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A New Year Plea!!!

Dec 30,2012
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I wonder how many people got an ereader for Christmas? I can see the attraction – especially for holiday reading when you might previously have wanted to pack four or five books in your suitcase. I’ve avoided ereaders because I spend most of my working life staring at digital words on a screen. I like to read from a real book when I’m not working.

 The big thing that worries me about ereaders is the possibility of piracy. I’ve noticed an increase recently in sites offering free digital downloads. These sites sometimes even carry adverts from internationally known companies – which is perplexing to say the least.

I know illegal downloading of films and music has reached epidemic proportions. I read somewhere that only 5% of all music downloaded on the internet is legitimate. (That is – the downloader pays a fee for the music. Some of which goes to the producer of that music.) This is clearly wrong and I have decided never to use the free music download sites.  But musicians make most of their money playing live these days. Ticket prices have gone up astronomically over the last few years to reflect this change in revenue.

With films, piracy is also rife, although box office takings have not been badly affected. Watching a film on a vast screen in a cinema, with lots of other people oooohing, aaaarring and screeching, is still an experience you cannot duplicate in your living room.

But book writers don’t have these attractions. Maybe JK Rowling could sell out Sydney Opera House doing a reading from Harry Potter, but most of us would struggle to fill a church hall as a ‘live’ attraction.

This is my plea. Those of you who love reading, who love books, please don’t download them from free sites. Legitimately downloaded books are often a fraction of the cost of the physical thing (50-60% off) already. Publishers need income to fund their editors, marketing, publicity and production people, not to mention their premises, and they are there to sort the good writers from the indifferent and the rotten.

And writers need money to continue writing. If you make a habit of downloading their work for free you will kill the thing you love. These writers will turn their talents to other areas that pay their mortgages and feed their families. And people will be left with a VAST amount of rubbish to wade through on self-publishing sites before they find anything worth reading.

I hope readers on this site will readily agree with me. But if I’ve made one or two who do download from free sites think twice, then I’ll be a happy man.

It's been a pleasure writing these blogs. Thank you to those of you who have read them and commented. 

Happy New Year!

Feb 19,2014
anonymous's picture
Anonymous
With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I've either created myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help prevent content from being ripped off? I'd really appreciate it.
Jan 03,2013
Thanks Jordi - that's interesting. There'll always be a few authors who are happy for their work to be read for free but my guess is they'll always be a small minority. Especially if they're writers who rely on writing for their living. Btw, I tried to follow your link and it took me to a site where you have to log on with a password.
Jan 03,2013
Cory Doctorow is one author famed for making his books available for free: http://www.forbes.com/2006/11/30/cory-doctorow-copyright-tech-media_cz_cd_books06_1201doctorow.html Of course, there's also a completely different attitude between an author choosing to make their book freely available (on their own site), and an external site benefiting from the hard work of other people, without their knowledge or consent.
Jan 03,2013
Library e.reader editions are fine as the author gets a small fee for use, as they do when someone borrows an actual library book. I know this can be a fractious subject. Some people believe music, books and films should be available for free if they're in digital format. Those of us who feel our livelihoods are at risk might smirk a bit at the phrase 'freetards', coined to describe people with this attitude. Hi Sue Bursztynski - I wonder if there are any published authors who think free downloading of their books is a good idea? It takes me the best part of a year to write one of my books. I couldn't do it if I wasn't paid for it.
Jan 02,2013
@Anonymous library lending ebooks is legal. So it's definitely okay :)
Jan 02,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Books are hard to carry around when you have 20 of them and you are traveling the country, so even though I do prefer a REAL book to an ereader it just doesn't work with my gypsy lifestyle. I would never download books for free knowing that what I was doing was wrong, but WA state library have made an online ebook library and you can borrow books for free and have them for 2 weeks before they automatically expire and delete themselves. Surely this would be okay?
Jan 02,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous
I will never use an ereader before books as long as I can still see. I read more books than I watch television and they have always been important to me.
Jan 01,2013
I know how you feel - at least two of my books have been offered as free downloads without consulting me or my publishers. You do all that work and someone helps themselves and no doubt screams about "freedom of information". But I do love my ereader!
Dec 31,2012
Hi Ambivalence and Daydreamer. I absolutely see the attraction in the e.readers - they are so convenient. Let's hope I'm fearing something that turns out to be not as bad as I think. Have a great 2013 and thank you for reading and responding to my blogs.
Dec 31,2012
I'm a real book person too. But I will take your pledge, anyhow ^^ Happy New Year.
Dec 31,2012
Well, I'd always choose a real book over an ebook, but in any case, if I ever do switch, I promise not to download books for free. x)Thanks for blogging this month, I've enjoyed reading your posts. Happy New Year to you too. :)

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