Wow, LOTS of support this week. This is great, guys. Really. It's nice to see.
However, as is the case with all things, there's always another opinion and I want to address one that had been brought before me in the comments.
Jack Getze made this point:
You fail to explain how the sale of these ARCs in any way harms the author. You never expected revenue from them, else why give them away? And even a line on EBay, not to mention this and other posts, generates free publicity about your upcoming novel. Plus, if it's as good as it sounds, people might buy it, read it, and tell their reading friends about it. Word of mouth. I think you're over-reacting to something that's been going on a long, long time.
This is a legitimate point that needs to be addressed. I'm glad I have the chance to do so now.
First, I want to state that Elemental ARCs (as far as I know) are not now, and never have been, sold on Ebay. This passion I feel isn't on my own behalf. However, any author who this is happening to is completely justified in his/her anger.
So let's address this comment line by line.
You fail to explain how the sale of these ARCs in any way harms the author.
Good point and I'm REALLY going to attempt to say this without a hint of snark. Unfortunately, It's going to sound snarky, but I really don't mean it that way.
It harms the author the same way any theft harms the owner and/or creator of a product. I guess I didn't think I needed to make that explanation in the original post because I felt it was an implied fact that theft hurts. And it is theft. And the person selling the copy knows this because it usually says "NOT FOR SALE" in big capital letters just like that on the front cover. Let alone, the other numerous places it also says not for sale on the inside.
You never expected revenue from them, else why give them away?
No, publishers and authors do not expect revenue from ARCs in the strictest sense of the word. But they're not giving them to people out of the kindness of their hearts, either. Revenue in the form of reviews and word of mouth IS expected. If the seller is only acquiring an ARC to sell it, then they're attempting to cheat the publisher and author the moment they make the request.
And even a line on EBay, not to mention this and other posts, generates free publicity about your upcoming novel.
Okay, yes. Selling an ARC on ebay gets the word out about an author's book. However, that's NOT how the publisher wants it done. Otherwise, they wouldn't make the point of printing copies that say "NOT FOR SALE" all over them. Here's the problem: an ARC is given to get the word out. This is done through reviews, giveaways, etc. Selling the copy gets the word out in the lowest form possible. People hear about it, yes, but the seller is also stealing a potential customer from the author. And the seller got the book for free. If they really wanted a legitimate business selling books (which a lot of these ebay stores claim to do--i.e. they call themselves book lovers and book sellers just like any other brick and mortar book store might), they'd place orders through the publisher's distributor like other legitimate book sellers and make a profit that way. But they're not. They're tricking the publisher and author into giving them a free book so they can make a maximum profit.
And here's what's worse. The books I found through my searches were books acquired at BEA, and many of them were signed.
BEA is not open to the public. You may purchase a ticket if you are part of the publishing industry, a book blogger, a librarian, a teacher (or other professional in education), a book seller, or press.
These people selling on ebay claimed to be book sellers to get to BEA and take free books to sell at their "business." And many of them were signed. Do you get the implications of that, readers? These people stood before the authors--talked to them, probably--with the intent of taking that book, not even reading it (because the books are listed as brand new and unread on ebay), and selling it.
Plus, if it's as good as it sounds, people might buy it, read it, and tell their reading friends about it.
This is true, but it's also true if the book is reviewed, talked about on book blogs, facebook, etc.--in other words, in the way it's SUPPOSED to be spread around. And here's the thing: news of the book will reach MORE people if it's done the way the publisher has asked you to do it. A person reviews a book and news spreads on twitter, facebook, goodreads, shelfari, blogger, and every other social media outlet. A person sells a book on ebay and the news stays on ebay and perhaps the people who placed a bid.
Word of mouth.
Yep, word of mouth. Just about the worst possible way to get word out about an author's book. Limited exposure while stealing a potential customer.
I think you're over-reacting to something that's been going on a long, long time.
Okay, this is where I'm going to get a little passionate again. I hate hearing this excuse. Just because something has been happening for a "long, long time" doesn't mean it's any less wrong. In fact, I'd say it's the opposite. If you let something immoral like this become a trend in our society, it's only going to get worse and open the door for other means of stealing work and/or products from owners and creators. Stealing is stealing. It's been going on for thousands of years--ever since the first guy looked over and saw his neighbor had something he wanted--and yet we still understand it's wrong, damaging to a society. Just because the means is now through the internet, doesn't mean it's any less despicable.
Any more thoughts on this, dear readers?
Also, I'll be working on an addition to my sidebar today. I'll be including lists of ARCs that have been found on ebay and other sites where these things are sold with information on how to help the author out.