“Readers don’t owe authors sh*t”

Came across this post on BookRiot (via HuffPo and Sisters in Crime).

I admit I got a little cranky for about 2.7 seconds and then I decided to chill out and read it, because I think the author of this post, Brenna Clarke, has some valid points.


I hope that writers make careers of writing. I hope that indie bookshop owners make careers of owning and working in indie bookshops. I hope that these things are lucrative and happiness-making. But being a reader does not obligate me to do anything other than read books. As a reader, I will accept responsibility to do one thing:

1. I won’t ever steal books, digital or otherwise. Not ever.

But I won’t (a) not use the library, (b) not buy used books, (c) not borrow books from friends. If I choose to do any of those things, I don’t (a) owe a tweet, (b) owe a blog review, (c) owe a word of mouth review. I am not betraying bookish culture if I (a) buy from Amazon or Chapters or Barnes and Noble, (b) wait to buy the paperback, (c) don’t buy at all. None of the above things are unethical or amoral or indicative of my deep failings as a reader or blogger or member of the bookish community.

Go on over and see the rest of her argument as to why she doesn’t owe authors sh*t. There are only a few more paragraphs. Here’s the link again. Food for thought, authors?

Happy reading, happy writing!

11 thoughts on ““Readers don’t owe authors sh*t”

  1. As someone who pushes words around anonymously in a corporate setting, I’m used to being a thankless morlock. Outside of a few celebrity novelists, writers’ pedestals are entirely self-imagined. It’s always been that way for entertainers and artists in all fields. The world only remembers the .01 percent who somehow managed to make a living at it over the centuries.

    So, in other words, I agree with her sentiment if not her OMG! writing style.

  2. Pingback: Readers and authors | Irrelevant Cyberspeak

  3. The article didn’t bother me, and I’m very curious about why it made you cranky… Even for just 2.7 seconds, which really isn’t very long at ALL. (But now I’m thinking about funny names for it, like “flash-pissed”… heeheehee, sry)

  4. I like it! I was flash-pissed until I saw her disclaimer about how she won’t read stolen books, digital or otherwise. I mean, yeah. It’s true. Readers don’t owe authors anything. I get that. But it seems to me that the possibility exists for some readers to use that sentiment to post my stuff on pirate sites. Since they don’t owe me shit, why should they care whether they violate my copyrights? I know that’s not where she’s coming from, but that’s where I went. Probably because I had just found a bunch of my stuff on a torrent site. Timing, sometimes, is everything. LOL

  5. Pingback: What Writers Owe Readers and Vice-Versa |

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