I am done writing books and contributing to them. Why? Well, that is a good question.
Yesterday, I received a bill from my lawyer for all charges associated with defending my intellectual property for January and February of this year. It was an ugly amount of money, and I am thankful that my lawyer uses a lower paid paralegal to do all the research and to write the nasty-gram letters.Otherwise it would have been a fortune.
Anyways, each book that I have co-authored has included an ebook version of the book. These ebooks keep popping up all over on the Internet for free. While I did not get into authoring to make a living, I didn’t get into it to give away everything either.
In order to come to this decision, I jotted down my options and the consequences:
- Stop writing – A loss of name recognition and a loss of some income. On the plus side, no more aggravation around deadlines and no more having to fight to keep control of my copyrighted content.
- Continue writing – Stress and more stress for very little money. The little money is being ripped into smaller pieces as the information is being stolen and not purchased.
So, as you can see, the decision is an easy one.
I will continue to blog, and I will continue to work with good people to help develop courseware content, but I will no longer write for magazines or books any more unless something dramatic changes with the technology that allows better protection of intellectual property.
UPDATE: Since this post, I have heard from both publishers and other authors. Authors, like myself, are not happy that what limited income we get is undermined by the theft of ebook versions of our content. I didn’t get one email or phone call from a single author that supports ebooks. From the publisher side, I was told:
- It is the publisher’s job to take on the legal battles. I contend that they fail to do so and it is left up to authors to take action.
- Publishers have as much to lose as authors. I would say that they have even more to lose, but I can’t seem to financially justify the existence of ebooks at all when it comes to increased revenue streams vs. lost sales through theft.
- Publishers have limited means to go after these pirates. I absolutely agree. So, if they can’t take significant actions, they should not even go down that route.
Personally, I fully recognize it is the digital age. I just don’t think that there are significant measures that can be taken to protect digital versions of printed materials. It just isn’t feasible with today’s technology. So, what should we do?