Robert McCrum recently ran a series on Radio 4, 'Sins of Literature' and in the episode, 'Thou Shalt Not Steal' discussed with Will Self the very pressing, monetisation of words question. Will Self explained his position on the matter:
"I personally feel that the big impact of electronic reproduction and dissemination on print has got a long way to go yet. You talk to people in the industry and they seem to my way of thinking, bizarrely calm. They seem to be like people in the phoney war in 1939/40. They don't seem to have quite realised what very possible will happen. They don't seem to see an equivalence between the music industry and print; whereas I certainly do. And they don't even seem to see an equivalence between news print and book print, but I think there certainly is. That yes we're in the interregnum between the print era and something else and I think the publishing field have yet to really understand that there will necessarily be a period between which the relationship between words and money is going to become very problematic and tenuous."Presenter Robert McCrum then said: "That's the key: until we work out how to monetise that relationship, we're going to be in this limbo." Will Self responded bullishly, saying:
"Eventually it [the relationship between words and money] will be reconfigured, I can be sure of that."