May 28, 2012

Digital books for free

I´d like to explain some of the reasons that drove me to put some of my books as free downloads.

But if I had to tell you a single reason it would be: because I can.

I never gave the rights for digital publishing for those books and it doesn´t seem like anybody wants them, so why not use them myself? I could even charge money for the downloads if I wanted, but I don´t, this is not about money for me.

I want for anybody, anywhere in the world, with or without money, to have access to my books. It seems a bit absurd to me that only a small amount of priviledged people, those lucky enough to live in some of the main spanish cities, who have been in some of the few bookstores that sell my books, that they were there during the three-four months period before the bookseller sends the unsold books back to the distributor and that in that moment the book wasn´t buried in the last shelf of the store, had had the chance to see it. And with the exception of some libraries, mainly those of the region of Madrid, that was the only chance my books had to find their readers.

Even if they did see it in the bookstore, a reader has the right to read the book before buying it, specially when it´s the case of a children´s picture book, they can read it form beggining to end. So why shouldn´t he be allowed to read it from beggining to end in the website of its author? Why, if surely the readers that visit an authors website are the most passionate ones about his work? Why deny them access to their passion? Why even the websites of the publishers don´t allow their visitors to read their books, if certainly the ones that visit a publishers site are their best clients? Why treat them like thieves? Have you ever been in a bookstore were you were treated like a thief? Did you ever came back?

Obviously, the printed book is much nicer, more so when it´s a carefully designed object. But, is it really better that if a reader doesn´t have the means to access the printed copy he should be denied its access in any other form? Do you really think that after having read a digital copy of a book there is no more sense for acquiring it on paper?

Here, in my website, I don´t have to fight with nobody. In this place there´s nothing that distracts, nothing that fights for your attention. My books can be perfectly visible and always available, no matter when or where, no matter if one person comes or ten thousand at the same time. This is my home and I love having visitors. Please come in and stay as long as you like, have a look around, take anything you like, sit and listen to me or tell me something and I will listen to you. I promise I´ll treat your right because you came to see me and that flatters me and makes me happy.

I opened the possibility for anybody to pay whatever they want, in the form of a donation, in exchange for the downloads. But it would have been very naive of my part to expect any revenue. There are rare occasions where people who have money and want to show me their support, want to buy one of my books. Except in many cases the book is out of stock or simply not distributed in their country. The "donate" button is for those cases, but you can ignore it and not feel bad about it. The publishers already paid me for those books, I don´t expect any more income for royalties, I don´t expect reprints, I don´t expect them to translate it. I have no problem with anybody downloading them for free, as far as I´m concearned, I´m not losing money with it.

I´m unaware if I´m the first illustrator to put his books for download. I wish I wasn´t, but don´t know of anyone who does (correct me if I´m wrong here). In any case, from here, I would like to encourage other authors to join me in this inniciative. I have had more visitors on my website that all the copies of all my books together, when was the last time you could reach such a numerous audience so easily?

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