Piracy and privilege and property and publishing and other things that begin with P

Apparently people are talking about this again. This isn’t so much a post as a way of directing people who are interested to fantasyecho’s collection of links (which I found via Shweta Narayan).

Also to quote this, from qian’s first post there, because it is so familiar*:

“Order it from Amazon!” It takes a million years for the book to arrive, you pay a swingeing amount**, it’s held up at the post office and you have to drive out and pay taxes to collect it, and all the while you’re aware that it cost you four times the amount it cost an American to buy it. The worst insult? In almost every case, the author is not even contemplating that somebody like you will be reading it. You quite simply do not exist in their world.

*It’s not quite as bad as this in India anymore, because we’ve had a few really good online bookstores (Flipkart!) start up in the last few years. Plus there always have been a few good bookshops that could surprise you, if you lived in one of the major cities.
** “But the book depository has free worldwide delivery!” Here is the list of countries they ship to. I appreciate them and the work they do, but I really think they need to remove that “worldwide” from all over their site.

5 Comments to “Piracy and privilege and property and publishing and other things that begin with P”

  1. I'd actually quite like to hear your opinions on the issue, Aishwarya. Are you planning on posting about them? ( or have you already? In which case can you link?)

  2. Wow. Thanks for linking to what seems to be an amazing conversation. I can relate to every word Qian wrote. Been thinking about this lately, especially since I've recently acquired a Kindle. Most excellent; looking forward to reading the rest.

  3. Celine – Pretty sure it would be a terrible idea for me to post about them. I do work in the industry and that makes it a bit awkward. But (in brief) what I do think is that this stuff needs to be acknowledged; and in my attempts to have this conversation with people it is generally shut down as something irrelevant to the discussion. I think where I am is here and also here. As an editor and a basically decent person I want writers and publishers to be able to make a decent living off the work they do. As a reader outside the UK and USA (and a person who spends most of her money on books because of this)and a basically decent person I want these currently ridiculous global inequalities sorted out, and I want people in the "Western" world to acknowledge the immense privilege they have in this matter. I think it's clear that something in the system is broken, and compartmentalising the issues isn't going to contribute to fixing it.
    Is that enough? :)

    Subashini – Has the Kindle made it substantially easier for you to access books, or does country of origin still prove a problem? And I link to amazing people because I cannot hope to match their ability to articulate this stuff.

  4. Thanks for that, Aishwarya! I'm so sorry that I don't have time to read the links (yet) I'm pretty sure we're of the same mind in most aspects of this though.

    In relation to territories with book distribution problems, it's such a delicate subject and so very difficult to propose a solution to. So many factors are involved: social, economic, religious, political etc etc and peoples feelings seem to come into it far too quickly and far too often for there to be much real clear headed discussion. It's very hard to even comment sometimes without leaving some vital aspect of the picture out.

    To me the most saddening thing is that, for as long as piracy is used as a bandaid for this distribution/pricing problem, the longer it will remain the only available solution. Radical change is needed and that can only come about with a large vocal public objection to the problem and then a concerted effort by political and business interests to change the current situation. If the 'solution' continues to be the continual use of pirate copies coupled with bussines/political apathy then nothing will ever change.

  5. That's an issue that I was not aware of…
    very interesting thanks

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