Friday Tea Time and A Guest.

I’m going to try and make this a regular every Friday occurrence.  Sometimes I’ll be blogging, sometimes I’ll have a guest.  Today I am pleased to welcome one of my very good friends and writing buddy, Angela Magee.

But first… Tea.

Today I’m going to highlight a recent favorite of mine.  Celestial Seasonings Sweet Apple Chamomile.  You’ll notice I drink a lot of Celestial Seasonings tea.  They are a local company and the stores around here carry a large variety.  It’s good tea for a reasonable price.

This tea caught my eye because I really like apple.  And I’m a fan of Chamomile.  I’ve had other apple teas that are ok, but I’ve found that so far this is my favorite.  It’s light and the Chamomile complements the Apple nicely.  Neither overpower the other even when steeped for a long time.  It is an Herbal Tea and is Caffeine Free and the ingredients list Chamomile, Natural Apple flavor with other natural flavors and Honey.  I like it mixed with a bit of sugar because I like my teas sweet.

Ok, enough about tea.  Here are some wise words from Angela.

~~~

How to get free reads without being an ass.

Julie and I spend a lot of time sharing online space; we bounce writing ideas off one another, talk about our lives, etc.  The other day, she showed me Don’t Steal My Books.  The title of this post by Lilith Saintcrow is pretty self explanatory (so you get the idea if you don’t want to click to it just yet, or if you have an objection to four-letter words), and it’s only the most recent of the very many author rants I’ve read against e-piracy.  Yet it stuck in my head, maybe because she asked a very sensible question: “Why do I have to keep explaining to people that stealing is wrong?”

There are probably lots of types of people who steal ebooks.  Off the top of my head there’s

1.      People who want what they want when they want it.

2.      People who are broke and decide that the problem is there regardless of them; their downloading a book or two doesn’t make it any worse.

3.      People who really don’t get that they’re stealing.

If you’re the first type, nothing I say here is going to matter to you.  You’ve heard it all, and you don’t care.  I can *almost* sympathize; take the morality out of it, and you can argue that the music industry went nuts about song sharing, but they keep making more and more money.  There are just two problems with that: it’s wrong to take the morality out of it, and the music industry and the book industry are very different.

The vast majority of authors are lucky to write for a living.  That’s not to say that it’s all right to download pirated copies of Nora Roberts or Stephen King books, but if you’re torrenting books thinking that you’re not doing any harm, you’re taking a product (without paying) from someone who’s maybe making their rent with the sales from their work.  Maybe.

I’ve come up with a dozen or so analogies to try to explain, but I’ll spare you.  It comes down to this: stories are the same as any other product, even if they don’t seem the same.  Taking them without pay is only OK when the person who owns them says it’s OK.

The cool thing is, there are free reads out there that are on the up and up.

If your local library is like mine, the portal to the ebook section is obscure and annoying, but with a little digging, you can find it.  (And hey, in your town, they might have hired a decent webmaster.)  There may be more glitches than that….I’ve been meaning to read Nalini Singh, and they do offer one of her ebooks.  Unfortunately, it’s the second in the series.  There’s a lot of hit or miss, but all hits get you the books you want to read, guilt free.

Smashwords!  I’m not ready to dedicate myself to promoting independent publishing.  Sometimes the books are really good, but too many times you read a couple of pages and think, “There’s a good reason why you didn’t get a contract with publisher.”  So I wasn’t too thrilled when I followed a link to www.smashwords.com, but since I was there, I did a search for books that were at least in my genre.  Not only did I find some stuff from independents, free and otherwise, that looked really good, but I also found free offerings from New York Times bestselling author Karen Chance!  Good for me because I know I like her work, and good for her (if any authors who might do the same thing happen to be reading) because that’s at least one fan who has been out of the loop and forgot to buy her last two books.  When my budge will allow for it, Ms. Chance, my money is your money.

Did you think that all the free Kindle books were ancient out-of-copyright works that you read the Cliff Notes on when you were in high school?  Hit the “limited time promotional offers” on their Free eBook Collections page and see how wrong you were.  I downloaded Kindle for PC and a great looking book by someone I’d never heard of before.  Amazon informs me that people who “bought” that book, also “bought” a free Rachel Vincent novella and other shorts, novellas, and books by authors who are familiar to me.  Yes, many of these works are the kind of promos that can turn you off anthologies, but I’ve gone through a ton are the real deal.

Barnes and Noble has the same deal, and only a handful of the books seem to be Amazon repeats.

I didn’t want to leave you with just those sources, but alas, publisher promos that I’d enjoyed as recently as a few months are all done.   Julie’s a YA writer, I thought.  I wonder if Will Shetterly still has that free version of Midnight Girl up at Scribd? Indeed he does!  I followed the trail back to the original post to make sure that it’s still meant to be free, and discovered that he and his wife, Emma Bull, have put up other stuff as well.  Some of the shorts I own within my hoard of old time urban fantasy, but most of it is new to me.  I’m all tingly!

