Dear Mr. Franzen:
We stand corrected.
As the world’s largest independent eBookstore, we were under the obviously mistaken impression that we were more than just petty capitalists. We naively thought, you see, that we were doing our fellow humans somewhat of a solid by making it easier for them to read a bit more – which we would have assumed you viewed as a good thing, right?
We were clearly wrong.
Since, as you claim, the eBook business…our business…is “damaging society” (like, let’s say, hydraulic fracking), maybe we should have gone into a more benign field (like, let’s say, horticulture or entomology.)
In fact, we must apologize to you for actually carrying and selling (quite briskly we might add) your books in digital format. We can only theorize that you accept the revenue reluctantly, and that you must be quite conflicted about your role in the unleashing of such unspeakable evil upon the planet.
To clear our conscience, we came up with an idea that just may help us sleep more soundly at night. We are willing and prepared to donate $500 in downloads of your latest novel, Freedom, to the reading charity of your choice.
We know, we know…we’re not offering actual books, but we think what we’re proposing you do in turn, will more than make up for that.
We simply ask that you match the number of electronic copies we donate with the equivalent number of hardcover copies of Freedom. Let’s see, that should be around 35 or so, going by the average price. We’re certain your publisher/agent won’t mind taking the time to box them up and to ship them out for you.
Oh, and if you’d rather send 35 handwritten copies (preferably using a quill) instead, since those will more accurately convey the permanence you value so much, we enthusiastically encourage you to do so. There’s nothing like the “magic” of pages actually penned by an author – like they used to do back in the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
What do you say? Do we have a deal, Mr. Franzen?
Please reply at your earliest convenience to firstname.lastname@example.org (if you use email), so that we can hammer out the specifics.
Yours in reading solidarity,
(Image: Cryolophosaurus – meaning “cold crest lizard” – was a large bipedal dinosaur, with a bizarre crest on its head that looked like a Spanish comb.)