Below encapsulates what I want to say about this article, as I'm the one who conducted the interview. It seems to be going viral but I feel it's a tad skewed to prove some point and also neglected an important part of Mr. Hickman's intent.
I left this comment on JA Konrath's blog too. (The sigh is because it was the fifth such comment I'd left in a row in various places and I hadn't figured out that I should just copy and paste...duh.)
So... sigh. I'm the one who interviewed Mr. Hickman, and please know that this small "quote" mentioned in the article was part of much larger conversation, which didn't really skew to the direction you've taken it.Also, squeee, fangrrl! Tracy Hickman is so NICE!! And I got to meet him!! Also, it's awesome that Anomaly Con, where I had a very nice weekend, is getting some viral mention. :)
It was basically a lament over the loss of bookstores, losing the opportunity to personally meet many fans--something he clearly enjoys, and not getting to write as much of the long epic fantasy he loves because the per-word rates aren't currently as good as they are for shorter works (which was where his math came in).
Mr. Hickman has decades of experience in gaming and writing, much of it in established franchises and in epic fantasy length works. As someone said on another thread, I think we can give him some credit for doing the math and figuring out what works best for him.
I'm really not trying to start a war here. I think it's awesome we all have so many choices. And I'd highly recommend, if you ever get a chance, to hear Mr. Hickman talk.
They are also chatting about this on Reddit.
amendment 1: Rarely have I had a meeting that stuck with me like meeting Mr. Hickman. I'm almost ridiculously excited to have an excuse to talk about it. Rather than coming away with any sort of negative view I came away very hopeful. Which leads to my second point:
amendment 2: I want to say something about context, and about listeners and readers, which is something Mr. Hickman himself touched on during the interview. From the source article linked above, which said it well: the meaning a reader gets from book is different from that of another reader, or even that of the author, and it’s that meaning that they take that is important.
Do I think the above links use quotes maliciously taken out of context ? (a hot-button phrase, but I can't think of one better) No. I think they're skewed to the mindset to the listener and reader, and in these cases, the bloggers (including me!)
That is the miracle of story, after all.