – to compete in a way that upholds my personal convictions, as difficult as that may be.

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