How Do I Prefer You Buy My Books?

Holy crap, The Cormorant comes out tomorrow.


Don’t worry, I’ll be jabbering about it plenty for the rest of the week.

(Though I remind: Blackbirds is still free. And Mockingbird is still like, just over a buck.)

For now, I thought I’d get ahead of a question folks ask me with some regularity:

“Where do you want me to buy your books?”

Or, the variant: “In what format do you want me to buy them?”

The genesis of this question is noble and charitable — the reader wants to support the writer with as much advantage going to the writer as possible. It’s a very wonderful thought.

But my answer is, as always:

I want you to buy the book in the way that you want to buy it.

Would I think it’s awesome if you bought the book from your local indie bookstore and kept the money in your local community? That’s always a win, sure. But I recognize that this isn’t always possible. And that books are sometimes cheaper at places like Amazon and who the hell am I to tell you how to spend your money? Maybe you’ll borrow the book from a friend. Or get it from a library. Or, heavens forfend, you’ll nab it off a piracy site.

And maybe you really want the paperback. Or maybe you really want the e-book.

Don’t worry about me. I’ll be all right. I love that you’re even thinking to ask this question. But I’m just geeked that you want to check out the book. And I make roughly the same amount per book no matter where you buy it or via what format. (This differs slightly with self-publishing; in that case, I make somewhat significantly more when I sell direct to the audience. Though there again, I encourage you to do what’s easiest and awesomest for you, not what’s best for me. It’s not your job as the reader to carry me. It’s my job as the writer to provide you with stories you find engaging and interesting and enlightening and hope that performing that act of story provision ultimately helps to feed me and my family and my raging porn-and-chocolate addiction.)

It’s a win for me if you check out my books and, equally awesome, tell others about them. Maybe that means face to face. Maybe that means writing a review at your chosen review receptacle.

So, very seriously, thank you for asking the question.

But please: follow your heart and your wallet on this one.


  • Thanks for clarifying! I’m stoked to read it on my kindle, but Amazon still has it cross-linked to Lives of Tao. Maybe you can bring it to the attention of the powers that be. It would be handy if it was fixed by the time I’ve finished my current book, which is, ironically, Lives of Tao :-)

  • I bought a package of 500’s in pdf, and one of them in Kindle format because I really liked it and wanted to read it on my phone (without that pdf viewer which isn’t all that great).

  • I have a cunning plan – I get our local library in N Wales, UK to buy in a copy of, say, ‘The Cormorant’. (If you ask them to order a title and there are no copies available in the county they will buy one in at no charge to you, the borrower.). I get first dibs at reading it and then, the way I see it, there is now a copy of a book previously unknown/unavailable in this area for people to borrow. Plus if they like it they will want to read more from this author! I have ‘seeded’ a load of titles that have been featured on this blog in this way and at the moment they are highlighting ‘Blackbirds’ on the front desk…don’t misunderstand – I also actually buy books/ebooks!

  • I love that you don’t even care how they are acquired but I must admit your cover art is spectacular and I will continue to buy your books in paper form, (even though digitally it makes more sense for me as my daughter is a librarian and we have had to wean her off printed books copies to ebooks so that our house would not collapse).The covers are so beautiful and they just don’t translate on an e-reader.Anyway, got Cormorant early (Saturday instead of Tuesday) and love it – welcome back Miriam.

  • Thanks for this post, Chuck. I think you make a good statment: ‘It’s not your job as the reader to carry me. It’s my job as the writer to provide you with stories you find engaging and interesting.’ I understand the buying/supplying/reviewing of books is a sometimes controverial issue but I’m glad to see someone else believes that the stories and people wanting to read them are the most important factor, not the method of release or the statement made by method of buying.

  • My copy of Mockingbird just arrived today from Barnes and Noble. Can’t wait to read it so that I can get to The Cormorant. I regularly recommend your books, Chuck, to my students, many of whom aren’t regular readers but are looking for something exciting, interesting, and irreverent. Most of the student who have taken the plunge into the world that is Wendig have become devotees.

    To your questions, sir:

    I’m a certified bibliophile. A junkie. I willingly and often forego sleep, food, and the company of others for books. But I have to get my fix in paper form. There are a couple of reasons for this.

    I haven’t yet migrated to an e-reader and I don’t think that I will anytime soon. I find reading on any kind of electronic device to be tedious and tiring, and . . . well, a little impersonal. I also do a majority of my reading at night, so I don’t want to get my melatonin levels all jacked up from the blue light or whatever that’s emitted from an electronic device.

    Second, I love the physical presence of books. There’s a great deal of comfort to be had from having an entire wall of books greet you when you walk into a room. There’s no real substitute for holding a book, turning its pages, smelling the pulpy goodness of those pages, staring at the cover art, and seeing the transformation that takes place as you move through a book (the creasing of the spine, perhaps a bit of spilled coffee on the page 148, a dog-eared page here and slight tear there). Books are constant companions, always ready to whisk you away when the time calls.

    You just don’t get that . . . intimacy with a digital version.

    And I would love to buy my books from an indie seller, but in Hawaii we, get this, only have ONE BOOKSTORE on the entire island of Oahu, which is Barnes and Noble at Ala Moana Shopping Center. The location in Kahala is soon to close in order to make way for a clothing store. So very, very sad.

    Congratulations, Chuck, on your most recent publication. Keep ‘em coming! You rock, sir.

  • YES!


    I’m asked this question, and usually by the same people, every time I release something new. I’m like, “Breh. I don’t care how you buy the book. I’m honored you’re even thinking of doing so. But buy it however you like and please please please read it at some point.”

    And even as an indie (read: self-) publisher, I encourage folks to do what’s best for them. I’d love to sell more hardcover/paperback editions, but if all they can afford or want to splurge on is the digital version, then sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit, joe, go ahead. I am super grateful no matter what!

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