Greetings Ye Scurvy Knaves Who Read My Blog For Free!
Today I was directed to an awesome link at the homesite of Baen Books. It is called the Baen Free Library.
I had heard about this project in the past, and fully support it – though I hadn’t taken the time to go to the site and see what they had to say. Today I decided to give it a look, and I’m very glad I did. It’s not just a library page of books you can read online, but a lengthy explanation of both how and why the free library came to be.
I strongly urge you to read the page – especially if you are an author or publisher!
The subject of the page is online piracy and what we should do about the “problem.” Many of you already know how I feel about this issue. And those of you who are authors and publishers generally scoff at me for it. “Why, you must not want to make money from your books!” “Boy, I bet you’d change your tune if it were YOUR books being stolen!”
Well let me handle those two comments one at a time. First, I’ll put aside the sad commentary on the attitudes of capitalism the first comment makes. I mean, what a society I live in that thinks “not making money” is the ultiamte sin, and that a person who isn’t concerned about losing out on a buck is somehow mentally ill. Welcome to the Feringi homeworld, folks!
But I digress… For all of you Quarks out there, you can calm down and put away your torches. I don’t believe in giving away free material because it loses me money. I believe in giving it away becasue it makes me money. And if you can’t figure out how that could be – then I urge you once again to read what the good folks at Baen Books have to say on the matter. They are a business, they’ve applied the model, and they have reported their results. It. Makes. Them. Money.
Not only that, but the author of that page does a great job of putting the entire issue of online piracy into proper perspective. (For example, he points out that book loans – between friends and from libraries – far outweigh what online pirates get for free. Sure, lawyers love to hype the whole thing as the worst thing to ever happen to their fellow Feringi – but Baen Books more sanely compares online piracy to kids stealing bubble gum. It’s minor, and no authors are going hungry because of it.
As to the second statment – which in essence says “put up or shut up.” – I have the perfect answer. Try this little experiment. Head over to Google, and type in these words: Leitch Angelical Langauge
Now enjoy the FREE PDFs of both volumes of the book you will find hosted on many file-sharing sites around the web.
No, I didn’t put those PDFs up myself. I’m sure Llewellyn would have a few nasty emails to send me if I did such a thing. However, am I upset those PDFs have turned up? Have I sent out a single cease-and-desist letter? Have I alerted Llewellyn so their legal department can do it for me? Have I even tried to keep quiet about the fact they are out there? The resounding answer to all of these questions is NO!
Why? Because those PDFs are great free advertisement for the books. People who have never seen the books before, or knew about them but weren’t sure if they were worth the price (nearly $100 for the set) can now sample them and see just how awesome they are. The word gets spread. My work reaches a greater audience. And, yes folks, it Makes. Me. Money. because it increases the sales of “dead tree” editions. Not to mention the fact it increases the number of people who know about me and thus attend my lectures and workshops! (cha-ching again!)
So far, I’m still waiting on some dedicated Pirate to make a PDF of my Secrets of the Magickal Grimories and release it. I recently heard one exists, but it is supposedly hosted on an invitation-only pirate website – and I don’t think anyone believes my sincerity when I ask to be invited so I can get a PDF of my own book. So I don’t really know the book is there for sure. If it is, perhaps someday it’ll make it onto file sharing servers, which will result in several further sales of “dead tree” editions for me.
So, kudos to Baen Books for showing both sanity and vision in this regard. And, while I’m at it, I happen to know the good folks over at Scarlet Imprint hold similar (not identical, but similar) views to my own. So they are worth checking out as well.
Meanwhile, enjoy The Angelical Langauge along with the host of essays and articles I make freely available on my webiste. And don’t shed a tear for me! I’ll cry all the way to the bank.