Following up on my last post, it occurred to me to put my money where my mouth is: buying ebooks from authors I want to support.
You will see in a minute that this is going to present a Problem. Let’s start with Catherynne Valente. I don’t own Habitation of the Blessed and The Folded World yet. And, hey, I want her to write more stuff (especially a sequel to Deathless), right? So I should at least contribute to–I don’t know–boosting her sales rank on Amazon or something. Even if the prices are silly and more expensive than paper books. Okay. Off we go. Kindle, here I come!
This might look like an incomplete search result, but this and a bunch of Clarkesworld issues were all I got. No Deathless, Habitation of the Blessed, or The Folded World. No Under in the Mere, one of her small press books (which I own in hard copy, by the way, even though I wouldn’t name it one of my favorite things ever). In fact, pretty much the only things I can buy from the Kindle Store are… er… stuff I already got. On my shelves. So, well, no.
Now, you may perform the same search and get something quite different then come call me a liar. Except we are probably living on different fucking continents and book publishers love geo-locking like you wouldn’t believe.
Next, Tricia Sullivan.
Oh. I… what? Where are Maul, Double Vision, and Sound Mind (which I, again, own in hard copies and paid exorbitant shipping fees for the privilege)? Where are Someone to Watch Over You or Dreaming in Smoke (which I’ve been looking for forever)? What, in short, the fuck?
Now Tanith Lee.
Again, the only things of note that are available I already have (in fact, my collection is considerably larger than my presumably region-fucking-locked search result!). The exception is Louisa the Poisoner, which is $2 more expensive than the paper copy for basically no good reason.
Fine. What if I want an ebook to back up my physical copy of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Desideria?
Wow. Look at all that empty white space. The color of failure.
So, all the books I want are either unavailable to me because either Amazon or the publisher is a dick and doesn’t believe in a world market for books, or more expensive in ebook form than their paper counterpart. Well, fuck you Amazon. How about B&N’s Nook store?
That’s right, ladies. Nook for Android is not available in my country. At a guess, the entire goddamn store is not available in my country regardless of the platform since it kept asking me for a US billing address. Certainly the occasional free books on promotion aren’t. Well fuck you too, Barnes and Nobles. Not pictured but real all the same like the rock of judgement: Kobo’s store displaying search results even more pathetic than Kindle’s.
“Why,” you may think, “you ninny! Buy the paperbacks then. What’s stopping you? PAPER IS MAGICAL. ALSO BOOKDEPOSITORY.”
Did you know that until recently Bookdepository didn’t have free shipping for my country? And also, I don’t want paper books
No really. I don’t want paper books. I’ve pretty much forsaken all physical media because I misplace them a lot and they, you know, take up space. Whereas my reading device of choice takes up the space of only one or two books–and is a good bit thinner–while containing my entire library. I don’t particularly miss the feel of paper in my hands or blah blah blah. So my only recourse would be to… what? Paypal these writers some money? Which would put cash in their pockets, of course, but would do absolute shit all for their sales figures (which I would guess they care about to an extent greater or lesser) and possibly creep some out (“hi I can’t buy your books but have a random paypal transfer, love, your adoring fan”). Valente is about the only author I can buy directly from–and have done so in the past–albeit from a very limited selection; again this will do nothing for sales figures as recorded by her publishers.
What a crying shame. And I am not alone.
In the meantime I can buy very nearly every single game by devs I’ve ever wanted to support on Steam. Take my money, Ice-Pick Lodge. Yes, I bought your Cargo! months ago. No I still haven’t played it because I don’t care if it’s any good and those malformed things in it creep me out. I JUST WANT YOU TO MAKE MORE GAMES. Now to see if I know anyone who wants to but hasn’t yet played Bastion…
Some fallacies/misconceptions I want to dispel about piracy. In case you don’t know those already, which probably you do.
- HAHAHAHA PIRATES WILL JUST GET THEIR COMPUTERS INFESTED WITH VIRUSES HAHAHAHA WE WIN. No. I could go into the why and why not. But, let me tell you: no. Keep dreaming on, though.
- HAHAHA LOOK I WILL INFEST MY EBOOKS WITH MALWARE AND RELEASE IT AND THEN YOU WILL BE SO SORRY. See also here and here. Kids, did you know purposefully infecting other people’s computers with malware was illegal? Kind of like piracy, but I suppose if it’s the kind of illegal that benefits you it’s okay. You and your high horses. Also, again, for the same reason as (1): lol, nope.
- DRM IS NECESSARY I TELL YOU, NECESSARYYYYYY. As in the kind of DRM that a user at home can crack. Yeah, I’m sure it’s coming along very well and worth every cent of the publisher’s investment, just like Ubisoft’s and EA’s. Oh wait. I just saw several releases of Ubisoft’s and EA’s latest titles from scene groups. Now, if expensive DRM that can’t be cracked by the average user can still be bypassed within hours/days by dedicated groups–and the content then released to average users–what do you think the DRM on ebooks will actually do? Exactly.
- PIRACY IS LIKE RAPE. You’d think nobody, nobody ever would say something as brain-breakingly fucked-up as this. That’s what I thought too. Then I discovered Lynn Flewelling/otterdance–in addition to being pretty racist–thought it was sensible to compare piracy to rape and had to be told that this is unbelievably offensive… apparently not having arrived at the idea herself before she made the comment, which she later deleted. Well done Ms Flewelling. You win. And by win I mean you lose, asshole.