“People have always felt a sort of ownership over art, and that’s actually good. It’s why you keep a book on your shelf and return to it, it’s why you hang a picture on your wall that speaks to you. But when this gets out of hand and you mistake access or a personal connection with your rights, as happens so often in our Internet age, it leads to a dangerous sense of entitlement. That’s why readers feel empowered to complain, directly to the creator, that a book or show doesn’t have absolutely everything they want: the romantic pairing they’d hoped for, the language they find most friendly, the ending they desired. And it’s also why, for instance, the last Harry Potter book leaked on the internet before it was officially published: fans saw the book as something they were owed, not the product of labor that deserved compensation. Not that J.K. Rowling needs more money—but she, and all authors, deserve to have their work recognized as work.
“Consumers hold a pernicious power, so this trend towards free content won’t reverse itself unless we want it to. This is a sad thing, and we will all be much worse off if we can only hear stories from people who can afford to write.”
Please please please do NOT pirate books if you want to keep having books to read. The median income for full-time authors in 2017 is reported at $20,857. That means half of all authors reporting income made LESS.
And of the authors that reported that they were, in fact, full-time authors, only 63% had ANY earnings to report. The average of those who did earn something was $43,247. Which means, looking at the difference between the median and average, the average is heavily weighted by the superstars.
MOST of your favorite authors are either working a second (or third, or more) job, have a partner who earns more money, or is living hand-to-mouth, or some combination of the three.
Libraries are your friends. Most have ebook collections now. I know readers gotta eat, but writers do too.
Someone whose book isn’t out for another 4 months, and is ALREADY being pirated :(
Oh gosh :( this really hit me: “This is a sad thing, and we will all be much worse off if we can only hear stories from people who can afford to write.”
Another post about how piracy meant that her publisher cut the print run on the last book because the previous book wasn’t selling as well and how she teamed up with her brother to prove that online piracy was responsible for the lower sales
If you cannot afford to buy books, please go through your public library! When you get a library card, you’ll also be able to sign up to rent audiobooks; a librarian can help you if you’re not sure how. Libraries are an important part of the book ecosystem, and when you get a book for free from the library, you’re still supporting the author.
Adding to this: do not return ebooks purchased on Amazon for a refund. There are a disturbing number of people who read the whole (or nearly whole) ebook and then return for refund. The author loses money when you do that, and not Amazon. Just use the library if you don’t want to pay for it. Libraries have ebooks these days too.