Yesterday’s biannual royalty statement contained an unexpected surprise: it included ebook royalties for Absolute BSD (published in 2002) and the first edition of Cisco Routers for the Desperate (published in 2004). Both are out of print, and have newer editions. While the royalties for these books played out over several years, I certainly never expected to see any new sales of either of these books.
It turns out that both of these are available through ebook licensing services, such as ebooks.com.
This leaves me with mixed feelings. There’s no real cost to having ebooks available. For all I know, someone has a serious, legitimate need for high-quality documentation on FreeBSD 4. Reliable documentation from that era is hard to find, and you have dig to find answers. I don’t want to forbid people from buying it.
But I suspect that most people who buy these older ebooks made a mistake. They really wanted the newer editions.
In my mind, the obvious thing to do is to have the licensing service put up a warning along the lines of “This ebook is obsolete. You probably want this other book.” That’s what my publisher’s online bookstore does. But licensing services are independent companies. I can’t dictate to them.
I could tell my publisher to rescind all rights to sell these older books, and force ebooks.com to remove them from their catalog, and to heck with people who need documentation for older kit.
What do you think?Stalk me on social media