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'Traditional' digital for new J K

J K Rowling's first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, will have a more traditional digital publishing element, her agent Neil Blair has told The Bookseller Daily.

Speaking in the wake of the public launch on Saturday of Pottermore, the cutting-edge Harry Potter e-commerce and social networking site, Blair said: "We will look towards a more standard, traditional route with this book. It is 
an adult book, a serious book, and it is very exciting. There are lots of adults who have read Harry Potter, but obviously we don't have that same core audience for this book, so it is a new thing for Jo."

Foreign rights deals for The Casual Vacancy, which will be published in September, have not yet been announced but Blair added: "It has been a very busy fair and we have had lots and lots of people asking about the book, which is fantastic. It is something that retailers can really get behind, which is great considering the challenges the industry is facing at the moment."

Blair was speaking after appearing on the panel for this week's "Contract, Copyright, Collaborate and Communicate" seminar. During the debate, he suggested that the biggest challenge facing the industry is the "culture of free" and that it is not the job of authors or publishers to combat piracy, but an issue that society needs to address through education.

Blair added: "It is not possible for authors and publishers to educate on piracy. We need to educate young people that downloading content from file-sharing sites is no different to stealing a book from Waterstones."

He went on to say that collaboration is crucial for the industry's survival, and that "if companies and rights-holders remain in silos and don't collaborate, to try to protect their rights revenue will be limited."

Henry Volans, head of digital publishing at Faber, also on the panel, underlined the importance of collaboration for publishers: "Companies have to be prepared to cede some control. It is surprising how many people got into partnerships and are not prepared for what partnership really means. You need to give something away for it to be a better product."
 

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There is a moral effrontery in this argument which I find breathtaking, even though it is based on ignorance of how markets for copyright products work. In a world in which 'consumers' casually accept that illegal file-sharing is the first choice in methods of acquiring books, not only would those ten copies remain unsold, there would be no Waterstones to offer them and probably no author producing them in the first place. Is this what they teach at Edinburgh Napier University? As to Neil Blair's comments, I am sorry that J.K. Rowling and Pottermore have not taken their own lesson from the Harry Potter books and held back the digital publication date until several months after hardback publication. Ebooks should be seen as an additional revenue stream in copyright exploitation, not as a replacement for the truly traditional element, the hardback edition.

In the comments I posted I refer at the beginning, of course, to Ms Kruszyk's comments displayed below.

I have only become aware of this reply now, but since my university has been dragged into this I feel the need to respond. Firstly, I don't speak for my university and my university is not my only source of information.

My comment was merely making the distinction between stealing physical books and downloading pirated digital copies. They simply are not the exact same thing, and moral beliefs have nothing to do with this. If my comment came across as me condoning piracy, that was not my intention at all.
But there is a difference to theft, and young people know this. I don't believe that "educating" them by telling them that they're being evil evil thieves will change their attitude towards downloading material online. It's far too late for that.
What these people want is a quality product that is easily accessible and easy to pay for. The idea that everybody just wants to download books for free out of spite is painting an unrealistically black picture; the Pottermore e-book store itself is a fantastic argument against it.

As for the new book: I am willing to bet money on the theory that offering the e-book at the same time as the hardback edition will decrease the risk of piracy, as it immediately gives people who want to read the book on their e-reader the opportunity to acquire it legally.

There is a moral effrontery in this argument which I find breathtaking, even though it is based on ignorance of how markets for copyright products work. In a world in which 'consumers' casually accept that illegal file-sharing is the first choice in methods of acquiring books, not only would those ten copies remain unsold, there would be no Waterstones to offer them and probably no author producing them in the first place. Is this what they teach at Edinburgh Napier University? As to Neil Blair's comments, I am sorry that J.K. Rowling and Pottermore have not taken their own lesson from the Harry Potter books and held back the digital publication date until several months after hardback publication. Ebooks should be seen as an additional revenue stream in copyright exploitation, not as a replacement for the truly traditional element, the hardback edition.

I have only become aware of this reply now, but since my university has been dragged into this I feel the need to respond. Firstly, I don't speak for my university and my university is not my only source of information.

My comment was merely making the distinction between stealing physical books and downloading pirated digital copies. They simply are not the exact same thing, and moral beliefs have nothing to do with this. If my comment came across as me condoning piracy, that was not my intention at all.
But there is a difference to theft, and young people know this. I don't believe that "educating" them by telling them that they're being evil evil thieves will change their attitude towards downloading material online. It's far too late for that.
What these people want is a quality product that is easily accessible and easy to pay for. The idea that everybody just wants to download books for free out of spite is painting an unrealistically black picture; the Pottermore e-book store itself is a fantastic argument against it.

As for the new book: I am willing to bet money on the theory that offering the e-book at the same time as the hardback edition will decrease the risk of piracy, as it immediately gives people who want to read the book on their e-reader the opportunity to acquire it legally.

In the comments I posted I refer at the beginning, of course, to Ms Kruszyk's comments displayed below.