A Question for the Authors


None of my close friends have written books. I'm not here to scold them, I'm just saying. On this topic my inner circle can't help.

So let me address the published authors in the audience. My question is this: What's the etiquette when it comes to your friends reading (and buying) your book?

One ride home back in December, I found myself without reading material. I'm a veteran commuter; this was a rookie oversight. To guarantee next-morning entertainment, I stopped at the local library. Maybe fellow mental_floss contributor David Israel's book was available, I thought. Immediately I felt cheap and dirty. I'm not sure if he gets paid per copy sold, but I know the Ruth L. Rockwood Memorial Library was not kicking up royalties.

David's book was already checked out. (Side question: Is that a good feeling?) But I had apparently already angered the publishing gods. In the parking lot, an 80-year-old man slammed into my car as I watched and honked and hollered. Perhaps that license he was issued during the FDR administration shouldn't be a lifetime pass. But his incredibly poor driving is another story (found here, if you're into car crash stories).

Should I have felt bad about borrowing Behind Everyman as opposed to buying it? How long do you give your friends to read your stuff before you start hounding them? Has this caused any friction in relationships?

So I ask again: What's the etiquette?

(Feel free to give your book a little plug for participating in my little survey.)