I hate, and would change/throw out bottom-line publishing, and the ongoing drive toward consolidation in the publishing industry. More competition among publishers to acquire good books, as opposed to blockbusters, would be a welcome change. Getting the big multinationals out of publishing would be a good thing, too—all that relentless bean-counting isn't good for writers or for readers. Obviously that's not going to happen anytime soon, so failing the demise of the bean-counters I'd happily substitute a 50% standard royalty on eBooks; even 25% is a bit stingy, given the minimal investment publishers make beyond the initial editing/digitizing stage--zero dead trees, zero trucks, zero warehousing, zero distributors' cut, zero returns.
It's not likely any of us will change it on our own, unless it's Stephen King, Nora Roberts, or even J. K. Rowling. I think Dan Brown has had his moment---Well, a long moment---in the sun and is not likely to change much.
We are still going through the throes of the communications revolution. More stuff out there, the big sellers very big, the rest of us, and some are very good, are just here.
My daughter, who is twenty-one, says that none of her friends would pay for ebooks - they'd find a way to download them for free, as they do with films, music and computer programs. For a moment I thought, well, in that case, authors would stop publishing ebooks and stick to paper. But it's easy enough to scan a paper book to produce an ebook.
Copyright infringement is a civil offence in the UK, not a criminal one, which makes it expensive to enforce. Fine for JK Rowling, but not for most of us. Right now there is a big population of readers who will buy an ereader and pay for ebooks - but will this continue to be the case, if my daughter is right, and future generations feel no obligation to pay for what they can get for free?
It is funny what people think is worth paying for - they pay for the internet connection, the computer and some kind of player to listen to the music, so all those companies get paid, but they won't pay the artists who actually created the content they want.
So maybe it's just a matter of dividing up the money these kids do spend on films music and computers programs in a way that includes the creators. But it seems unlikely.
It really is a major change in attitude. Kids who wouldn't shoplift a CD from a store have no problem downloading the music.
That's partly the law's fault. I'm a designer/jeweller; if someone steals a ring from me, the police will get involved. If someone buys a ring, takes it to Thailand, makes a rubber mould, reproduces the ring in bulk and exports it back to England, it's a civil matter and I have to pursue the copyright infringers myself. It's as though creative work has no value, so its theft is not a serious matter. And of course, I'd much rather lose one ring than have my designs copied wholesale.
Re downloading music, books etc., I suppose some people think it makes no difference - like not paying the fare on a bus that is going there anyway. But if enough people don't pay, the bus won't run.
i don't think the majority of book pirating sites are run or patronized by kids. i recently had an old romantic suspense title reissued and within a day the free pirated version was available all over the place. downloads in the hundreds. i ended up actually selling around 200 copies. i'm guessing the pirated copies would have been 400 - 1000? higher? at that time, i was shopping an anthology and was avoiding print-only pubs. two days after my reissue release and my witnessing the massive pirating, i sent a query to a print-only publisher.
many readers pay a yearly fee to the pirate site, so as soon as a book comes out they race over there to see if it's available. most likely it will be.
The weird thing as that they pay a fee. I was looking for an old album online a while ago that wasn't on iTunes and I ended up on a site that had the record and looked very legit - and only wanted two dollars for it - but it was a Russian pirate site.
There really should be a way to get paid from the money people pay to their internet providors - that's the one payment even the most energetic pirate doesn't seem to mind paying.