I mean seriously, it’s been shown that authors can make serious amounts of money from selling cheap ebooks themselves. In fact ebooks are probably one of the most remunerative forms of all even when they are sold cheaply (providing of course they are sold by the author).
Perhaps the authors making those kind of sums are not the authors Tonkin wants to be earning money. Perhaps it’s that their success spells the end (or at the very least a radical change to the traditional model) for publishers.
Whatever his problem (other then those he outlines in the piece which I don’t believe hold up) if Tonkin really thinks what he has written, he’s either not paying attention as closely as he should be or willfully ignoring reality of ebooks sold by authors to the readers.
Dirt-cheap e-books benefit the very rich – and the very dead. They might also help new authors to find a foothold and win an audience – although, on that logic, newcomers should think about showcasing their work for nothing. Many do. But the almost-free digital novel hammers another nail into the coffin of a long-term literary career. Who cares? Readers should, if they cherish full-time authors who craft not safe genre pieces but distinctive book after distinctive book that build into a unique body of work.