Day by Day

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

And lots of it today. First up we have Steve, who specializes in making people laugh so hard that whatever they're drinking flys out their noses and onto their computer screens. This time he takes on Hillary, who as everyone knows, is a Miserable Failure. (I got yer googlebomb RIGHT HERE, moonbats!)

Next up is Noel of Sharp Knife, who takes on Mr. Pound, the British MP who believes that the common filth don't know what's good for them. Watch out for the puns.

And for those who like to read, A LOT, Instapundit pointed me the way to Baen Free Library, where you can download books from authors big and small. For free. Obviously, Baen has figured out what the RIAA can't seem to get a grasp on.

I don't know any author, other than a few who are — to speak bluntly — cretins, who hears about people lending his or her books to their friends, or checking them out of a library, with anything other than pleasure. Because they understand full well that, in the long run, what maintains and (especially) expands a writer's audience base is that mysterious magic we call: word of mouth.

Word of mouth, unlike paid advertising, comes free to the author — and it's ten times more effective than any kind of paid advertising, because it's the one form of promotion which people usually trust.

That being so, an author can hardly complain — since the author paid nothing for it either. And it is that word of mouth, percolating through the reading public down a million little channels, which is what really puts the food on an author's table. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Think about it. How many people lend a book to a friend with the words: "You ought a read this! It's really terrible!"

How many people who read a book they like which they obtained from a public library never mention it to anyone? As a rule, in my experience, people who frequently borrow books from libraries are bibliophiles. And bibliophiles, in my experience, usually can't refrain from talking about books they like.

And, just as important — perhaps most important of all — free books are the way an audience is built in the first place. How many people who are low on cash and for that reason depend on libraries or personal loans later rise on the economic ladder and then buy books by the very authors they came to love when they were borrowing books?

Ah well, the longer the RIAA shows that it's an archiac monolith who can't keep up with the market, the better chance we have of watching it come tumble down. Musicians the country over can only hope.

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