Judgment Day For Authors?

Judgment Day For Authors?

Today Publishers Lunch noted that a company named Atiz has created a scanner called BookSnap which converts pages to a pdf file at the rate of 500 pages per hour. Atiz boasts that BookSnap's "not a scanner. It's a book ripper."


You can read Steven Levy's assessment of the product on Newsweek. So far it seems BookSnap's clunkiness (all 44 pounds) and pricetag ($1,595) prevent it from being much of a threat to publishers but that could change as future models shrink and prices drop. Portability is huge right now and so is the idea that you can get something for nothing.

Remember when people used to buy albums and shell out money to see a movie? Sure, people still do that but not in anything close to the numbers they used to. If BookSnap's descendants catch on we could eventually be looking at a publishing industry piracy problem (as people rip and trade files) similar to that which is already rampant in the film and music industries. And if it does go down that way I can only imagine YA fiction would be hit hard and fast as young people usually tend to adopt new technologies the quickest.

TerminatorHow do industries continue to turn a healthy profit when their product is so effortlessly ripped off? Will the publishing industry have to start putting out licensed lunchboxes, bobbleheads and T-shirts to make money?

If you're an author who feels like you're staring at the Terminator programmed to kill you when you stare at the above BookSnap photo, you're not alone. I just hope resistance fighters from the future show up to start training us soon. I don't have anything against bobbleheads but I'd like to think that people feel the artistic endeavor itself (whether that's a Bedouin Soundclash tune or an Ellen Wittlinger novel) is worth paying for.
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