We should not be happy about what Rowan did. In fact, had he not been caught it would've been a slap in the face to several authors who were refused by literary agents and publishers. In many cases it's not because what they wrote was bad, but because it wasn't what publishers were looking for. What did Rowan do in order to please his publisher? He stole from others—an obvious act of desperation. What's great about this incident is that it highlights what's wrong with the publishing industry—where they put profits before talent. As a result, many gifted authors are not given a fair chance because publishers are more concerned with being able to make their sales to bookstores rather than to the public. In other words, they're not letting the public choose for themselves. What's the end result? A lot of crap ends up in bookstores. You're not convinced yet? Does anyone remember Joe the Plumber? 'Nuff said.
Had Rowan's agent and publisher not been so blinded by dollar signs, they would've realized that Rowan ripped off scenes from other books before it was published. We've heard from Rowan and why he plagiarized, we ought to be interested in hearing what Little, Brown—the publisher—has to say.
I have a suggestion to book lovers. If you want to show the Big 6 publishers what you want? Stop buying from them and give an Indie author a chance.
Russell Brooks is the author of Chill Run, coming December 1, 2011.