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! 🙂

 

Ebook Authors: Consider Print Books Too, For Readers’ Sakes

Physical and DigitalGood day, authors and everybody!

Now, this isn’t another physical vs. digital debate about preference, comfort, or convenience, but it’s about access.

While many authors, myself included, care about book sales, many of our concerns go beyond mere sales to actual readers: human beings who want and need to read books. While ebooks are fabulous and sales are important, we must also be mindful that e-readers, tablets, and anytime access to computers are luxuries that not everyone, or every reader, has–but it doesn’t mean they don’t want and need books just as much as people with Kindles and smartphones do.

Sue is a mom who loves to read, but her household only has one PC, and she can’t access her ebooks while her son Johnny is on the computer, doing his homework. Bill loves to read, but he’s currently serving time for some run-ins he’s had with the law. April would love to have her own e-reader one day, but her dad says it’s not something they can afford right now. Maybe next year.

Reaching more readers however we can is one of the joys of being authors, whether we’re selling to book buyers, hosting giveaways, or making book donations. I like donating print copies of books to libraries, and I plan on checking out other organizations that need books, like Seattle7Writers.org and Books to Prisoners (local to Seattle.)

I encourage authors to find out who around them needs access to books and to please consider donating print books as well, for readers who can definitely use them.

(Then, there are still so many readers, like me, who’d be far more likely to purchase a paperback than an ebook, but again, that’s a discussion for another time. 😉 )