Two days ago, as I was perusing through my weekly Google alerts digest, I came across the website ThinkDoBecome, which was offering Other Sides for sale for $0.99, discounted from $9.99.
Think that discount is a bargain? Think again: Other Sides is available for free download on the Ergofiction magazine main site, and is $0.99 from Smashwords and Amazon. No where in the world is it priced at $9.99. Even the print version’s cheaper than that!
I searched the entire website, and found no contact details. The comment boxes didn’t work either. Even more suspicious. Eventually, I subscribed to the website and got a confirmation email from firstname.lastname@example.org — success!
I sent a polite email bringing the unusual situation to the webmaster’s attention, and querying whether the site had some kind of distribution agreement with one of our publishers, because from what I could tell they did not have permission to sell Other Sides.
This morning I got the following reply:
We purchased both the ebook (PDF) “Other Sides – 12 Webfiction Tales” and its resell rights from a 3rd party online however, in an effort to simply this issue we have removed the ebook from our online store and will no longer offer it for sale or as a giveaway.
I try to think the best of people. Maybe he was duped by some other person, and spent money on the PDF. Maybe. But incredibly unlikely. In any case, I replied with a polite thank you for removing the ebook, and recommended he never purchase from that “3rd party” again.
But the situation has continued to bother me. I know we’re small fry in the big picture, but that someone could go and make money off of our hard work — make money off of something we chose to offer freely — it just upsets me. But the straw that broke the camel’s back is that I just went over to the website again and took a look at some of the other products.
Many of the listings do not mention even author names, making it even harder to track the original authors down.
I’m sorry, Roy Edwards, but your website needs to go.