Monday, October 17, 2011

A Big Booo to Publishers that Don't Allow Sharing of E-Books

How many times have you borrowed a book from a friend?  Loaned a book to a friend?  A friend recommends a book to you, loans you their copy, you read it and return it and usually end up in a discussion about it.  If you loved it, you then recommend it to other people.  If you really loved it, you may go buy a copy because you just have to have it.  And then you may end up loaning it to a friend and so on.

If you buy a paper copy of a book, you have the right to loan away.  And book loaning is good for the publisher (and author and everyone else in the book selling food chain).  Why?  Because word of mouth is what sells books and the circle of loaning spreads the word just about faster than anything.  Book sharing is free advertising of the book and author.

Recently I heard buzz about the book Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  It sounded intriguing so I went to my local library web page and put a hold on it.  I was number 97 out of something like 10 copies.  Wow, I'm going to wait a long time.

So I mentioned it to a friend and it turns out that she had just purchased it for her Kindle.  "Cool," I said.  "Could you loan it to me when you're done?"
"Sure," she said.
But she can't.  Why?  Because each publisher can choose to make the electronic version of their book loanable or not.  The publisher of Night Circus chose 'no sharing' (this book is published by Doubleday and sold by Random House Digital).
This burns my biscuits.  My friend paid $12.99 for the Kindle version of this book.  You can get the hardcover version, new, for $9.99!  The Kindle version costs more than a paper version yet it has less value because it can't be loaned or shared.

Authors should be steamed with their publishing houses for this.  Sharing books NEVER hurts sales. Should we do away with libraries in order to bolster sales of print versions of books?  Neil Gaiman has stated his belief that book piracy has  increased his sales.  In this video he talks about how sharing books actually increases sales.

I've moved up to #94 on the wait list for The Night Circus.  One day I'll get to read it . . .

What do you think?  Is there a legitimate reason that publishers won't allow sharing of e-books?
Are there other e-books that you have tried to share but it has been disallowed by the publisher?

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