May 2, 2014 by Liberty
The timing on this question couldn’t be much better. Recently I’ve been struggling with a similar problem.
I know that copyrights are wrong but I’ve been making my living off copyrighted material. I sell ebooks on (a major site.) I couldn’t survive without the royalties right now. What would you do?
First of all, stop justifying copyright based on your survival. That’s bull. If you’re smart enough to sell ebooks to earn an income, you’re smart enough to make your money somewhere else. That being said, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with selling your ebooks.
Your ebooks provide a service to its purchasers. That service is the delivery and format. Particularly if you’re using an exclusive format site like you’re mentioning. The writing on the pages is also a service. That being said, it’s a service just about anyone “could” deliver by just copying your words. In fact, even the extra profit you make is a service to the customer. Many customers want to support authors they like.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with selling your ebooks. The problem doesn’t come from the sale. It comes from protecting the copyright. Do you actively try and prevent people from accessing the information in your ebooks without paying you? Sure, you can format it in a way that makes it difficult to access but are you going to end up sending them legal papers for it? Do you threaten to send legal papers? Do you actively write about your copyright protection?
Like most things, I think there is some gray area.
I’ve been struggling with a similar issue recently. I’ve been working on a book. I’ve been struggling to decide how I want to distribute it. Many of the options I have available require copyright protection. (I have some experience in ebooks myself.) I’ve been trying to move myself out of those gray areas in life. One option I’ve been considering is offering the book/ebook for sale to support the site while also linking to a free version of the ebook. Another option is to give away the ebook and offer methods for donation.
You don’t need to use copyright protection to make money off information. In fact, most of the money is not in copyright protection. I could copy a James Patterson book word for word. I wouldn’t be able to sell a thousandth of the number of books he sells. Most of the profit in information comes from being the trusted source that people are willing to go out of their way to support.