Originally Posted by HarryT
You can afford a PC to read this message on, and a reading device to read books on, but you're not willing to pay authors for their work in writing the books you enjoy? That's a curious state of affairs. Personally I'm happy to buy the books I read, because by doing so I'm giving those authors the means to carry on writing.
I get both sides of this-- yes, the Baen chains seem to be skirting the intent, although as mentioned there is no doubt that Baen is aware of it and has chosen to not prevent it. Of course, Baen was among the first to advocate that widespread access to a range of free ebooks was a GOOD thing, although I'm certain that there have been times when the practice has gone beyond their intent. The Baen backlist bundle chains were a bit of a quandary for me, and I read several discussions here about it before I decided to participate in some of those chains. I've justified it to myself by thinking of the range of Baen authors that I endlessly recommend to friends. Ironically, I find the current
Baen Bundles just barely on the other side of that thin line of justification for me personally (because the focus of the authors seems to have shifted to something I'm less likely to recommend, although this also seems to deprive Baen of the greater potential return of current list over backlist if I DO like/recommend them.)
In my case, there's a difference between "willingness" and "capability" of paying an author. At home, we read a lot. Historically, that's been primarily through our public library system (free to us, other than through our tax support), supplemented by used book stores when budget permits and very occasional treats of a "new" store-bought p-book (birthdays and Christmas, mostly). The rewards I'm able to give the author/publisher are primarily by personal recommendations to those who could afford to buy (and with p-books, the willingness to loan my hard-acquired hard-copy to a friend to get them hooked-- unfortunately a benefit that authors & publishers are losing
from me in a lot of ebook instances, since I still haven't quite come to grips with violating their stated intent that they don't want me to lend the ebook-- yes, I do know how
Our budget for books has increased over the years, but it's still extremely modest...
Yes, I manage to pay for a computer (an xp machine acquired used for $60 several years ago, that I couldn't justify if it didn't have other uses besides reading), internet access (my big splurge, but also necessary for work), a non-activated phone that functions as an ereader for me ($30), and my wife's Kindle, (saved for that for 2-3 years until the graphs of savings, hardware cost, available budget e-reading material, and Christmas, crossed) .
I buy bargain ebooks when available and budget permits, accept the interesting free ones that I feel I qualify for with gratitude, and try to budget enough money to double the cost of my ebook purchases by donating to the software developers who make it possible (Calibre, the reader I use on my phone,etc.) I'd love it if ebook reading and my ibrary habits worked together a lot better, but that's something that publishers, distributors, and library systems seem to be more committed to screwing up than fixing, so I end up collecting available freebies now against the possibility that I won't have access to other ebook choices later.
I would never acquire an ebook from "the dark side", and don't go to extremes to acquire free ebooks that I'm not qualified for. (geographic limitations, restricted to facebook posters, etc.) To be brutally honest, I'm not betting I wouldn't change my mind (about "dark side" options) if I didn't have other options available-- for me, not reading isn't a possibility. Paying what it should be worth to me (priceless) isn't a possibility, either.