An open letter

Dear person who stuck up a link to a pirated copy of my e-book Hieros:

Hi, there. I’m here too. I saw what you did there.  I subscribe, on some level, to the whole “information should be free” ethos of an open and unrestricted internet. The alleged anarchy of the place has always struck me as romantic, and it’s one of the things I love about the net, even if I recognize that it often doesn’t work that way. So I don’t bear you any ill will.  But I want you to realize that I don’t make a lot of money off my e-books, and neither does my publisher. We make enough, sure, but we’re not exactly HarperCollins over here. A lot of this is a labor of love. We work hard on putting out a product, and we like to get a little compensation for it. Nothing extravagant. I don’t think $4 is a lot to pay for a book, especially one free of DRM restrictions and available in multiple formats. So when you put my book up for free online, it hurts me. Not a lot, not to the point where I’d spend the time to demand that you take it down–I also realize that this would probably be pointless in the long run–but I don’t like it. I wish you wouldn’t.

What we’re trying to do here–what I think e-publishing situates us to do in a unique fashion–is strike that elusive balance between entertainment being cheap and accessible, and the artists and distributors getting a little bit of a return for their trouble. This doesn’t just hurt me, it hurts that, and I don’t really think you want to do that. Because I think you probably like books. I think you may have liked my book, since you seem to have had it. I hope you did, anyway.

So next time, please just think about what you’re doing, and about the effects that your actions have, even if they’re removed from you, even if you never confront them directly. Thanks.

Dear person who asked for the download in the first place:

Hi. Thanks for wanting to read my book. I wish that you had paid the $4 for it, naturally, and I would like to point out that you still could, especially if you liked it.  But if you choose not to do that, might I suggest that you look at some of the other work I have and will soon have out there, and consider buying some of that? None of it is or will be all that expensive. Some of it will be free. I like to think I offer good value for money.

What I said to the dude above applies to you: You and me participating in this system together makes this whole thing work. I want to work with you. You asked for a download of Hieros; you clearly have some kind of interest in it. I like people like you. But I just want you to think about things like this, about what kind of relationship this is. And it is a relationship. Quantitatively it’s just about $4, but really, I think it’s about a lot more than that.

Hope you enjoy the book, regardless.

My best to you both,


One thought on “An open letter

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