Content Creation

Dear J-

I may not make it; there’s a lot of book left between where I am and the end, and while the writing is sparkling, I’m not convinced it’s for me, all the time every time. On the other hand I’ve been wanting to read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for years, it seems, and there will be other opportunities. More, perhaps, once I get over my current obsession (which is, thanks to an Android program, apparently pirated manga). Let me back up. I have in boxes somewhere two complete sets of Maison Ikkoku , one of which — the reversed first edition — I bought new as each volume came out, and the other — the un-flipped reissue with the “missing chapters” restored — I chanced upon in a used bookshop.

I think I’ve said before how cheap I am. Used things don’t necessarily bother me from a ew-someone-else-handled-this perspective (unless we’re talking food or underwear, and even with food I have a lowered sense of shame in eating, for instance, the kids’ leftovers), so it makes perfect economic sense to save money where you can — used movies! jeans! games! books! — and to support those retail establishments where you can get them, particularly thrift stores, which tend to benefit the community directly. Like they say, the rich stay rich by saving money (which probably means no frivolous/extraneous purchases). On the other hand, you end up overwhelmed with stuff cluttering up your life and things that you maybe watched (or played) once aren’t necessarily going to be replayed again in, well, ever.

This is where digital downloads make a lot of sense. They take up relatively little space (besides the physical storage medium, which is often incorporated into existing equipment) and they’re usually cheaper than a new retail boxed copy. More importantly, or at least so I hope, they benefit the content creator(s) more directly. Does that make sense? Amazon is blocking Hatchette books in a strong-arm attempt to lower ebook prices (new releases should be US$9.99, Amazon declares) and I’ve seen a shocking amount of comment cheering them on because, as they say, lower prices are always good for the consumer. I’m willing to pay more for the ebook — if my highest priority was price, I’d be borrowing from the library (uh, yes) and looking in used shops (not so much any more) — if it means supporting the creator in more creative works. If Amazon have their way in this, it’s not Amazon nor the publisher who are going to get squeezed on this, it’s the creators. How much do you value good content, and what are you willing (or able) to pay?



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