Have you noticed how readers devalue e-books? They say things like, “E-books aren’t the same as a physical book.” Or “I don’t read e-books because I prefer the feel of a real book in my hand.” The last argument aside because I do understand that sometimes it’s nice to have the feel and smell of a paperback book, it amazes me that people don’t view e-books as being the same as a physical book. Just because an e-book is a file on a computer screen, or your Kindle, or your Nook does not mean that the author didn’t work just as hard on the manuscript. It’s almost like readers think an author can just pop out an e-book in record time and that so-called real authors write only physical books. And guess what? Readers aren’t the only ones devaluing e-books, authors and publishers are too!
So, what is causing the devaluation of e-books? I personally think it’s a number of things all lumped together.
1. E-book subscription programs like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. Honestly, I have to say I think this is the biggest reason that e-books have become so devalued. Readers see the Kindle Unlimited program and realize they can read hundreds of e-books a month for just the cost of one paperback. So, of course this gives the illusion that e-books are somehow different and less valuable than a paperback.
2. Anyone can download hundreds of titles in multiple genres on Amazon is another drawback. All you have to do is go to Amazon’s Bestseller List of free e-books and you download hundreds of titles. The books change daily. The truth is you really never have to buy another e-book again if you don’t want to. All you have to do is go to Amazon and start downloading. This is the other way that Amazon has contributed to the devaluation of e-books.
2. Authors who openly say that they don’t care if their book is pirated via electronic e-book because it makes more sales for them i.e. they think it’s a great marketing tactic. Since when can you walk into a bookstore and pick up any paperback or hardback you want and walk out with it without paying, and that’s going to help authors sell books? Readers and clearly the authors who promote this idea don’t see that pirating an e-book is exactly the same as walking into a bookstore and walking out with a book and not paying for it. By devaluing their own e-books, they contribute to the problem of devaluing everyone else’s too!
3. E-book piracy is another big issue. Ever since the first PDF’s and people seeing how it easy it was to copy and share an electronic file there has been e-book piracy. In the beginning, there was little you could do about it because there were no laws that had any teeth to go after e-book pirates. There are some laws in place now, but it is still very difficult to prove e-book piracy because the pirates have gotten smarter. The pirates by their very nature by taking and giving away thousands of copies of e-books are helping to devalue the e-book.
4. Authors who give away their latest releases as soon as they come out go along with the idea that an e-book doesn’t have much value and. I’m not talking about authors who give away the occasional e-book from their backlist, I’m talking about the ones who write a book, publish it on Amazon and then have a three-day period where they give that book away to anyone smart enough to figure out where to download it. But it’s not just the authors doing this, some small e-pubs take their latest releases and give them
away for free too! Many times, with the authors knowing. Most authors, myself included would be furious if the book I’d just worked on for a year was suddenly free on Amazon as soon as it was published. This sort of behavior does not help, and continues to contribute to the devaluation of e-books.
Unless readers, authors and publishers get serious about e-books and treating them the same as a physical book, I suspect we will continue to see authors who cannot make a living from their writing, and e-publishers closing down. Until and unless everyone gets on board, I don’t see this trend necessarily changing.
And the problem is also for Audio Books. To my amazement and utter horror, I just discovered that Amazon is selling Re-Scue the Audio Book, ReScue Series Book 1, at $0. Can you believe it???? 10 hours and 5 minute of one of the edgiest and most borderline stories I ever wrote for $0! Do you think it fair? That all the work going into audio books, the narration, the editing, the long hours of rehearsing, reading and re-reading, is worth nothing more than $0? I find it indecent, and I hope you do, too, as readers and as concerned consumers. Because what we should stress is that a book, in whatever format, isn’t just another good to merchandise along with other goods. A book is a work of art and devaluating it is like belittling the imagination of the author that created it, of the publisher that released it, of all the readers who loved it. And even if you might have never heard or read about ReScue, E-Book or Audio Book makes no difference, I’m sure you’ll agree that you’d be willing to pay more than $0 for the emotions and the feelings surging from each page. So here is an excerpt from Re-Scue, ReScue Series Book 1, to remind you of the rich world full of vibrant characters an author can paint with just a simple scene.
Meet Leon Sterling, SDM’s new Project Division CEO
Sean Davis read the email one more time. “We inform personnel that starting today the new Project Division CEO is Leon Sterling. Tomorrow he will conduct one to one interviews with every division member, so we strongly recommend being available all day.” As usual in official jargon, direct orders were preferred over other more formal perhaps, but certainly less crude formats. Or maybe it was Sean who abhorred it, this impersonal business way of handling people and information alike, something he could never quite get used to despite his five years at Strategic Development Market. Then again, he did not agree with most of their bureaucracy, which to be fair was partly his fault since he did not quite fit into SDM’s standards.
