A few weeks ago I met a bloke. We were chatting and the matter of electronic book readers, Kindles specifically, came up. We discovered that each of us owned one and did some of that mutual praising thing that Kindle owners do, that iPad owners do to a factor of about one hundred and eleven and chaps who own Japanese cars never do.
Then the new found friend mentioned to me that he's got a CD. Nothing special there you may think, as did I at first. But, he continues, this CD is special, as it has about two thousand books on it, books that can be dragged and dropped onto a Kindle. Without thinking twice, in fact I probably didn't even think once, I said "oh cool, bung me a copy of it if you can". His reply was in the affirmative.
Two days later it appeared in a plain brown envelope on my desk. I opened the thing and threw it into my CD drive. I navigated my way through the windows explore tree, that one that seemed so intuitive until we got our first Mac. Sure enough the chap was right; there really were about two thousand books on this tiny piece of plastic, or glass, or whatever it is CDs are made of.
There were old classic books, there were modern ones by current authors, many in the bestsellers book charts of the moment, and there was everything else too. It would take me many years to read them all. Just to see if things would work I dragged a couple onto the Kindle. Things did work.
Then it happened.
My conscience woke up from a pretty long sleep and kicked me sharply in the balls. It told me that it's wrong to use the CD and load these books without paying for them, without the respective authors getting their royalties they should receive. I listened to the voice and asked a few people.
The advice spectrum was wide and unhelpful, from "why don't you just download the books that were published more than fifty years ago?" ( as I had a feeling these don't pay royalties to the author, though I'm not sure) to "how about you just read the ones written by mega famous authors who don't need the money?" to "just read them, the authors will never know anyhow".
None of it really helped me, except I postponed activity, pressing the pause button as it were. The CD is still in my briefcase, I've bought tens of books through the proper channels since. Actually there is only one channel for the Kindle and it's called Amazon.
So I put it to you. You seem like a sensible person with a mixture of morals and rebelliousness.
What would you do?