21 August 2013

A most admirable attitude to book sharing

What? Sharing your ebooks? Criminal!

I came across this website that publishes a serial fiction magazine in electronic format called Aethernet Magazine. It sounds like a really interesting magazine, but it was their attitude towards people sharing their magazine that really got my attention.

A page on their site titled "Free copy of Aethernet Magazine?" has this to say:

If you don’t want to pay for Aethernet Magazine you can get a pirate copy by following this link . We’re quite flattered by the fact that someone thinks our magazine is worth pirating.
Aethernet Magazine is published DRM free. We don’t believe in DRM. If you buy a copy of the magazine it’s up to you what you do with it. Copy it to all your different e-reading devices. Send a copy to a friend to read. You bought the magazine, why should we tell you what to do with it? 
If you enjoy Aethernet Magazine, we’re delighted. We started this magazine because we thought that people would enjoy reading serial fiction, and judging by our growing readership it looks as if we were right.  If you’re reading a copy of Aethernet that you didn’t pay for we hope you enjoy the stories, and we’d love to hear from you. If you’ve paid for your copy, thank you. The money we make from selling the magazine is divided equally between our team. We believe that writers should be paid for their work, and being able to pay them means that we can commission more stories.
Read for free, or pay for your copy and support us. It’s your choice.

This is a fine attitude and very conducive to a wide distribution (ie. sales) of their excellent magazine.

While I'm not an advocate of wholesale copying and distribution of authors' hard work, I do believe that an ebook should belong to the purchaser (ie. owner) after it has been paid for and for them to be able to do with it as they wish. Just like any form of book or other media. The restriction that is often imposed where the purchaser cannot even lend the book to a friend and they must "go to A**z*n and download their own copy" is just plain ridiculous and unfair.

I understand the whole profiting from someone else's work thing, etc. and all the intellectual property stuff, but that's not at all what I'm talking about here. What I mean is the sharing of good books between friends and associates - like people do with 'real' books every single day. This is how literature works and how good authors gain followers.

I've seen and experienced this many times. I myself, have been loaned an ebook file that has been recommended by a fellow reader and I've gone on to buy more from that author. Work it out, that particular author has gained sales that they would normally not have got. All from the 'illegal' sharing of an ebook file. Go figure.

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