So, I took some time to think about what happened and realized that I was unfair to Tamar. I wanted to apologize but also wanted both of us (and you, dear reader) to learn something from this.
THE APOLOGY PART:
I realize that I was unfair to you yesterday. I had researched the 4 most popular books on Community Management and your book, The New Community Rules, came up. When I saw that it was published by O'Reilly, I got really excited. I know that O'Reilly publishes many of its books in PDF for free. My current salary (none) does not enable me to buy books, so I was excited that I might be able to read it now, and not have to wait weeks and weeks for the library to get it. I'm also from a Open Source background and was still flying high from the community and collaboration of the Community Leadership Summit 2010 and OSCON. I stand behind everything I said about not really being able to lock down a book, and that you could expand your readership exponentially by offering it for free.
But, in retrospect, I realized that I did not contact any of the other authors of the books I found. Only you, because your publisher was O'Reilly. And in this, I was unfair to you. I should of treated you all the same. For this, I am sorry.
THE LEARNING PART
I can see from your blog comments, and from the reaction I got from you, that you have been asked many times if there is a free version of your book. I can't make that question stop, but I can suggest some ways to make the exchanges more fun.
Here's our exchange:
You have a potential reader that has taken the time to track you down, wrote a heartfelt message, and has stated that she is honest. Rather than sending a short, curt message, this is the perfect opportunity to Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.
My suggested response:
I'm so glad you are interested in my book! Thanks for checking with me, but no, there is no free & *legal* copy of it.
This sort of response would of left a positive message while also educating about the situation. Most people would probably stop the communication there, but let's assume they continued (like I did).
You still have a potential reader that is asking thoughtful questions, and suggesting things she thinks might help you. Again, I suggest you Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.
Thanks for thinking of me. The licensing of my book is not up to me. :( Sorry you can't swing the $. Have you tried the library or sharing with a friend?
I know you are thinking, "Why suggest the library? You will lose a possible book sale!" Well, if you look closely, you can see that I never had the intention of buying the book. I suggest you think beyond money. You want to create evangelists, but they don't have to all buy the book. The conversation could of ended there, and on a positive note. Instead it unraveled:
I hope you take this apology and these suggestions to heart. I truly want you to succeed Tamar. And if you now think I am the queen of the witches, that's fine. My hope is that someone had read this and learned something helpful.
All the best,