By condemning without hesitation an old friend, I shall be feared.
I really like scribd.com. What’s not to like in a site that makes books available for all? Well, for one thing, if people using that site make books available that are not their own. Books like this one:
Yup, it’s the first version of my book on “Organizing Creativity” — which is still available here, although I do no longer recommend it (post also includes the reason why it is still available). And the copyright is certainly not “Attribution. Non-commercial.” as displayed in the greyed out background of the next image.
One the one hand, people like the person who made this book available are doing a good thing. They like the book, they put it online, and hey, it’s viewed a couple of hundred times and a lot of people like it. On the other, they are doing me — and people like me who put a lot of time and energy into books — a disservice. And I’m not talking about lost money here. Both the first and the second edition of Organizing Creativity are available free to download. Don’t buy a grumpy cat in the sack. Download it, see whether it is useful for you, and if you want to, give some money.
No, they are doing a disservice by preventing me to see that other people like the book.
If you are doing a thing because you consider the issue important (I surely felt lost when tackling my diploma and dissertation thesis, or in general when it come to working creatively), you do a lot on faith. Investing months of work into a book (or two), you want feedback. You crave for it (or, at least, I do). Screw money, the feedback I “liked this”, or “it was useful to me”, or even “I downloaded it”, if life-blood fueling your continued creativity. The worst you can do to someone who loves to work creatively is to deny this person feedback. (Given some experience of working in dysfunctional environments, trust me on this.)
And people who put this thing online without telling me pretty much deny me that feedback.
I mean, seriously, if you like a posting I made, tell me. I am very grateful to those who do and usually reply. If you do not like a posting, also tell me, how else can I ever hope to improve my reasoning. (No, I don’t change my opinion like a flag in the wind, but I do take actual counter-arguments and rebuttals seriously). And I don’t want to fish for compliments, but creativity is (also) determined by the evaluation of the field, i.e., you. If you like to put a posting online pointing to my blog or the (second) book “Organizing Creativity”, please do so. And please, send me a message or leave a comment of you doing so. What an author (usually) wants more than anything else is being read. That is the highest praise an author can get. But link to the PDF, don’t upload it yourself. If you link, I see the people who access that file in my download statistics. And if direct linking leads to an error (possible, I disabled hot-linking images), tell me, there’s a way to bypass this issue.
But uploading one of my PDFs to Scribd, changing the copyright and not telling me? Please don’t. That only incurs a DMCA … like the one I just send. It’s the same with the old quotation: “If you don’t like me, tell me, not everyone else.” — just positive. If you like something I’ve written, tell me. If you want to make it available in your community, tell me. We’ll find a way.