“My, my, a new CEO. What will they think of next?” Heavily spiced in irony, the familiar voice across from his desk brought Sean back to the immediate present. “Can’t wait to see what this one’s like.”
“What are you expecting, Keith?” Stretching luxuriously Sean glanced up at his colleague.
“Nothing actually, knowing SDM’s management, but at least I hope he isn’t an ugly old bastard like the last one.” He winked at Sean. “It would be nice if he looked more like you for a change, wouldn’t you say?”
“Hum…yeah…” Sean shook his head embarrassed. No, he definitely did not belong in their rigidly classified world, his looks simply too striking for SDM, if not the male category in general. To his advantage, though, a sunny disposition assuaged much of his appearance’s initial impact and guaranteed an easy time with everyone. Men liked him, however little he talked about sports or beers. Women poured their hearts in his ears, trusting on his sympathetic receptiveness toward their com love affairs when not relying on his taste and sophisticated sense of style to compare notes, on fashion or on art’s prevailing trends. “You never know, but seems hard he could be worse than the last one.”
“In this company?” The other man shrugged indifferent. “I know he can be a hell of a lot worse.” Then he fixed his gaze on Sean. “And give you just as hard a time as ever.”
So he was no model employee and his bosses seldom liked him…big deal! If they seemed to have trouble adapting to his alternative style—not just a question of looks, rather his way of working—Sean could care less. Never a priority, work was simply necessary to survive, one thing he managed quite well in SDM after top execs began exploiting him to attract potential clients. And since Sean Davis was more effective than any well-formulated marketing plan, he be invaluable to the point CEOs often brought him along to business lunches or dinners, as if hoping his good looks conveyed the message of a successful and trendy company on the go. In return, Sean was sure they shielded him from his direct superior’s harassment and closed an eye on his incompliance with trivial details, like being on time every day and playing the part of the efficient team player devoted to company goals alone—an unfeasible possibility due to his busy side-life, which on a few occasions even interfered with his job. On top of it all, Sean was also short trained in Marketing, having only minored in it after majoring in Art, an additional feature that set him further apart from col and management alike.
“You’re being pessimistic as usual.” Sean rubbed his tired eyes before looking out the giant window at his left side. The day was ending, and people were getting ready to bottle up in Atlanta’s hectic evening traffic. “He could be great, instead—”
“His name reeks of Harvard…”
“And of old money.” He was quick to grasp Keith’s conclusions, which come to think of it, could not be so far-fetched. “Yeah, you’re right, just another rich bored guy who isn’t going to give a damn about us or our problems.” Yawning loudly, he deleted the email.
“Now who’s being pessimist?” Mouth open, Keith was unable to resist the contagious yawn. “But whatever he is, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
“He can’t be any worse than the last one.” From around the door, another colleague popped in Sean and Keith’s office obviously in search of a bit of gossip before his long ride home.
“I wouldn’t be too sure, Tom.” Keith scoffed. “I mean we’ve changed four in the last year or so, and most of them left without even saying goodbye.”
“It’s your fault, blondie!” Despite the seriousness of his tone, Tom’s eyes flashed at Sean in amusement. “They can’t manage you, so they’d all rather leave.”
Sean grinned. “And get back to their boring family life and their routines—”
“Of which you’d know nothing about,” Keith observed suppressing a smile.
“Envious, Keith?” It was a game, to pick on Sean, which he never minded, enjoyed actually because it gave the measure of how close the men felt to him. In short it was their way of showing it without seeming unduly…caring.
“Damn right I am! If I went back, I’d think twice before I got married and started a family.”
“I guess it’s just a matter of choices.” Sean’s tone softened. “And I never made that one.”
“I think blondie’s right.” Tom and Keith exchanged a glance. “You probably live better without a family that’ll bitch at you if you’re five minutes late in getting home.” Looking at his watch, Tom smirked. “Plus they tell me life’s pretty hot for single men these days.” He moved closer to Sean.
“You can’t imagine how!” Sean leaned back on his chair. “You might try it, too, if—”
“Hey, guys!” A pretty petite blonde entered. “Aren’t you excited about the big boss?”
“Hey, Suzy, does he really want to see us one by one?” And Keith’s eyes grew wide as if calculating how long it would take to accomplish it.
“That’s what Karen told me, and she ought to know since she’s the number one secretary.” She moved next to Sean. “He’ll be conducting interviews all morning.”
“Yeah…and all night, too.” Tom sneered. “There are a lot of us in this division.”
