A lot of people compare the music and book industry; ie, they look at how the music industry, which was faced with illegal digital downloads, had to completely change -- well, at least the distribution and sale of physical objects in that industry changed. Rock stars can bring in the majority of their revenues from live performances and the swag people buy at concerts.
During a presentation in February at Tools of Change called The Publishing Pie, Margaret Atwood made reference to the concept that while rock stars can give away their work for free and make a living off of concerts and t-shirts, that authors can't do the same.
Based on comments and feedback, she created a line of Dead Author T-Shirts featuring some of the illustrations from the slides in her presentation.
To explain the cartoon below, she looks as authors as a "primary source" -- comparing a Dead Moose (which feeds up to a dozen other sources) to a Dead Author, which sustains many other life forms in the "biological food cycle of publishing")
Of course, though the joke is author's can't make a living off of t-shirt sales, she'll likely be the exception that proves the rule because she'll likely sell a huge whck of these. I know I'm thinking of ordering one. (Although I think I'd like a combination t-shirt with the Dead Moose on the back and Dead Author on the front)
Check out the swag she has put her illustrations on here: Dead Author T-Shirts at Cafe Press
But the presentation, if you haven't seen it, is well worth checking out. Fascinating for writers and authors or anyone in the publishing industry.