The New York Times reported that Science Fiction authors Scott Sigler, Tee Morris, Mark Jeffrey, Evo Terro and Cory Doctorow are giving it away now for free. This time, the e version is podcasts or audiobooks read by the author and available at Podiobooks.com. The article speaks to the fact that the authors giving away books in order to gain an audience. This is hardly new news.
This was a much blogged about topic back in November of 2006 when Forbes published Cory Doctorow’s piece about the benefits of giving it away for free during November 2006’s special publishing edition. Late to the game much, NYT? (Although to give NYT some credit, the Business section, in 2005, did report on Warren Adler’s book, Death of a Washington Madame, which he released electronically for free via email, a chapter at a time).
In 2006, the New York Times reduced the size of its newspaper and reduced its staff by a third. Its revenue and profit at the time were flat from the previous year while internet revenue was increasing. Part of this is due to the fact that by the Times gets news, it’s old news. While the podcast idea is interesting, it’s been going on for several years on the internet.
Romances are conspicuously missing from Podiobooks.com.
Sigler Site owner, Evo Terra, blames this on the technical deficiencies of romance authors. NYT didn’t really investigate any further . Dorchester author Sandra Schwab offers authorial podcasts, for free of course, which she began in March 2006. Schwab read original poems, short stories, and is currently in the process of reading of original fiction work called Betrayal. While romantic suspense Pocket author Michele Albert isn’t podcasting, she is giving away her previously published work, All Night Long, on her website, Inkalicious, and selling her other out of print title, Absolute Trouble, at lulu.com for $1.25 (which is almost like giving it away.
In measuring the genres who are doing innovation and who are not, I would have to point the finger against mystery authors. Perhaps the Poddio authors should have said that mystery authors aren’t living up the standards being set by romance and science fiction authors. In the Celebrity Death Match: Genre Fiction Style, I give 2 points to the romance authors, 2 to the science fiction authors (they get points deducted for just being wrong), 1 point to mystery authors for just actually writing, and 0 to the New York Times for not knowing what is going on and being way late to the game. The real issue burning in books these days is the same one going on in the music industry–DRM. I’d like to see the Times tackle that one.