Hats 149 to 151: And why eBooks should let us donate directly to authors

A load of little photo-like business cards, and three striped bobble hats

Where's Wally's hat(s)?

So, here are three hats I made, out of unlabeled yarn from the RAK box. Also, there’s a few exciting Moo business cards, which are a set of 50 with as many different photos on as you like, and all your details and a bit of a photo on the back. I chose the recycled ones, which come in a groovy cardboard box to keep them safe. They are normally £12.99, but they were free to me, a new customer, because I went through this page! So you can have some free cards too. You do have to pay postage, but that’s not a lot. For me, it was £3.

Moving on to an issue that has been wiggling around in my head for a while now. E-books, and authors, and sharing of files.

I bought this e-book reader. It is wonderful. Someone sensibly pointed out that most of the books that are bought and sold are basically plain text with no fancy layouts needed (“formless content”). Sadly, legal downloads are not as easy as illegal downloads, and it saves paper, and it’s great for traveling. There are many many pros. (Naturally there are a few cons too, but others can tell you about those.)

However. When one of these paperback fiction books is sold for around £7+, the author gets about 50p. The rest goes to the shop and the publisher and whoever else. (I am vague on the details.) Downloading a movie illegally is fast and free and all that jazz. You don’t have to sit through stupid anti-fraud warnings, for a start. And you never see a poor movie star or director, and DVD sales and cinema figures keep going up. So I can’t see that piracy of movies is hurting anyone. But piracy of e-books, that to me seems like it might be more harmful. What with BookMooch, BookCrossing, second hand bookshops online and IRL, libraries and passing books around to friends, authors have a hard time of it as it is.

What I would like is for all authors to have a button on their site that lets you donate some money directly to them. We could download ebooks peer-to-peer or however, and then if we like the book we can give some money to whoever wrote it. Good authors get the money they deserve, and we get the books we like at a discount.

Either that, or someone should start a site that takes donations from readers and then finds the authors and gets the money to them somehow. Then you could donate to various authors just through one site.

The moral of the story is, if you’re an author, please put a donate button on your website and include your homepage in e-books!

Thank you. 🙂

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Pick a day!

March 2010

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