Today I’ve got my 12 gauge loaded up and I’m taking aim. There are some bad bears in these woods—bears that are out to get us—and I’m not going to stand idly by and keep my mouth shut. So authors and readers gather ‘round. Be aware of what is going on.
I’ve chatted with a lot of readers, and they are simply out there to read and enjoy our books. That’s it. No hidden agenda whatsoever. Those of you I’ve chatted with online are not engaged in sharing e books. YOU understand. It’s those misguided, so-called industry insiders who are not quite with it where e books are concerned in the first place that I’m targeting. Dinosaurs who are terrified that print books are going to vanish. Dinosaurs who believe that an author published within the e book industry is not a real author and their books have no real value. And I’m also gunning for those individuals whose character I question because they think it’s okay to engage in sharing e books when it’s clearly against the law. You know who I’m talking about—those people who are out to get anything free regardless of how much it costs someone else.
I saw a post on a group from a fellow author who was talking about a librarian who posted a Reader’s Bill of Rights. Now I won’t repost the link to this blog because I don’t openly advertise this kind of thing. Just as no one should ever repost a link to a piracy or sharing site. Why spread the mess around? But I’m sure if you need to find it, you can.
This librarian pretty much advocates giving away e books. As soon as someone buys one of our e books, this librarian thinks it’s okay for the buyer to share it. Uhhh…well, if it were a print book and they bought it and shared it with their bridge club, that might be okay. But it’s NOT! It’s a freaking e book. And when an e book gets shared it ends up on a pirate site or a sharing site and is shared thousands upon thousands of times. The “sharing” is UNLIMITED—INFINITE. Not so with a print book. GET A GRIP! A print book could not physically remain intact being shared that much.
Points the author of the post tries to make—and I am paraphrasing only—will not quote this person at all:
1. That authors benefit from allowing unlimited usage of our books because downloading them is so technical and it’s hard for readers to understand—different e book readers limit you this way or that and therefore it’s all so difficult that readers will just give up and not read e books.
EXCUUUUSEEEE ME! The way the digital industry is growing by leaps and bounds, carving its way into the print realm and basically forcing big time print publishers to now embrace e books and sell them—even going all digital in some cases or simply creating a new arm to their businesses that is all digital—it would seem that readers are not quite as clueless as the blogger believes they are. I’m damn sure techno-stupid, but I know lots and lots of readers out there who with little effort have figured out how to download books to their Kindles and Nooks, Kobos, and Sonys. It’s different—sure. But do we toss the baby out with the bathwater just because it might be a little bit of trouble until we get the hang of getting the water the right temperature? Hell no. So the argument that e books are just too damn hard to download and therefore readers will buy print instead just doesn’t hold water, now does it? So thank you very much, Mr. Librarian, I’ll take my chances and just figure that most people who can read can also read instructions as to how to download a damn book!
2. That books should be available across the board in any format the reader chooses. In other words, whatever you can download with a Kindle, you should be able to download on a Nook or Kobo or whatever.
Uhhh…thought you could already do that. You simply choose the format you like. However, I think what he is referring to is downloading it once and then being able to transfer it to any other reader you like. Okay, but why? I don’t know about everyone else, but I think most people choose and own one reading device. Well, maybe you owned a Kindle and then bought a Nook. But do you really need or want to transfer your reading material back and forth between these devices? Maybe you do want to be able to read from one device or another. But I’d think that would be more along the lines of having a back up copy some place or maybe on a smaller device you stick in your pocket like an IPhone or one of those mini e readers. Sorry, I’m not quite up on all the techno stuff with e readers yet—Anne Rainey gave me a lesson and I read everything over at Dear Author about them, but still… It would seem to me, at least, that having e books available as one format or being able to universally transfer them from device to device is more about SHARING books than it is about convenience to readers. I can maybe see myself having a book on my Sony and then having another copy on my smaller Sony in order to have it in my purse so I can read at the dentist’s office, but really? I don’t think even that would be necessary. E readers are pretty small and easily tucked away or carried, aren’t they? Not only that but the last time I checked we lived in the Unites States of America. Ever heard of the concept “free enterprise”. Manufacturers DO have the right to decide how to sell their wares. And to tell you the truth, they have the right to do so in such a way that they pay for their research and development. Maybe someday e readers will be universal. But now? Not a chance. And hells bells, that’s not up to the author anyway. But I sure as hell don’t begrudge the manufacturers of e readers for making money. Not at all.
3. That readers are somehow crippled by the inability to quote from our work or share passages.
Uhhh…Well, as an erotic romance author—uhhh…quoting MY work?---uhhhh…Go ahead. Make my day!
