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Why do you offer PDF files with your books ?

Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

I recently has an experience where a friend of mine at work got into conversation with a famous author and we ended up finding that the author was very frustrated and in financial trouble.

A very good book that was written by this author is out there for free in PDF format and is being distributed illegally. The royalties that this author receives are very low. Medical bills are on the rise and the family is in a bit of trouble.

It was very disturbing to see that someone whose skills/experience were probably 10 times better than mine had to go through something like this. So I began to wonder why authors are distributing their books through PDF if they already know that at some point in time it will be available for free over the internet illegally. Do the publishers force you guys to make it available in that format ? This will hurt the publishers also since their book sales will reduce.

So why introduce books in a format that will hurt the publisher and the author ? Only 2-5% of the consumers will ever need the book in this format anyway. So why are you making books available in PDF ? I dont understand.


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Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42639
    
  65
I don't know that anyone "needs" an electronic copy (but then, does anyone "need" a physical copy?), but it sure is convenient to have one on my hard disk. It's always accessible, and searchable.

I'm not an expert on the matter in any sense, but there's been a discussion recently, with David Pogue on one side and Adam Engst on the other. So, at the very least it's not a clearcut matter where one side is definitely in the right.


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Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

I do like a searchable PDF on my desktop too. But I wonder at what cost it comes. My debate, I guess is not about whether to offer PDF or not, but how to protect it from abuse.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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