Should authors be concerned about book piracy?

Terry Goodkind hit the news this past week for outing somebody he says pirated his latest novel, released earlier this month. Goodkind, the well-known author of the 11 book series The Sword of Truth, released the self-published The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Serus as an ebook exclusive on 2 July.

Pirated versions of the novel, which is set before the Sword of Truth series, began to appear after its launch, but Goodkind decided to fight back and posted the name and photo of one pirate on his facebook page. Josh Press, says Goodkind, made his novel available for free download, which Goodkind says he finds ‘terribly unfortunate that someone would take it upon themselves to break this circle of trust and respect that we have tried to establish between Author and Reader’.

‘Can’t be bothered to read and consider our note on piracy in the front of the book?’ he says to Press. ‘How ironic you claim to be a fan of books that uphold truth and honor above all else.’

Press has subsequently removed his personal pages and the links where the book was available, but does the rise of ereaders mean that book piracy will become as significant as music, film and TV filesharing?

The Association of American Publishers reported in January that adult eBooks saw a 49.4% increase in sales from January 2011. Amazon, which holds a significant share of the eReader market, refuses to release exact figures on how many Kindles have been bought, merely saying that throughout December 2011 ‘well over a million’ were sold each week. Clearly eBooks and reading books in a digital rather than print format is becoming big business, and offers opportunities for extra digital content that traditional hard copies do not. However, with books being reduced to a downloadable file, the opportunity is then there for people to make this file available for free in a more widespread fashion than has happened before.

The issue of piracy and file sharing has been around since the 1990s, with the well-known case of American heavy metal band Metallica taking on file sharing website Napster just an early point in a growing move against piracy and the sites that allow illegal file sharing. However, the amount of money lost because of piracy can be difficult to quantify. Somebody who downloads a book, film or album for free may never have bought the item anyway, and they may then go on to buy further books or albums because of the illegally downloaded copy. However, it can also be argued that theft is theft and material that somebody or a group of people may have spent years creating is given away against their will. Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho has said previously that he wants people to pirate his work because it increases his sales, whereas Terry Goodkind has composed a strenuous argument against book piracy on his blog, saying that it is ‘not strictly a moral issue’, because quality control is low, pirated material can’t be updated, and by pirating a book this then negatively impacts authors.

So, is naming and shaming pirates on a social network justified, or a disproportionate response for an author who has sold millions of books? Is book piracy going to have an increasingly negative impact on authors whose books are made available for nothing or will the rise of eReaders drive upwards the publishing market, mitigating potential losses? It’s possibly too early to tell, but with anti-piracy legislation coming into force worldwide, file sharing websites being shut down and piraters being arrested, this is an issue that arouses significant debate.

Most anticipated books of 2011 – part 2

This is the second part in a three part post which will look at the most anticipated books for 2011. Vague Release Date Books, Random Other Books of 2011 and My Most Anticipated Books of 2011. Enjoy. – Josh

Random other books of 2011

Eona by Alison Goodman
eona The second book of the Eon duology

Release Date: April 2011

I have heard a lot of good things about Alison Goodman, a fellow Australian, though I haven’t had the chance to read her. Maybe with the release of Eona I will get stuck in, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Where there is power, there is betrayal…

Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice. Now she is is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country’s saviour—but she has an even more dangerous secret.

She cannot control her power.

Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon, she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a killing force, destroying the land and its people.

And another force of destruction is on her trail.

Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades must find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power if he is to wrest back his throne from Sethon. But if Eona is to help Kygo, she must drive a dark bargain with an old enemy that could obliterate them all.

The Rogue by Trudi Canavan
Image: The Rogue book cover
Book 2 of the Traitor Spy Trilogy

Release date: 5th May 2011

I do enjoy it when a new Canavan book makes it my way, so I can’t wait for The Rogue to get to me so that I can continue what has turned out to be a surprisingly great series.

Living among the Sachakan rebels, Lorkin does his best to learn about them and their unique magic. But the Traitors are reluctant to trade their knowledge for the Healing they so desperately want, and while he assumes they fear revealing their existence to the world, there are hints they have bigger plans.

Sonea searches for the rogue, knowing that Cery cannot avoid assassination forever, but the rouge’s influence over the city’s underworld is far greater than she feared. His only weakness is the loss of his mother, now locked away in the Lookout.

In Sachaka, Dannyl has lost the respect of the Sachakan elite for letting Lorkin join the Traitors. The Ashaki’s attention has shifted, instead, to the new Elyne Ambassador, a man Dannyl knows all too well.

And in the University, two female novices are about to remind the Guild that sometimes their greatest enemy is found within.

A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E Feist
Image: A Kingdom Beseiged book cover
Release Date: March 2011

I’m a bit behind on my Feist reading, trying to make my way through both the The Empire Trilogy and the Krondor’s Sons duology. However once I do get past them, and into the more mainstream of his books, I hope that one day I’ll manage to get to this one and really enjoy it.

