I’d like to get your opinion. Today I received a notification that an internet site is offering a free PDF download of my new book, Symphonies & Scorpions.
The managers of this site probably think they’re doing the world a great service by giving free access to someone else’s intellectual property, regardless that it infringes on copyright protection. What they’re really doing, as far as I’m concerned, is stealing. I spent the better part of three years writing Symphonies & Scorpions and I don’t feel guilty charging $4.99 for a book which i.Berkshires calls “a musical odyssey of discovery.”
Perhaps if I sell enough copies, someday I will have earned minimum wage for the hours I put into writing it. It’s no Treasure Island. And with there already being such a glut of free information on the internet and–lest we forget–libraries, what is the point of stealing someone’s hard work? Could it be that in order to obtain the free download one has to set up an account, providing sensitive personal and financial information? I really don’t know, and the frustrating part is that after consulting with other authors and agents about this ongoing piracy it seems there’s little that can be done about it in this digital age.
Well, what I am doing about it is writing about it here and hoping to enlist your support. Yes, we all like something for nothing. But we also want a world that is rich in literature. Consider this. Though my primary reason for writing is not financial, there are thousands of authors trying to make a living. They are absolutely dependent upon their books selling, legitimately, in order for them to support themselves and their family. Book sales are the main criterion that publishers use to determine whether to offer an author a new contract, because they too are human beings trying to make a living. Free downloads at illegal sites pulls the rug right out from under the authors’ and the publishers’ feet.
There are some who believe that in an enlightened society all information should be free, so if you disagree with me let’s have the debate. But in the meantime, please realize that by buying a book you might be helping create the next Robert Louis Stevenson. If you accept a free download, you might be helping him walk the plank.