Can respecting authors mean not reading their books?
That’s what is at the heart of copyright.
Countries that have copyright laws codify that they respect what an author has does.
Certainly, there are commercial aspects, but it’s important to note that authors have copyright in the USA whether or not they ever publish their works.
That’s why it dismays me a bit when I see people on the forums and elsewhere looking for some way to get around a book not being available.
I think it many (but not all) cases they realize that the book has not been made available by the author (or by the publisher to whom they have licensed the rights). They don’t seem to care about that…they just want the book.
They seem to be more insistent about it the more they like the book.
Sort of like saying, “You’re so beautiful, you have to kiss me.”
Just because you want it more, just because it’s an award-winning book, that doesn’t give you any more right to it than if it was a poorly written book that never sold.
People are shocked and offended when what they call a “classic” isn’t available. In many cases, these classics are not in the public domain…I’ve seen people use the term with books that aren’t even twenty years old.
If you like the book, it seems like you would want to respect the author…and not take the book without their permission.
If you only read e-books, yes, that may mean that to respect the author, you may have to not read one of their books…for now.
What do you think? Do authors owe their works to their readers? The readers effectively pay their salaries…does that give them the right to read a book in whatever format they want, especially if they’ve paid for it once before? Is there a societal obligation to make great books available in as many formats as possible? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.