The first book of the last ever Midkemian trilogy by worldwide bestselling fantasy author, Raymond E. Feist … a historic moment for fans. The riftwars – including the original Riftwar, the Serpentwar, the Darkwar, and the Demonwar – were epic battles between Good and Evil whose ramifications have echoed through generations. This new entry to the epic, A Kingdom Besieged, ushers in the most fearsome threat the kingdom has yet facecd – the Chaoswar – a major cataclysm involving a magic apocalypse that will force Pug, now the most powerful magician in all of Midkemia, to question everything he’s ever held true and dear… including the loyalty and desires of his beloved son Magnus.Will prophecy become truth? Is the original Black Magician fated to watch everyone he loves die before him? Does anyone survive the Chaoswar – the last ever chapter of Midkemian history?

The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon
Release Date: April 2011

I love Jennifer Fallon, but I’ve never been in a state where I could move past the first of her Tide Lords series. I will, one day, but in the meantime, maybe I’ll be able to get stuck into The Undivided, the first of a new trilogy of books called the Rift Runners.

An exciting new, contemporary fantasy … spanning different realities and alternate worlds, The Undivided takes us into the heart of family, loyalty and the choice between good and evil.

The Undivided are divided. The psychic twins, Ronan and Darragh, have been separated by the traitor Druid, Amergin, who has thrown Ronan through a rift into another reality. Now time is running out for Darragh. If Ronan isn’t found soon, they will both die.

Meanwhile, Ren Kavanagh has no notion of where he comes from and is plagued by mysterious injuries. Then he meets the enticing and mysterious Trasa, and before he can figure out how it happened, he is in serious trouble …

Ren’s life is about to become more bizarre and dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
Release Date: August 2011

An author I haven’t read much of, but have heard lots about, Goodkind is surely set to garner some attention with this new book.

A fabulous new fantasy epic from a master of the genre …

An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for countless millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of increasingly alarming, if minor, omens. The omens turn out to be astonishingly accurate, and ever more ominous.

As Zedd tries to figure out how to destroy the sinister device, the machine issues a cataclysmic omen involving Richard and Kahlan, foretelling an impending event beyond anyone’s ability to stop. As catastrophe approaches, the machine then reveals that it is within its power to withdraw the omen … In exchange for an impossible demand.

The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
Image: The Heroes book cover
Release Date: February 2011

Abercrombie is another author that I’ve gotten stuck on, not being able to move past the first book in his The First Law trilogy, but another author that I will one day give my whole and undivided attention to.

They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail.

The River of Shadows by Robert von Stein Redick
Image: The River of Shadows book cover Release Date: April 19, 2011

I read the first book in Redick’s The Red Wolf Conspiracy series, and loved it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the second, and now the third, books just as much.

The latest novel in Robert V.S Redick’s stunning and original fantasy epic is a taut race against time that takes the Chathrand across the seas in a desperate bid to stop the sorcer Arunis unleashing the Swarm of Night… From the mysterious River of Shadows to the Infernal Forest, to the Island Wilderness Pazel and his companions face a phatasmogoric journey through altered realities, a nightmare journey which offers glimpses of what might have been while taking them into the terror of what is to come. Will Arunis use the cursed Nilstone to end the world? This is a rich fantasy of nightmares and unexpected beauty and is proof positive that Redick is one of the most exciting new talents in fantasy.

The second series of Legend of the Seeker looks set to be last

There appears to be some bad news for fans of Legend of the Seeker. The fantasy adaptation, based on Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth novels, looks like it has been cancelled with the appeal of Hercules/Xena-style fantasy seemingly dwindling all the time.

Image: Legend of the Seeker cast

It was last month that the writing first began appearing on the wall when many of the Tribune Station Group’s markets dropped the show completely, due to low ratings, and ABC Studios best efforts to find replacements came to nothing.

The show premiered on November 1, 2008 ran for forty episodes over two seasons and was distributed in the US by Disney-ABC Domestic Television, and produced by ABC Studios. The executive producers were Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, Joshua Donen, Ned Nalle.

For those who are new to the series and have no prior knowledge of the Terry Goodkind books, here is the synopsis that accompanies the first book, Wizard’s First Rule.

One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations, of humanity. But until he learns the Wizard’s First Rule his chances of succeeding in his task are slim. And his biggest problem is admitting that magic exists at all… A novel of incomparable scope and brimming with atmospheric detail: in a world where heart hounds stalk the boundaries for unwary human prey, blood-sucking flies hunt on behalf of their underworld masters, and where artists can draw more than your likeness, there is no place to hide, nowhere safe. Here magic makes love twice as sweet, betrayal and loss twice as bitter.

