Treacherous Allegiance

E-Books are debatably the best thing to ever happen in the world so far, at least it is for me. As a person who genuinely struggled with reading, when i came across comics, my world lit up. I vividly remember being excited to get the next volume and go read it like a kid with its ice-cream. All of that crumbled down when the first lock-down happened.  I felt like a newly-wed that couldn’t go on on their honeymoon.

 I was too invested to give up, it was now a fight for my honor. E-Books! The lord has finally taken pity on its poor servant and bestowed upon me a revelation. Yet that also didn’t work out as they were pay-to-read. At that time I was extremely distraught, I vaguely understood why but was still adamant on not paying. After a long search for free comics, I failed. But when all hope was lost I miraculously came across a recommendation that to this day I pray the gods in gratitude. It was an illegal site made by people who didn’t claim ownership over the material and was fan-run. Acquired from one person with an account then cleaned, translated and posted by people who were willing to put their time in to do it. I was shocked to see such and underground system that could rival that of the black market. With that, started my obsession. I was reading them every single day from the moment I woke up until the sun went back up again the next day. I never knew how euphoric addiction was. I ventured into genres that I never used to like, started engaging with others who were just like me. During the quarantine I read over 750 comics.

In some cases stories were left incomplete and no updates were being made.That’s when I realised that these were written by people who worked on commission. It is an extremely time consuming occupation so it is the main source of income for artists. The scale of which their stories were read and liked were huge but they couldn’t monetize it so had no choice but to quit to afford food. Its all fun and dandy when we enjoy these amazing content but the reality of putting someone out of business and preventing them from following their passion just so they can survive is brutal. That was also when i noticed translators were promoting their donation options so they could keep posting on the illegal website, the audacity in which these people who steal from other’s and sell it again with a different font is outrageous. If someone is willing to pay why not support the artist then? I’m well aware of the hypocrisy I am committing. Its bold of me, a culprit, to shame those who partake in this charade of legal loopholes. However, being conscious of the issue is half the solution.

Should E-Books be free? Those that are classics and world renowned books that has brought adequate revenue, yes. Those that are have a small target audience with commission based system with underpaid workers, absolutely not. In the first place it is wrong for publishing agencies not to employ the authors with a stable salary. This is especially important for online-only stories that do not have a physical copy. In the end I will not purchase the subscription to the original work for many reasons but its important to be aware of your sins. The capitalist world is both the rise and downfall of the industry, how tragic.


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