Originally posted at Dragonmount:
A Letter from Robert Jordan
August 23, 2002
We received the following letter from Robert Jordan today. Please read it carefully and keep it in mind:
Some disturbing news came my way today. I understand that people are making posts at Dragonmount asking where they can get free copies of GLIMMERS, and others are e-mailing copies of GLIMMERS to them. Wotmania, the other site that partnered with Simon & Schuster in this, has yanked people's memberships for doing this.
The simple fact is, anybody who gives away a copy of GLIMMERS or accepts one is engaging in theft. Stealing. No different from shoplifting, and only a degree removed from holding up a liquor store.
I've heard the arguments about how information should be free, especially in electronic media, but they all boil down to excuses as to why some people believe they can take what somebody else has created, but not pay for it. And if you think that the fact that an E-book is "only a copy of the original" or that "the author loses nothing because he still has his original," would anyone think they had a right to take a book to the copy-shop and then hand out the copies they made? I'd think they might see that every copy they give away is a copy that the author won't be able to sell. In other words, they have just stolen that royalty right out of the author's pocket.
Real-world and immediate, I suggest that anyone who believes they aren't stealing when they hand around copies of GLIMMERS should walk into any mall shop and try walking out with their favorite posters. Without paying for it, of course. If anyone tries to stop them, they should just explain that they are only taking a copy. But they should be sure to have money in hand to pay their bail.
Various publishers have approached me wanting to publish the entire WHEEL OF TIME as a series of E-books, but I always say no. One reason is that technology isn't mature enough. Another is the number of people who download E-books and proceed to give away copies. Maybe that makes them feel generous. It makes me feel that I will never allow E-book publication of WHEEL, and maybe not of anything else, either.