Monday, January 11, 2016

Educating the Reader


Readers are passionate about their books, and some, bless them, are ravenous in their reading.

Unfortunately, many don’t understand enough about the business of publishing so they end up hurting the authors and the publishers which means fewer favorite authors and publishers.  

It’s up to authors to educate them for both their sakes.  Here are some suggestions.

First and foremost, readers, publishers, and authors are an ecosystem, and money is the food that keeps that ecosystem alive.  

If you financially starve any part of the system, the whole system can fail.

These days, with the advent of self-publishing, some authors are their publishers, but the ecosystem is primarily the same.  


•If you can't find a book, ask the bookstore to special order it for you.  If enough people do this, they'll order the author's next book.  This also helps the bookstores stay in business.

•Pre-ordering a book before the publication date tells the publisher and the bookseller that this book will be popular, and they may buy/print more copies. Many authors consider this tip the number one way for readers to help an author’s career.

•Don’t pass around new books to friends.  A bookstore and the publisher can only tell how popular a book is by the number of copies sold.  If you share your one book with six friends, the publisher and the bookstore won't know this.  Get those six friends to buy the book themselves.  The only exception to this rule is the first book of a series after a few books have been published.  If you get friends addicted to a series you love so they will buy the rest of the series, you will help keep that series alive.  

•Buy the book new, not used.  If you buy the book used, you won't be counted as a reader by the publisher who only knows about new book sales.  Neither the publisher nor the author gets paid when a used book is sold so money is being syphoned away from the producers of books. 

•E-books cannot be sold used because of copyright laws.  Nor can they be borrowed except from a library or a closed system like Kindle.  Authors/publishers have to agree that their book can be loaned.  

•Don't take a paper book to the used bookstore until it is no longer on the bookstore shelves.  Two to three months from the time you buy it is a good rule of thumb.  

•Paperback books without their covers are stolen books.   Tell the person at the flea market or used bookstore that it's illegal to sell and show them the legal note to this effect at the front of the book.  If you continue to see books like this sold, send a letter to the publisher or use their website to tell them.

•If you see an electronic version of a copyrighted novel available for free at some website or on a newsgroup, contact the publisher or author immediately and tell them.  Not only is this illegal, but it is the financial murder of your favorite authors and the end of the kind of books you love.  

•Even if you are financially forced to buy used or to borrow books from the library or friends, you can still help the author.  Write reviews.  Tell friends.  Reviews and word of mouth sell books.  

NOTE:  If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments.  

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