The Spear of the Hunt – Coming Soon!

The Spear of the HuntGeneral Yumanar has led the armies of the Republic of Caparal to one victory after the next but his immense popularity is a threat to the corrupt civilian powers. They send him on a quest to retrieve the legendary Spear of the Hunt rather than allowing him to return home to acclaim and certain political triumph.

They hope he will never return.

The son of the most powerful family in all of Caparal joins Yumanar on the quest. Sent to spy on the general he must eventually choose his own loyalties. Will he choose his friend or his family?

What happens when those in power will do anything to keep their authority even if it means betraying the very nation they promise to protect?

The Spear of the Hunt.

Coming to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords soon!

Always $2.99

File Sharing and the Illegal Arrest of DotCom – The Saga Continues

DotComI know the world is fascinated with Lance Armstrong and Manti T’eo but today I’m going to post on a subject that I think is far more important to all of us. File Sharing. It’s not a sexy topic outside the geek world in which I reside but give this a read and see what you think.

About one year ago today the FBI asked the country of New Zealand to arrest a fellow named Kim Dotcom and his partners over his ownership of an internet file sharing site called Megaupload. It was a file sharing site where people could place files to be searched by others and downloaded. Some, if not many, of these files were copyrighted material. The movie industry, the recording industry, the publishing industry, and others consider people who purchase their material and then share it with others to be criminals. Because the site had this copyrighted material the FBI became involved most likely at the behest of the powerful music and movie industry.

The arrest itself used illegal warrants and Dotcom was illegally under surveillance; all of which has come out in court. He was subject to torture like tactics in prison, little food and water and deprived sleep. He was initially refused bail.  He is now free on bail and come up with an interesting way to start his company anew and be immune to prosecution. His new site will feature files encrypted so that the site administrator will not have access to the file contents. This means he will have no real knowledge of copyrighted material on his site. The FBI will have to go after those participating in file sharing rather than those simply providing a medium for others to carry on illegal activity. Because there are so many people fire sharing on such a vast scale it is all but impossible for authorities to arrest everyone involved and, if they did, would likely be subject to serious questions about their own families who are likely also sharing files illegally.

I’m an author of eBooks so this is a question that affect me directly. If people share my books without buying them then technically I lose money. But, the real losers, the ones who are pursuing this case, are the industries that profit off the artist’s work. Artists on their own will find a price point for their material that people are willing to pay instead of ridiculously inflated prices foisted on the public by the recording, movie, art, and publishing industries. I sell my books for $2.99. Almost everyone I know thinks that this is a reasonable price for a 300 page novel. If I went through traditional methods and got a publishing house to showcase my novel; the price to you would likely be $19.99. Now, in fairness, I went to agents and tried to get them to try to sell my books to the publishing houses and failed. So, maybe I’m just bitter. But as it stands now, I want nothing to do with the publishing industry. If people want to purchase my books for $2.99 then they will buy them. If my books are good, I will find an audience. If not, oh well.

That’s all beside the point to some degree. Digital media is here to stay and a real way to combat file sharing is for prices of such content to be lowered to a point where people won’t want to steal it. The other method is to put your content on Hulu and Pandora and other places where advertising pays per view. People watch what they want at the minor inconvenience of a few commercials. But, the illegal arrest of Dotcom and the continued prosecution of his case is nonsense. I have no doubt the movie, music, and publishing industries will try to stop his latest endeavor but I hope at some point they realize it’s hopeless.

File Sharing means that artists like myself can create and sell their work without an industry. That means you, the public, will have access to more material, better material, and at a better price. Sure, there are lots of horrible self-published books out there, and you might think mine are among them; but there is also amazing books, art, music, video, and other media out and available that would never have seen the light of day without file sharing and the internet.

Dotcom, you go! This eBook author applauds your efforts and prices his product so that even if someone does illegally download my books, they might enjoy them enough to go back and plunk down the $2.99 for legal copies.

I’d like to hear from other independent authors, artists, musicians, and the like to see what they think about this subject,

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist
Current Release: The Sword of Water
Next Release: The Spear of the Hunt

The End of Print

Digital NewsI was one of the first converts to eReaders using Microsoft Reader and their proprietary .lit format. It still works and thanks to a wide variety of free eBooks I’ve accumulated a fairly good library. I also stopped reading newspapers quite a few years ago choosing to get my information online. So, maybe I’m not the most objective person in the world to declare print dead but I think there is a lot of evidence to suggest this form of media is coming to an end.

In this post I’m not going to try to prove that print media is dying by quoting a ton of statistics or convincing you with my irrefutable logic but simply look at what having media available in a digital format will mean for our lives.

One important point is that reading a book or a magazine on paper isn’t fundamentally different from reading it on your reader, tablet, or other device. People will still need to learn how to read and the written word itself is the same regardless of the medium used to deliver it. However, other than this the two experiences are quite different.

Let’s start with childhood. My mother read me books at bedtime from an early age and I don’t think that is going away but there is now the potential for the books to read themselves with audio files, images, and streaming video. We now have monitors in our minivans and airplanes it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to imagine them built into cribs. The media center now holds a vast array of movies and songs but soon it will hold all your books as well. Each monitor around the house has access to the media and thus all your books are at your fingertip at the cradle. I’m sure that plenty of parents don’t want to relinquish control completely to the reader but the screen might display colorful images and sound effects may boom out as you read the story to the baby.

As I grew older, I was reading on my own and my mother would return from the library with a new batch of books for me. The library and your eReader are going to soon become good friends. You’ll be able to check out books from the library simply by downloading them to your computer and from there it will broadcast to any device in wireless range.

The library as we know it will eventually cease to exist because there won’t be a need to store millions of books as they become digitized. This reminds me of the library scene in Rollerball, my all-time favorite movie, which doesn’t paint such a rosy pictures of a world without books. Still, I think this is largely a good thing except perhaps for certain library employees. Not to say there won’t be a library, it will just be fundamentally different than we see today. In the library of the future the librarian will help you find digital versions of the material you want to read.

Your young student will get their text books in digital format and for all of us who got that twenty times handed down copy of school material that was bordering on disgusting this can’t seem like a bad thing. The school backpack industry might need a rethink. This will save schools a huge amount of money in purchasing the material in the first place and it will change the landscape of the textbook industry dramatically. All companies that make their money by printing material on paper and selling it are eventually going to have to find a new way to do business. I think the paper industry will take a major hit as well although the fact that every house has two or three printers might prove me wrong in that regard.

As adults we will no longer subscribe to print newspapers and magazines but simply get them wirelessly each day or week or month on our devices. I’ll be able to read the latest news at any time, anywhere.

A lot of people view this future with trepidation with the idea of mass censorship and book destruction but I see this as a liberating moment. Anyone with an idea can distribute their book without the need for a publishing house, a  printer, a distribution network, and all the other things that were necessary in the past. My own books are published by me, distributed by me, and publicized by me.

That’s going to be the difficult part of the new era of digital print. There’s going to be plenty of good and interesting material out there but there will also be an awful lot of self-published dreck. The consumer is going to have find out what is to their tastes and what is not, rather than being told by the publishing industry. Not that bad a trade-off.

All this media means lots of ideas, lots of books, lots of stories, lots of choices and that can’t be a bad thing. So, don’t fear the new era of digital media, embrace it. Go out and join the digital world today by purchasing an eReader of some kind and buying your first book. If it happens to be The Staff of Naught (only $2.99), all the better! 🙂

Like, Tweet, Comment, Digg, Stumble, Pinterest, or otherwise share because you can join the era of digital media right now.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Twist