Saturday, January 15, 2011

Are You a Thief?

Author Saundra Mitchell lays out a compelling argument for why "free books aren't free" and how "fans" with an overblown sense of entitlement might actually be killing the careers of (mid-list) authors whose work they claim to love. Here's a quote from her post. The parenthetical addition is mine:

"I’ve been very open about the money I’ve made and not made, to help give the writing community some perspective. So I’m going to be very open about money today. I’ve told you before that I made a $15,000 advance on SHADOWED SUMMER. In two years, I’ve managed to earn back $12,000 of that.

It’s going out of print in hardcover because demand for it has dwindled to 10 or so copies a month. This means I will never get a royalty check for this book. By all appearances, nobody wants it anymore.

But those appearances are deceiving. According to one download site’s stats, people are (
illegally) downloading SHADOWED SUMMER at a rate of 800 copies a week. When the book first came out, it topped out at 3000+ downloads a week.

If even HALF of those people who downloaded my book that week had bought it, I would have hit the New York Times Bestseller list."

 I'm going to go all Lars from Metallica on this one. If you illegally download "free" copies of books, music, films -- whatever, from a torrent site or anywhere else, you are a thief. No matter what your reasoning may be -- lack of funds, not available in your region, laziness -- you are literally taking food out of the mouths of creative types who depend on royalties/residuals to earn a living.  Stop doing that and start buying the product! It's the right thing to do (a thousand blessings on those who support their favorite artists) and the career you help to save will thank you by continuing to churn out the books you love to read.
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