A few months back, I wrote about a few of the many Pagan-friendly ebooks which are available for free, or very inexpensively.* Such books can be a great way for readers to discover new writers, and for writers to attract new readers. Well, I have since discovered a few more (I can't help it; I'm a book addict).
A few days ago, I learned that one of the devotional anthologies published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina had been pirated. Digital copies of Guardian of the Road: A Devotional Anthology in Honor Hermes were being offered -- without BA's consent or knowledge -- through an occult website in exchange for a "donation." The proprietor of the site boasted that he legally purchased the books from Amazon, then converted them into .pdfs to give to anyone who wanted them. And he was open to suggestions as to other books which should be made available through his "catalog."
I immediately emailed the proprietor, identified myself as the editor-in-chief of BA, and ordered him to cease and desist, and remove Guardian of the Road from his site. He responded relatively quickly with a note that the book had been taken down. He then followed that up with a rude demand that I prove that I was, in fact, who I said I was. I put on my Snark Hat, asked if he would prefer my birth certificate or my social security card, and then advised him to take down the entire site immediately, as word of his illegal actions were spreading quickly through the Pagan community. (Us Pagan and polytheist and magickal authors? Yeah, we talk to each other.)
As an admitted bibliophile, it took me a surprising amount of time to jump on the e-reader bandwagon. I finally gave in when I realized that 1) in many cases, the digital book is much cheaper than the print edition; 2) there are a lot of small press and self-published authors who release only digital editions of their books; and 3) there is simply no more room in the house of more bookcases. None.
So, I plopped down my hard-earned cash and bought myself a nook. I take the darn thing with me everywhere. It's a complete library in my pocket, offering immediate access to not only my favorite authors -- but also authors new-to-me.
The rise in print-on-demand publishers and the increasing popularity of ereaders has led to an explosion the last few years in self-publishing. Anyone -- so the story goes -- can write their magnum opus, print it through CreateSpace or Lulu or CafePress or publish it through SmashWords or Kindle Direct Publishing and have any instant bestseller. Money in the bank!