Terry Goodkind’s [link to biography] first novel, Wizard’s First Rule [link to book review] immediately established him as one of the worlds bestselling authors. Each subsequent book in the Sword of Truth series sold better than the one before and some twenty million copies of books in the series have now been sold. He lives in the USA.

Terry Goodkind signs new three-book deal with Tor

Tor Books has announced that it has signed a three-book deal with fantasy author Terry Goodkind.

The first is to be a new Richard and Kahlan novel, characters from Goodkind’s previous New York Times best-selling "Sword of Truth" books, and is due for release in early 2011.

Goodkind is returning to Tor after writing several non-fantasy books.

"We are excited to publish Terry Goodkind again. Millions of people delight in the novels of Richard and Kahlan and eagerly await the continuation of their story,” said Tom Doherty, president and publisher of Tor Books in a recent statement.

Twenty-five million copies of Goodkind’s 12-book series have been sold worldwide and have been translated into more than 20 languages.

One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations, of humanity. But until he learns the Wizard’s First Rule his chances of succeeding in his task are slim. And his biggest problem is admitting that magic exists at all…A novel of incomparable scope and brimming with atmospheric detail: in a world where heart hounds stalk the boundaries for unwary human prey, blood-sucking flies hunt on behalf of their underworld masters, and where artists can draw more than your likeness, there is no place to hide, nowhere safe. Here magic makes love twice as sweet, betrayal and loss twice as bitter.

Wizard’s First Rule book review

Round-up: Bath-time for Pullman and Le Guin not finished yet

A round-up of fantasy news around the world.

A rare JK Rowling uncorrected proof sells for £1,600
An uncorrected proof edition of JK Rowling’s very first Harry Potter book has been sold for £1600 at auction.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, attributed to JA Rowling was bought by a collector at Edinburgh’s Lyon & Turnbull auction house. The copy was sent to critics and booksellers around the UK by Bloomsbury shortly after taking Rowling on.

The book, which also contains spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, was famously written on an old manual typewriter in coffee shops around Edinburgh.

Twilight seeps top spots in USA TODAYS’s best-selling books of 2009
For the second year in a row, Stephenie Meyer has swept the top four spots in USA TODAY’s lists of the best-selling books of 2009. Not even JK Rowling achieved this.

Books for children and teenagers accounted for 29% of sales recorded in 2009. Altogether, last year the Meyer books added up to £29.3m in sales – 10% of the total children’s book  sales, according to Nielson BookScan, which compiles the best-seller lists for several national newspapers.

Philip Pullman’s Bath-time
Poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, thriller writer Robert Goddard and celebrated cult writer Philip Pullman are just three of the internationally acclaimed writers who will be visiting Bath over the coming weeks.

Philip Pullman comes to Bath on April 1. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ is his spellbinding retelling of the life of Jesus. Philip comes to Bath to discuss his new work, which is part novel, part history and part fairytale. He will discuss the tensions inherent in the dual nature of Jesus Christ and explore some of the myths and mysteries of the gospels that have helped shape human history in the last two millennia. The event is at the Guildhall at 8pm. Tickets £9 with £9 off the book. Tickets £7 when booked in person at the bookshop.

Random House to raise funds for new new television, toys, video games, and film projects
Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment will be looking to raise $100 million in order to create new television, toys, video games and film projects. The group was created when Random House Children’s Books struck a partnership with the UK production company, Komixx Entertainment.

A number of authors and illustrators could see more properties developed with Philip Pullman and Terry Pratchett having already been mentioned. Komixx intends to go out into the market for RHCSE in March. It may yet approach an existing film and television financier such as Aramid Capital to help it raise the money. The $100 million will be used to develop cartoons and live-action films and television series based on RHCB properties, as well as video games and toys.

Ursula Le Guin plans next move after resigning over Google Book Settlement
Ursula Le Guin says she wants to do more than simply resign in protest. On the Book View Cafe Blog, she says she’s heard from many writers who agree with her and wants to start marshalling that collective sentiment.

“How, where, can I ask writers who are unhappy with the Settlement to speak up – to stand up and be counted? We don’t have to agree on every detail, but I think there are a lot of us who see it as urgently important to let it be known that writers support the principle of copyright, and want the Copyright Office, the judges, the publishers, and the libraries to know that we intend to keep control of our work, in print or out, printed or electronic, believing that the people who do the work, rather than any corporation, should have the major voice in how it’s used and who profits from it.”

Oscar nominated Keisha Castle-Hughes to appear in Legend Of The Seeker
Keisha Castle-Hughes, the youngest woman ever nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award will be a guest star on an episode of Legend of the Seeker.

Castle-Hughes, who originally rose to prominence in 2002 for her role in the New Zealand film Whale Rider. The actress recently starred in projects such as Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger and Piece of My Heart. She also portrayed the Virgin Mary in The Nativity Story and had a small role in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

In Legend of the Seeker, Castle-Hughes will play a mysterious young woman who claims to be the Creator, the incarnation of God.