In this age of fast-paced technological change, readers are faced with more choice than ever as to how and where to acquire their reading material. No longer is buying a print book from your local bookshop the only option. Prices and sources differ vastly. But in the same way that consumers may wish to know the ethics of their purchasing decisions for clothing, electronics, coffee or chocolate, readers.
By definition, ‘ethical’ is a subjective term and, as with any question of morals, different people may have radically different views. Are you most concerned with making sure the author is fairly rewarded for their work, or do you want to help your local bookseller? Would you rather support the Australian publishing industry so that it can invest in more Australian authors, or do you want to grow your favourite genre? If you can identify where you want to invest your support as a booklover, then the ethical answer becomes clearer.
[This is an edited extract from Alex Adsett’s article ‘Fair trade: applying ethics to ebooks’, posted on the Australian Author Online on 3 February 2014. To read the full article, which explores different ‘ethical options’ that consumers face when shopping for ebooks, visit the website here.]