‘Go the Fuck to Sleep!’
A Bad Thing for Authors, Artists and Publishers?
A couple of years ago ‘Go the Fuck to Sleep!’ by Adam Mansbach, hit the No.1 spot on Amazon.com's best-seller list. Thing is, it did so a month before the book was billed for launch. If it wasn’t due out for four weeks, how did it swipe a film option with Fox 2000 and reach the pinnacle of the online publishing world?
Basically, the book idea came about as a result of the trials and tribulations of getting the author’s 2 year old into bed and to sleep. After the predictable 7 o’clock shrills and tit-for-tat, Mansbach up-dated his friends with the episode on Facebook. However, the response was overwhelming ‘You have to turn this story into a book!’
There are many ‘known’ factors that just ‘don't’ explain why this book has reached the heights that it did, and as soon as it did.
What seems to set this book apart is the ‘free-to-friends’ PDF copy of the book went absolutely viral as a result of acquaintances passing it on; then in an exponential way the copy-of-copies began to spread like runner way train. Hence, the power of ‘e-piracy’ ignited an explosive ‘Viral’ growth in the market.
But Piracy is bad!..... Isn’t it?
It's the scourge of the music industry. With the rise of e-reading, booksellers now fear it to a similar degree. But in the ‘Go the Fuck the Sleep’ case, fighting piracy would not have done a service to the book. Piracy, it seems, is what has driven the book's real-world, money-making, flying-off-the-shelves success. The bootleg copy hasn't replaced the actual artefact. It has only served as a sort of free advertising. Piracy can hurt publishers, but it can also help them.
The question is: when does piracy work to a author’s, artist’s, and publisher's benefit; and when does it work to its detriment? If ‘Go the Fuck to Sleep’ weren't a children's book of sorts, would parents be so eager for hard-copy versions?
This is fertile ground for research. Would-be author’s, music artists and publishers need to scrutinize the mechanics of e-piracy, replaying success stories like this one over and over again in slow motion, in an effort to see just what combination of variables caused the pirate's cutlass to land directly into a giant sack of doubloons.