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Copyright

 
There is a tendency with newer technologies to use them to excess.  There is a proper etiquette to the use of electronically distributed copyrighted materials including ebooks.  It is simpler than people think. 
 

 

Copyrights are given so the creators of the books can earn a living from their work.   It takes days, months and sometimes years to create a story ready for the reader.  The creator of the story only gets a fraction of the price of the book.  Unless you are one of the 10% of the best known authors or a celebrity, you can not make a living by just writing alone.  Many writers only cover their cost of writing with their percentage of the sale of their books -- they are basically giving the reader the joy of their work for the cost of the electronic equivalent of pen, paper and distribution. 

 

Let's look at a typical ebook from your average beginning author.  If we assume it takes about a year to write and edit the book with an average time of two to three hours per day, you will have the author working from eight hundred to a thousand hours to create the book (this doesn't include the time and work needed to get it published).  The typical lesser known beginning writer only sells hundreds to a few thousand books over a year or two.  Many ebooks sell for about five dollars.  So the average author is only making between fifty cents to a dollar and change per hour for writing his/her book which took that year to write.  Mishandling ebook copyrights directly affects the income of authors who are already not making anything near the value their stories have given you.

 

Anyone who enjoys the story should be happy to give the author the money he/she needs to continue creating.

 

An electronic book should be read and used by the reader the same way they would use a physical book.  You read the book.  You can let another individual read the book but only one person can read the book at a time and you don't permit multiple copies be exchanged or kept after reading.  You shouldn't publicly post the book so anybody and everybody can read it.  With a physical paper book, you shouldn't photocopy whole chapters and sections of a physical book and give them away.  Electronically you shouldn't copy larger portions of an ebook and do the same. 

 

Ebooks give you a lot.  You can read the book on multiple devices and translate it into different languages and formats.  (This might not be the easiest thing to do.  Many of the bigger publishers use an encryption method called DRM to lock the ebook to a particular brand of reader.  But these changes can still be done.)  The electronic format means many good things for the reader.  You might have the book read out loud when you are commuting on a train or bus.  You can change font size if you develop a problem with their eyes.  You can have the text changed to Braille.  They can even share short passages with friends who speak different languages.  And in the future you can update your electronic book to be read on newer devices.

 

As a reader, the purchase of your ebook will give you all of these things.  Why make the life of the author of the story so much harder by not properly controlling your electronic copy of his/her story?
 
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