Originally Posted by PressEnter
Here's a question: I got a sony reader a couple of weeks back and it's great. Just great. I love it, but I love my paper books too. I love them both in the way a 19th Century landscape artist would love this new invention called 'the camera' if he was sensible about it.
I want to support the format by buying, say, ebooks. But what I really want - and what a lot of you seem to want too - is to buy the physical book so we can stick it on our shelves, but read it either entirely or in part on an ereader. I was about to buy an ebook for (surprisingly) quite a bit less than it would have cost me new in paperback, thereby doing my bit to support the ebook market.
Then I realised I could download it off mIRC for free, but purchase the hardback for literally pennies second-hand from Amazon at an even greater saving.
That way I would have the book both in paper and in electronic form, for really not very much at all: yet the hardback would be second-hand, meaning the publishers nor the author would presumably see a penny of the money from my purchase.
Is it more morally right to just buy the ebook, something I can't loan out to friends (none of whom have ebook readers), despite the fact that a substantial portion of my existing paper collection is also second-hand? Or am I the only one who worries about these things?
Morals are an entirely subjective matter. The law, however, is a more objective limit on your rights to do certain things. With physical books, the author and the publisher make their profit the first time the book is sold. The rights of use transfer with the original purchaser. It is legal to purchase books second hand. That's why there are second hand bookstores.
It is, however, illegal to download materials still in copyright from a file sharing site that does not employ DRM and does not pay the appropriate fees to the publisher and author. Assuming that your book is not public domain or otherwise free of copyrights, then downloading it from mIRC is quite illegal.
I am one of those people who has quite enough pbooks. I have an entire library full of them .... that I must dust and otherwise just take up space. I don't care if I ever purchase another pbook. However, if you like to have both, then purchase the pbook secondhand and buy the ebook from a reputable source.