Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Illegal Downloads of My (and Your!) Books

We all love to read a free book. That's why we have library cards. But these days too many people who love free books have computers instead of library cards and frequent online sites where they can download books for free - books which are for sale in stores - books whose sale should bring authors income they have legitimately earned. I know I've been frustrated to find some of my books available for free downloads. Amy King has written a terrific blog post that nails the issue, so I'd very much like to refer you to her "A Pirate's Dare."

The one thing I'd like to add is that I can understand people who want to have an electronic copy on their ebook reader of a print book they've legitimately purchased and paid for . I have been known to purchase the print book for my bookshelf, the audiobook from for my iPod, and the ebook from Amazon or iBooks so I can have the book with me even when I'm traveling between locations. However - there are some favorites that I cannot purchase because they are not available as ebooks. I can certainly understand why someone would type or scan in a much-loved book in order to have a personal traveling digital version - for private usage, until these titles became available for purchase.

I wish the copyright holders of works by deceased authors who are not in the public domain would contract for their books to be available as ebooks - and I wish publishers would offer fair terms for such ebook editions. Everyone is trying to get as large a piece of the pie as they can: publishers are trying to give the authors as small a royalty as possible, authors are trying to get as large a royalty as possible (and I'm in that group), and readers are trying to amass as many books as possible. The sad thing is the larger the piece of the pie everyone grabs for, the less anyone gets. Unless you go to the library, anyway.