Photo of J.A. Konrath by J.A. Konrath, used under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license Novelist J.A. Konrath has a hilarious satire piece in the Huffington Post, written as a support-group meeting for obsolete technologies. The group is welcoming its newest member, Print Industry, who insists despite all evidence to the contrary that he doesn’t belong there.

Various members of the support group, such as Phone Company, Video Rental Store, CDs, and Cassette Tapes discuss the nature of obsolescence with Print Industry. One point that comes up is Internet piracy:

Moderator: We all read on JA Konrath’s blog that the way to fight piracy is with cost and convenience. Print Industry, are you lowering your prices and making it easier for customers to download your books?

Print Industry: Actually, we just raised prices on our ebooks.

(all-around sighs and head shaking)

Moderator: Well, far be it for you to learn from any of our mistakes. Are you making it easier at least?

Print Industry: Well, we’ve begun windowing titles, releasing them months after the hardcover comes out.

(collective head slapping)

Funny stuff.

Konrath himself has made a number of free or low-priced e-books available, from his own site, through Amazon’s Kindle store, and on Smashwords. Some of these are released under Creative Commons licenses. Konrath recently signed the latest book in his Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels series with AmazonEncore rather than the publisher of the previous books in the series, Hyperion.

We have mentioned him in a number of other stories as well.

Independent publisher Jennifer Havenner has a sort of rebuttal, saying that printed books are not going anywhere (though bookstores might) because they provide the permanence that e-books lack.

The role of the printed book is still critical, if not for the publishing industry, but for the human race. Our permanent record, whether through artistic expression in fiction, or through knowledge in non-fiction, is kept on printed books, not on electronic signals. Without the printed book, there is no record of our time, place and civilization.

(Found via The Digital Reader.)


  1. Thanks for linking to the HuffPost blog! I hadn’t seen Konrath’s piece and am glad to have found it. Publishers do need to learn from the electronic trends of other media and not misstep, there is no doubt. Given consumer trends lately, however, I’m sure that high price points will continue until demand wanes. It is my thinking, however, that with a high eBook price point there ought to be more features (think DVDs). Author interviews, links to resources, videos, and other multimedia activities can substantiate the cost of higher eBook price points. But so far, I mostly see simple PDFs. Our company is to blame for that as well, but we try to keep the price points low compared to the printed version.

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