Just watched a video that an author made in response to someone who emailed her complaining about the price of an ebook and how one dollar of said price is going to be donated to a charity. Said person also claimed that it doesn't take much to get a book out these days because "everyone is doing it" and confessed to returning the book ("the best" the author had written) after having read the entire thing. After sending this email, the person blocked the author from being able to respond.
Needless to say, the author was livid.
I would be too. For one, $4.99 is not asking too much for an ebook, especially if said ebook is going on 600 pages. If it was 200 pages or less, yeah, I might balk at the price - and simply not buy it. That's the thing to do, people: If you don't agree with the price of something, DON'T BUY IT. Very simple and easy to scroll past and move on. I sure as heck would not be so classless as to buy a book, read it, return it, and then write the author to spew vitriol about how I hated the price of the book and how it's *so easy* to publish a book.
Because hey, for two, it is NOT that easy to publish a book. People who think so are clearly clueless about the process. Yeah, there's a lot of lackluster material out there due to the advent of self-publishing, but for those of us who are truly dedicated to putting out quality material, there's a helluva lot more involved than pounding out a .doc or .docx or .pdf file and throwing it up on Amazon or Smashwords. We spend hours a day trying to get the stories in our heads to translate on the page the way we imagine them. This means it can take weeks, months, or even years to produce a finished manuscript. Then there's the editing, formatting, cover art, and marketing to consider. All that costs time and LOTS of money. Authors give up so much to their craft it's unreal.
Still think publishing a book is just so easy? Try it sometime and then get back to me on how easy it is.
Third thing is that I would NEVER return a book I paid for and then read. That is, in no uncertain terms, THEFT. You are degrading the hard work that went into the production of that book. No author gets the full price of their book in royalties, so not only are you stealing what little they do get, you're stealing from everyone else who worked on the book as well. Some writers don't have second or third jobs to supplement their income. If you download from a piracy site or buy-read-return a book, you are stealing money to pay bills, put food on tables, clothes on backs, gas in cars... Do I need to go on?
Downloading from a piracy site or buying then returning after you read IS STEALING. Don't be a criminal.
Also, don't write to an author to protest the prices they charge. That's tacky and rude and just makes you look like an idiot. Once again, don't like the price of something? Don't buy it. If you have something to say but can't say anything nice? Keep your mouth shut and your opinion to yourself.