ScreenClip(19)John Scalzi has created a hilarious “Electronic Publishing Bingo” card, of which I’ve excerpted the first four squares at left. Go to the site to see the whole thing. Scalzi notes that he is not himself hostile to e-publishing (given that he owes his discovery and subsequent career to a couple of self-e-published novels), but he does get tired of hearing the same arguments (from all sides) over and over again.

Of course, there are still plenty of those talking points that there wasn’t room for on the card. As one commenter on BoingBoing points out, it’s missing the “digital will never replace the smell of books” square.


  1. Nah, that’d be scraping the barrel a bit. (And not just because Scalzi has to be careful about what he says). “Baen!” is pretty damn conservative compared to “Hocking!”. You can argue “Cory Doctorow” either way. I suppose the other reason for omitting Cory is that he’s relatively older news, and the card filled up very nicely with newer and hopefully shorter-lived arguments.

    I was very amused by Cory’s comment on BoingBoing; I don’t tend to expect subtlety from that quarter. “John Scalzi’s Epublishing Bingo card captures nearly every tedious talking point from NEARLY every side of the epublishing debate.” (Emphasis mine).

  2. I think the quote is preceded by Tim O’Reilly, “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy”[1]. (11/2002). I can only find the Doctorow quote[2] as early as 7/2005, and Doctorow’s first full-length books[3][4] only go back as far as 1/2003. Look *before* 2003, and his website says “still dithering over whether to make any of it available in toto, thus sacrificing any shot I have at selling reprints”.

    Doctorow is probably responsible for propagating the phrase though.


  3. That is, you have a point about that line, but perhaps it stands better on its own. People other than Doctorow will often repeat it without any particular attribution.

    It doesn’t work as a very good summary of what Doctorow’s doing now either. You can consider piracy to be irrelevant without thinking it makes sense to make your entire work available for _legal_ filesharing (bless).

    Alternatively, that’s an argument for “Cory Doctorow says!”, which I also saw somewhere in the comments, rather than “Cory Doctorow!” as a successful example to be followed, in the sense of “Hocking!”. But now I’m really scraping the pedants barrel; I suspect “Konrath!” is being used to encompass both meanings.

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