That post might be four years old but I haven't changed my mind: if you can afford to buy a book--anyone's book--please do.
I’ve been wandering through your archived blogs and just read your rant from January, 2009, Don’t be fucking cheap. I confess: I meet five of the eleven listed requirements. You’re right; once a month I can afford to buy a new book. As an avid reader, I appreciate having permission to do so. It feels like I’ve just received a gift, something special and luxurious. Something to look forward to each month.
As a writer, I must bow to you again. If my work is sold, I want to be paid for it. When I’m giving too much attention to my job, and in the dumps about not having enough time to write, my friend, Suzanne, asks me the same question every time: "Who is waiting to read your book?" Now, when I hear her mantra, I will also ask myself, "Who is waiting to buy my book."
So, I haven’t bought a new book this month, and I’d like to buy your new one. I have heard that authors receive differing amounts from the sales of their books depending on where and how they are purchased. How should I buy your Hild, then, so that you receive the most of my hard-earned money?
In terms of Hild, I get more money from a hardcover sale than for an ebook. It's a beautiful object (the handsomest trade book I've ever seen). Added bonus: the hardcover has a map, glossary, and pronunciation guide that you can flip to anytime while reading the main text. I find this much more difficult in the digital version, whether on a dedicated reader or an app on a mobile device.
Apart from money, though, there are many other perspectives for you, as a reader and writer, to consider.
- Do you want the book signed? If you do, then order Hild from a store where I'll be signing around publication. At the moment, that's three: Seattle Mystery Books and Elliott Bay Book Company the day after publication, and Eagle Harbor Book Co. the day after that. I'll be signing for University Book Store and others later on.
- Do you want the book soon? If you pre-order a Kindle edition from Amazon, you'd get it first thing in the morning of Tuesday, 11.12.13. If you order a signed hardcover from SMB or EBCC or Eagle Harbor, I doubt you'll see it before Friday--maybe later, depending on where you live/how they ship. (Booksellers, please correct me if I'm wrong.)
- Do you want to support a diverse book ecosystem? Buying from your local independent helps them keep their heads above water; it supports your community. A reader's new book/writer discovery usually happens in physical stores. If book buying is reduced to Amazon, the world will be a less diverse and therefore less robust (and interesting) place for us all.
- Do you support libraries? Libraries are good for discovery, too--though in the US I get no extra money per book after the library system's initial purchase of same. There again, borrowing is free: so why not buy a copy *and* order Hild from the library? That way, others who can't afford to buy will have the opportunity to read, too.
In a perfect world, publishers would bundle print and digital offerings: you could buy the hardcover and get the ebook for a negligible additional sum. As a reader I'd buy many books that way. But sadly most publishers are not there yet.
Conclusion: buy as your needs direct. But if you can afford it, buy a hardcover--of Hild or any other book--from one of the independent book stores suggested by readers. It will help booksellers, and so publishers and writers and other readers.