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New York Times Is Behind the Times Again

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.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

3 Comments

  1. Podiobooker » Blog Archive » Dodging the bullet with Romance authors
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 12:46:46

    […] and comments from writers of romance who felt slighted by the quote. In fact, I’ve only seen one from Dear Author, and the slight was contributed to Sigler! Romances are conspicuously missing from Podiobooks.com. […]

  2. Scott Sigler
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 14:53:05

    So let me see if I understand this scoring system – three scifi authors (Morris, Jeffery and myself) have been podcasting fiction since February of 2005.

    We get points “deducted” for being “just being wrong,” when we didn’t write the story, nor did the authors make any comments about romance writers.

    Romance writers get two points, even though they entered the game a year later (give or take).

    The times actually wrote about this style of storytelling, when the mainstream media and publishers have completely ignored it for two years, and they get NO points?

    I’d hate to see what the Russian judges scored …

  3. Sandra Schwab
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 17:49:41

    Thanks for mentioning my podcast, Sandy’s Podchatter. :)

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