I do also understand the concerns other disgruntled writers have with regard to compensation for their work. As some of the others have pointed out, many spend years working on their novels, poetry/short story collections, non-fiction and plays. This includes often 60+ work-hours logged on top of traditional jobs including painstaking and exhaustive research, writing, workshopping and editing draft after draft. Some BC'ers may mistakenly assume that most writers are extremely well compensated for their efforts, but most aren't. The average payment from most literary journals for a 500-1500 word story amounts to about $25. Here in Canada, even the most well-known authors generally are paid $25,000 or less for a full-length MS, which is why even big names like Margaret Atwood, Jack Hodgins and the late Mordecai Richler do stints in the Universities as professors. Those of us who are less well-known and have less seniority usually work around words, in libraries and bookstores.
This post is not meant to flame or condemn Bookcrossing or Bookcrossers in anyway. I, too, am a member, and probably for many of the same reasons as most (love to read, love to share the joy of reading w/ others, and the environmental issues the above poster mentioned are also close to my heart). The reason I'm posting this is to try to educate and inform those of you who scoff about authors or artists such as those in the movie/recording industry, as being greedy. It's not a question of greed , it's a question of that new buzzword "intellectual property". With all this new technology, piracy has come to the writing field too, and it's not just the big names that get ripped off, it's the little guys, too. In my writers' group, nearly every member has at least one horror story of not being paid for their work by unscrupulous editors, having their internet e-books/poems copied without permission, etc. Yes, sites like Bookcrossing do promote literacy and that's all to the good, but the dark side of these issues should be acknowledged, too, and the fact is, while some may benefit, others stand to lose.
Nothing is black and white, except the print on the page.
Peace out. people and read on!