Libraries buy millions of dollars'-worth of books in this country every year, John. About a third of the initial print-run of my first book was bought pre-publication by libraries. On the other hand, you--or anyone--could buy my book used for .02 on Amazon, scan it, post it on the internet, and every mojo on the planet with internet access could read it for free. So, to re-cap: libraries=money for writers; internet=no money for writers. Do you understand the difference now?
Well, if they buy it on Amazon, they buy it at whatever Amazon's discount is. But we were talking about Google books as an analog for libraries, weren't we? And by extension your contention that illegal file-sharing is morally equivalent to what libraries do.
Yes, I asked you what you thought about libraries not asking before they share your book. You said that was what got to you with Google Books, that they didn't ask first.
Some time ago I made a discussion about how the only difference between libraries and file sharing was that file sharing is more efficient: you can share with more people faster. That argument ended with some, maybe you or others, I don't remember, but somebody saying that permission was the key; no one is giving people permission to upload and download files on the internet.
But libraries don't ask permission before they buy your book and share it with whoever they deem eligible. So since not asking permission is what got you mad with Google, why not get mad at libraries? Having your book in their collection adds value to libraries, so shouldn't you be compensated for that?
I can also check out your book from the library, scan it and put it online for everyone to download, and that's cheaper than the 2 cents (plus $3.99 shipping) I would have to pay to do that via Amazon.
Once the libraries are buying your books ... you are IN. How can those who read 5 and 6 books a week possibly buy them all?
They are the exact readers who comment on lists like 4_MA and DorothyL, both of these lists had extensive discussions of THE DA VINCI CODE. Didn't hurt at all. Without it, I would never have read the book.
(I had an arc from a conference, so I never had to pay for it, but I did buy ANGELS AND DEAMONS, his earlier book that many liked better.
(Let's no get into another discussion about DA VINCI)
Hah! I just complained about the libraries. We should do what they do in Canada and the UK -- pay the author a little every time a book is checked out. And libraries are going into electronic downloads big time now.
You could say that by accessing the publishers' "library discount" when purchasing the books, the libraries are asking for permission - they certainly aren't trying to fool anyone.
But the biggest difference between library loans and internet downloads is that libraries are non-profit profit institutions with a long tradition that do buy many, many books (even at a discount I still got reasonable royalties from library sales last year) and when files are shared online money changes hands - maybe not much, but internet connections aren't free, computers aren't free and Google isn't a non-profit company -- but the creators are completely cut out of the equation.
What I see happening is a shift in control and profit from creators and publishers to electronic distributors (Google and internet providors) and hardware companies.
Jack -- and thanks for the kind comment above -- the selling of my books is done by my publisher who collects the money (except for a tiny fraction which is applied toward my advance. My feeling is: let the publisher do what they do so much better than I could.