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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Saturday May 19, 2001
08:20 AM

Pirate Books

[ #186 ]
[The context for this is that the London Perlmongers were discussing Safari, the e-book project from O'Reilly. I'm an O'Reilly author, having written the Perl Cookbook. Then someone posted a link to an "ever-fabulous" Russian site with pirate copies of the CD bookshelf versions of many O'Reilly books.]

You know, I've checked my royalty statement for the Cookbook, and nary a penny came from this Russian pirate website. The point of Safari is that you pay a very small amount of money for very convenient access, and the author gets some of it (I believe authors get a greater royalty via Safari than they do via printed books, because we don't have printing costs).

When you don't pay money, whether you justify it because you already own the book, or because you're a poor student, you're screwing the authors. "But they won't miss my $1". Your dollar is no different from everyone else's, and if everyone else thought the same thing, there'd be no dollars at all for the author.

Who here has written a book? Simon and Dave at least. It's not easy, is it? It's an exercise in MISERY. Huge numbers of lost evenings, missed family moments, and late nights. When I was writing the Perl Cookbook, I had to miss a family trip to Disneyworld and a rare talk.bizarre party in Montreal because of book deadlines. If there's nothing waiting at the end but your name on a book nobody buys because some assface in Russia offers it up for free on the web, I sure as hell wouldn't have done it. I'd have had fun with my family and friends, enjoyed those evenings, and spent a hell of a lot less time worrying about the placement of commas and the difference between "which" and "that".

So thanks for the pointer to your ever-fabulous Russian thief, but I would really prefer that you tried Safari.