[Source of Image](source of quote image - http://livebyquotes.com/2012/how-simple-love-would-be-david-gemmell/)
So this is kind of an interesting story to write. A lot of what of what it is about wasn't actually even possible until after e-books had started coming out back in 2006. So, we should probably begin at the beginning...
I joined the Marines in 2005, and I've always been a bit of a book nut. Up until this point, I read a lot of fantasy/fiction. I actually made semi-decent money, and was able to buy my books, or simply head to the library and pick them up there. I also lived in Phoenix, which actually has a really solid library system and they are easy to get to!
When I joined the Marines, I no longer had access to a couple important things for any book lover's addiction: money and libraries. I hesitate to say that the military did not pay me well, it did. I actually got out of debt in the Marines from a couple of poor decisions on schooling as a younger adult. The problem was any kind of unbalanced debt can make what you earn look like peanuts in the Marines. They take your paycheck and force you to pay rent and food that you rarely get to eat from it. I also did not have access to a decent library. Most military libraries are garbled collections of mis matched books and series's donated over time.
The main problem basically was the Marines just didn't put a lot of emphasis on this aspect of life for forward deployed troops. So either way, I had to figure out how to do something. This was when I learned about the Sony PRS-505...and the ability to pirate books. Which, I will be honest I did. When you have a seabag to live out of in Iraq, and you're reading about a book a week, and those books happen to be Robert Jordan's The Wheel Of Time, you find out real fast that you gotta find a way to cut the cruft.
For me, I left those books in libraries after I bought them, and then I downloaded it illegally, put it on my reader and read them. I didn't, I found out pretty quickly that i could just throw books onto my reader and go. Honestly I would have never purchased these books anyways if I had access to a library. I did feel bad about this, I always felt like it was immoral, and I've always respected the author's challenge of making money on plying their super important trade.
Anyways, as we get older, we move on, we get out of the military, or out of our youth, and we get jobs. When we get jobs, we make money....and as we make money, we start to repay those that carried us through our younger years. As time went on, I reflected back on my piracy of books, and realized that I had a lot to give back.
Being able to go to a book store is holistic for me. There are books that were so formative me in the past that I downloaded that I needed to own. I bought all of David Gemmell's Drenai Saga. I still own all of the Wheel Of Time(i've bought it two or three times over at this point). I now buy almost every book I own. The amount of books that I have given back to society are now probably in the hundreds. If I can go to an author conference and enjoy their time....I will.
I seriously spend now more than a thousand dollars on books, audio books, and devices a year. I enjoy owning them, and I think it's important. Even if the format changes to audio, or to e-ink, having given something back to the author is REALLY important to me.
I guess that means that it boils down to just this little thought on the matter:
We are carried and formed by what we experience in our early lives up until our mid twenties. We do not make a lot of money during that period, but we need the nurturing of society. Books do that for many of us, authors are the building blocks of society and their words on paper make us who we are. Newspapers, script writers, and authors all contribute to the fundamentals of society. It is important to remember to take it easy on our youth in regards to their consumption of media. If they pirate, or steal, remember they still need that nourishment. More than likely as they grow and become older they will pay back to society and ultimately to those authors what they took in societal benefits.
Perhaps we should find a way to transition our youth through these formative years and help them understand their consumption. What can we do as people to help encourage the giving back to society what we take when we are younger?