Monday, July 2, 2012

Of E-Readers and Pirates!

            Carolina is facing the dog days of summer right now. Last week and over the weekend, we saw temperatures that reached past 100. With weather like that, it’s best to keep your arse inside in the A/C with a glass of cold water. For those of us who are able, it’s a good time to catch up on some reading, be it the old fashioned way or on one of the new and much sought after e-readers. I happen to have both. Last Christmas, I was given a Kindle Fire. I liked it so much that I went in with my dad to get my mom one for her birthday/Mother’s Day (they were literally a day apart). Then Bear’s mom, Mama B, got one for her birthday last week.
            Up until I got my Kindle, I was more than a little wary of e-readers. I figured that I would eventually get one because they are so common now, but I had my reservations. Reading on a digital screen? For more time than it takes to scan my Facebook newsfeed? You have got to be kidding! Although, come to think of it, I spent a lot of time staring at a screen already, because I write on my laptop. Hmm. But anyway! I also had issues with how easy e-readers made book piracy and the problem of them taking away business from brick and mortar bookstores, which I love. Well, I love my Kindle, but most of the books from series that I really follow I still buy a hard copy of. That’s not to say that I don’t read on my Kindle. When my mom got hers, a friend at work told her about sites where you can get books for free (and it’s completely legit, just gives links for books that are free on Amazon at the moment). I have quite a few free books on my Kindle at the moment. I download free short stories a lot, even before I found out about that site.
            When I was in college, and I did not have a lamp by my bed, I would keep my Kindle on the dresser next to my bed and I would read a little every night before I went to sleep. Without getting up to turn a lamp on or off. I have recently become a little obsessed with Fanfiction and I read that in bed as well on my Kindle. Beats wrestling with my computer when I want to read in comfort.
            I’ve had the Kindle Fire for six months now and I love it. Now that I finally have a case for it (thank you Mom!), I carry it with me when I go places. If there’s a Wi-Fi connection, I can pull it out and check Facebook or play a game, without getting on my phone and fighting with 3G or getting it to connect to the Wi-Fi. If there’s no available Internet, I open up one of my free books. Or the note pad app I downloaded so I can write on my Kindle. It’s fantastic. And something I discovered about Amazon? There is an option to loan out books. So if you buy and download an e-book and a friend is dying to read it, there is a way to let them. And it is completely legal. It will digitally transfer from your device (meaning you cannot access it while the other person has it, just like borrowing a physical book), and the person will keep it for a certain amount of time. Then it automatically transfers back to you. I have not had cause to use this feature yet, but I think it is possibly the smartest thing I have seen from Amazon yet, and I adore Amazon. On that note, I want to address the issue of e-piracy.
            If you illegally download movies or music, I am not that big of a fan of it, but in all honesty, I have no issue with it. As I have said before, I have pumped my share of money into the music industry and I will spend more in the years to come, but some stuff you have to get off the Internet because you cannot find it anywhere else. That being said, if you are downloading pirated movies and music and you get caught, I will fall over in the floor laughing. Yes, I am bitchy that way. Now on to book piracy.
Of everything you can pirate from the Internet, this is the one thing I absolutely hate. I understand people who do not have that much money to throw around, but really, a new paperback is cheaper than a new movie or new CD in most cases. And Amazon has tons and I mean tons of books you can download for free or as cheap as .99 cents. Not to mention, there are libraries out there for a reason. If you have a library card, guess what? You get to borrow the book for free! And if there is a specific one you are looking for, request it. My local library ordered the latest Black Dagger Brotherhood book when it came out (in hardback). I requested, they answered, and I got to read it for free. In my mind, there is no justification for book piracy. And let me tell you something else.
            I am a writer and I hope to make a living off this one day so I am a little biased, but here’s the deal. Unless your name is J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, chances are you are not rich. Most writers are lucky if they get to spend their days writing and not working another job. They have to get by just like everyone else and that $8 you just spent on their latest book? They won’t see but a percentage of that. You can find the specifics of a writer’s pay broken down on the Internet, but I will tell you here that it’s pitiful. And to hopefuls like me, it’s another scary thing about this industry that I want to break into. So yeah. Do not illegally download books. There are venues for you to read the book if you do not have the money to go to the store and buy it. You can legally borrow it from a friend without making an illegal digital copy. Think about it for a minute.
            Oh, and there are apps you can download and read your Kindle books on your phone. My mom has the app and uses it. It automatically updates her Kindle to wherever she stopped at on her phone. I don’t use the app, but I did try it and it is pretty sweet.
            I think I’ve gone enough about book piracy for now. If you want to see more ranting about it, follow Yasmine Galenorn on Twitter. Every now and again she will go off about it and apparently, she loses followers because of that. Doesn’t bother her though.

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