Some people will only read free e-books. That is certainly their prerogative, and there are so many authors willing to give their books away for free just for that off-chance to maybe gain serious readers who will go on to buy the authors’ other books. Or they hope for that big break—maybe an agent, maybe a publisher, or maybe someone connected with an agent or publisher will read the free book and fall in love with the writing. Yeah, it’s a long shot.
The truth is that many of the freebie readers aren’t willing to pay for books. Fine, if that’s how they are. Obviously, they don’t care about the time and effort that went into writing the book and don’t feel the author deserves to be paid for hundreds, if not thousands of hours of work.
But the worst is when people want to cheat the system. The worst are those who buy an e-book only to return it after reading it. They may think they are sticking it to the man, aka Amazon, but what they may not know is that the author’s previously earned royalty is now taken away.
Writers make so little money, if any at all after expenses, most would live in a cardboard box on the street if they had to survive on earnings from books alone.
Every sale matters, and when one sale appears only to disappear because the reader simply wants to read a book for free, it’s devastating to the author. These types of people are not sticking it to the man. They’re sticking it to the writer.
So if you want to read books for free, go to the library, download the books that are offered for free, or borrow your friends’ books—but please, don’t pay for a book, read it and return it. It’s disrespectful and frankly, cheap. Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, too bad. If you read it, you should pay for it. Even if you didn’t read it, from the author’s standpoint, it doesn’t seem fair to earn a royalty only to lose it.
Not that I have any statistics, but my guess is that writers are the worst paid professionals on Earth. Every sale is gold, even if the royalty is mere pennies. It may be just another book to the reader, but to the one who penned the work, it’s a treasure.
Don’t trample on someone’s dreams.
D.M. Miller is the author of the interfaith “Heart” series as well as the romantic suspense, Mexican Summer, the poetry collection, Dandelion Fuzz and the memoir, Half-Jew: Searching for Identity. The product of an interfaith marriage herself, Miller’s work explores the difficult themes of religion, politics, ethnicity, culture, family, ancestry and love. See her books on Amazon.