Remembering the old days (and further dating myself), I recalled that Eric Flint had a very different take on book piracy.  Rather than demanding that the “pirates” stop, he thought it a minor problem with a simple solution: offer some free stuff!  Follow the link to find the details as well as access to a free library of sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Slower, but still useful: follow the blogs, tweets, whatevers of authors and publishers you enjoy.  Your chances of winning their books in a promotion might be middling to slim, but that’s better than nothing.  Better still, sometimes they post e-freebies for anyone who’s paying attention.

Bottom line—it’s not that hard to find free reads that help authors rather than hurting their bottom lines.

Why e-books aren’t cheaper?

Burning Question

Angela thanks so much for stopping by.  If you want to read what she has to say on a more regular basis you can find her blog here: http://anagain.blogspot.com/

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21 Responses to Friday Tea Time and A Guest.

  1. CDNWMN says:

    Wow fantastic post! Really enjoyed that.

  2. Gareth says:

    Very insightful and a wonderful post. Perhaps a good way to phrase the argument would be:
    Would you go into your bookseller of choice and steal the book of an author?

  3. An says:

    Gareth, I agree, but there is one problem with framing the question like that: people don’t relate to e-words in the same way that they relate to a physical book. If they steal a paperback, it’s not just the author not getting royalties that “they wouldn’t have gotten anyway”: they are putting their hands on something real, risking the embarrassment of being seen, knowing that they *took* something from the seller. E-books muddy the waters because if I have a file of something, and you have a file of something, it doesn’t take away the original file.

    I think of it more like stealing a kiss. If someone *gives* you a kiss, that’s a lucky day! Like an e-book file, they’ve got plenty more to distribute how they want. But if you randomly take a kiss they weren’t giving away, it doesn’t matter that their lips were there all kissable, or that they can still distribute their kisses as they want! You’ve violated them in legally and morally.

  4. Wonderful post!

    The downside…I’ve discovered I’m allergic to tea and miss it very much. Sigh.

  5. An insightful post. All excellent points. It’s no different than downloading music, movies, etc. Not paying = stealing. I don’t have an e-reader and am not guilty of this, but I can certainly see the reasoning here. It would bother me if people were downloading my work for free, that is when the time comes and I’m published. Great guest blog Julie & An. 🙂

    • I am not going to be too excited about people downloading my work for free either. I worked really hard to get it published and my publishers are working really hard to make it shine. We deserve to get paid for that effort if someone wants to read it.

      Thanks for dropping in.
      Julie

  6. dannigrrl says:

    Great post Julie and Angela. First, I’m a big tea person. 🙂 Second, the issue of author’s rights and ownership is a hot issue right now. Thanks for shedding some extra light on this.

  7. I don’t agree with stealing any kind of e-product, whether that be music or books or whatever. If there’s some kind of promo going on and something is being offerred legit then okay but to go to a site and take something knowing full well that it’s stealing is wrong.

  8. Jax says:

    I love Celestial Seasonings Teas! Tension Tamer has been a favorite for a while now. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the apple one now. 🙂

    As for e-books, I’ve heard people say sharing them is like sharing a paperback you’ve bought. But it’s not. It’s a single copy, and it can only be read by one person at a time, and then only so many times before it needs to be replaces. E-books, and copies of them, can grow exponentially. And because it doesn’t need to be returned, there’s no incentive to go buy your own copy, should you like it well enough to read it again. It’s one thing to make a copy on a CD as back up, another to send it out to others.

    • Tension Tamer rocks.

      You’re right, sharing them isn’t like sharing a paperback. I really like nook’s share feature. Apparently kindle is going to adopt it too. You can “borrow” someone’s ebook for 2 weeks. It is great.

      Thanks for dropping in.
      Julie

  9. Seleste says:

    One of the big differences between ebooks and the music industry is people can share A song (I’ve had friends do this with me) to test out an artist they don’t know. In some cases, I don’t like it so I don’t listen. In others, I go out and buy the albums.

    The problem is people aren’t file sharing a chapter in order to entice their friends to buy the book, they’re sharing the whole book. And they’ll likely share the next book, and the one after that (if the author is still selling enough to have a contract at this point).

    Most authors share excerpts for free. Read them to sample new authors. If you aren’t impressed, don’t buy. But if you are, for crying out loud, keep the author working by buying their books. If no one buys, authors don’t get paid. If authors don’t get paid, they have to do other things to make up the lost income which means they have less time to write.

    As for me? I like the option of more books to read.

    • LOL, I’d rather have more books to read and more time to write. Exactly what you said!

      Heck, even libraries do ebooks now. If you can’t afford a book, go use one of the free options or go to your library.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Julie

  10. And… for those with a Kobo, the Kobo shop has a pretty rockin’ free section. You can access it on the WiFi store too!

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