Cross-posted at my blog as well.
I saw a post on the Kindle forums asking “Will Amazon offer free to Kindle users, the hardcovers they have purchased?” and the obvious answer is no, since it’s not Amazon’s decision. Books you buy are not just the words of a story, no matter how ideal that would be. You’re purchasing a product, and a lease to use (read) that product in a certain environment. It’s not the words themselves that are being purchased. That’s how traditional publishers are treating digital books.
But I’m not part of a traditional publisher. And neither are indie/self-publishers.
I recently purchased a Kindle, and now see how my books can be converted and appear on the device. So, if anyone ever asks, I would personally make them a .azw file for their Kindle, a PDF for their computer, etc., of any book of mine they’d purchased. One might be free on Smashwords, but due to Amazon’s requirements, it’ll be $.99 to buy on Kindle. Just ask. If a paperback copy of any book is purchased, ask for an e-version for a reading device instead of paying the 1 to 3 dollars to get it.
This isn’t something we should charge extra for. Goodness no! I made only a couple changes to a word document to switch it from my physical book format to a compatible e-format – to say it takes more than a few minutes is ridiculous! Well, I shouldn’t say that. Formatting all versions does take some work, but nothing a few hours won’t settle. It’s not the hundreds of hours spent on writing, after all.
Ebooks should be free with purchase of a physical version! Or really, even additional e-versions for free if a single e-version in a different format is purchased. Isn’t that the kind of convenience customers should have always had?