Thieving Bastards (part 2)

First Amazon and now eBay – someone’s flogging an advance reading copy of the American edition of Cold Granite. I refer the house to my previous post for details of my feelings on this kind of thing. It’s bad enough this SoB is flogging something he’s not legally entitled to sell, but to add insult to injury - I don’t even have a copy of the US ARC yet! He (or she, to be politically correct, but I’m going to assume this bastard’s a man for brevity and chivalry’s sake) has had the book, read it and stuck it up for auction before I’ve even seen one! Well, I assume he’s read it, but the listing does say that the thing is ‘new’, so he might not even have opened the bloody cover.

I’m in two minds about what the best possible outcome would be to this one (other than wishing a crippling bout of haemorrhoids – piles the size of oranges... no: grapefruit! – along with a galloping dose of crabs and nasal warts on the thieving git). On the one hand it’d be nice to see the book valued. On the other, I want the burgling bastard to profit as little as possible from it.

After last time I got to thinking about the whole flogging of second-hand / ARC copies of books on places like Amazon and eBay and I think there is a way to make it fair on all parties. I’ve no doubt it’s been proposed before, but I’d like to see an ‘originator tax’ levied on the sales. Every time one of these books gets flogged online a set amount is charged to the seller to cover the author and the publisher. Wouldn’t be as much as the publisher would get from a new book, but then they wouldn’t have to produce a new book, it’d already exist. The author wouldn’t get screwed out of a sale, and the whole transaction would count towards earning out and keeping everyone in business. The seller gets to sell something they don’t want any more (or in the case of ARC’s got for free in the first place), the buyer gets to buy something they want, and the author gets to keep their job.

But I’d add to this the proviso that anyone who tries to flog an ARC before the books actually been released would be subject to a summary ‘kicking the shit out of’. Which is no less than they deserve.