Scott Adams Learns Not to Mess With Fans’ Bookmarks

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By Neal

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Dilbert creator Scott Adams tells the story of how he turned his blog into a book deal, but then got into hot water with his fans when he made an agreement with his publisher, Portfolio, to delete the blog entries that had made it into Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey-Brain! from his website archives. “The archives didn’t get much traffic, so I didn’t think much about deleting them,” he says, yet “a surprising number of my readers were personally offended that I would remove material from the Internet that had once been free, even after they read it.” In retaliation, they went onto Amazon.com and gave the book bad customer reviews, and “the bad feeling I caused by not giving away my material for free forever will have a negative impact on book sales.”

Or, as he says of his earlier experiences giving content away online, “For readers of my non-Dilbert books, I inadvertently set the market value for my work at zero. Oops.”