The Globe and Mail had an interview with author Cory Doctorow in the weekend edition. After talking to an audience in Toronto on the topic of “How to destroy the book”, he sat down to talk about the future of publishing.
There’s one great line in the interview that will strike a chord with most lawyers: “I don’t think people write 26,000-word licence agreements in order to give you more rights,” [Doctorow] said. “They only do it to take away your rights.”
And for our recent Kindle purchasers, he has some words of warning as well:
“They gave everybody back their copies [of Orwell’s 1984] and promised they would never do it again – unless they had a court order,” Doctorow said. “I’ve worked as a bookseller, and no bookseller has ever had to make a promise at the cash register: ‘Here’s your books. I promise I won’t come to your house and take them away again – unless I have a court order.’”
Doctorow’s newest novel, Makers, will be available for anyone to download online, for free. At the same time, he pays the bills by selling bound versions through an online print-on-demand service and at bookstores. The print version of today’s Globe carried a correction pointing out that it will be available at stores, after the weekend print version had said it would only be available for purchase online. Strangely, the supposedly more nimble online version was never updated.