Orsayor: Borrowing vs Buying... How do you feel about the saying.. Pass The Book?
Pat: When you share my book, you inadvertently rob me of the reward I deserve for my God given talent! I say inadvertently, because most readers aren’t being malicious when they share books. Most readers are so passionate about a story, that they’re excited and eager to discuss it with others. Let’s face it, that discussion is always better when others have read the same book being discussed. And we, as authors want you _to talk about our books. However; we want you to spread the word, not the book!
After most readers are educated about the damage book-sharing causes, they work to correct this destructive behavior. Readers I’ve come in contact with, often say they don’t like sharing their books in the first place, because the books are rarely returned. Then, when they are returned, pages are dog-eared, food and drink stains are visible on the pages, and covers are often tattered. It’s rare that the book is returned in the condition in which it was loaned.
Book sharing negatively impacts the African-American literary industry in many ways. First, for whatever reason, black readers have developed a bad reputation industry-wide as chronic book sharers. Somehow publishers have been convinced that black readers are not willing to put our money where our minds and eyes love to linger. We are thrilled when our favorite black author releases a new title, but chances are, instead of buying a copy of our own, we’ll wait to borrow it from our co-worker or our friend. Then, if that’s not bad enough, we’ll take that borrowed book and loan it out to someone else! This vicious cycle has resulted in an entire group of readers being judged by a few bad apples, fewer books sold, and even fewer contracts awarded to some of your favorite authors.
Book sharing is a form of performance rights denied. Doctors expect to be paid for their work, musicians receive income earned from the music you enjoy, so it’s equally fair that authors be paid for the work that we do. When I write a book, I am away from my family for hours as I concentrate on these characters and their story. Writing is a lonely profession, and unfortunately, while it’s being done, it requires my undivided attention. As a mother, wife, and employee, the time I utilize to write a book is valuable, as it could be spent doing something else. So as a result of the blood, sweat, tears, and precious time I devote to my craft, shouldn’t I be rewarded with payment, at the very least?
I am grateful to the readers who support my work. As a book lover, I am proud to say that I support other authors by buying their work. You have many options when it comes to spending your discretionary funds. This is a difficult time in the literary industry; we (African-American Authors) need your support now more than ever before. So if seeing yourselves reflected on the pages of your favorite books are important to you, ensure that more of us keep our publishing contracts. You can help by simply refusing to share your books!
Share your passion about a great story…
Share your tips about a new author or a great story you’ve discovered…
Share your reviews of your favorite author’s latest work…
But whatever you do, do not share the book you paid your hard earned money to buy.
Insist that your family, friends, and co-workers support Black authors by purchasing their very own copy, and together we can end the phenomenon of book sharing before it completely destroys an economical, entertaining, and educational pastime we all enjoy!
What your opinion on Borrowing Books vs Buying Books?