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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Support an author - buy (or download) a book

Don't get me wrong - I love a good bargain, and it's even better when I can find something for free. However, much as a coupon and bargain queen I tend to be, even I have my limits, especially when I think getting a "freebie" could economically hurt someone else in the process.

Yahoo Finance - UK and Ireland posted one of the seven things people should never buy online is books - they should be available for free!

If one thing is a major slap in the face to the written word culture and those who are part of it, it's such aforementioned advice. While swapping books or downloading public-domain works free of charge are fine, to advise people not to buy books online in general is ludicrous. As a writer and author, I can understand why musicians became annoyed with online music sharing. Fellow writers and filmmakers also share this sentiment. While it's good to have a "freebie" now and then, we should pay our way through this life.

Instead of figuring out how to "get over" to have what we want for free, if we can't afford it to begin with, why not just do without? There are many good alternatives available, all while keeping writers, printers, e-reader manufacturers, publishers, etc. employed.

Amazon - and other online retailers - have a wider variety of books available by many authors that can't be found in brick-an-mortar stores (unless they're special ordered), sometimes at a better price. The market for online book purchases is there; otherwise, such retailers wouldn't boast much success as they have. Amazon not only offers a wide choice of both new and used hardcover and paperback titles, along with Kindle editions, but also offers free shipping on orders over $25.

Online retailers aren't just a good resource for recreational reading. Many customers have also purchased reading materials for class projects, home schooling, business and/or research, to name a few examples.

With the arrival of e-readers, it's easier than ever to buy our favorite books at reasonable costs. E-reader books are also easy to download online; sometimes, free chapters are available to preview, and if a customer enjoys what they've read, they have the choice of downloading an entire paid version. No shipping charge, no waiting. You can't get e-books from the library, at least at the present time.

Book swapping has been around for as long as books have been printed. From the neighborhood book circle to the local library, while trading books can be fun, nothing will ever beat the feeling of buying a book of one's own (whether it's new or used), knowing it's yours to keep and read as many times as you'd like.

Bargains are good. Free can be good in small doses. Supporting writers (and others in the arts) through purchasing their work (after enjoying the free preview) is even better. For those who have bought such works, we appreciate and thank you.

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