Society & Culture & Entertainment Literature & Language

Why Pay? That Is The Question

Cathy Macleod, 18 Feb, 2009: To free or not to free, as the bard would have written. Aye, there's the point! Publishers worldwide are wrestling desperately with the notion that they should free their creations from the chains of a coverprice.

It is just one of the dilemmas of the ebook revolution. Before, in traditional print days, the challenge was to get folk to read a particular title. Now, the task is getting them to read at all, when the offering comes in digital format. Is giving stuff away free the solution?
Well, this might help familiarise book readers with the new era, but nurturing the habit of free reads is bad for business. By all means let us continue with free classics, such as Project Gutenberg. The masterworks of literature are widely available in public libraries anyway. But a worthy piece of writing by a living author deserves payment, or the author will look for another vocation in order to survive. So buy yourself an ebook.
Now a confession. My first ebook was free. It was \"The Clergyman\'s Daughter\" by George Orwell, a favourite author. One of his least offerings, it nevertheless gave me the pleasure of an ebook. This, of course, is the same joy one gets from a paperback or sturdy hardback.
Another confession - I hate long reads on a desktop computer. To ease into the ebook , I downloaded Orwell to my laptop, enhanced by the free Mobipocket Reader software.
Having found I could enjoy reading an ebook, my browsing soon led me to buy particular items. Free first chapters helped to confirm their desirability. Now I am hooked on ebooks.
If, like me, you first need a free ebook try-out, there are lots on offer now at The Week is March 8-14, and the website contains attractive promotions from many sources.
Booktaste is there too. Not giving away free goodies, but simply supporting the future of reading.

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