The Great Copyright Debate

I read almost everything in ebook format.  I’ve never been one of those people who loves books for their physical presence.  To me, the story inside the book is what’s important.  Ebooks let me take multiple books wherever I go and I just find the format more practical.  That being said, there is a lot of controversy surrounding ebooks.  For the same reasons that the RIAA is suing little old ladies for downloading music, many authors and publishers frown on the (illegal) downloading of ebooks.  On a basic level, downloading media that you haven’t paid for is illegal, but here’s my take on things. 
I recently posted about discovering David Gemmell’s Drenai series.  I downloaded “Legend” from a P2P site.  I wasn’t sure whether I would like it, I’d never read any of his work before, and I couldn’t justify the money.  However, after reading Legend, I liked it so much that I actually bought the next four books in the series.  So, who’s the loser here?  I think it might be time for publishers to take a second look at how they distribute their work.
Baen Books, one of the great science fiction publishing houses, has already taken the next step.  Through the Baen Free Library, you can freely download many of their offerings.  Generally, they offer older works for free, knowing full well that if you like those, then you might buy more.  This is one of the reasons why I trust Baen.  I know that they’re counting on the strength of their authors, some of whom include David Drake, Eric Flint & David Weber, to sell their products.  And that’s an approach that makes sense to me.
Rock on, Baen.

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