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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

How You Can Promote Reading Without Being a Criminal

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


About a month ago a group of authors and geeks banded together to take down a site that shared hundreds of commercial e-books - without the consent of the copyright holders. A writer friend informed me today that someone now has their underwear in a bunch over this because the guy was just "promoting reading."

There are better ways to promote reading. Support your local public library. They let people read books for free. Times are tough, and if you don't have money to donate, consider giving books you no longer read. They may not go on the shelves, but will be sold to raise funds to buy books. (They may already have plenty of copies of a popular title, plus they prefer to purchase library editions, which are constructed to stand up to heavy use.) Oh, yes: Publishers do pay attention to library sales.

Volunteer to read at a local elementary school, or to tutor a child who needs extra help learning to read.

If you have a blog, talk about your favorite books and authors. Don't share an entire text, but a few paragraphs are not out of line as long as you attribute the work. Short excerpts for reviews and critical works are perfectly legal. Just keep it short, maybe three or four paragraphs.

Actually, if you have already purchased one of my works, I don't mind terribly if you pick up an e-copy since you've already paid for it. Some authors may disagree, but that's just the way I feel about it. In fact, here's a story that was previously published in a popular anthology. The rights have reverted to me, so I am free to give it away, or lock it in a drawer, or do what I please. I choose to give it away. For those of you who have purchased a copy, thank you very much. I'm sure the editor and other writers thank you as well. If you haven't purchased a copy, feel free to read it. I only ask that you don't post this on other sites, but feel free to link.

Remember: Posting excerpts = good. Posting the entire work or an author's entire catalog without permission = bad.

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Filed under: Writing            
12/18/2008 12:12:36 PM
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