Friday, December 28, 2012

Digital Books: Rights of Readers Verus Rights of Authors

Hopefully your Christmas was filled with joy and wonder.  As a book lover, I was thrilled when I received a gift card to buy books! I know that digital books are popular, but I still cannot resist the lure of paper completely. I recently read a blog, however, discussing a reader's rights to the digital copy of a book purchased.  Since I still typically buy paper copies of books, I had not given much thought about what I could do with any digital books I have purchased, read, and am ready to pass on.  It seems though that the same resale/giveaway/borrow options are not available for both formats. As a reader, I am somewhat frustrated to pay for a product, but unable to do with it what I want.  As a writer, I can understand the necessity. 

What are your thoughts? Are the restrictions on digital books reasonable to both readers and writers?  Or do you think there is a possible middle ground where both reader and writer can be happy?

8 comments:

Carla Swafford said...

I understand how people enjoy loaning out a book. That's one book going to one person at a time.

But when it comes to digital, one book can go to hundreds, possibly, thousands at one time without having to wait for others to finish it. That's a big difference. Or a person could sell it over and over again.

Kat Jones said...

Excellent point!

Suzanne Johnson said...

This is a huge issue, and like you I have one feeling as a reader but another as an author. My publisher recently began releasing its (i,e,m y) books DRM-free so they can be shared between platforms. So far, they say they haven't seen an increase in pirated copies but I'm not sure how they'd know. Hard questions.

Louisa Cornell said...

I just posted the name of a piracy site on Facebook tonight. With digital books I fear the technology has outstripped the law. We have no safeguards or provisions in place to prevent one person from downloading a digital book and disseminating it to the masses with no payment to the author. With most digital books one has payed far less than one would for a paper book. You've gotten your money's worth out of it, so to speak. If there are no rules or laws to govern the provenance of digital books we might as well all write them for free and be done with it. I have no intention of doing that!

And I still buy most of my books in print. I have even bought print books of books I first read on my kindle simply because I want the paper copy as well.

Cari Hislop said...

Growing up, most of my books came from the library. I didn't have to pay to read any of them. If someone buys my books and then shares them with friends...well...there's nothing I can do about it. I tell myself, if those people enjoyed reading a free book maybe they'll come buy one of my other books.

The music industry is facing the same issue. As a teen I taped lots of music off the radio. I've since spent a small fortune buying songs I used to listen to for free. When it comes to earning money, there's the short term and the long term. This is how I think of it. There are different types of buyers: some will pay now, some will pay later, some won't ever pay. The third group is large, but they are never going to pay...so you have to ask yourself, would you rather they stole a paperback or "borrowed an e-book"?

Kat Jones said...

How exactly does that work when released DRM free (I am admittedly not up to speed on the whole digital process)? Seems it would be harder for them to know whether it was pirated or not?

Kat Jones said...

Very true! Of course writers want to get paid. Unfortunately safeguards always seem to be one step behind crooks.

Kat Jones said...

I too recorded songs off the radio growing up! Spent a small fortune on blank tapes. You make a great point though about the types of buyers the market faces. And I agree, there are those who will simply do anything not to pay.