I spent part of this afternoon listening to the American Association of Publisher's Tom Allen talk about the issue of piracy and copyright. It's a big, serious issue, and I now plan to take it down to the small, humorous level.
As many readers of this and other blogs are already aware, I have been known as The Book Maven for several years. Yes, it's a self-appointed "post;" my boss at AOL asked me to come up with a name for a "journal" (as blogs were still quaintly known then at AOL). Malcolm Gladwell's Blink had just come out, and the word "maven" was in the air. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The word "maven" means both "expert" and "freak." I definitely had the latter in mind for myself when I chose the term. I'm a freakishly fast and furious reader, always have been.
I don't know if I'm an expert of any kind, let alone a bookish one. However, I do like the title, so I've stuck with it. There is a woman out there, my fellow book critic Nan Goldberg, who owns the domain name thebookmaven dot com; oh, well.
But there's only one TheBookMaven on Twitter. Or so I'd thought. A few weeks back, some Twitter pals (or "tweeps") alerted me to the fact that some tweeple were trying to tweet me using @bookmaven instead of @thebookmaven. When you go to @bookmaven's Twitter page, you find someone named "Andrea Sharp."
She is WEARING A PIRATE HAT!
Is this coincidence? Or is this a challenge? Shiver me timbers! Do I need to propose a battle?
Obviously, I'm not going to do anything at all. But as I laughed over the OTHER BookMaven, I thought: How many messages for me have gone her way? (Hard to say, vice versa, as Ms. Sharp protects her updates.) She may be kidding around with her pirate hat, but real piracy -- deliberate copying of a creative work -- is as painful to the wallets of publishers, producers, and creative types as grapeshot was to Bluebeard's biceps.
What do you think publishers and authors should do to prevent piracy?
(Also: Do you know Andrea Sharp? Who's her milliner?)