Let’s just say, theoretically, you managed to acquire a copy of one of my books in an illegal manner, and after reading the tome, you’ve become filled with intense regret that your illegal procurement has deprived me of my rightful income and have resolved to correct the issue. Alternately, you borrowed the book from somewhere and after reading the book have the urge to compensate me. Thanks! Now, how to do it? Here are some easy-to-follow steps. Any of these work for me.
1. Buy the book for yourself. Because, really, I don’t care if you read it first. Buying the book at any point is a good thing.
2. Buy the book for someone else. If you don’t see the point in getting yourself a copy, seeing that you already have one, no doubt there’s someone else you know who might like it. Give them a gift. You look good, and I get paid. Simple.
3. Buy the book for your local library. Do you know how much library book budgets have been slashed recently? Chances are pretty good that if you showed up at your local library and offered them a copy of the book, you’d make a librarian really happy. And there are very few things in one’s life that are better than making a librarian happy. And certainly I’d be pleased to have my book in another library. You know why? Because I like people reading my book, and this is a fine way to make it happen.
4. Buy a book for a child. If you decide I am simply rolling in the dough and don’t need any more cash — which is false, by the way, but never mind that — then do the next best thing, which is to take a little of your money and buy a book for a kid you know. It doesn’t even have to be an equivalent amount of cash as my book. But don’t buy a cheap book; get something nice — a book you would have wanted to been given as a child. A $1 coloring book from Wal-Mart ain’t gonna cut it. The point is to cultivate the next generation of readers, and the way to do that is with a really cool kid’s book. Do that, and we’ll call it even.
5. Donate to Reading is Fundamental (or First Book, other literacy charity). Don’t know any kids, or know some kids, but can’t stand them and don’t want to give them something nice, like a book? Fine. Reading is Fundamental sponsors literacy programs and initiatives all over the US, which is fairly important because people who are not literate have lives that truly suck, and the number of people who are functionally illiterate in our country is rather greater than most people expect.
Any organization that helps people to read is doing us all a mitzvah. If you take $10 (or more) and donate it to RIF while thinking of my book, an angel will get its wings, and some kid somewhere might learn how to read and thus have a better chance of a life that is worth having. I’ll take that.
6. If you can’t do any of the above, then for God’s sake, the next time someone says “read anything good recently?” Say, “Why, yes! Yes, I have.” And tell them about my book. And then tell them that they can find it at their local book store or any online bookstore of their choice. Encourage someone else to buy my book. It’s the least you can do.