Hey everyone, I hope you’re doing well! Before I continue, I’m going to warn you that this might be kind of a disorganized post where I splash a bunch of my thoughts down… so reader beware 👻
Lately, I’ve been watching YouTube videos talking about musical theater, and one discussion that was brought up was the accessibility of musical theater to everyone. The last video I watched discussed an incident where a Broadway actress thought an audience member was illegally recording the performance, so she called them out. However, it turns out the audience member was actually deaf, and was using a captioning device (provided by the theater) to enjoy the performance. This brought up many different important topics, such as theaters needing better communication to provide a better experience for performers and audience members a like, as well as the general lack of accessibility in Broadway.
Here’s a link to the video below:
This reminded me of the discussion within the world of books, as it’s a hot topic, especially when it comes to indie authors and readers who aren’t in the United States or England. Pirating is a big issue within the publishing industry for a plethora of reasons, such as authors (especially smaller or mid-list authors) losing out on money, but also because there are readers who simply cannot legally access the books in their country.
When it comes to publishing in other countries, it can be difficult for authors who are either indie authors, or authors who may not have the same support from their big publishers. Typically, when publishing a book in another country, you need to know whether you have to understand the rights you have when it comes to publishing your book (Do you have translation rights? Foreign language rights?) If an author doesn’t have access to the resources to publish in other countries, whether it’s that they signed their rights away when working with a traditional publisher or even through a self-publishing platform, it can be a lot more difficult to get their book into other countries.
So, what does this mean for readers? Essentially, if the author doesn’t have the ability to legally publish in your country, you are unable to access the book. Even in countries that may have publishing rights, it can be hard for readers to get the books because they’re expensive (Australia is the first place that comes to mind, as I’ve heard it’s notorious for having expensive prices for books), or there aren’t bookstores/libraries that are within a reasonable distance.
I think part of the reason this has become more of an issue in recent years is because of how connected we all are now due to the Internet (yeah I know, the Internet is to blame for everything, but hear me out). It’s easier to find information on new books and authors, especially when they grow popular and everyone is talking about them. Even if they want to support these authors and buy their books, it can suck (for lack of a better word), to be unable to do so because of reasons that are out of your control.
Due to the complicated process that comes with publishing internationally, when discussions of piracy comes up, it can be frustrating when fans who literally can’t access the book any other way are lumped in with people who can afford and have access the book, but choose to pirate instead. So essentially what it comes down to are these two main questions:
- How can we fix these issues with being able to access media, whether it’s a book or a play? After all, as much as I discussed the reasons why fans may pirate content (whether it’s a book, a play, or a movie), it is still illegal in the end. So, is there a way to make it easier for fans to legally obtain these artistic works, even when they are outside of the author’s country of origin?
- How we ensure that the people involved in the making of the art (the author, the actors, etc.) are fairly compensated, and aren’t put into these situations that results in these audience/fan interactions? As I mentioned, piracy is illegal and negatively impacts anyone involved in these creative fields, especially many people behind the scenes that we may not know about/consider in these situations.
Unfortunately, I don’t necessarily have the answer to these questions 😂 I also apologize if this seems like an unorganized rambling because… well that’s kind of what it is 👀
However, I would like to know what are your thoughts on media accessibility? What are some ways that you think would help make books more accessible to readers? Let me know in the comments below!
Before I go, I want to also share this blog post from Silvia Reads Books about authors’ discussions around piracy. Although it is from 2018, it shares some tweets from authors that exemplify why it’s an issue for authors to assume that every reader who pirates their books does so for the same reason. It’s also interesting since she is German, so her perspective on accessibility on books (especially books in English) is different from many English or British readers.
On that note, I will see you with a new post tomorrow!