This World Book and Copyright Day, we pledge never to buy reprints

Reprints are cheap, easily available and convenient to buy – roadside hawkers, train vendors, traffic light children, even small-time shops stock them.

But what they’re also is a headache. And we don’t say that just because of the noxious fumes some give off (we did buy them in college, so can speak from experience). But because it bothers us when people want to make a quick buck off some author’s hard work. No qualms, no guilt.

But they can still be forgiven. At least they’re earning an honest living.

It is the reader, people like me and you, who must think twice before picking up a reprint. What if you were to write and publish a book tomorrow, and not get paid for it?

Today is World Book and Copyright Day. What better day than today to pledge never to buy reprints, ever again.

But how did World Book and Copyright Day come into being?

Tradition goes that in 1923 booksellers in Spain decided to honour Miguel de Cervantes who died that day.  This went on to become part of

the celebrations of St George’s Day where men give women roses and women gift them books (what, women didn’t read books then?)

In 1995, more than 70 years later, UNESCO decided to turn this into the World Book and Copyright Day since this date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.

Make the pledge now. What if you were to really write and publish a book tomorrow, and never get paid?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with re-prints. Both for the reader and the writer. The only person losing out is the publisher. The writer is getting to enrich the life of it’s readers, the real purpose behind why he writes and the reader is getting his life enriched – the real reason behind why he reads. Simple as that.

    Reply

    • Hi Sameer.
      Yes, authors do write to reach out to their audience and convey their ideas. You’re absolutely right about that.

      But there is a commercial angle to it as well. Proceeds of the sale go to the author, part of it certainly. And by buying a reprint, we’re robbing the author of payment that is expected in lieu of the reading.

      Reply

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