Pirating or Lending, you decide.

I recently was introduced by a writer friend about an interview with Neil Gaiman on the subject of Internet pirating of his novels.  Now I’ve always held the belief this was theivery of the highest order.  But after listening to the man talk I began to reconsider my stance on this.  Here’s an article on the interview:

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/02/10/neil-gaiman-piracy-lending-books/

Here’s Mr. Gaiman on YouTube talking about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI

After listening to this I wondered if he wasn’t on to something.  Morally it’s wrong but still…he’s selling more books because of it.  I began to think about my career as a reader.  I discovered David Edding’s “Belgariad” by buying the first 3 novels at a used bookstore.  Mr. Eddings didn’t get any royalties from it but he did get a life-long fan.  I bought everything by him from that point on.  Stephen King was introduced to me in the same fashion.  Also Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and quite a few others. 

So is it really bad?  Free sample books from epublishers are all the rage but you only get a very brief taste of the authors who submit to these.  If your site (a publisher’s site) isn’t getting a lot of traffic then it doesn’t matter, does it?  You could put out the very best ebook on the planet but if nobody downloads it or knows about you then what have you accomplished?  Lending books (something everyone of us has done) is a better way to “discover” an author.  I have a free download here on my site, it gets quite a bit of attention.  My sales have increased because of it.  Now I’m thinking of putting it up on Scribd just to see what happens.  Scribd is the largest free download place on the web (or so I’ve heard). 

So is it lending, pirating or something new we haven’t considered?  Think back to how you “met” your favorite authors.   Did you always buy their books or did you discover them at a used bookstore or from a friend or family member?  If Neil Gaiman’s sales are rising in Russia due to free (pirated) eboks can this be something positive?  Do you think $7.99 for an ebook is a bit pricey for a file?  Should epublishers lower their prices?  I’d like your thoughts on these.

Ciao!

Chris

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