Why I pirated a book last night
January 31, 2014 | 12:25 pm
By Joanna Cabot
I pirated a book last night. I didn’t mean to, per se, and I know I have been upfront in the past about respecting author’s work and paying for the media I consume. So, how did I wind up downloading an illicit copy of something? And why should author Kathy Hester not be at all concerned?
Here is what happened. I was on my way home and waiting for a text from the Beloved in reply to my ‘do you need anything at the grocery store while I am at the plaza’ message, so I thought I would kill some time at the Indigo Books while I was waiting. And there, I found the cookbook of my dreams.
Or, I should clarify the *possible* cookbook of my dreams. I have an odd history with this genre of book. I am not a great cook, but I want to be, and I keep searching for the one book that’s going to make it all come together for me. This book was called ‘Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You by Kathy Hester, and a quick glance showed me it might just be The One. The recipes were simple, healthy-looking and beautifully photographed. I liked the idea that a few minutes prep while I was packing the lunches would net a dinner waiting for me at night, with just enough left over for the next day’s lunch. I liked that I could cook this stuff just for me and not worry about wasting the groceries if my much-pickier Beloved did not want to partake.
But I hesitated because, the truth is, I have dozens of cookbooks at home which I thought would be The One and they were not. I didn’t want to bring home another cluttery thing and have it not work out for me. And then the Beloved texted me back and I went to the grocery store and went about my night. And…I was still thinking about the book later.
So I decided that what I would do is try the book before I bought it. I would find, and cook, one recipe. And if it worked out for me, I would go back to Indigo and buy the book— I still prefer paper for cookbooks, and I knew I would not be buying a Kindle version. But the advantage of the Kindle version was the sample, so I did go to Amazon to check it out. Unfortunately found the front few chapters with prefatory information on slow-cooker usage, and ‘core’ recipes for stuff like spice mixes and soup stock. That wouldn’t really give me a chance to try out actual cooking from the book.
So, step two—I went in search of blog reviews. These often include recipe samples for this type of book. Alas, they did not this time. I found several liberally illustrated photographs of beautiful stuff, but no hard list of ingredients and cooking times. I just wanted one appealing-sounding recipe to try. How hard could it be?
And then, on the second page of search results, there it was: a link to an epub copy of the book from a known-to-me illicit site. I downloaded it without hesitation. I figured it would be okay because I knew I was not going to buy a digital copy anyway. If I previewed this book and liked it, I would be going back to buy the paper copy. And if I previewed and didn’t like it, I wasn’t going to buy it either. So the author would either gain a paper sale out of this, or be where she started with me, which was obscure, unknown and un-purchased.
I have bookmarked two recipes and I will try whichever one I get the ingredients for first. And Kathy Hester, I promise you, if I like the recipes, I will buy the book for real.
So…did I do a bad thing?