There’s No Such Thing As a Free Book

I want to give a little reminder to fellow book lovers—lest we get it twisted and think that just because there may not be a fee to click the “Upload” button at an ebook publisher, or to click the “Download” button at a retailer featuring a $0.00 ebook, that the book is truly free. That it’s of no expense to anyone.

Lest we forget the many hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years that authors spend laboring over manuscripts when they could be spending that time doing something else. Time the authors aren’t receiving wages for. Time the authors can’t get back.

Lest we forget the diligence, care, and research, the heart, soul, and sacrifice that so many authors put into their work.

Lest we forget the citizens’ taxes and donations and the other supplementary funds that go into paying for our public libraries, and the funds libraries spend purchasing books so that patrons can check them out over and over again.

Lest we forget that someone is paying for the prizes and shipping for every book and swag item we receive in the mail from giveaways we’ve entered.

Lest we think that ebooks are basically nothing because we can’t “hold them in our hands” like print books, and besides the many hours authors spend writing them, that editors, proofreaders, photographers and models, graphic designers, cover image licensers, and book formatters don’t have to be compensated for the materials, time, and labor required to put those digital books together.

Lest we forget the hours and finance needed to market books on an ongoing basis (because the vast majority of books don’t automatically [or magically] sell themselves from the instant they’re published and ever after, as they sit, possibly buried, amongst the multitude of other books on a retailer’s website), or fail to realize that an author or publisher likely paid anywhere from $30 to $800 for their “$0.00” book to appear in a newsletter or on a website or wherever you saw that book advertised.

And lest you forget yourselves, dear book lovers, and the time it takes to even procure books (the greater number of books, the greater amount of time), and the added hours and dedication it takes in life to actually, you know, READ BOOKS.

No, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the investments and expenses that books and publishing require/incur all the time, no matter what form the books come in. Nor is it a call to feel guilty for the gifts you’ve received from authors and publishers. Rather, it’s a reminder, fellow book lovers, so that even with our love for books, we don’t lose our appreciation for books, which add so much value to our lives.

A reminder that a “free” book isn’t free—that every book costs someone something, and that oftentimes, the cost is great. And worth it.

As a P.S., if you’re a book lover who can afford to purchase new books that are more than $0.00, then by all means, make those purchases! It will ensure that authors can keep on writing and publishing. Many local libraries are also willing to purchase some books that their patrons request, so it’s a good idea to ask! 🙂

 

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