Peter’s post on ARCs for sale is thought provoking, and one that I’ll be thinking about for a while. I have yet to receive my first ARC of PARCHED in the mail, but I’m told first page passes are coming soon. In fact, this is a big day for my book: the cover is being released for the very first time today! (Have a look here.)
I’m not sure how I’d feel if people were selling ARCs of PARCHED on ebay, or worse, downloading illegal electronic copies. I mean, how do I not take that personally? They want to read the product of all my hard work and study and creativity, but they don’t want to pay for it. They’re all right with the whole starving artist thing. Hmph.
If such a person were standing in front of me, it would probably take all my willpower not to go off in a rant like the one Hugh Bonneville delivered to an interviewer who admitted watching a pirated episode of Downton Abbey. “I wish you hadn’t told me you had watched it illegally,” he said, “that’s really pissing me off. Shame on you. Be ashamed.”
Do you think that would work?—telling those selling ARCs and pirating books to BE ASHAMED?
Yeah, probably not. But I’ll bet it feels good to say.
What if, instead of the rants, we put our energies into redirecting readers to the free and legal way to get books? Libraries can sure use our support right now, and they provide ever-increasing access to electronic books. That way, people still get their ebooks for free, valuable institutions in our communities receive public support and patronage, and our work is no longer being devalued.
But, you say, the author only gets paid in royalties for one or two books that library purchases and then passes back and forth between hundreds of readers. That’s not profitable either!
Well, here is one idea: something like 28 countries have Public Lending Right Programs through which authors receive compensation for the use of their books in public libraries. Last year, Canadian authors received anywhere from $25 to $3300 in compensation through the PLR program.
Sounds like a good starting place to me…