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Should you pay for author events?

In a past life I worked in the music industry, promoting various live performances and working for a non-profit music festivals. The concept of paying an admission charge to be entertained for an evening is as natural as breathing to me so I don’t quite get what the fuss is about when it comes to paying for an author event.

The NYT certainly seems to think the world is ending and paying for an author reading is totally uncalled for but perhaps they’re just spoiled New Yorkers with hundreds of events a month and the world’s publishing machine on their doorstep? Or is it me who’s off base thinking that to be entertained for an evening I should expect to shell out for a copy of the book or pay a small admission fee? I mean the author DOES have to get to the reading, and the store does have to pay for staff, rent, and what not?

Here in small town Victoria author events often have a $5 or $10 charge associated with them if you don’t purchase a book, which is still better value for money than the cinema.

What do you think?

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