(but get my written permission first, okay?) LOL Hey, I don’t get this at all. Do readers really want to read a book and share passages from it? I’ve never done that. I mean, sure, I might email a buddy and say, “ohhhh I just read the most amazing line in this book!” And then give my buddy the line. But honestly? WTF? This librarian must be talking about something Sarah Palin wrote—not me. Surely not me. LMAO But in all seriousness, I think the poster was talking about readers discussing a book within some sort of group setting. Okay, well, that applies mostly to print books and book clubs. The poster is definitely immersed in the world of print and trying way too hard to make e books conform. They won’t. They can’t. Different animal. Yes, there are discussions on Yahoo goups with regard to certain books. But I’ve never known anyone that had to post or print out sections of a book in order to discuss it. As authors online, we post excerpts, chapters even, of our work and that should be enough. We give away free reads all the time. We are online with OUR readers. We are incredibly accessible. Like I said, different from print altogether. So, saying that as an author, by disallowing sections of my books to be reprinted or quoted without my permission is hurting my readership and screwing with sales is a dog that just won’t hunt. Final answer? Just get permission before you quote someone’s work. The book is not yours to do with as you please. Print or e book. With that said, I have no issue whatsoever—and I doubt any other author does either—with a group of readers getting together and discussing a book and using printed out sections to do so. I have no issue with the Kindle Sharing Program. And I am most certainly not worried about libraries lending books. The poster does not understand what it’s like to have your books downloaded for free thousands upon thousands of times, thereby depriving an author of their livelihood. It’s just that simple. These are two entirely different issues. One is legitimate use of our e books and the other is a matter of outright theft.
4. Sharing? Well, the poster believes that authors benefit from sharing because so many readers have found their favorite authors after a friend has loaned them a copy of a book.
The poster is clueless and does not understand the difference between e books and print books. And once again, they ARE different animals. One has an infinite life and the other doesn’t. As far as me worrying over losing sales because I don’t want someone sharing my book with someone else on the off chance they might buy my next book???? I’m not worried. I love new readers. Want new readers. But if I have to give away half my book sales in order to do it then I lost out big time, didn’t I? Right now I have a book on a pirate site that has had well over five thousand downloads. I very stupidly trusted a publisher who told me flat out they would take care of all piracy issues. And when I reported the issue to the publisher nothing was done. Not like Ellora’s Cave where I am published now. Nope. EC has an amazing lady, Kelly, who goes after these pirates and share sites with great gusto! So this bad publisher I fell in with went out of business and my book is still up there. I figure at this point I’ve lost right around $12,000.00 in royalties. Any way you figure it, that’s just plain wrong. I wonder if the poster of the Reader’s Bill of Rights would like to cut that much money out of his librarian salary.
I want to make it clear that my views on e book piracy and sharing are in no way a personal attack on the author of the Reader’s Bill of Rights. However, the poster’s lack of understanding—probably based on the fact he is deeply involved in the world of print as a librarian and new to the e book world just like everyone else—is quite evident and he should expect some pretty tough criticism of that post. As a matter of fact, it would seem there have been some personal attacks made on the librarian’s character at this point as evidenced by a more recent blog entry. The poster of the Bill of Rights says they are entitled to be treated with respect—and I so agree—and not like a potential criminal. I can only assume the reference to being treated like a criminal is based on DRM—basically limiting access to e books so they CAN’T be shared over and over. What I don’t understand is why everyone thinks it’s okay for a company like Microsoft to limit the number of downloads you have to your $150.00 copy of Microsoft Office so the program can’t be shared over and over, yet this librarian is up in the air because authors don’t want their blood, sweat, and tears downloaded thousands of times for free. The poster believes he has the right to archive the e books he purchases So do I. The poster also believes he has the right to share those e books. No, he doesn’t and shouldn’t have that right. The poster also believes he has the right to resell the e book he purchases. In response to that I can only say that the poster needs to walk a mile in the shoes of e book authors.
In the librarian’s latest post, he claims that we have a right to our opinion but not to our own set of facts. Well, to that I say: Get YOUR facts straight and you won’t have any problem with another set of facts being presented to you. We are, after all, entitled to defend our livelihood, and therefore SHOULD present the facts as they really are.
What are the facts?
Sharing e books takes the meat and potatoes off my dinner table. Reselling e books does the same thing. If you want to pass along my book to your best friend or your cousin Margaret who can’t afford to purchase a lot of reading material—so be it. But if Cousin Margaret uploads my book to a sharing site or resells my book, I’m going to be upset. And I will have every right to be.
I urge readers and authors to think this through. How would you feel if you were an artist and your work was duplicated over and over, thereby making your work less valuable—not in demand. How would you feel if you ran a construction company and the owner of the house you were building suddenly demanded that you build another bathroom for free—after all, she paid for the first one, didn’t she? So why not give her another for free? How would you feel as a teacher if you worked all day long teaching a sixth grade class just to have the principal come along and tell you that you must work on Saturday to teach another sixth grade class for free because—hey, after all, the school system already paid you once. Let’s just give away everyone’s work. It’s all been paid for once.
I urge all supporters of authors who are published in the e book industry to take a stand. Would love to have your support of this issue right here on the Three Wicked Writers Plus Two Blog. So leave me a comment, please. Thanks to all! Happy reading and writing.