“He must know that, too.” Then Suzy turned to Sean. “They also tell me he’s a very attractive man.”
“You mean to tell us we’re going to have two of them in our division alone?” Tom snickered.
“As if it ruined our image!” Passing a hand through Sean’s hair, she smiled sweetly. “And there are plenty of your unattractive species anyway to even out the score.”
“Is he also single?” Looking at his computer screen rather than at any one in particular, Sean began closing his files.
“I’m afraid not.” Taking a step back, Suzy shook her head disappointed. “And the bad news is his wife works here, too.”
“As if that would stop you, Suzy,” Tom quipped.
“Hey, pal, believe it or not, I’m not in the habit of sleeping with just anyone.” She threw back her shoulders defiantly. “I happen to choose my men.”
“Yeah, and nothing’s better than banging the boss,” Tom added.
“If he’s cute, why not? A little fun on the side is never bad for business, right, Sean?”
“I guess not, but I’d be careful if I were you.” Taking his eyes off the screen, Sean fixed them on Suzy. “An in-house wife may mean trouble.” Or a lot of fun if he likes playing the field. But it did not seem appropriate to share his thought, not with Suzy, not after what she had been through.
“Have you heard about Leon Sterling?” Another woman stepped inside the already crowded room. “I wonder how his wife took the news.”
“Hi, Mara.” Suzy smiled at her. “You actually know Mrs. Sterling?”
“Paige? Sure, I do. She works in Accounting, and she’s a real nice lady, always goes out of her way to help people.”
No one commented, probably reluctant to spoil Suzy’s fling, however imaginary.
“Well, guys, I’ll see you tomorrow, and I bet everyone’s going to be extremely efficient and productive.” Chuckling, Tom left.
The others followed his example by returning to whatever off-time life they nursed on the outside, which for Sean was full of friends, but no steady mate to his mother’s dismay. He knew she wanted him to settle down with a special someone, not necessarily in the married sense. What could he say? She had figured him out by now—no, even before he realized it himself. So where’s my dream man?
Oh, he looked for him, had since his school days with the unfortunate result that what he sought still eluded him and not for lack of eligible suitors. Sean attracted men and women of all ages, looks or inclinations, including those who adamantly refused men as suitable sexual partners. Actually, they made for irresistible targets to the point of getting involved with men at their first gay experience just for the fun of it. But even if many liked it, or maybe they simply surrendered to his allure, the relationship seldom lasted. Tired and bored of people who only two days before were excitingly alive, Sean would revert to his favorite dump line to get out of sticky situations. “You’re wonderful, really, but I’m looking for something more…like…”
A bigger cock for sure! It was probably the dumped guy’s guess, and he could not be farther from the truth. True, dimensions were important—of course they were, yet it was often a matter of knowing how to wield whatever size equipment Mother Nature bestowed. Still they were not everything. Something beyond mere sex tormented him, his body craving more passion, more game, more blood.
Shaking his head, he tried to get the obsession out of it while driving home the night before Leon Sterling’s arrival. Not a very successful technique, then again nothing worked to stop his need for someone stripping him naked and draining his very life source while having hard, rough sex with the aid of a sharp blade. And the first time he realized how dramatically different he was from everyone else, he had been just a teenager watching splatter movies of late night trash TV.
The discovery had shocked him, even worried him at first. Something was not quite right with him if he had an erection from watching people dismembered or cut to pieces, unable to tear his eyes off the horrifying sequences or his hands from the hard-on. Whether melting in the darkness of a cinema or after creeping downstairs while his mom was fast asleep, he pretended to be the one brutalized, wondering how it might feel to have someone actually carving his flesh. Pain or…pleasure? He could not determine, but his cock demanding immediate attention seemed to have already made up its mind. At that point, there was no alternative besides jerk off on a fantasy lover capable of inflicting both at the same time. Aroused by imagining the stingy sensation of the warm tongue tracing the wounds’ uneven edges, Sean pictured him sucking the tiny droplets before starting a fresh wave of incisions, until he flooded his hand with the semen bursting in rapid jets from his twitching dick.
And to think his nature was anything except cruel, despising violence and suffering along with anyone causing it, particularly if on purpose. Still his yearning spiraled to the point it took complete hold of him, inevitably spilling into his otherwise great sex with lean bodied studs, not to men spoiling whatever chance he had of a normal relation. So there was no cute but quite ordinary fellow waiting for him at home, and no one who might cuddle him when he woke up in the dead of night—sweaty and out of breath—grabbing the air to clutch his dreams or wipe out the disturbing image with a healthy, non-bloody fuck.
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